Research Tips: Setting Up Google Alerts


Google Alerts are a handy way to automate your research, particularly if you need to keep tabs on a developing topic. In the video above, I walk you through setting up Google Alerts for a hypothetical blog about a Summer Olympics bid for 2024. A Google Alert is perfect for this type of blog: it’s a topic where new information will get added to the internet over time.

  1. Go to www.google.com/alerts
  2. Enter the search terms you desire, such as “Olympics 2024”
  3. Indicate the Results Type (more on that in the video and below)
  4. Pick your frequency of delivery (I like “once a day”)
  5. Choose how many results (I like “only the best results”)
  6. Select your delivery method, either to your email or to your Google Reader
  7. Press “Create Alert.” You will now get a daily email with any new search results.

But let’s suppose that you write about a topic that is a bit more static—say you have a blog about Jane Austen. You want to know about any breaking news about her, but your search results are clouded by posts from bloggers and book club discussion forums. In this case, to exclude blogs and discussion groups from your search results (where the same topics will be continually rehashed), select only the “News” option under “Results Type.”

Google Alerts can serve writers and bloggers in other ways as well. You should have an alert set up for your name, as well as your blog/book/podcast’s name, so that you know when people are talking about you.

Watch the video above for some handy advice on getting Google to come to you. As always, I can help you with your research needs, both one-time and ongoing. Check out my Services page for more information or contact me.