The tool is called Google Alerts. In this article I will show you how to, step by step, set up and get started with Google Alerts.
Before you can use Google Alerts you have to open a Google account.
If you have a Gmail email account you already have a Google account and can go to Step Two.
Opening a Google Account is very easy and can be done quickly by clicking here and filling the five fields.
If you do not want Google to record your internet activities be sure to un-check “Enable Web History”. To see how click here
Be sure to make a note of the email address and password you selected as you will need it to log into Google Alerts in future.
Once you have opened your Google Account you have to go to Google Alerts by clicking here.
First log into your Google Account by entering the email and password you chose in step one.
Once you have logged in you can create your first alert by clicking on “creating one” in the middle of the page. To see where click here
The best way to create an alert is to first create a search in Google and, after you are happy with the result, cut and paste the search text into Google Alerts.
Open up a second internet browser window and go to the Google search page by clicking here
Type the search criteria in the Google search box, for example “Hornby plc” including the brackets. I used the brackets because I want to search for exactly that term.
For more information on how to get the most out of searching the internet with Google take a look at the following two articles:
Once you are happy with the Google search result mark the text in the search box and press the right mouse button while holding the mouse pointer over the marked text.
Select copy from the menu and click on the internet browser page that is open at Google Alerts.
Press the right mouse button while holding the mouse pointer in the box below “Search terms” and select paste from the menu. It should then look like this.
I usually leave the other menu options unchanged.
Click on “Create Alert” on the right hand side to finish the process, over here.
Congratulations you have created your first alert!
You can use Google Alerts to automate a search for anything you can think of. Your name in quotes may for example be a good idea so that you can see where in the internet your name appears.
I have found that Google Alerts work best for information on small and mid sized companies. Large companies generate too much information and the results are overwhelming and not very useful.
Do not be concerned that your search may not be perfect first time. The Alert email you receive has a link to let you easily change the search text so that the information you receive becomes more and more relevant as you refine the search.
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P.S. The best investing books you can read
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Nine books every investor should read