Google Alerts is a free online tool provided by Google that allows users to receive notifications via email or RSS feed whenever new content from news, web, blogs, video, and/or discussion groups matches a set of search terms selected by you. It’s a way to monitor the internet for specific phrases or keywords that are relevant to you or your business. This tool is especially useful for staying updated with the latest news, monitoring your online presence or your competitors, and keeping track of topics of interest. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on setting up Google Alerts, discuss what to do when you receive a Google Alert, and provide tips for organizing your Google Alerts.

Why Google Alerts Are Important for Small Businesses

google alerts inboxGoogle Alerts Monitor Your Brand

As a business owner, your brand is everything. Google Alerts helps you to monitor what is being said about your brand online, be it good or bad. This will enable you to respond quickly to any negative comments or misinformation, and also to thank those who are speaking positively about your brand.  When setting up your google alerts, which we’ll cover later in this article, make sure you add one for your brand name.

This will help you become aware of online features of your work on wedding blogs, photography websites, or vendor websites.  Getting featured online is a great way to build up your reputation and provide 3rd party support for your photography skills and services.  To get featured in more places and see the Google Alerts flowing in, consider joining Wedding Maps.

Competitor Analysis

Monitoring your competitors online presence can help you generate marketing and business building ideas. Google Alerts can help you stay informed about your competitors’ activities, new offerings, and promotions.  Choose a handful of competitors to add to your Google Alerts.

Help You Build Backlinks

Backlinks are important for SEO. At times, you may receive a mention on a website but not a link. For example, an online publication might use one of your photos, mention you by name, but then fail to link to your website. With a Google Alerts, you will be notified when your brand is mentioned and check to make sure that they link over to you. If they haven’t linked to you, then consider reaching out to ask them to do so.

Stay Updated with Industry News

Keeping up with the latest trends, news, and updates in your industry can help you stay competitive and offer services that are in demand.  This one is less critical for you business, but you may also consider setting up Google Alerts for things that are relevant to your business.   For example, an alert for “[insert camera model] update” could be beneficial for staying informed about recent firmware updates.

Step by Step Guide on Setting Up Google Alerts

google alerts setup

Here’s a quick guide on getting started with Google Alerts.

  1. Create a Google Account – If you do not have a Google Account, you will need to create one. Go to the Google homepage and click on “Sign In” in the top right corner. Follow the prompts to create a new account.
  2. Go to Google Alerts – Once you have a Google Account, go to the Google Alerts page.
  3. Enter Your Search Terms – In the “Create an alert about” box, enter the terms that you want to receive alerts about. For example, you can enter your brand name, your competitors’ names, industry-related terms, etc.
  4. Configure Your Alert Settings – You can configure your alert settings by clicking on “Show options.” Here you can choose the frequency of your alerts, the sources, language, region, and how many results you want to receive.
  5. Create Your Alert – Once you have configured your settings, click on the “Create Alert” button. You can create as many alerts as you need.

What to Do When You Receive a Google Alert

google alerts email

  1. Evaluate the Relevance – Not all alerts you receive will be relevant to your business. Evaluate the relevance of each alert and decide whether it requires any action.
  2. Take Action if Necessary – If an alert is relevant to your business, decide what action needs to be taken. This could be responding to a negative comment, sharing a positive mention of your brand on social media, or reaching out to a potential collaborator.
  3. Save Important Alerts – It is a good idea to save important alerts in a separate folder in your email inbox so you can easily find them later.

Tips for Organizing and Using Your Google Alerts

1. Use Specific Keywords – The more specific your keywords, the more relevant your alerts will be.

2. Use Quotation Marks – Using quotation marks around your keywords will ensure that you only receive alerts that contain that exact phrase. For example, “John Doe Photography.”

3. Use the Minus Sign – Using the minus sign will exclude certain words from your alerts. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you could use “wedding photography -stock” to exclude stock photography alerts.

4. Combine Keywords – You can combine keywords using the “OR” operator. For example, “John Doe Photography OR Jane Doe Photography.”

5. Organize Your Alerts – You can organize your alerts by creating folders in your email inbox and setting up rules to automatically move alerts into the relevant folder.


Google Alerts is a powerful tool that can help photographers stay informed about everything that is relevant to their business. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily set up Google Alerts and start receiving notifications about your brand, your competitors, and the latest industry news and opportunities. Remember to evaluate the relevance of each alert and take action if necessary. Lastly, make use of the tips provided to organize your alerts and ensure that you are receiving the most relevant and useful information.