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Google Alerts are an often overlooked but powerful tool from Google. In just a couple of minutes you can set up your own 24/7 intelligence center to constantly monitor mentions of your dealership online and keep an eye on what your competition is doing.
You won’t have to invest much time or effort into setting up this free service, so the return on investment exponential.
How Do I Set Up Google Alerts for My Dealership?
To get started, go to google.com/alerts. Google will give you some pre-made suggestions, starting with your own name. These can be fun, but probably aren’t what you’re looking for today.
To create your first alert, just start typing a search query in the Create an alert about… box. For example, let’s say you want to be alerted any time your Ford dealership is mentioned online. Search for your dealership by name. Use quotes to only find exact matches, like “My Ford Dealership”.
Since you don’t need to be alerted when you mention your dealership by name, you can filter out anything on your own domain.
Or maybe you want to be alerted for reviews mentioning your dealership, you could create an alert for
“My Ford Dealership” review
Or to see local reviews of the new Ford F-150 you could create an alert for
ford f-150 in sioux falls review
If you want to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, you can also use Google Alerts to monitor their brand name or their website.
While we exclude our own domain when monitoring our brand, it’s usually a good idea to do the opposite when you’re trying to watch your competitor. By creating an alert for their domain name you can be notified when they add a new product feature, service offering, or promotional sale.
Monitoring the competition can be helpful when looking for ideas for your own digital automotive marketing. Even better, instead of being surprised when a customer shopping for cars at your dealership comes in and says “But the other dealership is doing this,” you can already have your answer ready.
Take Your Google Alerts to the Next Level With These Options
- How Often How often do you want google to alert you — unless you need real-time, instant updates every time it happens you should leave this at At Most Once a day to keep your inbox from filling up with alerts.
- Sources What kind of results are you looking for? Usually, you should just leave this as automatic but if you only want to search for blogs, videos, news, or any specific combination of media you can tweak it here.
- Language This field needs no introduction. What language(s) do you and your customers speak?
- Region This will default to your region, which is perfect most of the time. But if you’re a digital automotive marketing agency with international clients, you may have to tweak this on occasion.
- How Many It’s usually best to let Google deliver only the best results. Usually. If you’re looking for really long tail keywords or specific local search, you can set this to All Results.
Advanced Search Techniques to Master Google Alerts
Google Alerts support advanced search operators, too. We’ve already mentioned using -site: to filter out your own domain. You can also use it to filter out undesired keywords. For example, if you want to monitor for used vehicles, but aren’t interested in trucks:
used vehicles in sioux falls -trucks
Use an asterisk (*) as a wildcard. For example:
Used * in Sioux Falls
Use quotes to keep phrases together
“automotive marketing” “south dakota”
Use OR to find pages that match several words. You can use this to catch misspellings or term variations without having to create separate alerts. For example:
ford f-150 OR f150
You can also Mix and match with OR and exclusions to hone in on the results you want to monitor.
redmond dealership car OR suv -truck
Keeping Your Inbox in Check
Once you start using Google Alerts, it’s hard to stop. This can quickly snowball into an email inbox that is overwhelmed with alerts. If you find you need to tame your inbox, you have a couple of options.
- Switch Google Alerts to only send a daily digest of all your alerts. For most of us, this is the way to go.
- If you really need constant, real-time updates, you can keep your inbox from being overwhelmed by creating a filter for Google Alerts. Here’s what it looks like in Gmail:
Make Sure Your Dealership Can Be Found
Setting up Google Alerts is a great way to monitor the competition and see how your dealership is doing online, but it isn’t going to help your customers find you. To get started on your own, brush up on automotive SEO in this free e-book.
If you want a glimpse at what a full-time inbound marketing partner could do for your business, enter your current traffic, leads and sales for an instant estimate. Like what you see? We’d love to talk.