Want an easy way to keep tabs on your published articles? Would you like to receive the latest information on a topic or person that you're writing about, delivered right to your e-mail inbox? Just create some Google Alerts—a service offered to people who have Google accounts. (To get a Google account, go to their home page and sign up.).
You choose the search terms for your alerts, then you receive automatic e-mails when there are new Google results. The different types of alerts include news (the latest news articles about your topic), web (the latest web pages that contain your search terms), blogs (posts that contain your search terms), comprehensive (the latest results from multiple sources), video (the latest videos with your search terms), and groups (posts from your Google groups). It's up to you whether you'd like daily, weekly, or "as it happens" alerts.
I've been experimenting with the program, just to see how it works. I set up a weekly alert using my city's name, to get local news and find out about blog discussions. I also set up a daily alert for my name, as well as the titles of several articles I've written that appear online. From this test, I've learned that it's a good idea to put full names and titles (any search with multiple key words) in quotes, to get the most accurate results.
Though I haven't tried it yet, there's also an advanced search function, which can help narrow your results even further. For example, you can include information to find web pages that have "all these words" or "this exact wording or phrase" or "one or more of these words"...but don't show pages that have "any of these unwanted words." You can also set up a search within a certain site or domain.
Have you been using Google alerts? Feel free to chime in!