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How to Monitor a specific text block for changes
How to Monitor a specific text block for changes
Learn how to get alerted when there are changes to specific text (while ignoring all other changes on the page)
Maya avatar
Written by Maya
Updated over a week ago

While the request/use case of only being notified if / when there is a change to a specific section(s) of text on a page seems simple enough, it actually can be quite complex as the way content is rendered by HTML can differ significantly depending on the styling.

While complex and certainly an imperfect workaround, the steps below are going to demonstrate how Enterprise customers can use the Custom Criteria Monitor to isolate and monitor specific text blocks for changes

Step 1: Identify the system identifies (parses) your text block after crawling the URL

Note: the goal here is to identify if / when there are hard breaks because, in the eyes of the system, this signals a new and separate text element.

Pro Tip: use the control + f function to isolate the text that you're looking for and then copy the entire block that's of interest.

An example of code rendering in ChangeTower

Compare how the above tex block with how this section of text renders in the actual page and note all those line breaks. Those are the problematic variables that prevent you from being able to copy and paste the whole block as a long string of text (ignore that if you don't know what that means!).

An example of text rendering on the website

Step 2: Once you've copied the text block from the crawl preview, click Continue where you will then set the criteria. The below video highlights a few different things:

2a: Set the Criteria so that you're notified if / when the page does NOT include ALL of these Phrases

2b: past in the text blocks that you copied from the crawl preview (breaks and all).

2c: Identify where each line break exists and add a pipe character "|" (without the quotes) at the end of each break (this is the most important step)

Step 3: Click Continue & finish the setup process

Setting up the monitoring criteria

Step 4: Test it out to make sure that it's working properly!

To do this, you're actually going to edit the Monitor you just set up.

You're going to temporarily change the dropdown from Page Does Not Include to Page Includes. Save your changes, click the Run Monitor Now button, and refresh the page after 15-30 seconds. The goal here is that you're confirming that the system is properly reading the criteria you just set. If it acknowledges that all of the phrases are on the page now, then you can be sure that you'll be notified if / when they're altered.

Test the existing monitor

If a new notification appears (as it does in the above example), then you can be confident that you've set it up correctly. Because the system found the exact HTML properly in your test, it will be sure to detect if / when there are any changes to that snippet.

Be sure to go back and edit it back so that it's running with the Page Does Not Include condition!

If you control the site that you're testing, you can skip the above process and make the edit directly on the page to check that the system properly detects and logs the change.

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