Maintaining a watchful eye on the competition is a longstanding tradition for small business owners, but keeping tabs in the digital age can often prove tricky. Rather than making a habit of constantly visiting the websites of your competitors or discreetly following their social media accounts, why not instead use Google Alerts to streamline the process for you? In just a few simple steps, you can establish alerts that will notify you as soon as your competition makes a move.

How Google Alerts Work

By creating a Google Alert, you’re essentially automating a web search based on keywords you specify. To establish alerts, simply navigate to google.com/alerts and create a new alert using a keyword relevant to your brand or competitor. Choose how often you’d like to receive updates, and voila—you’ve created an alert. Google will email you when changes are discovered.

To ensure Google only sends you relevant information, hone in on specific sources or regions as necessary. Google will allow you to specifically target blogs or news sites, and you can filter results based on your location.

Why Monitor Your Competition?

Paying close attention to activity within your industry is an important step for any marketer. This process gives you the information you can use to improve your business strategy. Using Google Alerts for competitive analysis, you can easily:

● Identify Competitive Advantages: What are your competitors doing correctly? Why are customers choosing these brands over your own?
● Review Promotional Campaigns: Are you competitors running sales or special discounts to snare new buyers? You may want to consider price matching or going a step further with a better deal.
● Discover Potential Weaknesses: What areas is your competitor neglecting that you could exploit to gain customers?

Additional Tools for Competitive Analysis

Google Alerts is a great tool for getting started monitoring your competitors online, but there are plenty of additional resources available to get a better view of the big picture. Social Mention is one such tool, a free platform that allows you to peruse social platforms for brand references. Google Keyword Planner is also a valuable resource for learning more about your competitors’ page ranks and traffic for various keywords.