Is Google Alerts Finding Everything?

By Brian Chappell

Most websites and networks are open to being crawled and pinged by social media monitoring tools. In fact social monitoring tools are the first step, as I explain with the Social Media Monitoring Funnel, in acquiring the conversations taken place around you. However most folks I have found think Google Alerts does a good enough job to call it quits. This is very far from the case in my humble opinion.

Google Alerts is a great place to start, but does not track everything. The following is straight from Google on there explanation of what they are able to find and relay to you via alerts:

  • A ‘News’ alert is an email aggregate of the latest news articles that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google News search.
  • A ‘Web’ alert is an email aggregate of the latest web pages that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top twenty results of your Google Web search.
  • A ‘Blogs’ alert is an email aggregate of the latest blog posts that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google Blog search.
  • A ‘Comprehensive’ alert is an aggregate of the latest results from multiple sources (News, Web and Blogs) into a single email to provide maximum coverage on the topic of your choice.
  • A ‘Video’ alert is an email aggregate of the latest videos that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google Video search.
  • A ‘Groups’ alert is an email aggregate of new posts that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top fifty results of your Google Groups search.

Therefore that tells us that Google Alerts pulls from:

  • Google News Search
  • Google Web Search
  • Google Blog Search
  • Google Video Search which includes Youtube
  • Google Groups

What major conversation is unobtainable?

Facebook is the one major caveat. 99% of facebook is closed from bots. Although there is Facebook Lexicon you still cannot monitor real time conversations on Facebook. It requires authentication to sees its content thus stopping traditional scraping tools.

The rest of the World Wide Web to a large degree is obtainable.

Google is a great place to start when setting up a social media monitoring regime, however, if it mission critical to find all the mentions out there, then you are going to have to look outside of Google Alerts to find what you need. You cannot rely on the mention to rank in the top 10 or 20 to get relayed back to you, you need to pull from the sources that are generating chatter via RSS feeds or utilize paid tools that take care of finding everything for you.

brianchappellGuest Blogger:With over 8 years of web design and search engine optimization experience, Brian Chappell has developed an in-depth organic search optimization background that stems from working in one of the most competitive fields around. In his work with Ignite Social Media, Brian monitors and analyzes reputations across the web, as well as optimizes facets of social marketing such as engagement, social interaction and promotion. You can find his articles published across the web.

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