How ‘Alert’ Are You?

Google Alerts. You have heard of them, right? You have signed up for them, correct? No?


Elizabeth Mansfield

Google Alerts is a service that Google provides that lets you sign up for alerts based on keywords you have chosen. You tell Google what you want to be alerted to, as well as when and how often you want to receive this information, and they will send you a summary of content that includes those keywords.

Stay up-to-date

Why would you want to get alerts? You might want to know if anything new or interesting is showing up online that relates to prosthetics or orthotics or one of your competitors. You definitely want to know if you, your company or maybe even your staff are popping up in any news stories or web updates.

Say, for example, that you are interested in what is going on in 3-D printing. You might want to set up an alert for that so you can stay on top of this rapidly changing area of O&P.

What about job postings? Maybe you are looking to hire someone or maybe you are looking for a new job. Set up a Google Alert. Are you an O&P student looking for scholarships or a researcher looking for grant money? Set up a Google Alert. Are you interested in finding new office space or expanding and you need to buy a building? Set up an alert. When you are thinking about alerts, think outside the box. What do I want to know that will help me run my business?

How to create an alert

Visit Google Alerts.

In the “Create an alert about” box, enter the words you want to get email notifications for.

Image: © Shutterstock

Image: © Shutterstock

Click “Show options” to decide how often you get alerts, what types of results you want to get and more.

Click “Create alert.”

Once your alert is set up, you will receive emails any time Google finds new search results for your keywords.

You can also create an alert by clicking the plus sign next to any of the suggested topics on the Google Alerts page.

Alerts can be edited or deleted at any time.

Other options

Yahoo has a similar tool. Yahoo Alerts provides delivery of information on Yahoo to your email box or Yahoo Messenger. In order to use Yahoo Alerts, you must be a registered Yahoo user. Creating a Yahoo Alert requires you to select an email or Yahoo Messenger address where your alert will be delivered. Additional personal information may be required, depending on the type of alert you create.

Are you an “old hand” at Google Alerts? Then you might be interested in IFTTT, which stands for “If This Then That.” You can use IFTTT to make the Internet work for you. Setting up Google Alerts is easy. Working with IFTTT (pronounced ift, like “gift” or “lift” but without the “g” or “l”) is slightly more complicated. A helpful link with step-by-step instructions is included in the references listed below.

There are all kinds of reasons for setting up an alert. Instead of spending your time searching, let Google, Yahoo or IFTTT do the heavy lifting and bring the already searched information to you in a timely fashion.


Betters E. Pocket-lint ltd. 2015. Available at

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Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing Solutions. She can be reached at

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