Why is Your Law Firm’s Website Not Showing Up on Google?

If you want to start getting organic traffic on the web, you’ll have to build a great website – but that’s only half the battle (maybe less). The rest of your efforts will go towards getting found online through search engine optimization (SEO).

So what do you do if your law firm’s website is showing up on Google? There could be a few reasons why you aren’t visible, and we’ll diagnose those issues here. You might not be indexed on Google, you may not have a Google My Business listing, or you simply might not have enough domain authority. Keep reading to learn more.

1. Your Website Hasn’t Been Indexed by Google Yet

You won’t rank well in search if Google doesn’t know your website exists – you don’t need us to tell you that. Google crawls the web constantly, but with millions of pages being published every day, how can you encourage Google to find your site? Simply publishing your new website isn’t enough.

First, you need to create a Google Search Console account (assuming you already have Google Analytics installed in your website). Go to the Search Console website and follow the steps to get started. Once you have created an account and added your property (your website), you will need to verify your Google Search Console account – then you are ready to proceed.

You can then submit your website to Google in a few easy steps. You can begin by downloading your website’s sitemap, which can be done by adding “/sitemap/xml” to the end of your website’s url. When you have your website’s sitemap, submit it to Google Search Console.


Then, any time you add a new page to your website or edit an existing page, you can submit that page to Google Search Console and “force crawl” it as well. Type your URL into the discovery bar:


Then click the “request indexing” button for the URL that Google hasn’t discovered yet:


Google will now crawl and discover your site – you are now eligible to show in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Note: If your robots.txt are implemented incorrectly, or if Google is otherwise unable to crawl the page that you’ve submitted, Search Console will show you a warning. You can then refer that issue to your web developer and they can resolve it for you.

2. You Haven’t Created a Google My Business (GMB) Listing

Law firms rely on local web traffic to sell their services, and you’ll want to be eligible to show in the local map pack when people search for things like “personal injury lawyer near me.” Here’s an example of the local map pack when I search for “IP lawyer near me:”


Go to, create a listing, and fill out your business information. Make sure your name, address, and phone number appear exactly as they do on your website! We’ve discussed ranking well in local search elsewhere, so read our blog on how to rank in the Google Map Pack.

Once you’ve created a GMB listing, you will be eligible to show in the map pack, and you can rank well for proximity-based searches even if your website doesn’t have much authority yet.

Why your GMB listing might not be ranking after you built one: if there are lots of competing firms near your address (for instance, you are on the sixth floor of an office building, and you have competitors in the same building), Google might be filtering your listing out of the map pack. You will need to build links to your website, earn a competitive number of reviews, and write content on your site to get enough “authority” in Google’s eyes to start ranking.

3. Your Website isn’t Optimized for Search Engines

Getting your website indexed doesn’t guarantee that it will show up on Google. If your website isn’t optimized for Google, it’s less likely to show up as a search result. Luckily, you can make your website more aligned with what Google is looking for by making a few tweaks.

Search engine optimization is a HUGE topic, and we’d encourage you to read our law firm SEO guide before continuing. But here is a quick checklist:

  • You need internal links. You’ll notice that we have a few links to other blog posts with targeted anchor text above – that helps Google crawl through to that page, and it tells Google what those pages are about. This is good for SEO. Also, if you link from your blog posts up to main practice area pages, you can increase the ranking capability of those practice pages.
  • You need optimized title tags, H1 tags, H2 tags, etc. If you are a Milwaukee-based criminal defense lawyer, put “Milwaukee Criminal Defense Lawyer” in your title tag!
  • You need lots of good content. Google uses your page content to determine your relevance and authority around a subject matter, so you should be publishing relevant pages and blog posts every week, at minimum.
  • Your site must have good user experience (UX). Is your site fast, mobile-friendly, and can users find your call-to-action (CTA) buttons easily?
  • You need backlinks from other websites. Google views backlinks as “votes” from other websites, and in a competitive niche, you’ll need lots of “votes” to rank well.
  • You need “local citations” on web directories and other site — these are instances of your business, name, and address across the web.

We are known for our personal injury attorney SEO strategy, our business and tax attorney marketing work, our criminal defense SEO strategy, and more, so if you have any questions, please get in touch.

4. Your Site is Indexed, but You’re in a Competitive or Crowded Market

If you are targeting the same keywords as a number of other established law firms, the competition is going to crowd you out for a while. It doesn’t mean that Google isn’t aware of your existence, but you won’t outrank more established firms for the same keywords.

It can take 3+ months of professional SEO work to start getting organic traffic for your desired terms, and 6+ months to rank on the first page (and especially the top 3 results) of Google. Don’t get discouraged – just realize that the sooner you start investing in serious SEO, the sooner you can enjoy the benefits of consistent, targeted organic traffic.

5. There Are “No Index” Tags on Your Website

Another possible reason that your website might not be appearing in Google is that there may be “no index” tags within the code on your website. “No index” tags tell Google to NOT show certain websites in its search results, which means your website won’t show up on Google if it has these tags, even if your site has been crawled by Google. This tag can show up in the code on your website even if you didn’t put it there if you accidentally click a box on WordPress or other content management system. It’s also possible that the web developer that made your site added this tag to prevent the site from showing up in results while the site was still in development and forgot to remove it.

