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Can Law Firms Trigger a Complete Website Re-Indexing on Google?

by Julie Lorson • February 13th, 2024 • Digital Marketing, SEO | Blog

Indexing is a crucial part of maintaining your site’s discoverability and visibility. However, indexing is a process that is generally out of the control of website owners. There are several good reasons why your law firm might want to instigate a total website re-indexing on Google, including content updates and SEO improvements. 

In a video from John Mueller, a Google search lead, he stated that there is really no way to trigger a recrawl and reprocessing of a website all at once. In a video published by Google, he shared: “Today’s question is whether there’s a mechanism to request re-indexing of a whole website at once.” His response was: 

“Unfortunately, no. There is currently no way to trigger a recrawl and reprocessing of a whole website all at once. When you make major changes to a website, search engines will generally update those automatically over time. There’s nothing additional that you have to do.”

However, the Google search expert did provide some suggestions for webmasters who hope to trigger a reindex process on their website. We will break down the tactics here. 

Proactive Approaches to Website Re-Indexing and SEO Optimization

  1. Use 301 response codes to alert search engines that a web page has moved so that the new pages are discovered. We know it’s essential to add a 301 redirect when a webpage’s URL changes. This kicks off a server response that encourages search engines to seek out a new page for indexing. If the webpage is entirely the same content, then it likely won’t have any effect on ranking. However, if the content on the page also changes, then there’s a possibility that a site quality re-evaluation could be triggered. 
  2. Use 404 server response codes to tell search engines that a page no longer exists. In these cases, again the search engines may be triggered to go in search of the page’s new location which may include some new indexing efforts. 
  3. Google tends to give high priority to crawling important pages of a website like the home page, which means that linking key pages from important pages is a good strategy. Whenever you add new pages, make sure they’re linked from other high-quality pages on your site. 
  4.  Important changes such as new telephone numbers (and probably street addresses) should ideally be noted on the most important existing pages of a website. Critical pages tend to be checked more often by search engines so that is where changes are most likely to be noticed. 
  5. Use sitemaps. Most websites support these by default so you shouldn’t need to do anything special, but they can help with ongoing indexing. 

There are a few important notes, though. What we’re talking about here is a complete re-indexing of a whole website. While there aren’t currently surefire ways to trigger such an effort, it’s worth noting that changes you make to your website over time will be gradually indexed without any further effort from you – meaning, the indexing of new or adapted content will happen on its own. So if the reason you want to have things re-indexed is because you’ve made important changes, you can trust that those changes will be seen and indexed over time on the part of search engines without interference from you. 

Furthermore, in the video, this detail was provided: “The one time where we do have to kind of reconsider how the site works is if the site does a serious restructuring of its website where it changes a lot of the URLs and all of the internal links change, where..everything looks different.” So, major changes are more likely to trigger an entire re-indexing effort, which is what you would want to see if you made such updates to your site. 

Takeaway: 

While there is no surefire way to trigger a re-indexing of your entire site at your behest, you shouldn’t need to if you are making strategic and ongoing changes. Search engines automatically keep up with these changes, but making sure to use redirect links and including internal links from your most important pages will help. If you completely overhaul your website, you can expect a search engine to understand this and reindex it within a matter of months. You can get other advice directly from Google by following #AskGooglebot on X, or reach out to our web experts for advice that applies directly to your website.

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