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I remember what research was like when I was a kid. If you wanted to find some particular information you had to look it up in a book. Which meant that finding answers could be time consuming – if not impossible.

Today, thanks to Google and other search engines, a world of knowledge is available almost instantaneously. There are many ways that you can make use of Google’s capabilities. This month I explore one of them.


Google Alerts
is a powerful free tool that monitors the Web for words and phrases that you specify, and delivers the results directly to you. It’s a killer resource because it can help you:

  • Monitor Your Brand – Alerts that track mentions of your company name, product names and website address (set this up without the www, such as “”) will let you address issues or express thanks in a timely manner.

  • Keep an Eye on Your Competitors – Track mentions of your competitors’ company names and website addresses to monitor their activity online.

  • Look for Opportunities to Become a Resource – Set up alerts for industry-specific question-based terms and watch for chances to provide expert answers with links back to your website. The format for doing this is: [question word] * [keyword term or phrase]. For example:

What * KeywordGoesHere

Why * KeywordGoesHere

How * KeywordGoesHere

Is * KeywordGoesHere

Can * KeywordGoesHere

When * KeywordGoesHere

Will * KeywordGoesHere

If you notice that a particular question shows up frequently, you can also address it in a blog, article or FAQ.

  • Conduct Industry Research – Stay on top of industry news by creating alerts for important keywords and key phrases for your industry. This can also help you come up with topic ideas for your blog or newsletter.
  • Find Out When Your Content is Mentioned – Find out when your article, ebook or white paper is mentioned by others by setting up an alert with your content’s title in quotation marks.

  • Track Your Top Customers – Set up alerts for their company names to get valuable insights into what they’re doing, which you can use as good reasons to contact them.

  • Watch for Guest Blogging Opportunities – Guest blogging can help you reach new audiences. To create alerts, combine phrases such as “bloggers wanted” and “become a contributor” with your preferred topic.


Gold Coast Pool & Spa is one of the only general contractors in Southern California that offers both award-winning design and superior construction for custom pools, spas, landscape and outdoor buildings. Their turnkey design and build service helps homeowners transform their yards into private paradises.

To learn more about the Gold Coast advantage, visit the website I helped them write at

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