Google Alerts - What Are They and How Do You Get Your Site Included?

How Google Alerts Can Keep You Informed and Bring You Traffic

Google News and Alerts
Use Google Alerts in your home business. Credit: John Lamb | Getty Images

What are Google Alerts?

Google describes its news alerts as:

Google News Alerts are emails automatically sent to you when there are new Google News results for your search terms.

While it's not impossible to get a website page listed in Google Alerts if it's newsworthy, most of the listings you'll find within the Alerts are blog posts and media-generated articles (i.e. online newspapers). Why? Because the purpose of Google Alerts is to notify people of recent news.

Static websites that don't change, aren't usually providing current news. 

Why Sign Up for Google Alerts?

Here are three reasons to sign up for Google Alerts:

  1. You can use Google Alerts to be notified when your name, business name, or website URL are used so you know when others are talking about you. 
  2. You can use Google Alerts to be kept up-to-date on current news and trends in your industry. If you're a blogger, this can help you know what sorts of things to write about. If you're trying to build your expertise in an area, sharing this content on social media indicates you're in the know. 
  3. If you can get your site included in Google News, your items can be delivered to others who've signed up for Google Alerts in the topics you cover. 

How to Sign up for Google Alerts

You'll need a Google account, which will not only get you access to its alert service, but to all of Google's products (i.e. Gmail, YouTube, etc).

Visit Google Alerts to create or login to your account. From there you can enter the alert keyword terms you want to receive notification on, and indicate how often you want to alerted. 

When using phrases as your keyword topic, be sure to quotes around it. For example, if you wanted to receive alerts on home business news, enter "home business" where you put your topic.

This is true for your name and business name as well. However, one word keywords do not need quotes. 

How to Get Your Site or Blog Included in Google Alerts

To be listed in Google News (so that your site can be sent as an alert), your site must meet the following qualifications: 

  • Provide timely news worthy content.
  • Provide original content (no curated or aggregated content). If you have some curated/aggregated content, you need to show separation of your original content.
  • Provide accountability and transparency. You need to have author info and contact information easily found on the site. 
  • Can't misrepresent information.
  • Easily readable content. 

Second, sites must pass technical requirements:

  • Unique and permanent URLs.
  • Includes HTML links with anchor text of a few words.
  • HTML pages (no PDF or non-HTML formats)
  • Pages include Metatags or Robots.txt so Google can crawl the site.

    The first step in getting your site listed in Google Alerts is to find out if it's already included in Google News. To do that, in Google Search, type in "Site:" and your domain name, then click on the "News" tab under the search box. For example:

    If your site isn't included, and it meets the requirement above, you can request to be added to Google News.

    First, make sure you meet all of Google's Webmaster Guidelines, then visit the Google News Publishing Center to ask for your site to be included. 

    There's no guarantee you site will be included, but if you continue to meet the news and webmaster guidelines, you can request to be added again in the future.