How to Use Google Alerts for PPC Research

  • How to create a Google Alert
  • The benefits of using Google Alerts in marketing
  • Using Google Alerts to inform PPC campaigns
  • Monitoring brand mentions and the competition

Approximately 70,000 Google searches take place every second, equivalent to 227 million an hour and roughly 5.4 billion a day – making Google the most popular search engine! Are you wondering why this is relevant?

Well, given that Google is the most popular search engine globally, marketers should be listing pay-per-click (PPC) adverts on the system. Marketers should also monitor consumer trends, popular topics, and relevant phrases to better inform your PPC research.

If you’re struggling with how best to go about this, there are several analytical tools that you could utilise as well as the outstanding Google Alerts service to help guide your PPC ad campaigns.

The effectiveness of Google Alerts is often overlooked in favour of more popular tools such as Google AdWords and Google Keyword Planner.

However, Google Alerts can be just as effective – we’re going to run down how you could use this digital marketing tool to help strengthen your PPC campaigns.

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What is Google Alerts?

Google Alerts is a free notification service that monitors the web for interesting new content and tracks search results for a given query to help you stay on top of the latest trends in the industry.

You can instruct the service to notify you each time someone mentions your company’s name online or whenever keywords or phrases you’re using are mentioned on the web.

The tool peaked in popularity during former US President Barack Obama’s term and has remained attractive as it’s free to use. While there are equally effective alternatives available for free, if you’re a marketer, it will be worth giving Google Alerts – especially as you can monitor absolutely anything with the tool.

That said, Google Alerts does not allow administrators to view analytical details such as how often your brand is being searched for online and whether your mentions are increasing or decreasing.

So, if your focus is metrics, it may be more worthwhile investing your time into tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

How to create a Google Alert

Google Alerts is well suited to beginners due to how easy it is to use. Furthermore, it can unveil many opportunities for link building, brand building and collaborations by tracking mentions and keyphrases related to your business.

If you’re interested in this helpful tool, you’ll be glad to know that you could set up a Google Alert in no more than a few minutes.

We’ve outlined the steps you need to follow below:

But, first, head to google.co.uk/alerts, and if you haven’t done so already, sign in with the Google account, you wish to receive alerts.

Next, type in the keywords or phrases you want to receive notifications about in the search bar. For this guide, we’ll use the search term “Generation Z marketing.”

At this stage, you need to decide which sources it is you want to track. Although Google Alerts can’t track social media posts, it can monitor other sources of information such as books, news, videos and discussion posts.

After this, determine how often you want Google Alerts to notify you. You can this to:

  • As-it-happens
  • At most once a day
  • At most once a week

You can also narrow down by region, language and results, to limit the notifications you receive based on a specific requirement.

It’s best to specify whether you want to receive “all” results or those that Google perceives as most relevant, especially if you’re using a general keyword so that you receive notifications based on the highest-ranking results.

Next, decide where you want to direct your alerts, e.g. your email address or an RSS feed.

After setting all your variables, click “Create Alert” to conclude the process and receive your alerts.

If you want to set up alerts for other search queries, repeat the steps for that keyword/phrase.

Google will allow you to track up to 1,000 search queries at one given time – if you need to follow more keywords, set up a second account to receive alerts.

If you ever want to update or delete a Google Alert, go back into the service, choose the live alert you wish to modify and then click the appropriate option from the list of commands available.

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Using Google Alerts for PPC campaigns

Now you know what Google Alerts are, it’s time to break down how to explore how to use the service to help inform your next PPC ad campaign.

Stay on top of trends in your industry

Although evergreen content is important, keeping on top of industry trends is essential to stay ahead of the competition.

The quicker you identify these trends, the sooner you can incorporate them into your PPC ads and get closer to your target audience.

Google Alerts can help you achieve this by monitoring blogs, news and authoritative websites in your niche to help you develop ideas for content and predict future consumer behaviour.

If these are the type of alerts you want to receive, you could set these up in the web tool by inserting the “company’s name” followed by “blog”. So, for example, if you want to track content from Soar Online, set alerts for “Soar Online blog” and so on.

Suppose you’re more concerned about broader topics such as social media marketing, then set up alerts for “social media marketing trends” and set your parameters so that you only receive the most relevant results.

