There was a time when searching for the newest mentions of specific topics and keywords meant waiting for Google and other search engines to crawl the web and churn out reliable results. This would often take weeks and was a difficult task, quite frankly. So when Google Alerts, a tool that could discover the newest mentions and discussions of specific topics and keywords in mere moments, came into existence, there was much celebration.
However these days, Google Alerts is dying. What was once an invaluable marketing, PR and reputation management tool is now going the way of other beloved Google products that have bitten the dust. It just doesn’t alert you as much as it did before – this while people still find it essential to use what it was designed to do.
Thankfully, there are a few alternative ways to get back the functionality that Google Alerts provided. And yes, most of them are free.
The stuff I type into Google’s search box can sometimes provide the weirdest autocomplete results. While Google’s autocomplete can sometimes be a bit off, it can still provide some insightful results. According to Jean Dion of the Search Engine Journal:
Sometimes, simple reputation management means watching what terms people append to your name or your brand, when they’re searching online. Google helpfully finishes sentences via its Autocomplete function, and I’ve found this to be surprisingly helpful in terms of monitoring the online world. By running periodic searches with a super-slow typing speed, I can get a good feel for the phrases others think apply both to me and to my business, and I can amend my tactics accordingly.
You can also take a look at the results from autocompleted phrases. For the newest results, simply go to Search Tools and filter the results from the past hour, 24 hours, week, month or year. You can even set a custom range.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Google Alerts should be blushing at how Talkwalker mirrors its alert creation form. If you miss the familiarity of Google Alerts, Talkwalker is probably the best new alternative out there. According to Tim Baran of Legal Productivity:
Like Google Alerts, Talkwalker Alerts allows you to monitor the web for new content about your name, brand, competitors, events or favorite topics and get alerts delivered to your inbox or RSS reader.
Social Mention is another great tool that also searches for mentions across social networks. These mentions have to be public though, but they’re still pretty useful if you want to find out how often you’re being mentioned online on blogs, Facebook, Twitter and the like. According to Venture Beat:
Social Mention is a free and reputable product in the social search engine arena, tracking alerts across the web and social media channels. Additionally, Social Mention provides sentiment analysis on social media mentions and hashtag tracking as part of its service.
Unfortunately, their alerts system has been down for a while and hasn’t been restored yet as of writing. It’s still worth checking out though.
Not to be confused with Social Mention, Mention is similar in that they provide alerts for your name, brand, industry, and competitors. According to Venture Beat:
Mention is a high-end version of Google Alerts with the addition of select social sources. Mention offers a free version with limited capabilities and an unlimited version starting at $19.99 a month and provides real-time alerts via email and push notifications to your cellular device. Alerts are flagged by importance of mentions according to the latest source interactions by influence and authority.
While Google Alerts isn’t technically dead yet, its reliability has been reduced to the point of being unusable. These alternatives are great because they produce many of the same results as Google Alerts once did, and much of the functionality can be had at an awesome price of FREE.