Google Alerts: What They Are & How to Make One

Keep up with news that's relevant to you, without searching for it

Illustration of person on laptop looking at notification bell on screen

Google Alerts is a free feature for anyone with a Google account that monitors the internet for mentions of any topic and notifies you via email or RSS alerts.

You can set up a Google Alert for any word or phrase and have the alerts sent to you immediately after Google recognizes the mention, or you can have them compiled into one email that gets sent to you just once per day or week.

What Are Google Alerts For?

A Google Alerts item can be created for anything you're interested in keeping tabs on. As long as you can perform a Google search on it, you can set it up in Google Alerts.

For example, an alert can let you know when an article mentions you, your business, your website, or your favorite movie, actor, book, etc.

If it's automatic news alerts you're after, you can set up Google Alerts to email you each time a politician is mentioned online or when your town is in the news.

When a new smartphone or video game is about to be released and you want the most updated scoop on all things related to it, you can use Google Alerts to notify you of any online mentions.

Or, maybe you want to know when a new job is posted in your area. You can use Google Alerts to locate search terms related to the job you're interested in. You'll get emails about the opportunities without having to manually search through job finder websites.

Google Alerts only monitors content that Google provides in a web search. Private social media information, emails, data behind password-protected websites, articles hidden behind paywalls, and other dark web content aren't visible through Google Alerts.

How to Set up Google Alerts

Creating a news alert with Google Alerts is as simple as performing a Google search on what you want to be always updated on. There are several ways to customize the alert before you finish creating it.

  1. Visit Google Alerts and enter a search term.

    Search term

    You can use the search box like you would in Google Search, but avoid general terms or the vast majority of the results will be wildly unnecessary and difficult to sift through. You can use advanced search commands, surround the search in quotes for phrase searches, search on a specific site only, etc.

  2. Select Show options to adjust:

    • How often you want to receive your alerts.
    • The source of the search (e.g., News, Web, Books).
    • The language of the source website.
    • The region in which the search should take place (like the US, Egypt, Spain, etc.)
    • How many search results you want to see (only the best results or all search results).
    • Where to deliver the Google Alerts data (your email address or an RSS feed).
    Show options button in Google Alerts
  3. Select Create Alert to turn on the web search alert.

    Create Alert button in Google Alerts

How to View Google Alerts Results

With the Google Alerts setup complete, you just need to wait for the search term to pop up on the internet and for Google to tell you about it.

If you signed up for alerts from Google on an obscure topic, you can expect to receive emails rarely. However, if the topic is popular and gets daily coverage, you'll get lots of emails about it.

Emails from Google Alerts are sent from googlealerts-noreply@google.com. You might set up an email filtering rule for messages from that address so that they're sorted into a separate folder instead of in your inbox, where they can easily cause cluttering.

Google Alerts example email

The Google Alerts RSS feature delivers news alerts via RSS instead of email. To use the RSS feed, open your active Google Alerts and copy the feed URL. This type of automatic news feed works from an RSS reader like Feedly.

Google Alerts RSS feed

How to Edit or Delete Google Alerts

The Google Alerts web page is where you go to change how a Google Alerts item works, adjust when to get the alerts, and remove any or all Google Alerts.

Edit a Google Alert

A Google Alert can be edited by selecting the pencil icon next to it. When you do that, you're returned to the original page as it appeared when you first set up the Google Alert. Make any changes you need to and then select Update alert.

Google Alert update options

Change the Google Alert Delivery Time

On the Google Alerts page is a settings icon at the top right. Select it to change the delivery time for your alerts; you can pick any time of day. You can also choose Digest to get all the emails in one message once a day or once a week.

Delivery time and Digest options for Google Alerts

Delete a Google Alert

To remove a Google Alert and quit getting notified about it, press the trash can icon next to it.

Delete (trash can) icon in Google Alerts