Google Alerts: A Great Freelance Writing Tool

Google Tools for Writers

I sing the praises of Google’s Google Alerts tool regularly. It definitely makes my job as a freelance writer and a professional easier.

What is it? Google will let Google account holders set up an instant or periodic notification system that tells you via email about certain keywords appearing online with links.

Here’s how I use it in my writing career:

Tracking a Name

By setting a Google Alert for a name, particularly my name, I can see when websites mention that name or when articles get indexed.

My Websites

I have set an alert for some of my more focused website addresses. This way, I can see references to the site on other pages as well as see when I’m getting indexed and this helps me track my search engine rankings. I find this much faster than combing through my site statistics.  (I still do that but this way I see quick alerts daily or even instantly)

Writing Job Alerts

If I want to know about newly listed writing jobs in general or about specific types of writing jobs, I can set an alert for Google to tell me about new listings.  This could help me uncover opportunities pretty quickly and delivers job postings to my email box rather than my having to dig for them through job boards.

Writing Project Research

I set alerts for topics and keyword phrases that I have regular assignments for.  With many clients in different industries who rely on me to write with authority and knowledge about their industry, Google Alerts helps me do that in a way that saves me on research time. I can set file folders up in Gmail to save information to read later and that way I don’t miss important news or information about a topic.

My Articles

At times I’ve set alerts for article titles of mine  or articles I write for customers that I wanted to track online. I once found an instance of plagiarism that I was able to deal with swiftly thanks to Google Alerts.

Alerts can be set and turned off as and when you need them. Google has some great tools for writers. I also use Trends, Adwords, Google Docs, and am starting to dabble with Google Buzz. What’s your favourite Google tool?

About Dana Prince

Dana Prince is a writer, web marketing consultant, and prolific blogger. She’s so prolific that she’s actively seeking a 12-step program for blogoholics. (Really, she's only pretending to seek such a program. Mostly, she just likes to talk about her addiction.)


  1. How come I didn’t know about this earlier?!

    This will be massively helpful.

    I use a lot of different Google applications, primarily Google Mail and their calendar, both of which make my life a lot easier (especially as I can check both quickly on my mobile phone).

    Time to go set up Google Alerts!
    .-= Dan Smith´s last blog ..See the world with Travel Writer =-.

  2. Good morning Dana,
    I don’t know what I’d do without Google alerts! It is a fantastic tool, like you, that helps me to focus on previously written articles, keywords, perform research, etc.

    Also, I too have found plagiarism of some content taken from my website and an article. By knowing this so soon, I was also able to handle it quickly and approach the person about it. Fortunately, I was able to get it all taken care of.

    Loved this article and glad to see someone talking about all the advantages of Google. I am also using Google docs and have recently started using Google buzz. The cool thing about buzz is, it is right there in your email account. You don’t have to go out and sign into all your social networking accounts. Very easy and so convenient.

    I’ll look you up and start following you on buzz. Thanks so much, I enjoyed it!

    Deb Lamb
    Freelance Writer
    .-= Deb Lamb´s last blog .. =-.

  3. Hi Dana,

    I love Google Alerts. I’m signed up for my name, tumblemoose, need a freelance writer, and alaska writers. There are so many things I would have missed if not for the Google Alerts. You can’t always trust ping back for posts, and not only that put it allows me to see where else is linking to posts I’ve written for other web sites.

    .-= George Angus´s last blog ..How To Publish Your Ebook On Amazon’s Kindle =-.

  4. Just a quick comment, Dana to say that since I read this post I’ve been using Google Alerts to aid with a range of different projects.

    So helpful – thanks for making me aware of it!
    .-= Dan Smith´s last blog ..An education in making money online with The University Kid =-.

  5. Glad to hear it, Dan! It’s definitely a tool I’d not want to be without after having gotten some benefit from it.

  6. What a pleasant surprise! I had forgotten about what a great tool Google Alerts is. I set up alerts for a few different things, like my name. Surprisinly, I found a glowing recommendation that was posted on a forum! Thanks for reminding me about Google alerts.

  7. This is very useful information and a well written article. Thanks for the advice, I will certainly be looking into google alerts!

  8. On a less pleasant note, my son has been a stalking victim of late and had his email account taken over and possibly had his phone account set up with the provider so that she could see when he changed the number, 3 times unfortunately. There’s a lesson here about sharing passwords and also using answers for security questions that are common and well-known: mother’s middle name, city of birth, etc….. Scary!
    We set up a google alert for his name so we could monitor anything that might be happened to or about him! So far, so good.

  9. Conny Manero says:

    I have a Google Alert, but other than receiving notifications of which articles were Googled, my alert does nothing.
    It certainly doesn’t tell me of new writing opportunities or key words.
    What am I missing? Can someone help me?

  10. Hi Conny,
    Google Alerts alerts you when something gets listed on search engines, not when something gets Googled.
    If you write an article on your blog, when it does get indexed by search engines, you’ll get notified of the listing. If you did an alert for “writing jobs” for example, it would give you an email with anything newly indexed with that phrase. Does that help?

  11. Hi, great post,
    Google alert is cool service and i’m find another called MUSQU that help me to facilitate daily surfing over search engines –