Google alerts and keyword search status

1. Getting alerts

Google offers a remarkable Alerts service. You can set up a request for email notification any time that new online content appears relating to any keyword, or keyword group, that you have specified.

You can further specify whether this should be content listed on Google News, Blogs, Videos or the main comprehensive Google database. You can also ask to be informed as it happens, once a day or once a week.

You can set up as many alerts as you wish. This is a valuable way to be told of news about almost anything, anywhere. For instance, enter ‘japan evangelism’ to get news of this vital area. (Short tutorial if needed.)

Using it for evangelism

You can use alerts evangelistically by finding blog postings or other online content that you may be able to respond to with an appropriate Christian input. It is also a good way to find people to network with for evangelism or other ministry.

Create a Google Alert
Google Alerts
Enter the topic you wish to monitor. To force Google to return alerts only with a specific keyword combination, place your keywords in double quotes when you set up the alert.

Search terms:
How often:
Your email:
Google will not sell or share your email address.

Other options

Yahoo offer a similar service, but it only covers news feeds, or the entire Web. It can however send the information to Yahoo Messenger or a mobile device, as an alternative to email.

You can also receive an email notification any time that content on any of our pages changes, by clicking on the red button next to the ‘page change advice’ link at bottom right-hand of our page footers.

Our newsletter will also bring you news of significant issues relating to web evangelism and related topics. Our blog feed page draws down latest news and comments from a range of useful blogs.

2. Keyword trends

There are a number of sites where you can view listings of top keyword searches on different search engines. This is helpful if you are a writer or blogger, and wish to respond to topics of great public interest. One of the keys to internet evangelism is the Bridge Strategy: since most web users are not searching for Christian-based topics, we must start from subjects that they are interested in.

These tools will also help you to choose appropriate keywords for a paid AdWords link to your site, or a specific page within it. It also helps to understand how people search for webpages, and how to promote your existing webpages online.

When something newsworthy happens, it will often go to the top of the list. For instance, the untimely death of film actor Heath Ledger in 2008 caused his name to be the very top search term for a short time, and fans were also moved to post short tribute video clips on YouTube. If you can react quickly with an appropriate blog posting or web page, you have a ready-made bridge to link with people.

Two provisos here – you may see porn-related keyword searches; and you will also see words that are not true searches. A number of web users do not understand the difference between the browser URL bar, and the search box in their browser toolbar (or they cannot remember the precise URL) so they actually enter the name of the site they wish to go to in the search box.

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