According to Google Support Center, Google Search Console is "a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site's presence in Google Search results". It contains a series of tools which help you understand:
At the same time, Google Search Console offers your data on the performance of each individual keyword, web page and other useful details on user interaction with your website, such as:
When you talk to some legal marketing experts, they may tell you that the quickest way of getting results, i.e., more traffic and more clients, is investing in PPC (pay per click) campaigns. We will not dispute this, but what you want is constant visibility for your online presence, not just a quick spike in website traffic.
SEO efforts take more time until you see the first results, but their positive effects are also longer lasting. When you stop paying for Google ads or other types of paid marketing, you will stop seeing the results. With a solid SEO strategy for your law firm site, you will continue to generate traffic from prospective clients for a long time.
So, what is the role of Google Search Console in boosting the presence of your law firm in search engine result pages and optimizing your ongoing digital marketing campaign? This set of free tools from Google will help you identify:
Before we discuss the benefits of using Google Search Console for your lawyer SEO strategy, let us show you around this tool, starting with the basics.
The basic prerequisite for using this tool is having a Google account. You cannot use your divorce attorney professional email address, but one that you use for personal reasons (Gmail free mail from Google).
In your browser, type search.google.com/search-console/about in the search bar and then click on "Get Started". You will be asked to log in to your Google account.
The next step is to add your website. The panel will offer you two options:
Our recommendation is to add your domain, especially if you are in the process of migrating your law firm site from HTTP to HTTPS. You will avoid many crawling and indexing issues, such as broken links, bad URL redirects, etc.
The last step is to verify the ownership over the web domain. You can do this in one of the two ways:
When you open the Google Search Console dashboard, you will see a menu on the left side, containing three main sections:
Each of these sections contains different tools you can use to monitor your website. Let us look at the ones that are most important for your law firm:
This tool helps you understand how your website performs in Google Search results. You can see:
You can download the Performance report for the entire website, or customize it for various metrics which are important to you, such as:
You can also find out what type of device the visitors are using to browse your website. Even if you do not get a lot of traffic from mobile devices, we advise you to make sure that your website is mobile friendly. Starting with this year, Google is using the mobile-first indexing method. This means that the mobile version of a website is the primary version that Google spiders crawl and index. Not having a website optimized for mobile devices will actually penalize your website and demote it from Google rankings.
One of the latest additions to the Performance tool is the Google News report. It gives you insights on the way visitors interact with your site on Android and Apple devices, as well as on news.google.com.
The URL inspection tool shows you how Google indexes your website. You simply have to type in the URL of your site in the search bar, and, if there are no issues, you will get a confirmation that your site is on Google and can appear in search results.
You can also check a more detailed report that shows all the pages of your website actually indexed by Google. In case of indexing errors, they will appear in this report, together with the specific error description. In some cases, you will get a notification that the page is indexed, but with a warning, meaning that there is an issue with it that you should look into.
The Coverage tool will display the status of all your web pages - both indexed and not indexed. This is where you should look for any crawl errors - you will get an explanation for the reason why Google could not crawl a page. The main reasons for these coverage issues are:
The Core Web Vitals tool has also recently been added to the Google Search Console, because one of the most recent Google updates to its ranking algorithm includes these criteria. The Core Web Vitals refer to:
The Core Web Vitals represent may not be the most important ranking signal, but it definitely is on a par with keyword rankings, for instance. In the corresponding tool in Google Search Console you will see how your website performs from this point of view).
Last but not least, the Mobile Usability tool shows you whether users experienced difficulties in interacting with your site on mobile devices. Google collects behavior data from website visitors and gives webmasters a list of design or development issues that prevent an optimal browsing experience.
The last section of the Google Search Console is called Security & Manual Actions. This is where you can find out if your website is secure and safe to use by visitors. Also, if your website violates any of Google's guidelines, you will be notified that a manual action was taken against it.
The notification is detailed and contains:
Once you believe that you completed all the suggested steps to solve the issue, you should go back to the notification and click on the Reconsideration Request button.
The Google Search Console offers you a wealth of information on several aspects, such as how Google indexes your site (the Coverage report) and how your site performs in searches (Performance report). But you can go beyond these basic data, and extract valuable information that will shape your SEO strategy and help you bring more potential clients on your website.
Here are a few suggestions:
The Performance tool shows you both how your chosen keywords perform, but also what terms users actually typed in to find your site. When you notice a pattern of keywords emerging, you can use these details to research new keywords, including for local search and being featured on Google Maps.
The terms used by visitors tend to sound more natural than suggestions made by online tools. They are usually long-tail keywords, which are less competitive than the ideal keyword for your law firm (such as family law attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, etc.).
You invest in SEO effort, content creation, and other services, but do you get any results? Did your average click-through rate increase? Did your conversion rate grow? You can find all these data in the customized reports you can generate and download from your Google Search Console dashboard.
They will help you plan your marketing budget in a smarter and more effective manner.
Is your content reaching the right audience? And does it prove interesting and useful to them? You can measure this with the Performance tool. You can opt to see your top-performing pages and identify your top-performing content.
If your blog posts are among the top results, then you have a winning content strategy. If they do not perform well, you should take a look and see what the problem may be:
Based on your best-performing topics, you can discover the types of topics that your website visitors are most interested in. Thus, you can start searching for new content ideas around these topics. Actually, this is one of the best practices for improving your page rank: creating content pillars around main topics and expanding them with detailed articles. This is one of the ways in which Google verifies the relevance of a website to a specific search query.
Every warning and notification you find in the Google Search Console is accompanied by an explanation of what went wrong and suggestions to fix this issue. Websites may develop various crawling and indexing errors over time if you do not perform an audit from time to time.
The most common errors that prevent Google from indexing your website correctly are:
Some of these issues are easy to fix on your own. For others, you should rely on a professional digital marketing agency, who can offer your complete website development and management services, besides SEO and content writing.
One of the most valuable resources you have is time. This is not something you can ever get back. As a lawyer, you should devote most of your time to your clients, reviewing their cases and preparing their defense.
Unfortunately, SEO efforts take a lot of time. You should constantly monitor the Google Search Console to identify both positive and negative results. You need to act quickly based on these data and adapt your digital marketing and SEO strategy.
This is where an experienced legal marketing agency steps in. A team of seasoned professionals can help your law firm website generate qualified organic traffic and grow the number of customers. From the audit of your website to keyword research and monitoring the Google Search Console, digital marketing professionals will do the laborious and technical work, while you will see the results.
At Triple Digital, we rely on our experienced team and on the most innovative marketing techniques to help all clients achieve their goals: growing their business, creating a visible and valuable brand name, expanding their market share.
We are experienced in working with law firms in various specializations - from personal injury attorneys to criminal defense lawyers. Thus, we know the challenges you face and we have tested and proven solutions to make your website more visible to potential clients in Google searches.
Don't waste valuable time trying to handle all the aspects of your business - let the professionals at Triple Digital help you with your SEO efforts. Call us now: 1-833-TripleD.