Google Alerts

One of my favorite free web services is Google Alerts. I have more than 200 keywords that I track now. I find more value in this than in RSS feeds, which subscribe me to lots of content that I don\’t really want. Almost all of my Google Alerts give me content that I really do want.

One exception is the keyword \”GPS\”. More than half of the hits seem to be coming from the UK news where GPs seems to mean \”General Practictioners\” (there is even a magazine called GP), so most of the hits are false hits. I\’m trying to track news about GPS (Global Positioning Satellite).

I\’m asking every Provo Labs incubator employee (and as many portfolio company employees as possible) to take the time to set up Google alerts on every keyword they think they should track: publishers, competitors, top web sites, topics, people, partners, etc.

Next time we have a mixer, I\’m going to ask every attendee to show me their Alerts keyword list, and the best one will win a $100 bill.

I\’ve lectured many times to college students and I tell them that it may turn out over the course of their professional life that the single most important thing they can ever do if they want to be a world expert in something, if they want to succeed in their career, is to have the best possible Google keyword alert list, so that they never miss an important news story about anything they are interested in, from over 4,500 new sources around the world.

I say this because you are what you read and watch and hear — and if your information diet is purely random, broadcast-to-the-masses whatever, then you will consume a lot of fluff.

But if you focus on consuming content you\’ve defined as important (based on topics) from all the world\’s news sources, you can really get ahead in your field.

Plus, it takes seconds to add any new term to your Alerts.

Now imagine your Google Alert list when it can be applied to TV, Radio, magazines, blogs, and other media types, and when you can weight your keywords by importance.

4 thoughts on “Google Alerts

  1. Thanks for the tip! I had heard about Google Alerts, but it hadn’t really clicked until you recommended it. What a phenomenal idea. I’ve started my list, and I can see huge opportunities.

    BTW have you tried “GPS -medecine -doctor” (the dash negates the term).

  2. I use Yahoo! Alerts ( for general keywords that have a lot of false hits, because Yahoo! allows you to specify “Do not include” keywords.. so you could say, include “GPS,” but do not include “General Practioners” and “GP Magazine.”

    (There are a lot of Yahoo! alert types.. I use the news alerts.)

  3. Ok, Google does the same thing. (I’ve been using Yahoo! alerts since before Google existed =)

    With Google alerts’ advanced search and advanced news search, you can do a lot of creative stuff:

    Be alerted anytime someone (with a google-indexed website) adds a link to your website from their website:
    Web Alert =

    Or anytime the LDS Church releases news:
    Web Alert = newsroom

Leave a Reply


More Posts Logo Design

Some of you know that my partners and I are launching a new company that aims to help a billion or more people soar with

Cold Showers Can Benefit Your Health

I hated what I read in the Harvard Business Review last Friday: Cold showers have health benefits. I’ve always ignored people who advocate taking cold

People Like Me Need People Like You

“People Like Me Need People Like You” Someday I’ll write a book about I’ll highlight the people who built Ancestry from the ground up–unsung

The Team Coaching Zone Podcast

To listen to this podcast, click HERE. Announcer: Welcome to the Team Coaching Zone podcast. Join your host Dr. Krister Lowe and today’s leading organizational

My Favorite Artist

Artists, poets, and prophets can help us make sense of the craziness that we experience in the world. My favorite artist is Regina Spektor. When

The Coach You Need

When you need a helping hand in life or at work you might decide to hire a coach. There are many amazing executive, career, leadership,

Beware of Taking Advice

Next Friday I get to deliver a keynote at Phoenix’s biggest startup event. But beware of taking advice from me–or anyone else. Startup events are

An Entrepreneurial Superpower

One of my entrepreneurial superpowers is asking questions at scale. Before I started Ancestry I went to libraries and conferences and asked questions. I learned

Paul hopes to bring the strengths message to all 50 states and to 50 countries by 2025.
Contact him so he can help you spark a strengths movement in your area, company, or industry.