Imagine a completely free tool that could help you build traffic and search for marketing opportunities. You might even be using it in a basic sense, because these are Google Alerts. By using Google Alerts for marketing, you can track mentions of your brand and look for new focus areas for your campaigns.

The versatility of Google Alerts is what makes them especially useful. You can see instant results for your keywords or track them over time by setting up email alerts. We’ll show you how to take those alerts and turn them into tangible marketing opportunities. Learn how using Google Alerts for marketing can help you build backlinks, track industry news, and find new content ideas.

Set Google Alerts for the names of your company, products, and top executives to find opportunities for backlinks. High-quality backlinks boost your ranking on Google’s search engine results page (SERP). They also make it easier for Google to find and map your site and for customers to navigate to your site from outside pages.

Start by looking for mentions of your company that don’t include links on the name. Reach out to the site owner or manager and ask if they’ll add a link.

SpyFu Google Alerts email result

Since the writer already mentioned your company, adding a link to your page takes relatively little effort, especially for a blog post. Google Alerts can also help you find guest-posting opportunities. Set alerts for your top keywords to watch for sites that post third-party content on your subject areas. For example, as a keyword research tool, we would track “keyword research,” “competitor research,” and “seo help.”

Of course, you already know that your competitors post about similar topics, and their sites likely won’t make for good guest-posting opportunities. Fortunately, you can exclude specific domains from your Google Alerts.To exclude a domain, simply type “” (where “” is the website you want to exclude) next to your keyword in the Alerts bar.

Use this feature to exclude competitor websites and poor-quality, third-party websites where you would not want your content featured. For example, you might want to exclude websites with excessive pop-up ads or other barriers to a positive user experience.

If you find yourself receiving too many alerts from a poor-quality site, you can update your alerts at any time to exclude that domain. This will help narrow down the results you get and prevent your email from being cluttered by alerts that you can’t use for guest-posting opportunities. At the same time, track phrases like “write for us” and “guest post by.” These phrases indicate the blog is actively looking for and publishing guest posts.If you successfully land a guest post and write an article that links to multiple pages on your site, you just created several backlinks, thanks to a single Google Alerts result.

Finally, watch for questions on forums such as Reddit, Quora, and Yahoo Answers.

Quora discussion result in Google Alerts

When you see questions within your field of expertise, jump in and answer. Include links to your pages as part of your answer, or add a link to your company name when you identify yourself.

The basic steps for setting up Google Alerts are always the same, but there are different filters you can set, depending on the type of backlink opportunity you’re searching for.

Here’s how you track company mentions:

  1. Go to Google Alerts.
  2. Type in the name of your company.
  3. Right away, you can see a preview of current results. To schedule recurring alerts, type in your email address, and choose how often you want to receive emails.
  4. Repeat steps two and three for the name of your product or C-suite executives or other terms you want to track.

Next, you can add filters to watch for guest-post opportunities:

  1. Set up alerts for your top keywords and for phrases indicating blogs are looking for guest posts.
  2. Change the “sources” filter to “blogs.”

3.  Use “” to exclude competitors and poor-quality websites from your Google Alerts.

4.  Check your alert results regularly and update excluded domains as needed.

Focusing your search keeps the results relevant. That way, you don’t have to sift through news and discussion results to find legitimate guest-posting opportunities.

To watch for questions on forums, set up alerts for your top keywords, and change the source to “discussions.” Alternatively, you can leave it on “automatic” to capture a wider range of discussion forums. Discussions in the comments section of another article, for example, may slip through the “discussions” filter.

New Content Ideas

Google Alerts is also an excellent tool for finding new content ideas and potential keywords to target. Keep an eye on discussion forums to see what questions people are asking about your product or the problems your product solves. Then, brainstorm content that answers the questions. Watch for niche and long-tail keywords to target.

For example, are people asking, “How do I research competitor keywords?” Make an article that directly answers that question rather than targeting a broader term like “competitor research.”

Check for subtopics within your broader area of expertise. We searched for “keyword strategy,” and the second article was about how connected social media is:

The piece itself is not about keywords, but it mentions the idea of social media keyword strategy. Thanks to Google Alerts, we now have an idea we can use to find relevant keywords and narrow down angles for article topics. Finding high-volume keywords will help you gauge the interest in specific areas of the idea you’re investigating.