Track relevant topics

Although Google Alerts is not a keyword research tool, marketers can use it to identify new keywords and phrases that their target audience uses when performing search queries in Google.

Suppose you’re selling football tickets and want to launch a new product to include hospitality. You can set up Google Alerts to help you identify what types of search queries people are entering into Google.

If “hospitality” is your keyword, you might write out phrases such as:

  • Football “hospitality”
  • Football “hospitality tickets”
  • Club name “hospitality
  • “Hospitality” at the name of the football stadium

Inserting quotation marks around keywords will ensure that the results contain the exact phrase queried.

If Google Alerts doesn’t return any results based on the keywords you’re inserting, you should rethink whether you want to use them for your PPC ads. On the other hand, if you find that they are prevalent, you might find that it is worth investing money in ads that will pop up for these search queries.

Monitor your brand mentions

Google Alerts provides one of the easiest ways to track and monitor online mentions of your company, which will help you better understand your target audience.

It’s essential that marketers know their demographic and who is talking about their brand to craft more targeted and compelling PPC ads.

Google Alerts can help you do this by tracking mentions of your company online, which will give you greater insight into the types of people engaging with your brand and what they expect from your business.

These types of alerts are simple to set up, as just two are needed: one for your company name and the other for your name.

Stay ahead of your competitors

Besides knowing what people are saying about your brand, marketers want to stay clued up about:

  • How your target audience is engaging with the competition
  • How your competitors are performing online

Depending on your competitors’ landscape, maintaining tabs on your competition can be both time-consuming and challenging. Google Alerts offers a hassle-free way to distinguish your brand by generating snapshots of your competitors’ weekly or monthly activity.

The tool allows you to monitor mentions of your competitors generally, or close as you can search for phrases that include their company name.

Use your findings to inform your PPC ad campaigns to ensure you stand out from the competition and react faster to your competitors’ behaviour.

Uncover negative reviews

No company wants to receive negative reviews, but unfortunately, it’s a commercial reality. However, there’s also nothing to be gained from burying your head in the sand, so it’s in your best interest to be proactive and try to turn your situation around.

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Use the feedback you receive to improve your business and boost your reputation. Incorporate positive reviews into your campaign where you can, as people won’t click on your PPC ads if all they’re seeing is multiple negative reviews and a lack of engagement from your business.

Address negative feedback on an individual level to prevent them from snowballing out of control – listening to your audience should always be a priority in your strategy to boost brand reach.

Google Alerts could help you track and manage your negative reviews just by monitoring brand mentions. Albeit, this might be ineffective for popular brands with multiple company mentions.

Nonetheless, you could achieve this by setting up a special Google Alert for reviews only, which would take the following format: [brandname] + intitle: review

If you want to receive notification focused solely on a particular matter, use “intitle”, which will deliver content that contains your keyword in the title.

Google Alerts FAQs

If you’re still confused about Google Alerts, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions below. 

What are Google Alerts?

Google Alerts is a free notification service provided by Google that allows you to track and monitor keywords you’re interested in based on a given query.

Is it easy to set up Google Alerts?

Setting up Google Alerts is hassle-free, and only an email address is required to access this free software.

Once you’ve logged into your account, head over to google.co.uk/alerts, enter the keywords you want to track, set the parameters for those queries and then create your alerts.

What is the most effective way for marketers to use Google Alerts?

While there’s no single “most effective” way to use Google Alerts, the software is ideal for those who want to monitor industry trends, keep tabs on competitors and track relevant topics.

It also helps with keyword research, which is crucial when creating targeted, effective PPC ad campaigns. Selecting the appropriate keywords will also create an opportunity for your brand to rank well in search results.

Is Google Alerts free?

Google Alerts is entirely free – making it a powerful tool for digital marketers to stay on top of news and trends to inform their PPC research.

How many Google Alerts can I create?

Currently, you can run up to 1,000 alerts at a single time. However, if you need to receive more than 1,000 alerts, you could do so by setting up alerts on a separate email account.

Are there any tips or tricks for Google Alerts?

Consider adding quotations around your desired search query to receive the most relevant results.

It’s also worth including common misspellings of queries you’re interested in to cover all your bases.

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