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What is a Google Alert?
In the most simple of definitions, a Google Alert is a way you can keep track of different things online. The internet is a pretty big place, and finding out the things you need to know can be a challenge. While you can use this system to notify you about a particular topic, like camping, this is not what how most campgrounds will use it. Instead, campground owners will use Google Alerts to find out if there are new items on the internet that mention their campground name. These alerts can be useful for a variety of different reasons.
You can easily spend hours searching Google to see what people are saying about your campground. Once you have done it the first time, though, how do you eliminate the ones you have already seen? How do you tell which articles are new and which are several years old? Creating a simple Google Alert with a keyword or multiple keywords of your choosing helps answer these questions. Once these are put into place, you will get an email alert at the different intervals you specify. This email will notify you of any new search results containing those keywords.
What Should I Be Monitoring?
First and foremost your goal should be to monitor for the name of your campground. Make sure to cover the different variations and possible spelling errors that people might make when talking about you. If you campground name is Sunset Springs Campground, consider monitoring for Sunset Springs RV Park as well. You may have more difficulty monitoring for your campground name if it is a common one. This issue is a small trade-off for the ability to keep an eye on what people are saying about you online, though.
Taking Google Alerts one step further, you could monitor for your name or the names of your staff. Some of the issues with this approach, are that you will quite often get personal results mixed in with business results. Likewise, you can monitor for the names of your competitors and see what people are saying about them as well. Just like all of the data about your business is freely available online, the information about your competitor is as well. While some might consider this unethical, we believe it is smart to be aware of your competitors.
A Not Quite Perfect Solution
There is a trap that many campground owners can fall into when they create Google Alerts. Chief among them is the perception that creating a Google Alert will allow you to sit back and wait for the emails to come in. That setting up those alerts will allow you to focus your attention on other areas. This kind of thinking could not be further from the truth, though. Why? Primarily because Google Alerts were created with a single goal, to provide alerts on things that show up in Google. If the entire internet could be found on Google we wouldn’t need other websites, would we?
Some of the most important sites that you need to be monitoring do not share their content with Google. That means that even if you have a perfect Google Alerts system setup, you will still miss things if you are only relying on that. As a campground owner, you should also be monitoring social media sites and review sites for starters. These all have their own systems through which you can receive alerts. All it takes is signing up for a free account and then verifying that you own a particular business.
Monitoring The Entire Internet
No single piece of software, on its own, will watch everything on the internet. It is quite simply too big and there are too many different websites. However, you don’t need to be everywhere. You need to focus on the major sites that have the potential to affect your business dramatically and then set up passive keyword searches for the rest. Taking these two steps together will ensure that you are seeing a good portion of the information being circulated online about your campground. Since we all know that knowledge is power, you are well on your way to being successful online.
The struggle for many owners, though, is not knowing how to get started. Google Alerts might be easier, but they don’t have the patience to figure out everything else. That’s where the premium companies come in that do more extensive searches than Google Alerts. One of the most popular standalone platforms is Mention, although they can quickly become expensive. Their pricing plans are based on how many alerts you want to set up and the number of results you are getting back. Most small business owners will find their entry-level package good enough for their needs.
Perhaps the easiest and most complete path for busy campground owners is to hire a reputable agency that focuses on campground reputations. Our software platform includes a robust mentions tool that will monitor for Google searches just like a Google Alert. It also includes the ability to monitor Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, News and even Instagram photos as well. Even more powerful is the ability to have our team automatically send you these alerts, while reviewing them ourselves, in case you miss something important.
Regardless of the path, you decide to take, monitoring for mentions of your own campground is key to your online success.