If you are a business person, author, speaker, blogger, or anyone else with an Internet presence, take action today to set a Google alert on yourself or your company. (Go to http://www.google.com/alerts)
Here are three reasons why this is crucial:
- Find out if anyone is stealing your content. Through Google alerts, I have found four bloggers who have taken one of my posts and put it on their site. I’ve sent comments to each blog owner letting each know I haven’t given permission to use my blog post and asking for proper credit (my name plus website address). The funny thing is that I would have likely given permission to all who asked to use my blog post, as long as they directed their readers back to my website. But, people, you must ask the writer if it’s OK before you go copying content to your blog.
- Monitor your own posts and ask yourself: Is this what I want people to know about me? One recent Google alert associated to my name was a joke I posted: I once had a husband. I sold him on Ebay. I still think this is funny, but maybe it’s not the type of tweet I want indexed in Google as an author and speaker. I’ve also seen some of my web pages and blog posts indexed. Sometimes, I’ve discovered that people have a page devoted to their Twitter followers, and my name will appear.
- Learn interesting facts about others. Through Google alerts, I’ve learned about many other Nancy Brooks. There’s a Nancy Brook who is doctor in Michigan, one who won a crossword puzzle contest, and another who specializes in shredded pork roast sandwiches. There’s a Nancy Brook whose name is mentioned in a State of Oklahoma Supreme Court Case. My favorite reference to Nancy Brook is an actual brook in New Hampshire. Did you know that tree-ring data from Nancy Brook, New Hampshire, shows the growing season of 1741 to have been usually cold? There’s also a Mount Nancy nearby Nancy Brook.
If you haven’t done so already, make time to set up your own Google alert. I’d recommend once a day. You might be surprised with what you find out.