Simply submit your URL to the Search Console discovery bar, and if Google is unable to index your URL, it will tell you why.

6. Your Website Has Been Removed From Google

The least likely reason that your website isn’t showing up on Google is that Google manually removed the site from its index. This only happens if Google believes that a site is illegal, doesn’t meet its quality guidelines, or distracts from users’ ability to find the information they’re looking for.

To remove a site from appearing in search results, a page can either be de-indexed (completely remove the site from Google), penalized (still indexed but only able to found through limited search queries), or sandboxed (a filter is placed on your website to downgrade your keyword rankings).

If you pursue “whitehat” SEO strategies, avoid illegal behavior online, and generally avoid spammy methods, you won’t have to worry about getting hit with a manual penalty.

7. There Are Problems with Your Content

If your content is unoriginal, poorly formatted, or ripped from other sources, you’re never going to do as well as you could.  Simple as that.  It’s often easier to learn from bad examples than good ones, so we’ve compiled some horrible advice to help show you exactly what not to do when you’re writing for the web.

Incorrect Formatting with H2s, H3s, etc.

The large heading immediately above these words is called an H2.  The “H” stands for header.  The “2” means that this type of header carries less weight than your H1 (i.e. your page title), but more weight than your H3s (which should be used sparingly).  H2s have a few purposes: they break the page up visually, they tell Google that the words contained inside are important, and they quickly direct readers to specific subtopics they might have questions about.

So here’s what happens when you don’t use H2s.

First, you force your readers to scale a boring, endless wall of text.  It’s a tiresome journey, and your weary visitors are all but guaranteed to start losing focus.  From there, it’s only a matter of time before they leave your page in pursuit of content which is more engaging and digestible — perhaps written content featuring some nice pictures and bullet points.  To this effect, user engagement is becoming more of a factor in how visible Google makes the content on your site.  Several experiments have been conducted using improvements in visitor behavior and its correlation to search rank.  It’s been speculated for years and is now becoming more of a reality that Google looks at visitor behavior as one of the components of rank.  The link for the recent experiment that proved this escapes me but I will come back and edit this post later when I dig it up. Breaking up content with H2s or CSS that formats H2s to your website’s style is very good for increasing visitor engagement.

At the same time you’re forcing your readers to wade through a swamp of identical paragraphs, you’re also telling Google, “Don’t worry, there’s no particular phrase or word on this page that’s important to rank for.”  Remember, all body content carries similar weight.  Without H2s, Google has no way of knowing which terms you want to emphasize.

Stuffing too Many H2s

Since H2s are so important, maybe it’s best to just hammer your keywords home with constant repetition.  Perhaps if the term “Hypothetical Example Phrase” appears in all four of your H2s, it’ll have four times the weight.

That’s logical — but it’s wrong.  There’s a fine line between nudging keywords to the top of your content hierarchy in a natural way, and banging Google over the head with obvious and spammy repetition.  Far from being helpful to your rankings, constantly reiterating a certain term — particularly a lengthy or obscure niche term — is a giant red flag.  Less is more where H2 phrasing is concerned.  Instead of putting all your eggs into one big basket of spam, spread the H2 love and cover all of your desired bases lightly.

Thinking it’s Okay to Plagiarize Some Content

Needless to say, some Internet sources have more credibility than others.  Let’s say, for example, that you’re curious about the gun laws in your state.  Are you going to turn to websites and actual legal statutes, or Dark_xx_Fire’s opinionated, gif-replete forum? For most people, that’s not exactly Sophie’s Choice.

But while the preference for certain information sources is logical and justified, it’s also led to an unfortunate byproduct: rampant plagiarism of content. Plagiarism also doesn’t always take the form that you think it would.  One of the most common forms of duplicate content triggers that we see are bulleted lists of laws and statutes. These are great things to have on your site, however, 250 other sites in the same state probably have the same or similar wording on their sites.

It’s completely understandable that you want to present your readers with the most accurate and legitimate information possible.  However, that is not an invitation to copy and paste huge chunks of text from legislation,.gov websites, academic studies, or any other reliable source.  Not unlike a tech-savy high school English teacher, Google’s algorithm is good at detecting plagiarism — and at penalizing the offending “writer.”  We know copy-pasting is a tempting time-saver, but the penalties just aren’t worth it.

Not only that, plagiarism doesn’t even make sense from the reader’s point of view.  If the reader wanted to read the study or statute, that’s what they would Google — but they didn’t.  They’re on your page for a reason.  Think about your target audience, and write in a way that gives them helpful, human insight into the original content.  Don’t write for your peers — write for your clients.

Get Your Law Firm’s Website to Show Up on Google

It takes time and strategic effort, but your law firm can be visible in Google search. For help showing up on Google, ranking better for your desired keywords, or increasing your organic lead volume, get in touch with us by calling (215) 309-1631.

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