If you are curious to know what online users have to say about you, your brand or your products, Google Alerts is a useful tool (see Google Alerts tutorial).

Google is continuously crawling the web and they’ll send you an email alert the moment they detect a news story or a web page that includes a mention of your brand. A little problem is that the tool may not always work as advertised. The other downside is that Google Alerts mostly ignores social media websites.

google alerts

Google Alerts – The Alternatives

There are some good alternatives to Google Alerts though and one of my current favorites is TalkWalker. It helps you monitor your brand mentions on the social web, blogs and online discussion forums. Like Google Alerts, TalkWalker sends real-time email alerts and you can subscribe to the search results via RSS feeds as well.

Next in the list is Mention.net, a freemium alerts service that helps you can track brand mentions on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, video websites and the public web.

Mention offers a simple wizard-style approach for setting up alerts and you may also filter alerts from certain websites. When you sign-up for Mention, it will prompt you to download an app /extension but you can safely skip that step as the website has all the required features.

Related tip: Track incoming links with Google Analytics

Most alerting services require you to specify keywords (like “california oranges”) and they monitor web pages for those keywords. Infoxicate takes a different approach. Here you can setup “pings” for news you have been waiting for and it will send alerts when that happens.

For instance, you can receive an alert when an Indian startup is featured in the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Or when Matt Cutts publishes a new blog post. Or when a new book by your favorite author is released. Or when your favorite music band is performing. See this page for more ideas.

Newsly isn’t exactly an email alerts service but it can help track your contacts and friends when they are featured in blogs, online newspapers and websites. Sign-in with your Facebook or LinkedIn account and it will alert you whenever your friends make the news. You may also use Newle as an ego-monitoring tool for tracking mentions of your name on the web.

Also see: Monitor Google Plus with RSS Feeds

The Bing search engine offers email alerts as well though it is limited to news articles. Search for something Bing – say Macbook Air – and look for a link that says News Alerts somewhere at the bottom of the page.

One lesser-known feature of Bing is that you can subscribe to regular web search results via RSS feeds. Here’s the syntax:

http://bing.com/search?q=macbook+air&format=rss

You can add this feed to any RSS Reader and get updated when new web pages make it to the front page of search results for that particular query.

With these monitoring tools, you are less likely to miss any mention of your brand in the online world.