Today I’d like to demonstrate how site owners can use Alerts, a free service from Google, for helping monitor the unique content on their site and make sure no other sites are using it. As we all know, having unique content is extremely important to ensuring success in organic search for your website, especially on Google, so it’s important to make sure no outside sites are using your content which can potentially hurt your site’s ability to rank well.
To use Google Alerts, all you will need is to register for a free account from Google. If you already have a Gmail account, you can use the same username and password. Once logged in, you should see something that looks similar to this slide where you can enter the search term, the type of searches you want to include (like web, news, or everything), how often to send you results, how many results to send, and also where to send the results (through either email or RSS feed).
On this example, I’ve copied and pasted text from one of my blogs to demonstrate how to enter in your content. Unfortunately Google Alerts is limited to the amount of text that can be entered for a search term, so I’ve just copied and pasted the first two sentences from a prior blog post. This can still be very effective in monitoring your content as most sites that duplicate content will take most, if not all of the page, so by copying in a few randomly selected sentences from each webpage, you should be able to still effectively monitor your content.
First, when entering in the search phrase, it is important to surround the phrase with quotations as this will bring back only exact matches of your content. Next, you will need to select the type, which I’d recommend keeping to Everything as it will show you any type of search result that uses your content. Following that, select the frequency you would like to receive reports…I prefer once a day. After that you should select “All Results” from Volume, so it will return any webpage in Google’s index that uses your content. Finally, choose whether you’d like delivery to your Gmail account or if you’d prefer reports via RSS feed and click Create Alert.
To test your alert, you can click the hyperlink that says “Preview results” and it will show all of the current pages in Google’s index that match your search query. Here you can see that the content has been duplicated three times, which is definitely something that should be looked into further to make sure it isn’t harming the original post.