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What are Google Alerts, and how can they help online retailers?

Definition: Google Alerts are a free notification service provided by Google that sends emails to subscribers that summarize the search activity around search terms.

How it works

Recent news articles or other web content containing a search term is included in a Google Alert. Users can set notifications to come daily, weekly, or monthly.

Ways for retailers to leverage Google Alerts

Consider the following ways alerts can be used to benefit an ecommerce firm:

  • Information About the Business: To know whenever the company's name is mentioned and by what site. It can be useful to include common misspellings as well.

  • Information About the Product(s): Stay aware of what is said about the company's product(s), and by whom.

  • Mentions of Company Executives: Executives' reputations can affect the reputation of the organization so its good to know when new content mentions them.

  • Awareness of Customer Activities: Using alerts to stay on top of developments at a customer helps a business be proactive in supporting the customer and avoiding surprises.

  • **Watching Competitors:**Receive information about competitor activities and new developments.

  • Following Influencers: What key figures in an ecommerce business's field are saying is valuable for identifying trends early.

  • Stay Up to Date on Industry Developments and Technologies: Keep an eye on what is new in the market and what technologies are evolving. Customers will appreciate a provider that maintains expertise in their field by knowing the latest developments.

Optimization Strategies For Configuring Google Alerts

Google alerts has the potential to overwhelm with irrelevant information if the search criteria is too broad. Here are some methods to help filter out noise from the results:

  • Specific Words: Quotes ("") are the first stop for improving results. Putting quotes around a term lets Google know not to look for permutations. For example, searching for market will also find markets and marketing. Searching for "market" will only return "market".

  • Specific Phrases: Quotation marks do the same for phrases. A search for plastic injection will look for plastic or injection and will give a higher relevance to content with both. Searches for "plastic injection" will only return results for "plastic injection".

  • Site Specific Searching: This keyword is used to be notified of new content specifically on sites that are of high value, such as a trade magazine, a local newspaper, or a popular news aggregator. Place site: directly in front of the site name with no space between the two.

  • Negative Keywords: Placing a minus(-) sign in front of a term will remove it from the results. If a search for web development returns too many job site listings then including -job would filter any site including all three terms.

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