Google Alert

The contemporary online landscape allows users to build themselves an online identity; however, it also allows third-parties to contribute to your online identity by posting information about you just as readily. Google Alerts provides one of the easiest ways to see what information about you is being put online, and this article is designed to take you through the easy process of setting up a Google Alert for yourself so you can be aware of your information online. To begin, we go to the link Take note that you will have to log in to your Google account.

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Once youai??i??ve landed on the page, you will quickly understand all the ways you can use your Google Alerts: for example, if you are interested in Windows 10 news, then you can set up an alert to receive notifications for that content.

For the purposes of getting content on yourself, we start by typing your name into the search bar. Be sure to put quotations around your name as shown in the image below, as this will prevent you from getting content about anyone who shares your first or last name. This is a step you will need to repeat for different variations of your name, online persona, or other personal information you wish to monitor.

Create a Google Alert

To move onto our second step you will need to click on ai???show optionsai???. This button is located directly to the right of the ai???Create Alertai??? button, pictured above.

Customize Options

Our next step is customizing our alert options (in the image below you can see some of our alert options). Some important options to note are: how often you wish to be updated by Google and how many results you want to get. By default, the frequency of Googleai??i??s update is set to at most once a day. For me, that is too frequent, so I chose ai???at most once a weekai???. The other option available is an alert ai???as-it-happensai???.

Only receiving the best results from Google is also a default setting. Because we want to use this tool to monitor which information is being placed online about us, I changed this option to ai???all resultsai???. Below you can see how many options for notifications are available.

Google Alert Preferences

Finally, we click ai???create alertai??? to finish your Google Alert for your name. Again, you will need to repeat this procedure for different iterations of your personal information.

Other Alert Options

Google Alerts has been criticized in the past for not being as reliable as other available Alert options. Regardless of whether this criticism holds water, it is a good idea to use more than one alert system to ensure you are gathering all possible data.

Some recommended alternatives to Google Alerts are Talkwalker and Mention. A side-by-side comparison of all three was done by MOZ, available here. The MOZ article uses three variables to compare the alerts: total delivered results, quality of results, and speed of alert delivery. Each option performs in a respective category making it your choice which variable you value more.

For more alternatives to Google Alerts, check out this article by Venturebeat. In the article you will also notice more robust options that must be purchased.

Ryan Jeethan

About Ryan Jeethan

RyanAi??is a recent graduate of the University of Waterlooai??i??s Arts & Business program focusing on UWai??i??s unique Speech Communication program.Ai??

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