This is Part II of Google and Yahoo Alerts – designing the syntax of your alerts – the basics – Part III will show you some more unique ways to use your alerts.
If you are pondering the idea of using alerts, first you need to decide what you want to search for (Part I) and then you need to learn the syntax of setting up your alerts to make the alert a real tool in your marketing fishing kit. Setting up your alerts in the proper syntax initially will save you a lot of time and energy later on. You may still need to tweak your alerts but it does help to set them up properly from the start. In this post we will discuss proper syntax – the basics.
What is syntax?
According to Dictionary.com – the grammatical rules and structural patterns governing the ordered use of proper words and symbols for issuing commands, writing code, etc., in a particular software application or programming language.
In simpler language – it is the formatting of the rules used for setting up your alerts. Read on to learn a little more.
So you have set up your alerts and you find that sometimes you are not getting good alerts you are getting what I call “near alerts”. For example – when I worked for Adair I set up an alert for Adair. Well much to my surprise – Adair is a fairly popular name. Adair County, Adair Family, Adair the city…I think you get the picture. I was weeding through a lot of alerts that meant nothing to me. That was when I learned about syntax. For those of you accustomed to using Boolean syntax this may look familiar – but on steroids!
Note: alerts are set up in small case letters not caps.
Syntax #1 – Identifying the alert with closed quotes (keywords and phrases)
- Keywords Example: Syntax “kim kachadoorian” or “kimberly kachadoorian”
- Result – only items that have the entire name together – I will not get pages that just have the name Kim or just Kachadoorian – the result is a page that has my entire name as identified in between the quotes.
- Phrase Example: Syntax “catching fish”
- Result – pages, videos and blogs (if I have it set for comprehensive) that discuss catching fish. I would not get a site that talks about marketing and catching fish (my favorite analogy.
Syntax #2 – Using the minus and plus sign (with keywords and phrases)
- Keyword Example: Syntax “kim kachadoorian” -ford (note there is not a space between the keywords – and ford)
- Results: I would be notified of anything to with my name but not if the article contained any of my work at Ford Motor Company. None of my social media sites that I discuss Ford on would show either – such as this post.
- Keyword Example: Syntax “kim kachadoorian” +ford (note there is not a space between the keywords + and ford)
- Results: I would be notified of anything to with my name associated with the work I did at Ford Motor Company or any social media tools I have discussed Ford on. (my tweet about the Ford Snyc shows up)
- Phrase Example: Syntax “fishing” +marketing analogies (note there is not a space between the phrase – and marketing analogies)
- Result: I would get information on sites, videos etc. that talk about fishing and the analogies to marketing.
Syntax #3 – Tracking links to your site, your competitors or to specific landing pages.
- Example: Syntax – link:www.geekymarketer.com – my site
- Example: Syntax – link:www.printwell.com – a competitor from a previous job I held – by the way if they have alerts set for their domain name this post will show up in their alert!
- Example: Syntax – link:www.geekymarketer.com/contact – landing page
That’s it for now will have more syntax lessons soon! You should start some Google/Yahoo alerts now and continue to build on your syntax for your alerts as we move along in this process.