A couple of weeks back I raved about Google Alerts and all the different ways that I used them. I mentioned that I use them to track keywords, identify content theft and even to track links coming into a site. I look at Google Alerts as a great multi-purpose tool that can help you track lots of different things. However, when you're serious about finding a tool to monitor your social media presence, Trackur is where Google Alerts go to grow up and one that SMB owners should really be aware of. You may remember that I interviewed search expert Andy Beal about Trackur back in September and he chatted about the importance of protecting your brand as a SMB owner, what to track and how his tool Trackur could help. Well, last week Trackur released a free tool for SMB owners that I thought was worth mentioning sharing. The new tool is called Trackur Free and the functionality is the same as you'd find in a paid Trackur subscription. With it, you can set up a search and Trackur will look for mentions in traditional and social media, scouring through mainstream sources, blogs, tweets, images, videos, etc and deliver you the results via the Trackur dashboard, RSS, email or CSV export. What separates Trackur Free from the paid product is that you can only track one keyword. That said, if you're a small business owner who's already using Google Alerts for the "other stuff", it may be worth using Trackur to keep an eye on that one money term that you're really focused on. Where Trackur Free trumps a simple Google Alert is that it runs every 30 minutes and graphs mentions over time so that you can easily see if buzz is growing and how sentiment is changing. As I mentioned, it's a bit more mature than a simple Google Alert. Personally, I like the idea of using Trackur as your "specialty" tool and Google Alerts to pick up the easier to find stuff or terms you're just casually monitoring. I use Google Alerts like a fire hose to give me lots of different information in different areas, Trackur is considerably more refined. Worth noting is that Andy has chosen to make the tool retroactive. So if you read our interview back in September and signed up for a free trial, your account has already been moved over and you can start using it. If not, you can sign up for a free trial to give it a look. If you've resisted because of the associated price tag, now's your chance to look under the hood. The importance of knowing what people are saying about your brand is not going to diminish anytime soon. In fact, it's only getting stronger.