- The search landscape is very dynamic and almost impossible to stay abreast of
- While an SEO and search marketer’s email inbox can be overwhelming, it can also be a powerhouse that helps you stay in the loop of industry developments and keep an eye on the competition
- These must-have, free Google email alerts will notify you when your site traffic drops or spikes, when your site is hacked, or when there’s a manual penalty applied to your site
SEO and search marketing are challenging because they’re scattered all over the place. Setting up email notifications is the best way to be on top of everything. Some essential email alerts include reputation monitoring alerts, competitors’ social media activity, new backlinks, and more. In fact, Google offers email alerts on both Google Analytics and Search Console which is an absolute need for any website owner. I’ll cover all the essentials you need to set up!
Why are email alerts beneficial?
Speaking of setting up a separate email inbox, it is not a bad idea to keep this archive separate from your business emails. But it is a good idea to add that inbox to your smartphone mail app to be able to keep an eye while on the go.
- Email alerts are hard to miss: I love dashboards that consolidate multiple sources of data under one roof but life gets too fast too often and I can neglect my dashboard for weeks in a row. An email notification is unavoidable. Even if there’s no time to read an email, I can quickly scan it while scrolling through new emails and immediately see if it needs my attention right away.
- Emails get archived: This creates an ever-growing database of everything that has ever been happening with my site. I can search my archive any time to see what happened when and attribute any traffic changes to some alert
- Email operators can be free: You can set up a free inbox at Gmail in seconds and continue using it for free for years until you run out of free space.
Google Analytics alerts
Getting notified of declining traffic is key for your ongoing organic visibility. It is the fundamental step behind a crucial SEO task called SEO maintenance.
Google Analytics offers a custom alerts feature allowing you to get notified if anything weird is happening with your traffic.
How do you do this?
Login to your Google Analytics dashboard > Customization > Custom Alerts > Click “Manage custom alerts” > Click “NEW ALERT”
1. Traffic drop alerts in Google Analytics
There are various ways you can set up traffic drop alerts in Google Analytics. Here’s the most basic one. Set up your criteria that will trigger an email alert, for example:
- Set up traffic source to “Google”
- Set up your trigger: For the sake of simplicity I just set it to notify me anytime my organic traffic drops below an unusual level
Don’t forget to check the box that says “Send me an email when this alert triggers” to receive an email notification once your traffic drops below a certain level.
You can also set up a certain percentage of the loss – this way you won’t have to modify your threshold as your traffic grows.
2. Referral or direct traffic spike alert
If any of your content assets is going viral, you want to know about that to be able to monitor the progress, help it spread even further, or reply to comments.
Likewise, if your product was mentioned by a social media influencer and suddenly everyone starts typing in your name to go buy from you, you should know immediately.
This is why this alert is a good idea to create.
For this alert, you can exclude Google from the sources of traffic to keep organic growth and declines from skewing your numbers:
3. Revenue drop alert
Finally, if you have Google Analytics for ecommerce set up, make sure to create this alert.
For this one, I keep traffic to all sources and choose “Revenue” in the “Ecommerce” section of the drop down. Again, you can set the percentage of the loss.
Take some time to estimate the threshold you want to be notified of. Keep in mind your slower days (weekends) or months and note those “normal” revenue declines.
There are also several more web analytics solutions, many of which also offer email notifications, so it doesn’t have to be Google Analytics.
4. Lower load time alert
Google Analytics records how long your page loads and reports on the metric allowing you to identify slower pages. Ever since site speed became a ranking factor, keeping an eye on your page load time has been crucial.
You can get notified by Google Analytics when your page average load time suddenly drops, so your dev team can quickly diagnose:
Google Search Console alerts
Google’s Search Console will send you email alerts of important changes or issues by default. You won’t need to set those up. All you need is to verify your site with Google’s Search Console (here’s how).
Search Console will immediately notify you of three important events:
5. Malware alert
When your site is hacked, you want to know immediately because it is a potential reputation crisis or any private data leak.
Google’s malware alerts are invaluable. If you needed a reason to verify your site with Search Console, this is the one. Google’s malware notifications are the fastest and the most accurate on the market. And they are free!
Monitoring your own website changes is also a good idea since you will be immediately notified if any code or text is injected on your pages so you can fix and avoid getting your site into Google’s “hacked sites” list.
6. Internal errors alert
If Google notices an unusual spike in indexation issues or internal errors, you will get an email from Search Console.
There are a few more monitoring solutions that will alert you as soon as your site is down or broken. Even though those are not marketing alerts, I recommend looking at those too.
7. Manual penalty alert
If you get a manual penalty, Google will send you an email alert for you to be able to quickly fix an issue. While I hope you’ll never get any of these, it gives you a certain peace of mind knowing that you’ll get notified if anything happens.
Getting notified is the best way to fix issues quickly to avoid lasting damage. Keep alerted of traffic drops, site attacks, competitors’ social media activity, new links, and more.
Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.
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