There are loads of free tools out there designed to provide insight into what is being said about you or the brands and products you work for on the Internet. One such tool that is worth checking out is G’lerts. Using Google Alerts as the base of the service it provides you with a daily email (example shown on the right) that rounds up what has been happening on your Google search over the past week. It includes some simple charts as well as the all important links to the stories Google has found for you.
There is also an online dashboard but this is where things start to get a little flaky in my opinion. One thing to be aware of is that you only have access to the last seven days information (come on it is free). So do not rely on this to provide you with monthly reporting. The other is that I have only been seeing results for web, no news sites, blogs or Twitter, which I seriously doubt given one of my searches was regarding flu cases this winter.
Yet, if you are using Google Alerts for tracking issues, stories, clients, individuals or anything else, over the recent past, forget the Google Alerts emails and set this up. Oh, just watch out for that sentiment analysis. We all know sentiment is nigh on impossible for automated systems to get right – no matter what the monitoring tool guys tell you.