Your law firm provides an invaluable service to the clients you serve, but if clients can’t find you on Google, it’s almost as if you don’t exist. Since your law firm can only appear as a result on Google if Google knows you exist, it’s important to make sure that your law firm has been indexed. You can submit your website to Google yourself in a few simple steps, which we’ll outline below. We’ll also explain why it’s better to submit your website to Google to get indexed manually than wait for Google to find it, how you can check if your law firm’s website has been indexed by Google, what you can do if it isn’t, and why indexing is an important part of law firm SEO.
Getting Your Law Firm’s Website Indexed By Google
You can get your law firm’s website (or a new web page you’ve added to your website) indexed in a few simple steps. Knowing these practices and other strategies for SEO for personal injury law firms and other law practices is key to keeping audience exposure high. Note that to be able to submit your law firm’s website to Google to be indexed, you’ll have to have already been verified as your website’s owner through Google Search Console.
How to Submit an Entire Website to Google for Indexing
To submit your website as a whole to Google to be indexed, you’ll have to submit your sitemap. A sitemap is a file that lists all of the individual web pages that are included in one website. It’s usually an XML file and it can be accessed by adding either “/sitemap_index.xml” or “/sitemap.xml” to the end of your website’s url (e.g., XYZWEBSITE.com/sitemap_index.xml) or by adding “/robots.txt” to the end of your website’s url (e.g., mywebsite.com/robots.txt).
Once you have your website’s sitemap, you can submit it to Google Search Console, which you can do by going to ‘Index’ and selecting ‘sitemaps.’ Then, copy and paste your sitemap url and submit it. If you have multiple sitemaps to submit, you can repeat this process until all of them have been submitted.
How to Submit an Individual Webpage to Google for Indexing
If your website has already been indexed but you’ve added a new webpage to your website, you’ll have to submit that webpage to Google so it can be indexed and found by people that are searching for its content. You’ll also want to submit an individual URL to Google if you’ve edited the page.
To submit one webpage to Google for indexing, you don’t have to submit a sitemap like you would if you were submitting an entire website. You can submit an individual webpage to Google for indexing by going to Google Search Console and navigating to the URL inspection tool. Then, paste the URL of the webpage you’d like to index into the search bar. Google will then check the URL; when it’s completed checking it, click “Request indexing.”
Why You Should Index Your Law Firm’s Website Manually
Submitting your law firm’s website to Google isn’t completely necessary since Google crawls the web and indexes websites on its own. But you can save a lot of time and frustration by submitting your website or webpage to Google manually instead of waiting for them to find it.
It’s better to submit your website to Google manually than wait for Google to find it for a couple of reasons:
Firstly, you risk not ever being found if you leave it entirely up to Google. Google uses bits of code known as “spiders” to find new websites and web content, which they will then index. While you can wait for the spiders to find your website, you are guaranteed to be indexed faster if you submit your site on your own.
Secondly, it’s not guaranteed that Google will find everything it should. Even if Google’s spiders find your website on their own, they may not find every webpage — you can make sure every webpage on your website is indexed by submitting your sitemap manually.
When Should You Index Your Law Firm Website?
So when should you submit your website in Google Search Console for Google to index? The best time to submit your website to Google to be indexed if you have just launched a new website or subdomain. Another good time to submit your website or webpage to Google to be indexed is after you have updated or made substantial changes to it. Since you’ve changed the content on the website, the information that will appear in search results will change, too; instead of waiting for Google to find the new content on its own, you can speed up the process by submitting your updated website manually.
How to Tell if Your Law Firm’s Website Has Been Indexed
After you have submitted your law firm website to Google to be indexed, you should check whether it worked. There are a few ways to do this. One way is to search Google for your own website by putting “site:” before your website’s URL (e.g., site:mywebsite.com). If no results appear, your website has not yet been indexed. Another way to check if your website has been indexed by Google is to go to Google Search Console and look at the “Valid” tab, which will show you the number of pages on your website that have been indexed by Google.
To access this report in Search Console, go to Index > Coverage > Valid.
If you discover that your website hasn’t been indexed by Google, you can visit Google Search Console, paste your website’s URL into the URL inspection tool, and look at the Coverage error, which can help you address the problem.
Reasons Your Content Might Not Be Getting Indexed
If you’ve followed the above steps and your content still is not getting indexed by Google, you might be running into one or more of the following issues.
Firstly, make sure the pages you’d like to index are worth indexing in Google’s eyes. If the content is extremely low quality, Google might decline to index it (low word count, etc.). If the content is copied from elsewhere or plagiarized, Google may pass in that instance as well. Search engines are getting increasingly “smarter,” and their algorithms will decide if your page is worth indexing or not.
You may also have a “noindex” tag in the code of your page, which tells Google to bypass the page entirely (Google does not always heed this bit of code, but it usually does). If you plug your URL into the URL Inspection Bar in Search Console, Google Search Console will tell you if the page has a “noindex” tag. You can then consult with your web developer to have it removed.
Third, your new pages may not be getting indexed (or they may have fallen out of Google’s index), if you have no internal links pointing to them. Imagine that your homepage is the starting point for a Google web crawler. The crawler follows every link on the homepage, every link in the menu, and so on down the line. But what if a page exists on your website that isn’t on the receiving end of any internal links? What if a page is “orphaned”? Google’s web crawlers may not find it. You may notice that in the first paragraph of this blog, we have a link to our Law Firm SEO page, and the anchortext is “law firm SEO.” We are basically telling users and Google that they should click through to that page, and that the page is about search engine optimization.
Contact Your Law Firm SEO Experts
The first step in the process of getting more visitors to your website is getting your website recognized by Google, which you can do by submitting your website and getting it indexed in a few simple steps. If you have any questions about indexing your website, getting found on Google, or any other law firm marketing matters involving SEO for criminal defense attorneys and other law practices, give us a call at (215) 309-1631.