Google Alerts Customised Monitoring
1. Go to Google Alerts (you’ll be prompted to log into your Google account, or create one).
2. Enter the keyword/s you wish to monitor.
3. Select ‘More options’ to further refine the settings:
- How often
- How many
- Deliver to
4. Preview sample results. If there are results appearing which are not relevant, apply one or more of the boolean operators below to filter them out.
5. Save alert.
6. As alerts are emailed out apply further boolean operators for any unwanted results.
7. See up as many individual alerts as you would like.
Common Keyword Alerts
- Your company name and/ or brand names
- Your personal name
- Your domain name. e.g. www.mycompany.com
- Competitor company and/or brand names
- Geographic specific, e.g. ‘dentist Sydney’
Phrase search (“”)
By putting double quotes around a set of words, you are telling Google to consider the exact words in that exact order without any change. Google already uses the order and the fact that the words are together as a very strong signal and will stray from it only for a good reason, so quotes are usually unnecessary. By insisting on phrase search you might be missing good results accidentally. For example, a search for [ “Tim Martin” ] (with quotes) will miss the pages that refer to Timothy G. Martin.
Search within a specific website (site:)
Google allows you to specify that your search results must come from a given website. For example, the query [ iraq site:nytimes.com ] will return pages about Iraq but only from nytimes.com. The simpler queries [ iraq nytimes.com ] or [ iraq New York Times ] will usually be just as good, though they might return results from other sites that mention the New York Times. You can also specify a whole class of sites, for example [ iraq site:.gov ] will return results only from a .gov domain and [ iraq site:.iq ] will return results only from Iraqi sites.
Terms you want to exclude (-)
Attaching a minus sign immediately before a word indicates that you do not want pages that contain this word to appear in your results. The minus sign should appear immediately before the word and should be preceded with a space. For example, in the query [ anti-virus software ], the minus sign is used as a hyphen and will not be interpreted as an exclusion symbol; whereas the query[ anti-virus -software ] will search for the words ‘anti-virus’ but exclude references to software. You can exclude as many words as you want by using the – sign in front of all of them, for example [ jaguar -cars -football -os ]. The – sign can be used to exclude more than just words. For example, place a hyphen before the ‘site:’ operator (without a space) to exclude a specific site from your search results.
Fill in the blanks (*)
The *, or wildcard, is a little-known feature that can be very powerful. If you include * within a query, it tells Google to try to treat the star as a placeholder for any unknown term(s) and then find the best matches. For example, the search [ Google * ] will give you results about many of Google’s products. The query[ Bush voted * on the * bill ] will give you stories about different votes on different bills. Note that the * operator works only on whole words, not parts of words.
Search exactly as is (+)
Google employs synonyms automatically, so that it finds pages that mention, for example, childcare for the query [ child care ] (with a space), or Australia history for the query [ aus history ]. But sometimes Google helps out a little too much and gives you a synonym when you don’t really want it. By attaching a + immediately before a word (remember, don’t add a space after the +), you are telling Google to match that word precisely as you typed it. Putting double quotes around a single word will do the same thing.
The OR operator
Google’s default behaviour is to consider all the words in a search. If you want to specifically allow either one of several words, you can use the OR operator (note that you have to type ‘OR’ in ALL CAPS). For example, [ New Zealand All Blacks 2004 OR 2005 ] will give you results about either one of these years, whereas [ New Zealand All Blacks 2004 2005 ] (without the OR) will show pages that include both years on the same page. The symbol | can be substituted for OR. (The AND operator, by the way, is the default, so it is not needed.)