Q and A : Can You Track Search Rankings With Google Alerts?

QuestionDear Kalena

I have a question regarding google alerts. I have used them before to follow a topic or to stay informed about other articles regarding my website/blog niche. But can you find out your web ranking with this tool? I have had a look but I can’t get my head round it.



Hello Luis

You can’t really track your search rankings using Google Alerts. Such alerts are really only useful for tracking a specific topic or mentions of a brand / company that then get listed in the Google search results. They’re really handy for keeping track of a company’s online reputation.

For example, I have a client for whom I prepare a Social Mentions report every week. These social mentions consist mainly of web sites, blogs and social networking posts (e.g. tweets, Facebook status updates etc.) that mention their brand name. I use a combination of Google Alerts and Raven Tools for this purpose.

Speaking of Raven Tools, they DO offer a way to track your search engine rankings, as well as powerful historical ranking charts that can track your position in the top search engines for a particular keyword/phrase over a time frame set by you.

They have a 30 free trial and then a $19 per month option for tracking up to 3 websites – might be worth a try?

I should note here that I am a BIG fangirl of Raven Tools and a Pro member. I am also an affiliate, so the link above is my affiliate link if you want to use that (I get a small percentage of any sales that result) or you can use the normal link which has no affiliate ties.

The other (more time-consuming) way to check your rankings is manually, conducting a live search at a set time period on each of the main search engines and keeping a record via spreadsheet. Just remember to log out of any Google account before you check Google rankings, or else they might be skewed by Google Personalized Search.

Another very useful tool I’ve been using a lot lately is Google Insights for Search. With this Google tool, (still in Beta), you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties. This type of data can tell you a lot more about your web site performance / niche potential than your search positions can.

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New Home for Google Realtime Search

Remember when Google promised us they were getting close to being able to provide search results in real-time? Well this week they’ve cracked it.

In an official blog post, Google announced real-time search results are now available. But instead of being integrated into regular search results pages, real-time search has been given it’s own home – a dedicated page for people to conduct searches in real-time.

You can also access Realtime Search by clicking the “Updates” link in the left-hand panel of normal search results. The results appear as a constantly refreshing stream. Your Google Alerts also work with Realtime Search so you can be sent updates for your target searches within minutes of them appearing in Realtime Search.

We’ve been able to see some real-time results in SERPs already, with social search results containing recent Twitter posts and Facebook status updates, however being able to isolate real-time search results from regular organic search results is extremely useful, especially if you are looking for information relating to an event in a specific location or a developing news story.

A couple of handy new features allow you to refine Realtime search results by pinpointing results by location or time and you can even see entire conversations to get context about any topic.

For example, the political situation in Australia is currently in turmoil as the country faces a hung parliament as a result of an election draw. Political developments are in flux and it’s difficult to keep up to date. If I conduct a search for “Australian election” using real-time search, I can see tweets from as recently as 1 minute ago and news stories posted within the last hour.

Realtime Search and updates in Google Alerts are available globally in 40 languages, and the geographic refinements and conversations views are available in English, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. To learn more, visit the Google Realtime Search info page.

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Q and A: How do I remove lies and false accusations about me on Google?

QuestionDear Kalena…

How do I remove lies, and false accusations about me on Google? Please help!


Dear Rudy

Google provide the following support articles that may help: Remove information from Google: Remove a page or site from Google’s search results and if the information is of a personal nature, you may also find this useful: Personal information in search results.

Google’s job as a search engine is to find, sort and categorize information. They can only index what they find, so my first suggestion would be to try and avoid doing things or annoying people which could inspire them to create false information in the first place. Sometimes this is easier said than done, in which case, you should really go after the source of the information and not Google. Try contacting the website owners who are publishing the false information and ask them to stop (either politely or by threatening legal action).

You could also try and make the lies and false information work in your favor. Respond intelligently and politely explaining how the information could have been misconstrued and then provide the readers with the correct info.

If this isn’t possible, then the next thing you can do is create favorable information about yourself on various third party websites. Setup social media profiles on all the major networks, offer to guest blog, distribute articles and press releases about you and your company etc. Then build links to promote these third party sites. If done well, this can outrank the negative information about you.

