Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

How do you keep track of new mentions of yourself on the internet?

In the article on
RSS and Google Reader
you said: “For example I regularly use RSS
feeds to keep abreast of new mentions of my name, or my wife’s business
on the internet.” How do you do that?

Well, it’s more than just using RSS and an RSS reader, but it’s very
easy, actually. In fact, I’m frequently surprised by what my own
notifications turn up, and surprised at how many other folks that
should be watching things aren’t.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

The ‘trick’, if you want to call it that, is to use a site or
service that returns it’s results in RSS format, and then subscribe to
that RSS feed in your RSS reader.

Let’s use the phrase “ask leo” as an example.

I’ll start with Google’s Blog Search, and search for the words ask
leo
. The results will likely begin something like this:

Google Blog Search Results

As you can see, it’s returned recent results for the phrase “ask leo”
in the blogosphere.

The key here are those two links near the bottom left of the page
labeled Atom and RSS. Click on the
RSS button (or right click and copy the link) and subscribe to the feed
in your favorite RSS feed reader.

That’s it.

What happens next is the semi-magical part: when you fire up your
feed reader, it will fetch that feed and display any new items. In this
case, the feed is actually the most recent Google blog search results
for the phrase “ask leo”. So, each time a new instance of “ask leo”
appears on Google’s blog radar, I’ll see it the very next time I view
the results.

“The key here is to find search or notification
services that offer their results in RSS format.”

In this specific case – Google blog search – you can set up feeds
for all sorts of terms and phrases with exact or broad matches and
more.

If you have a web site, another good phrase to search for is your
base domain. Searching for “ask-leo.com” in this manner tells me when
someone links to my site from their blog. (Sometimes they’re then quite
surprised when I pop by and leave a comment thanking them. Smile).

So far this has all been blog related, and specifically using
Google’s blog search. (Technorati is another blog search engine that
will also return results in RSS format.)

What about “plain old search”?

Unfortunately, Google does not make its search results available in
an RSS feed, so using Google for this is out. However, other search
engines do. Specifically, Microsoft’s Live Search will, although it’s not immediately
obvious.

Here’s a search on “ask leo” using Microsoft Live Search:

Microsoft Live Search results for ask leo

I’ve highlighted the RSS icon (RSS Feed Icon) in Internet Explorer’s toolbar. (Firefox
users will find this icon in the address bar.) When a page is displayed
that makes an RSS feed available, this icon then allows you to
subscribe to it. In this case, the feed provided is for search results
on the phrase “ask leo”. If I subscribe to it in my RSS reader, then
I’m alerted each time Microsoft’s Live Search returns new results for
the phrase.

And as one other example using RSS, Google News also provides RSS
feeds of its search results. Once again, do your search, click on the
RSS link or icon, and you’ll stay abreast of new news items relating to
the terms you search for.

The key here is to find search or notification services that offer
their results in RSS format. Once you do, then you can subscribe to
those results and stay on top of interesting and ever changing
results.

I do have to throw out one additional service that is not
related to RSS, but will give you what many people want as well: new
instances of your phrase as found by Google’s Web search engine. This
additional service would be Google
Alerts
.

From their page: “Google Alerts are email updates of the latest
relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query
or topic.”

This differs from Google blog search and Google news search in that
it’s presumably using the regular Google web search to generate its
information. Exactly how much overlap there is between all these
services is somewhat of a mystery.

And Google Alerts are available only via email.

But since Google’s the big player when it comes to search these
days, I use this as well.

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Tech problem solving & safety tips & a weekly confidence boost in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow

Slow Computer?

Speed up with my special report: 10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow, now updated for Windows 10.

NOW: name your own price! You decide how much to pay -- and yes, that means you can get this report completely free if you so choose. Get your copy now!

3 comments on “How do you keep track of new mentions of yourself on the internet?”

  1. Another way is to use a free online service like Feed43 that can create a RSS feed from any web page. Feed43 isn’t as easy to set up as the methods given in the article as search strings have to be created manually to tease information from the page’s source, but the result is highly customizable and allows a RSS feed of a Google search, for instance.

    Reply
  2. I’VE REALLY ENJOYED READING YOUR COLUMN. i ENJOY THE LINKS YOU PUT UP AS I GO ALONG.

    I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE TIME I KNOW YOU’VE PUT INTO YOUR WORK, AND WHAT YOU’VE TAUGHT ME.

    RESPECTFULLY, RONDA DEMPSEY

    Reply
  3. I didn’t know about this RSS search. You answer all the “BASIC” questions I have been wanting to get answered all the time.
    AMAZING. Many times I simply BROWSE actually FINDING questions and then feel “hey! I always wanted to know that. I cant believe I still don’t know that after being computer-literate for 12 years.”

    Thanks.
    Your Fan,
    Gurvin.

    Reply

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.