What is a title tag?
A title tag is a piece of HTML code that you attribute to a specific page. The content of a title tag is what is displayed in search results and, as a result, title tags are one of the most impactful elements of on-site SEO for lawyers1. Ideally, they should be comprehensive, but it is equally important that they be concise. Ultimately, a title tag should represent the intent of the page (i.e., why this page exists).
Why should attorneys optimize a title tag?
When properly optimized, a title tag helps Google understand the intent of your page. A better understanding of intent will lead to more accurate search results, as Google will have a firmer grasp of which consumers are looking for a page like yours.
Law Firm Advertising Ethics and Title Tags
Attorneys should be cautious when employing SEO agencies who do not specialize in the legal vertical. Many common SEO keywords (e.g., superlatives such as “best,” “top,” etc.) are violations of bar association guidelines for lawyer advertising ethics.
Title Tag Length: Maximizing Available Space
There is a character limit (roughly 65-80) for how much of a title tag Google will display before truncating (shortening) it. It is our recommendation that title tags be 65 characters or fewer. Adhering to character lengths and other Google best practices2 will ensure that your titles will show up clean and untruncated in Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Auditing Your Title Tags
One of the best tools for evaluating titles on your site is Screaming Frog SEO Spider3. It’s free for up to 500 pages and a license for wider access is around $100.
- Once the tool is downloaded and installed on your computer, plug in your domain name and it will crawl the pages of your site.
- After the software is finished crawling pages, click on the Page Titles tab to see the page title, page, and title length for every page crawled on the site.
You can even see a preview of what the title would look like in a SERP, so it’s easier to frame how you want it to read.
How To Write A Title Tag In WordPress?
- Install the Yoast SEO plugin4.
- Remove the site name found in WordPress settings (generally found on the left-hand sidebar): WordPress Dashboard > Settings > General.
This allows the built-in Yoast shortcode %%sitename%% to be displayed within a title tag.
- Locate the post or page you wish to update by using the dashboard for navigation and click the Edit button below the page/post.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page to the Yoast SEO section, then click on the Snippet Preview to update the SEO title.
Note: Remember to limit your title to 65 characters.
- Click Publish (located near the top right side of the page), then check for accuracy.
Title Tag Best Practices for Attorneys
Generally, when it comes to law firm SEO, we recommend only targeting one geography per page.
For example, a Chicago car accident lawyer should only target Chicago in a page title. We recommend creating a separate page for the purposes of targeting county-, state-, or nation-wide terms (e.g., “Cook County car accident lawyer,” “Illinois car accident lawyer,” “hire a car accident lawyer”).
This practice makes it easier for Google to ascertain the geographic intent of a page. In addition, it’s easier to take advantage of geographic permalink optimization of the URL (e.g., /chicago-car-accident-lawyer/, /illinois-car-accident-lawyer/, etc.).
It is also my considered opinion that including a phone number in a title tag is a poor practice. The logic behind this is that Google may measure click-throughs after a search query. If you have given a potential client your contact information without needing to actually visit your site, Google may interpret the lack of clicks to your pages as a bad result for that particular query.
Try to make your title tags compelling by using words and phrases such as “experienced,” “how much is your case worth,” “free consultation,” etc. Bear in mind that advertising ethics guidelines regarding superlatives in law firm title tags may vary from state to state.
Lastly, it’s important to avoid duplicate title tags and keyword stuffing (including the same phrase multiple times in the title of the page). Duplicate tags cause targeting confusion and missed opportunities.
Law Firm Title Tag Examples
Below are some examples of optimized title tags.
- <title>Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer | Firm Name</title>
- <title>Houston Car Accident Attorney | Firm Name</title>
- <title>Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer | Firm Name</title>
- <title>Phoenix Family Law Attorney | Firm Name</title>
- <title>Pittsburgh Employment Lawyer | Firm Name</title>
- <title>Melville Bankruptcy Attorney | Firm Name</title>
Search Console Help — Create Good Titles and Snippets in Search Results https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35624?hl=en. Accessed 25 Apr. 2019.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/. Accessed 25 Apr. 2019.
Yoast: The #1 WordPress SEO Plugin https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/. Accessed 25 Apr. 2019.