What’s happened to Google Alerts?



[su_heading style=”default” size=”13″ align=”left” margin=”20″]Google Alerts – where did it all go wrong? Back in 2003, the world rejoiced when Google introduced its alert system. No longer would we have to continuously check Google for updates, they were being delivered directly into our email inboxes, completely free of charge.[/su_heading]

Sadly, the last 11 years have not been kind to Google Alerts. As time has gone by they have become slow and tired and are quickly being abandoned by the people who once loved them dearly.    

So what are the biggest problems with Google Alerts? Well, for starters, they just don’t do their job. The main reason any company or individual uses Google Alerts is to stay up to date on mentions of their brand or particular topic of interest, however, it is almost impossible to do this when alerts are delayed and irrelevant.         

Take a look through Google’s forums and you will see a huge selection of threads with titles like “Alerts not working” and “Google Alerts Problem” listing issues such as delayed results, decline in alerts volume and missing updates.     

 [su_pullquote align=”left”]“I still like to use Google Alerts to monitor new content however it would be true to say that I look at so many more platforms ahead of it. “ – Bronagh McNamara, SHGI[/su_pullquote]

Google’s initial response to these complaints was quite evasive, however, in recent months, they have attempted to rectify some of the issues.

In January, Google came out with a Google Alerts update which included larger headlines, featured images and social sharing options. They also introduced a much needed ‘flag as irrelevant’ link for each story. Nevertheless, these changes have done little in the way of restoring alerts to their former glory and the majority of issues still remain.

Another major problem for Google Alerts in recent years has been the rise in the use of paywalls by leading media outlets.  Paywalls mean that there is a great deal of content not being indexed by Google and therefore, not being captured in alerts.

To avoid missing out on important news, users are now having to manually check these sites, thus defeating the whole purpose of using alerts in the first place.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]“There are so many apps available now that can tell me what I need to know when it suits me to look, rather than being bombarded by Google. “ – Paul Manning, Hertz Ireland[/su_pullquote]

Many business owners have come to really rely on Google Alerts to monitor coverage but as with any free service, you often get what you pay for.

So how does one keep track of online mentions without Google Alerts? There are paid monitoring options available but if you don’t want to go down this route, there are also some free options which are far more effective than Google Alerts. 

The advice from us here at TravelMedia.ie is to take a look online and see what other services are out there and leave Google Alerts to make their way to the Google Graveyard. We are already using other alternatives and are always on the lookout for other services.

Drop us a line or comment on this blog with your tips on Google Alerts alternatives or, if you want some advice on what other options could work for you, contact a member of the TravelMedia.ie team.