One of my students, Cedric, sent me an email about the benefits of Google Alerts, and he thought other readers of my blog may be interested in the service too.
Google Alerts is an extremely useful facility that enables users to get Google to email a link to a subject matter of interest every time something new on that topic appears on the Internet. In fact, there are several ways this service can be of use to writers. Firstly, here’s what Cedric had to say:
“Whenever I submit articles as guest posts to a blog, I usually wait around 1 week to see what happens. If they don't publish it, I submit it to another blog. However, when the posts start adding up, it becomes very cumbersome to manage. You end up having to check every blog to see what has been published and what not.
So, I use Google Alerts.
I just set an alert for my name and possibly a key phrase in the article. The Google Alerts system sends me a daily digest of all the instances where my name has appeared on the day. A small note: I'm not sure how effective this is for less popular blogs. The ones I submit to have huge traffic, so Google crawls them constantly. With a less popular blog that is not updated so often, you might not get instant results. But it's worth checking out.”
Visit: https://www.google.co.uk/alerts?hl=en&gl=GB to set up your alerts.
I also use Google Alerts in a few ways:
1) I post some of my articles onto my website, so I set up an alert for a key sentence or phrase from that article. This brings to my attention any unauthorised copying and pasting of my article in other websites.
2) I also have several alerts set up for topics of interest that I enjoy writing about, such as walking in various parts of the UK, British travel, and also different genres of writing.
3) I sell some of my photos via the agency Alamy, and when a photo of mine is used it should (should being the operative word) be credited as Simon Whaley / Alamy, so I have an alert set up for this search term. This notifies me every time one of my Alamy images has been used on the Internet.
You could set up alerts to bring to your attention news of any new writing competitions, news of your favourite author, or even news about yourself. Set up options allow you to choose how often you want Google to get in touch (a daily digest is sufficient for me, but you can choose various options), and which email address you want Google to use to notify you. So don’t search the Internet yourself - get Google to do it for you.