One of Google’s oldest features is Google Alerts, where you can enter keywords you want to monitor and get an email report each day about any new search results that match those terms. It was awesome; but for several weeks, it’s become nearly useless.
My long-standing settings have been for Google to check each day against “Everything” and bring back any new listings with my name in them. That has meant it routinely finds blog posts, webpages and news articles with references.
Here’s a typical example from the end of November:
Usually, there are a few new web mentions, occasionally a news citation and often a blog post highlighted. But consider my most recent report today:
That’s it. My entire report. And it’s been pretty much like that for weeks. In the past week, it has failed to find where I’ve been cited in several news stories, despite the fact that I can find these when I search at Google directly.
I’m checking with Google on what’s going on. In the meantime, if you’re finding that Google Alerts aren’t working as well as they did in the past (and some are), it’s probably not you — it’s Google. Hear that, Katy Perry? It’s Google, not you.