Making Your Google Alerts Smarter

If you follow my writing you know that I’m a big fan of setting up routines that let you listen in on what’s being said about your brands, products, people, industry and competitors using free tools like Google Alerts. Google Alerts let you set-up custom searches and then have any mention of that search term sent to your RSS Reader (like Google Reader) or email in box as they happen or at the end of the day. This is a great way to keep tabs on things that matter without needing to scour the web universe for this kind of intel. You can set up very specific searches such as your name or broad searches so you know who is talking about a concept like referral marketing.

Alert Rank detail – click to enlarge

Recently I came across a tool call Alert Rank that works hand in hand with Google Alerts to make them smarter. You see, Google picks up everything, including the very low value content scraper sights that simply republish other people’s stuff. One of the main ideas behind keeping tabs on what’s being said is it allows you to jump in and join the conversation. Few things make a blogger happier than when someone they mention in a post shows up and adds a comment.

Alert Rank looks at the mentions of your alert terms and gives you solid information about the quality of the mention. Now quality is a loaded term, but what Alert Rank does is measure things like numerous inbound links to the site, PageRank, no follow, comments allowed, and delicious tags to come up with a quality score about the link. You still get the alerts in your inbox, but you can quickly use the quality score to decide if you need to jump right in. You can also click through to get lots of information about the site that mentions your term. This is simply a much better way to manage alerts and find networking opportunities.

Alert Rank report – click to enlarge

Alert Rank also offer reporting tools that make it easy for anyone that monitors alerts for clients to set-up custom reports in excel of PDF format.

The one thing I need to tell you though is that if you already have alerts created you will need to set-up a new Google account and create your alerts again using your custom Alert Rank email as that’s how the alerts get routed through the Alert Rank system. It’s not a big deal, but may not be readily apparent when you first read the set-up instructions. All in all it took me about five minutes to get it going and it works wonderfully.

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  • Rob Mangiafico

    John, Thanks for the great tip on Alert Rank. I didn't know about this service. It will certainly clean up the Google alerts that flood in each day, where only 20% of them are actually valid links I want to keep tabs on. :)

  • ducttape

    Yes I think that's the way anybody that takes this seriously will feel.

  • Tilla

    Thanks John – good info, I stopped using Google Alerts a while back due to cluttered inbox, but will check out Alert Rank – the reporting tools sound like a value add. You might also want to check out I use it to keep up on my brands and industry terms of interest – it shows me only relevant blog posts, news, twitter posts and more but those are the key channels I use. I can then share anything interesting via email, Twitter, Facebook.

  • Jonathan Saar

    Thanks for the information. I will definitely check that out. I use google alerts quite a bit and would like to streamline my time surfing through the content. I appreciate the post.

  • The Rohd Group

    Interesting – is there a cost? May be worth a monthly fee, but kinda hard to find out. No mention of it except in the Terms of Service:

    Payment and Refunds
    A valid credit card is required for paid accounts.
    Monthly payment plans will be billed at the end of each monthly billing period on the anniversary of the first payment.
    An upgrade from a trial account to a paid account will end your free trial. You will be billed for your first payment period immediately upon upgrading.
    The Service is billed in advance on a monthly basis and is non-refundable. There will be no refunds or credits for partial months of service, or refunds for months unused with an open account. In order to treat everyone equally, no exceptions will be made.
    All fees are exclusive of all taxes, levies, or duties imposed by taxing authorities, and you shall be responsible for payment of all such taxes, levies, or duties, excluding only United States (federal or state) taxes.

  • Rich Becker

    Hey John,

    Thanks so much. This one must have slipped right past me.

    I will certainly be checking it out.


  • pamelaiwilson

    Google Alerts recently helped me uncover a scraper who was lifting material from my brand-new blog, which only had eight posts at that point!

    What you've presented is like Google Alerts on steroids: the information gleaned will be even more valuable. Thanks for sharing this fantastic tip, John.

  • ducttape

    I'm thinking that was the plan at one point, but I don't think there is any premium option

  • MichaelPizzo

    Great tool thanks for the heads up John!

  • Melanie

    Thanks pamelai, you have just solved a problem for me with a single comment. Great post by the way John

  • patmcgraw

    Wow – thanks for pointing out Alert Rank. I have been a big fan of Google Alerts for years but I managed to miss Rank and had to suffer through those bottom-feeder sites. Focusing on quality information vs. quantity of information should save me a lot of time.

  • montageconsultinggroup

    Has anyone else tried to set Alert Rank up? Their screen shots don't correlate with Gmail as far as putting in your unique email address, which is where Google needs to send alerts to. I'm pretty good with Google and I can't figure out where to put it in in account set up.

    Any help is appreciated.

  • montageconsultinggroup

    Answered my own question… Google you need to create an ACCOUNT, not an email address. Go to, not to Hope I save someone else some time!

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  • lindamiles

    Great valuable info John, thank you for that!

    I think that the creation of additional web apps to Google's web apps are interesting. In fact, this one you mention is of great help as Google Alerts interface is very simple. I would add it to the conversation created about “Alternatives to Google apps” on Follow this link

  • home builders ranking

    If you follow my writing you know that I'm a big fan of setting up routines that let you listen in on what's being said about your brands.

  • increasesalesnz

    Hi what is the main difference between google alerts and alert rank please
    Cheers Craig
    Increase Sales NZ Ltd