Hope this helps!


Peter Newsome
SiteMost SEO Services

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Q and A: How do I remove content from Google search results?


Hi Kalena,

I receive your Newsletter updates and I always enjoy them.  I’m working on a medical website and the client was wondering what to do if someone puts up an inflammatory website about a specific doctor? Can we report a threatening and/or inflammatory website to Google? I’ve never run into this problem before.  Any ideas?

Thanks, Mitch.

Dear Mitch

One of the best (and worst) things about the internet is the fact that just about anyone can publish just about anything.  This offers a great opportunity to disseminate information, however, this can certainly be a problem if  the information is inaccurate or defamatory.

In your case, if the information is actually true (even if it is unflattering – or even nasty), there is probably not very much you can do.

If the published information is untrue, your first course of action should be to contact the site owner and ask them to modify or remove the information.  If they refuse or are unresponsive, you may need to seek legal action to “encourage” them to make changes.

Once the site has been updated, and recrawled by search spiders (which may take some time), the updated content should start appearing in search result listings.  Google has a long memory and sometimes old (deleted) content seems to persist in search results for a very long time.  It is possible for the site owner to request (via webmaster tools) for content to be removed from the Google Index – but once again you would need the site owners co-operation to do this.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, recently published a post about getting pages removed from Google, but as a general rule Google will not remove defamatory content unless it has a court order to do so (although this policy may vary depending on the country concerned).

The official Google documentation page on how to remove a page from Google’s search results provides more information.

Good Luck..

Andy Henderson
Ireckon Web Marketing

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Editorial Link Building with Article Marketing

You have a great website, nicely optimized, easy to navigate and you have conducted a good solid general link building campaign. Your page rank has increased and you are happy with the flow of visitors to your site. What is next? How can you maintain your online reputation and continue to build good quality incoming links over time? You might want to consider editorial link building via an Article Marketing campaign.

The first thing you need for a quality Article Marketing campaign is a selection of well-written, keyword-rich articles related to your niche industry. Depending on your time and budget constraints, either hire a freelance writer or have them written in-house. Each article will be published with a resource box at the bottom acknowledging the author and a link back to your web site.

Articles are more likely to be published if they are informative rather than promotional. For example, if you are the webmaster of a ‘tour guide’ travel site, a selection of well-written travel articles covering topics such as: travel experiences, vaccination suggestions, tourist attractions, architectural and religious history, do’s and don’ts for safe travel etc, will establish your company as an authority in your market niche and create consumer confidence in your service.

Imagine a potential customer daydreaming at work about a future trip to Italy. He hasn’t decided on the particulars of his journey yet. He enters the search query “Tourist Attractions in Italy” and your article appears in the search results. He reads the article which describes the history and various tourist attractions of an ancient Roman city in Italy. The article is informative, well written and by the time he finishes reading, he has decided he would like to go there. He clicks on your company’s link in the resource box and lands on your travel site. Not only has he landed on your site as a potential customer, he has arrived with a positive expectation, as “first contact” has already been made via your article.

Effective distribution is very important for the success of any article marketing campaign. Compiling a distribution list of niche article directories is time well spent on your campaign. For an extensive list of article directories visit: SearchEngineWiki Article Directories. Depending on whether you intend to distribute your article to dozens or hundreds of article directories, you may wish to consider using article submission software. Article submission software does not fully automate the process, but it can take the sting out of it. If you use submission software it is important to personally monitor that your article is submitted to relevant directories and published within relevant categories. In the case of hundreds of submissions, a good quality submission program can ensure the process takes a day or two, not a week or two. I can recommend Article Submitter by Submit Suite for this purpose.

As an ongoing strategy, article marketing can produce tremendous results for your company. Remember, article circulation and referencing within the web is potentially eternal. A good article can live forever and provide hundreds of back links to your site over time. If you are interested in learning more about how to effectively harness the potential of article marketing for your company, take our Article Marketing and Distribution course here at Search Engine College.

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