If we found, for example, that “social media seo strategy” had a high search volume, but “pinterest seo strategy” had a very low volume, then we might want to write a broader post encompassing multiple types of social media and not a series of posts focusing on individual platforms.

Google Alerts are excellent for brainstorming and idea generation, but it’s important to follow up your ideas with keyword research and search intent research in order to accurately gauge your audience’s interests.

Another way to brainstorm content ideas is to see what others in your field are writing about right now. Popular content topics are ever-changing, and it’s vital to stay on top of what your competitors are publishing. Monitoring how their topics change from week to week can help you gauge what your target audience is reading and make adjustments to your own content strategy.

Track competitors’ blogs to see what they post and what keywords or general topics they’re targeting. Alerts will show you a preview of recent results. If there aren’t any recent results, Google will show you existing content on the blog.

You can use this information to target similar keywords or look for keywords they haven’t targeted yet.

Alerts will show you new and high-performing competitor articles. Run these through a keyword research tool to find potential keywords and keyword groups.

Set alerts for general keywords to watch for content lanes that are already popular. These might include keywords such as “research tools,” “seo,” or “google serp.” The exact keywords will depend on your industry.

Look at what people are discussing across multiple channels, and use those topics to inform your next round of content.

How to Set Up Google Alerts for Content Ideas

The setup process for generating content ideas is similar to setting up industry news alerts, but the filters will differ depending on your goals.

Here’s how to track competitor blogs and news:

  1. Make a list of competitor names, and set alerts for the company and for “[company name] blog.”

2.  Leave the filter on “automatic” to capture all mentions. Select all except “discussions” to limit results to media, blogs, and news stories.

3.   Set recurring email alerts, and check them regularly. Watch what your competitors are publishing and where they appear in the media.

Finally, set up alerts to watch for topic-based content ideas:

  1. Choose several overarching topics related to your industry and area of expertise.
  2. Set alerts. Leave the filter on “automatic” to capture forums and discussions as well as news, media, and blog posts.
  3. Monitor discussions to see what issues people are bringing up in your field that your content could address.

Set alerts for your product names. Filter for news and discussions to see what people are asking. This can help not only with content ideas but also with choosing new features to develop and promote.

Industry News

Next, use Google Alerts to stay on top of what’s going on in your industry. Watch for “state of the market” reports, trending articles, and news stories featuring you or your competitors.

Track top industry keywords along with your company keywords. For example, we track “SEO software” and “competitor analysis tools.”

Google Alerts results for “SEO software”

News alerts will help you keep track of general industry market predictions.

Industry news will also show you how people discuss your business vertical as a whole and which subtopics come up most often. You can use this information to set business goals based on what features people seem to want. You can also use it to guide what parts of your product to highlight in upcoming marketing campaigns.

Using Google Alerts for marketing makes it easier to watch for new competitors in your field and look for news stories featuring current competitors. With alerts, you can track new products, mergers, and other news that affects your competitive sphere.

To watch for this kind of news, set alerts for your competitor’s company name and the names of their top products. You can also track top industry sites by setting alerts for the names of magazines, newsletters, or other media.

Set alerts for your competitors’ top executives to see how they are featured in the media. Do the same for your own executives. This, along with tracking company mentions, will help you monitor how people perceive your brand.

How to Set Up Google Alerts for Industry News

To monitor industry news, use the filter settings to narrow down the types of information and current conversations you see:

  1. Set up alerts for competitor names, the names of C-Suite executives, and top industry keywords.
  2. Change the filters for each keyword, depending on the type of result you want to track. To see how people are talking about your industry in published media and forums, check “news” and “discussions.”

3.  To track industry news just in your geographic area, change the “region” filter.

Limiting your region is useful for tracking local industry and product changes. It also shows you what subtopics people in your area are interested in. This is invaluable for brainstorming ideas for local marketing campaigns.

Save Time by Using Google Alerts for Marketing

SEO is time-consuming. Even once you publish a great article, it can take around 10 weeks to see traffic build up from backlinks. And that doesn’t even include the time it takes to research what’s hot in your industry right now and brainstorm new content ideas.

But Google Alerts enables you to speed up this process. Topic-based alerts can help generate ideas and speed up the brainstorming process. Monitoring for backlink opportunities can help you build more links without waiting for other sites to link to you of their own accord. By using Google Alerts for marketing, you can cut down the time it takes to see value from your content.