Businesses already realize the importance of monitoring the internet for mentions of their brand. But there are many other ways you can use Google Alerts to gather information that can help you in your professional life. Through these alerts, you can better manage your own online reputation, as well as impress clients with your knowledge of your industry. Here are some search terms to get you started.

1. Your Business Name

If you aren't already monitoring the web for mentions of your business name, you could easily miss an item that requires immediate action.

2. Variations of Your Business Name

You may be ABC Plumbing officially, but one of your customers could refer to you as "ABC Plumbers." Consider the different ways your name could be mentioned.

3. Your Products or Services

Any products or services that are unique to your business should be set up. This will let you know if anyone is talking about your brand.

4. Services in Your Area

A clothing shop in Indianapolis should set up alerts for terms like "Indianapolis fashion" to make sure you are the first to know what competitors are doing.

5. Your Personal Name

Yes, you try to keep your personal life and business life separate but your clients and customers could be Googling your name.

6. Employees

Any employees who regularly interact with your clients are representing your brand. Monitor for mentions of any employees your clients might be researching.

7. Clients

Include the business and personal names of any client you currently have on your roster. You'll be able to impress him by knowing about achievements as soon as they happen.

8. Colleagues

When you run into an esteemed colleague at an event, you'll make much more of an impression if you know the latest news about his or her business.

9. Competition

Keeping up with what your competitors are doing is essential to success. Enter your biggest competitor names into Alerts so that you'll always stay a step ahead.

10. Industry Trends

There are issues specific to your industry, and it's important you stay aware of them. You can keep yourself "in the know" by plugging terms specific to your industry into Google Alerts.

11. Industry News

If you want to search for news specific to your industry, you can enter your search term and choose "News" from the Sources drop-down box.

12. Networking Events

Networking is an important part of building a business. You can set up Google Alerts to let you know of any relevant events that might be coming up on the calendar.

13. Thought Leader Opportunities

You can set Google Alerts up to monitor the web for questions people are having. By stepping forward to offer answers to those questions first, you can establish yourself as a thought leader.

14. Technology

When Apple Pay was announced, retailers were eager to learn about the new technology. You should remain alerted on any changes in the technology tools your business uses.

15. Stocks

If you want to follow a specific stock for any reason, you can set up Google Alerts to monitor for mentions of that stock. Simply enter the stock ticker symbol.

16. Threats

Malicious software can expose your data to hackers. By signing up for alerts on the latest security threats, you can protect your business.

17. Site-Specific Terms

Is there a specific website on your radar? You can keep an eye on that site by typing a search term and the word "site" before the URL. Example: "new products" site:www.yourcompetitor.com.

18. Exclusions

If you find your inbox is filling up with irrelevant items, you can refine alerts by entering negative terms. "Louisville Mexican restaurants -Taco Bell" will make sure you eliminate the popular fast food chain from your results.

19. New Books

Each day, new books are released on the market that could be relevant to your business. Set up Google Alerts to let you know when a new book is released that could help.

20. Site Spam

One way you can use Google Alerts for your business is to monitor your site for spam attacks. This article details how you can set the service up to search your site for spam.

One of many tools provided by the Mountain View search giant, Google Alerts can help you stay on top of your own (and competitors') business reputation. By using it to its full capacity, you can also impress clients and colleagues by always being aware of the latest industry news and trends.

Published on: Sep 29, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.