What are Google Alerts?
Google Alerts is one of the most versatile online tools that you can use to help you monitor the web and ensure that you never miss a win notification. You can set them up to get notified about news, products, or mentions of your name by email when new results for a topic shows up in Google Search. Alerts can give you plenty of valuable information – for free – with very little effort. Find out how to use them in just a few easy steps.
Visit the Google Alerts Web Page
To get started, visit the Google Alerts website.
Enter a Search Term in the “Create an Alert About…” Field
A good place to start is with your full name. To ensure that you only receive results that include your exact name, put your name in quotes, like this: “Paula Stewart”. If you have a common name, this is a good idea.
Click on “Show Options”
After you enter your main search term, click on “Show options” to filter the results you’ll receive.
Select the Type of Reports to Receive
You can choose to receive a notification when your search term shows up in specific types of web pages, in the news section, in Google Groups, or in blogs. I recommend using the “automatic” setting, which will send your results no matter where they are posted online.
Specify How Often You Want to Receive Notifications
You can choose to receive alerts as the search engine finds them, once a day, or once a week. If you receive a lot of alerts, you might need to choose the daily option.
You can also choose to narrow the alerts to a specific region. If you only enter U.S. sweepstakes, you may choose to receive alerts only from U.S. websites.
I also suggest receiving “all results” and not just the “best results” to ensure that even small websites that mention you show up.
Select an Email Address
Google will send a notice every time it finds your search term to an email address that you specify. Google doesn’t use this email address for advertising or other purposes, so be sure to use one that you check often.
Press Create Alert
Once you press “Create Alert”, you will be taken to a list of all of the alerts that you have already created.
Create More Alerts
Repeat steps two through seven to create more alerts. In addition to your first and last name, you might also want to create alerts for your sweepstakes email address, your first name and last initial, your street address, and any usernames that you frequently use to enter sweepstakes.
For example, I set up the following Google alerts:
- “Paula Stewart”
- “Paula S.”
- Note that there is a company called GoogleAlert that provides the same service for a fee. I do NOT recommend this company. Google Alerts provided by the Google Search Engine are totally free, so make sure that you use the link above.
- Read the How to search on Google to refine your search and get the results you’re looking for.
- Google Alerts can also be used to keep yourself informed about any subject that interests you. For example, if you set an alert for “Sweet Southern Savings” you will receive email alerts when I add information to the site.