Capture the Content: Google-based monitoring tips

Posted by on December 23, 2013

Regardless of where you stand in the marketing mix – client or agency, healthcare or energy, advertising or PR – keeping a pulse on what’s said online about your brand is vital. With access to online reviews, personal blogs and all-around internet chatter, people have more channels than ever to broadcast their thoughts – both positive and negative. Do you know what they’re saying?

This is reputation management at its core. The problem is that many people have a false confidence in their ability to monitor what’s said about their company (or even personal brand).

I blame Google News. Sure, Google’s real-time aggregation of news content is brilliant for what it is, but there’s a rub: Google News is not a catch-all for “new” Web content.

Say, for example, you work for Brand XYZ. You want to monitor for everything that’s said about Brand XYZ. That’s smart of you! So, you search for “Brand XYZ” in Google News, or you set up Google Alerts.

You may find some of those mentions, but definitely not all. There are so many things that Google’s news aggregator misses, such as copy not considered ‘news’ by Google.

Go beyond Google News and expand your monitoring know-how with these basic primers:

  • Google Alerts: When setting up Google Alerts, make sure that you a) input quotation marks around your search term so that results pull from that verbatim phrase, and b) input ‘everything’ in the ‘result type’ so that you are notified of all online mentions of your brand (not just the ones Google considers news).

    Make sure you're widening your Google News filter to capture more content.

    Make sure you’re widening your Google News filter to capture more content.

  • Google Search: When searching for a particular term on the Web, always make use of the ‘Search tools’ option (circled below). From there, you can select the time period, which allows you to narrow the search to only those mentions made within the past year, month, week, day or even hour. I also recommend sorting the content by date (as opposed to relevance) so that you can see a reverse-chronology stream of online mentions.
Broaden your monitoring search using modified Google search tools.

Broaden your monitoring search using modified Google search tools.

I tend to use Google Alerts for search terms that I’ve got a bit more long-term interest in searching (like my name or my clients’ brands). For the one-off, spur-of-the-moment searches, I use the tried-and-true Google search with some ‘search tools’ optimizations.

Of course, these don’t include the ample listening tools available for social media monitoring – or any of the non-Google tools – but let’s save that for another blog post, shall we? In the meantime, what are some of your search tips?


  1. Awesome article, I use Google Alerts a lot, it’s extremely helpful. For a search tip, I’d also recommend becoming active in forums and facebook groups relative to your niche in order to reach out and possibly collaborate with like-minded people. Not all these relationships will result in business ventures, but some may!

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