Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Google Alerts - Hit and Miss?

On the recent episode of Geneabloggers BlogTalk Radio Dan Lynch discussed using Google Alerts to discover  pertinent new information relating to genealogy.

I am a great fan of Google alerts and have been using them for several years to find news to share with fellow genealogists via my blog, Twitter and lately Google+. I have a number of alerts for general and Australian  genealogy and android genealogy news plus alerts for the uncommon surnames in my tree.  Vanity causes me to have alerts for Geniaus, GeniMates and Jill Ball Genealogy.

A few of my alerts

From the options on offer I have selected All results for some alerts and Only the best results for others. I have been constantly underwhelmed by the number of alerts that arrive even for those alerts for which I have selected All results. I know that Geniaus is mentioned in blogs and on Twitter each day yet only on rare occasions do these mentions appear in my Google Alerts!

If you are not using Google Alerts I suggest that you should be but be aware that the results may not be as comprehensive as one might expect.

What has been your experience with Google Alerts?


10 comments:

Diane B said...

I use them for a few things like the blog, but primarily for names of ancestors in case someone posts a tree or some old data, etc. Almost nothing EVER happens with that, but it's easier than constantly re-searching. I think - in about a year - I got one (not false) hit for an ancestor. But your post makes me realize I should probably add about 10 or 20 more - after all, why not?

Karen Ball said...

I'd have to agree that Google Alerts can be very hit and miss at times. If I'm in need of information for a project or task, I will do my own search - just in case that Google Alerts has missed something.

Cheers, K.

Greta Koehl said...

I use them, but the only hits I have received so far have been from my Weebly website. Perhaps I should add more (right now I have about 15) to get more results.

Carol said...

Hit and Miss, and why do I get alerts some days from my own blogs, but, not others??? Color me hit and miss and befuddled.

Jenna said...

Jill, I use Google Alerts personally for surnames, obscure locations, my blog name etc. I've not had any success, it usually alerts me to my own blog. However, I use them at work to track certain topics and also to track our competitors. In that respect I have had great success, I get multiple alerts every single day. Maybe I need to see if I'm wording my personal alerts the same way I do my business alerts?

Sharon said...

I have quite a collection of google alerts including the very small town I grew up in and family names with town combinations. These so far have not been very useful. However, my most successful alert is for the school where I work. I use this to alert my principal about the school being mentioned somewhere on the internet.

Heather Rojo said...

I use Google alerts for groups of ancestors (Mayflower, Quaker, etc) and also by surname in certain towns (sometimes I get hits there, but not often). I also search for genealogy news in my local area and state (ex. Genealogy "New Hampshire") I also search for my own name in all its variations, and I've caught a few sploggers that way.

cassmob said...

I agree they are remarkably unreliable.. So much so I don't rely on the, the most accurate ones seem to be my alert for the Bavarian village of Dorfprozelten...probably because it's unusual.

sell my electronics said...

Agree, Google alerts sure helps a lot in finding fresh and interesting stuff.

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

My Google Alerts have been mostly miss in the last months. I've started doing my own manual searches for key alerts.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...