Spy On The Competition & Protect Your Brand With Google Alerts


Alex Corral

May 19, 2017


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Google is fantastic, aren't they?

They provide a bunch of valuable tools for free, and if you know how to harness them, they can be very powerful for you or your business.

They have a bunch of really cool developer tools, research, and they even let you use their AI! All for free!

One of the best free tools that I like that they put out there is called Google Alerts. You can set these alerts up to inform you when a new piece of content is posted on the web-based on a search query, mentions something that you are interested in, news, and so much more.

Even though the functionality has a ton of potential, I am only going to include a few suggestions that you use regarding your hotel.

Getting Started with Google Alerts for your Hotel

The first thing that I would recommend is that you go to the alerts webpage and play around with the interface a little bit. It will let you get a feel for how everything is laid out.

To get started, make a list of your top competitors. Then put their brand name in quotes, into the search box located on the page like this:

google alerts dashboard

From there, you can choose options such as how often, what sources, language, region, how many deliveries, and email addresses. I always change "how often" to "as-it-happens." I also change "how many" to "all results," but feel free to play around with what works.

setting up google alerts

Underneath that, you will get a preview for the things that are going to appear for the term or operation that you just put in. You can adjust accordingly.

previewing your google alerts

Common Use Cases for Hotels

Brand Protection

I would first set up an alert for my brand name in all quotes, and then another one without the quotes to see what came up. The reason for this is that this is an excellent way to catch the unlinked brand mentions for your hotel. If someone is mentioning you, it could be a unique opportunity for you to gain a link back to your page, thus increasing your exposure.

You can also check on your brand's image with this alert. Since it is looking for your brand name, you will be able to see what people might be saying about you on the web. If you have the time, this could also be an avenue to help enhance your brand.

Competitive Intelligence

Since you are already checking in on your brand, wouldn't it be wise to check on your competitors too? In just a matter of seconds, you could start to keep tabs on your competitors. You can see where they are being mentioned, where they might be posting, and possibly gain some insight into their strategy.

This is where a more advanced function comes into play. It's also where things can get interesting. You can use Google search operators to zero in on the specifics and get to the exact information that you are looking for. I would use the site: operator and input your competitor's URL. For example, you would do a site:competitor1.com Google alert that would alert you when there is an indexed activity on the site. The possibilities are endless.

You would be surprised at the things that you can come across when you set up these alerts. I have personally used it to uncover things that I would've never been able to find during active research. Since it is passive, I can get to it when I have time, and it might take me to some part of the web that I otherwise would not have ventured into. Take it for a test drive yourself and let me know if you have other creative uses for Google Alerts that you use for your hotel.

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