Monitoring your brand using Google Alerts

your brand

Monitoring your brand is an essential element to promoting your business and protecting its reputation on the web. With the ever-growing number of websites this can appear to be a thankless task. But, thanks to a plethora of tools, it is now easier than ever to do so.

Talk walker

I have used Talk Walker previously and it did very well at finding brand mentions across the web. It’s free to use and you can sign up here:

Google Alerts

This is my favourite tool. It’s free and so easy to set up. Simply register the keywords you want to monitor at:

Moz (paid)

Unlike the two tools mentioned above, Moz is a paid service. However, it is part of the full Moz package so it’s already included in your subscription if you have one.

Moz offers some great features like being able to filter out mentions that aren’t links, and can find sites where your competitors have got links and you haven’t.

Of the three tools I’ve discussed, my personal favourite is Google Alerts. Basically it means Google itself has found the link or brand mention. This is what you want to happen so Google will boost your rankings.

If Google hasn’t found the link, it might as well not be there as it won’t have any impact on your search engine rankings.

Why monitoring your brand so important.

Firstly, it allows you see when an influencer or website mentions your brand in a positive light.

If this site is large or the person is influential in your industry this could be a great way to build a relationship. This will become especially useful if you are launching a new product or service or want to improve brand awareness. Building a relationship with your brand advocates can lead to further link opportunities and free publicity further down the line.

When you are alerted to a link or mention the first thing you should do is immediately reach out to the person and thank them for the comment and tell them how much you appreciate it. This builds a relationship and they may naturally link back to you again in the future without any further communication from yourselves.

But, more importantly, if you do need their help to get a message across or increase your brand’s reach you have a readymade talking point. You can start the email talking about the previous conversation and how much it meant for them to mention you previously. It’s a great ice breaker.

Although this may seem like a lot of work with no guarantee of results, it’s a lot easier than cold emailing people asking for links and, in the long run, you will get better results. Basically you are building a relationship, its old school PR brought into the 21st century.

More importantly that seeing positive mentions, you can spot negative mentions and deal with them, and I don’t mean pretend they don’t exist.

You firstly can respond and try and resolve the query or complaint. Even if the person doesn’t change their review if a potential customers sees the comment you made they can see you listen to complaints and interact with them.

Before the web and social media if someone was unhappy with your brand they might tell their mates down the pub but it would be instantly forgotten or not go to far. Now, however, if its written online its around forever. No matter what you do it will remain on the web and be accessible to everyone.

There are some digital marketing techniques you can employ to move the negative ones down the Google rankings (both white hat and black hat techniques) but its much easier to just deal with the negative reviews when they happen.

No business is going to get everything right 100% of the time. Mistakes happen, it’s how you respond which is key. I never believe any reviews, which say 5/5 as they are more than likely, not genuine.

Turning mentions into links

Google have said recently that the two biggest ranking factors are content (hopefully you are writing great content) and links. Link building is hard work and can take a lot of effort for sometimes zero results.

However, by monitoring your brand mentions you can quickly spot when someone is talking about your business (hopefully in a positive light).

You can get in touch with the author, blogger, or website owner and thank them for the name check and ask if it would be possible to change it to a link. I try to stress the link will improve their users experience by being able to click through. I wouldn’t mention you want the link to boost your SEO, it might put some people of linking back to you.

If you pay for Moz there is a neat little report you can run which basically shows you all the mentions you have got including those which haven’t linked back to you. There is a short video below demonstrating how you can quickly obtain this data.

If you don’t pay for Moz and want to monitor your brand in the same manner but at zero cost, it can be done. But it takes time.

For every Google Alert you get back, you need to click through to the mention and see if you have a link, if you have great. If not you need to start contacting the blogger.

This may be ok if you only have 10-20 mentions a month, but if you have a decent size brand or a business which is regularly featured in the press it can become very time consuming.

Another great feature of Moz is that you can have alerts or run reports to show when your competitors get links and you don’t.

If you can quickly identify certain key publications or websites in your industry are linking to or mentioning your competitors, this creates a great list of websites for you to contact to try and build more links.

Some sectors struggle getting links, especially if they have negative stereotypes, so finding a list of websites that are willing to link within your niche is a great start.

It could just be the case that these websites are not familiar with your brand. You may just need to introduce yourself, or it could be they might need a little encouragement to recommend you, especially if they haven’t tried your services, but I call these lists the fundamentals links.

You need these links just to get on a level playing field with your competitors. Once you have these then it’s a case of building extra quality links that your competitors don’t have if you want to be ahead of them in Google.

By monitoring your mentions you can help your branding and SEO all at the same time.

While I said at the start of this article I do use Google Alerts and it’s my primary source of alerts, I do use it in conjunction with Moz to save time.

Do I really want to spend hours a day / week looking at mentions to see if they have a link? Nope. I want to spend my time helping clients grow online. So I use Moz to speed up the process and free my time for other tasks.

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