Google Alerts: Best FREE Marketing Tool for Accountants
An online presence and reputation can make or break most businesses nowadays. It’s important to increase the frequency of being mentioned online, so you can spread your messaging more easily to your target market. If you want to effectively and efficiently manage these two critical aspects of your business, here’s our review and tutorial of Google Alerts, the best free marketing tool for accountants.
If people know who you are and what you do, you will be able to prove to many that your services or products are incredibly valuable. The next step after building a strong online presence is to establish and maintain a great reputation. Work on improving your systems and strengthening your customer support so that your current and prospective clients won’t have anything bad to put into their reviews.
What Is Google Alerts?
Google Alerts is a free tool that lets you monitor your personal presence, your firm’s brand reputation, and the latest trends in your industry. When search terms, relevant to your specific firm, are mentioned online, Google Alerts creates a list of content that contains those keywords, and then it sends that to your email. It’s an incredibly valuable tool that too many people neglect.
How to Set Up Google Alerts
To set up your Google Alerts, first go to google.com/alerts. Then, sign in to your Google account. Click on the Create an alert about field, and enter the search term that you want to monitor. Next, click Show options and make sure that your preferred settings are selected. Finally, click Create Alert.
While you don’t need a GSuite account for Google Alerts, we highly recommend that you invest in creating one for your business. Find the best GSuite plan for your workspace today.
1. Open a web browser, and go to google.com/alerts.
2. Click “Sign in” on the top-left corner of your screen. Skip this step if you’re already logged into your Google account.
3. Click anywhere on the “Create an alert about” text field.
4. Enter the search term that you want to monitor. As you type, Google Alerts will show you a preview of your entered keywords, as well as some suggestions.
5. Click “Show Options,” and make sure that your preferred settings are selected.
6. Click “Create Alert.” And, voila, you will now periodically get email notifications whenever new content containing your search terms is detected.
Google Alerts Tips and Tricks
Now that you have Google Alerts set up. Let us show you how to make the most out of it. These are our Google Alerts tips and tricks.
Use Boolean Search Operations, like Quotation Marks and Hyphens
Using Boolean search operators, like quotation marks and hyphens, will improve the relevancy of your alerts. Putting quotation marks on your search terms tells Googles that you only want results containing those exact words in that exact order. While adding a hyphen before a search term will filter out results that contain that exact keyword. These allow you to tell Google Alerts exactly what you’re looking for.
If you enter the phrase marketing for accountants without quotation marks, you will get alert results that contain only one of the three search terms, i.e. just marketing or just accounting. If you use quotation marks, however, you’ll only get results that have an exact match for the phrase.
The way hyphens work is a little more complicated. Suppose you entered the term accounting -firm. With the hyphen before the word firm, you can expect results that contain the keyword accounting but exclude the word firm. But, you will also see results like accounting firms because Google sees firms and firm as different terms.
If you want to learn more Boolean search operators that you can use on Google Alerts, read Google’s article on how to refine web searches.
Customize Your Options
Another one of our favorite Google Alerts tips is to customize your options as necessary. When you click Show Options before creating an alert, you can choose your preferred notification frequency, sources, language, region, volume of results, and delivery email address.
If the current frequency of your notifications annoys you, this is the place to change how often you get notified about your tracked terms. Although Google Alerts can notify you as soon as your search term gets mentioned online, you can also set your alerts for once a day or even once a week.
You can also dictate the type of content source your alerts come from. You’ll be able to choose from Blogs, News, Videos, and Books. You can also filter your results by language and origin region, if you’re focusing on a local market. And, you can select whether you want your alert notifications to be sent to your email address or RSS feed.
Respond to Your Web Mentions
Responding to your web mentions allows you to boost your online visibility and protect your reputation. If proactively done in a high-quality way, you can also increase both client retention and the likelihood of winning prospective dream clients.
Replying to good reviews helps to build trust and credibility. When you show appreciation for those who took the time to share their great experiences, you will inspire loyalty from them. This also allows you to call more attention to the positive benefits of working with you, for your potential clients.
Bad reviews, although they can powerfully discourage people from giving your firm a shot, can also be a useful tool. If you’re able to see and respond to negative comments about you or your business on the internet, you can debunk fallacious claims, justify your actions, or apologize for your shortcomings and promise to improve further. This shows current and prospective clients that you can recognize any faults and you are willing to change to better serve them.
If you need templates or help on how to best respond to both positive and negative reviews, we invite you to try out our Create Your Dream Firm Program.
Reach Out to Authors for Backlinks
If your accounting firm has a website, Google Alerts can also help you reach out to, and request backlinks from, authors who cited any of your content. Backlinks are links on external sites that lead to a page on your website when clicked.
Backlinks are also one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your site. When you have links on other websites with regular visitors, people are more likely to visit your own website. It’s also worth mentioning that backlinks increase your SEO score, which will help make your website appear on the first page of search engines like Google.
Set Up Alerts to Track Your Competitors
Our final tip is to set up alerts to track your competitors. These will allow you to keep tabs on how your audience is responding to them. It’s also a good way to monitor their activity and learn what works and what doesn’t. With this knowledge, you can ensure that you have an effective and adaptable marketing strategy.
Why Google Alerts Might Not Be Enough for You
Now that we’ve talked about the upsides, let’s talk about the downsides. Google Alerts might not be enough for your accounting firm for several reasons. You should be aware that there are limitations to this free tool, so it should not be your be-all, end-all source for marketing information.
Google Alerts Can Miss a Lot of Web Mentions
It’s no secret to long-time users that Google Alerts can and does miss some web mentions. Even when you enter relatively precise keywords with Boolean search operators, it’s still likely that you won’t receive every published article or blog post that contains your search terms.
Ahrefs conducted a week-long experiment to compare Google Alerts and their paid monitoring tool, Ahrefs Alerts. They found out that the latter was able to find 2,376%, or over 23 times more content results on average, than Google’s.
Another social listening company, called Mention, cites a Chief Marketing Officer client of theirs who claims that she only gets one Google Alert for every ten mentions with Mention’s paid monitoring tool.
These two monitoring tools highlight some of Google Alerts shortcomings and how they can lead to missed opportunities. If you know that your business gets mentioned a lot online, it’s best to invest in more comprehensive paid tools.
Google Alerts Can’t Catch Social Media Mentions
Another drawback of Google Alerts is that it does not monitor social media mentions. This means that public posts mentioning your search terms on Reddit or Facebook won’t trigger an alert. If negative reviews there are left unchecked, they can spread like wildfire and ruin the excellent reputation you’ve worked so hard to cultivate.
Most people nowadays use social media to create, check, or share critical reviews about different brands. This makes it extremely important for businesses to build and protect their online presence by providing immediate feedback to both their current and prospective clients.
Google Alerts Has No Internal Web Analytics
Google Alerts has no internal web analytics. Analytics allows you to take note of the demographics of your site visitors, your most popular content, and your key business metrics. Information like this makes it easier to improve your dream client conversion rate and quickly grow your firm.
What Should You Do Now?
First, create alerts for your name, your firm’s name, your branded phrases or terms, and your competitors in Google Alerts. However, keep in mind that this shouldn’t be your catchall, and you may want to look into other tools that can detect and notify you about mentions on social media platforms.
Regardless of whether you’re just planning to use Google Alerts or are paying for a web monitoring tool, this can surely help accountants build reputation online and learn valuable information about prospects or current clients.
If you want learn more about marketing your accounting firm, the right tools to reach your audience, what content to put out there, or just the best way to effectively scale your accounting firm…
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