As a senior member of a successful SEO company I’m always on the lookout for ways to make my job easier. Usually my job consist of defining an SEO strategy that will help our clients achieve high rankings in the search engines. High Rankings are supported by high-quality links, so how do we find high-quality links without doing a lot of work?

Hello, Google Alerts.

Google Alerts is a nifty tool that will monitor Google results with predefined search terms and then email you those results. They will send the email to you once a day, as it happens or once a week. You can insert any topic or query that you wish to keep tabs on.

For example, you can type in a competitor’s business name and/or his web address as an search term alert. Every time Google finds the search term they will send an email detailing where it was found in an email. It is like having a paid researcher always on call for free.

How best to use this for SEO you ask? Easy, here are just a few ideas. Let’s assume you have written an article or press release. You submit it through your normal channels but then you set up Google Alerts to notify you every time it finds the exact title of your article. Be sure to put the search term in quotes so it looks for an exact match (“My Article Title”). Now you can track in real-time where you article gets picked up and then contact any of the sites that have placed your article or press release and contact them directly about a partnership. Maybe the next article you write can be given more prominence on their site or you can provide the webmaster original content with embedded links to your site.

Or you can track competitors by their name and URL find websites where that information has been posted and follow the same strategy by offering original content of your own. If you find a blog that has posted about you or your industry maybe you can become a contributor.

You can track a product name or service you want to sell or any word or phrase that will help you market your site to the search engines. And since Google is providing the information, you have a good shot at Google finding your link the next time they visit the site you have partnered with.

As with most SEO strategies you need to be creative with this idea and strike while the iron is hot. Constant alerts can keep you motivated and attentive to the market within your industry as well helping you keep a vigilant eye on your competition.

Has anyone employed this strategy for link building? I’d love to hear success stories.