Using Google Alerts to Track Down Wins and Find Sweepstakes

how to use google alerts to track wins and find sweepstakesI learned some valuable at 4 am this morning, Google Alerts rock! You see, I got an email alerting me that my name was just published somewhere online. I have a Google Alert setup for “Wendy Limauge” and when someone uses my full name like that I get a Google alert email.

What was so good about this alert was that I found out I had won a $1,850 Prada handbag from Today when I called about the win the young lady told me that my email had bounced and she was wondering how she was going to get in touch with me. Boy, was I happy I got that alert and called.

You can use Google alerts for just about anything you want to find or track online. When Google see that word or phrase it will alert you via email or text message. You should be careful what you put in the alert or you could end up with a ton of email. I only use it for specific things like my name or key phrases. It’s a great way to find sweepstakes too.

Google Alerts is a free service offered by the Google search engine. You can use it to alert you for many keyword searches. In this post I am just showing you how to use it to find contests and sweepstakes.

Set up a Google Alert

Setting up a Google account is free.

Create a free Google Account:

1. If you don’t have an Google account you need to make one at and click at the top right to begin.

2. Fill out the registration form and Submit it at the bottom of the page.

3. To activate your new Google account, access the email account that you used to register and click on the link provided to verify your new account.

Setting up a Google Alert:

Updated on 9/3/10: The Google wording has changed so I updated my post with the correct information and screenshot.

1. Go to

2. At the top right of the screen Sign In.

4. Click More from the drop-down list at the top of the page and then Even More.

Or go to the Google Products page directly through this link or directly to just the Google Alerts page here

5. Type in what you want to search for.

Here is where you will put the specific things you want to search by using keywords and phrases. In my case I had put my full name. My last name is pretty unique so I knew it would give me good results. If your name isn’t unique you might not want to use it because you could get a lot of results that aren’t related to you.

Here are some keyword and phrase examples for using Google Alerts to find sweepstakes:

  • sweepstakes
  • contests
  • blog contests
  • enter to win
  • sweepstakes +2010 -2009
  • “win a trip” +2010

6. Make sure the type is Everything.

7. Choose how many times you want to be alerted with this information. I put as-it-happens but that means you could get a lot of email.

8. Email length: 20 or 50 results. That would be the amount of references Google finds based on your search terms.

9. Type in your email address where you want to receive the alerts. (Note: this can be a different email address than the one you used to create the account)

9. Click Create Alert.

10. To activate your new Google Alert, access the email account that you put in and click on the link provided.

how to set up google alerts

Example of a Google Alerts setup

How To Modify Your Google Alerts:

1. Log back into your Google account at

2. At the top right of the screen click My Account.

2. Click Alerts under My Products.

3. On the next page you will see the alerts you have set up. You can click Edit at the far right to change the search words, type, and how often you get emails.

4. Select an alert by clicking in the box next to one and then you can delete it if you like.

Disclosure: this sweepstakes listing may contain an affiliate or tracking link but we do not use referral links. Read about our policies for more details.

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  1. Jennifer Freda says

    wow! What a wonderful find! Thank you! I’m doing it now!

  2. Kitty Smalling says

    Thank you! Very helpful.

  3. This is great, I just set up a bunch, thanks!

  4. very cool. Thanks!!

  5. Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to see what alerts I get. Congrats on your big win. I’d love to see a picture of the bag you won. So jealous. LOL 🙂

  6. Ohhh… I love Google!!! <3

    Congratulations on your win!!!

  7. Congratulations. I just set up mine!

  8. Mindee Larsen says

    CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!! Post a pic of the bag as soon as you get it! 🙂

  9. That is great wendy! Also google alert works great to find contests :

  10. Congratulations and thanks for telling us about Google alerts. I just set mine up. 🙂

  11. For some reason it wont let me choose “comprehensive” It’s not even a choice. Any suggestions? Thanks

  12. It won’t let me choose “comprehensive” either. I don’t have that choice. I think I might just choose “Updates” for now.

  13. I can’t choose “comprehensive” either. I selected “Updates” instead for the time being. Any ideas why we can’t get that option today?

  14. Tiffiny Duke says

    Awesome thanks!

  15. Chris Taylor says

    I did not have the Comprehensive option either.. I just used “everything”.
    Little did I know what this was called, but somehow I manages to find this a long time ago & already had search for California Contests & sweeps which I get on a daily basis. Usually the contests are over, or it may be a press release about a contest coming. Only saw Sweeties Sweeps in there a few times.

  16. Congrats on the win Sweetie!

  17. You are truly amazing and we all thank you. This is great information!

  18. thanks so much. Want to see pix of that bag!!!

  19. excellent thanks!! and congrats on your find!!!

  20. that is awesome. congrats to you. i just set up my account

  21. I might be just a tad naive because I am always amazed at what google can do for me. I am waiting for the “big” when it will come in and clean my house. Oh well I can dream.

    Thanks for telling about the google alert

  22. Will be signing up for google alerts now. I am so jealous, I love handbags and have been trying to win some, but no luck yet. Congrats on your win 🙂

  23. james Patterson, Jr. says

    do I have to add the + signs when I use more than 1 word?

  24. Brandy Oliveira says

    Thanks Sweetie, this will come in handy. 🙂


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