Common Title & Header Mistakes on Law Firm Websites

by Nov 21, 2019

When your potential clients conduct searches related to their case or problem, one of the first impressions they may get of your law firm is the title of one of your webpages.

That means your page titles need to be compelling enough to drive traffic to your site, and your page’s headers need to be compelling enough to keep a reader engaged. However, there are some common mistakes that we see attorneys make with their page titles and page headers, which can make otherwise compelling content less appealing to a web visitor.

Here are the three most common mistakes related to titles and headers on law firm websites.

Don’t disregard the importance of law firm webpage titles and headers.

Titles and headers are important to your potential clients. They’ll use your titles and headers to make decisions about whether they want to visit a page on your law firm’s website or continue reading what you’ve written. When you’ve got a good title, it sticks out to your potential clients and encourages them to follow back to your law firm’s website.

Once they’re at your law firm’s website, your potential clients will use headers to scan for the most valuable information. Your headers serve as a visual guide, and also as a visual speedbump. At each header, the reader can determine whether they want to stop and digest the information below the header or carry on scanning the page for other details.

Search engine users rely on good titles and headers, and search engines do, too. Search engines use your titles and headers (along with your body content) to determine if a page is relevant to a query. It’s essential to create comprehensive titles and headers that provide a thorough explanation of what a potential client is likely to find on that page.

Don’t overlook the elements of compelling titles and headers.

Good titles and headers are strategic. Here are the elements of a persuasive law firm website title and headers:

Is your title/header written for potential clients? Just as Google notes that you should create pages for users, not for search engines, the same is true of your titles and headers. (We’ll talk more about the trouble with keyword-stuffed titles/headers below.) Be sure that the titles, headers, and content you create focus on the needs of your potential clients, and the questions they’re asking.

Is your title/header descriptive and unique? Let’s say that you’re writing a page that covers the topic of vehicular manslaughter charges. While your first instinct might be to title the page as “Vehicular Manslaughter Charges,” think about how many other pages on the web might have titles that read the same way. You want to be sure that your titles and headers are both descriptive and unique, which means getting creative with your title. So, instead, you might want to choose a title such as: “Distracted Driving Accidents May Result in Vehicular Manslaughter Charges in San Diego.” 

Note how this title tells the reader a great deal more about what they might find on the page — and whether it’s relevant to their geographic needs. We’ll discuss incorporating local elements below.

Is your title/header local? Remember that your potential clients have a habit of thinking locally, not legally. Good titles and headers often include a local element. You may want to go beyond the state level to get a more granular focus. 

For example, let’s say the scenario is this: A potential client for a personal injury firm in Nashville was injured in a wreck. However, she was on the phone when the wreck occurred. She’s concerned that she’s not going to be able to get compensation for that reason.

Some attorneys might choose a vague title like: “Compensation for car accident personal injury Tennessee”. This title sounds like a bunch of keywords thrown together.

Try something instead like: “Can I still get compensation for a car accident injury in Nashville if I was on the phone?” 

This title is much more descriptive. You’ve mentioned your specific geographic location instead of trying to compete for all of Tennessee. It directly addresses a potential client’s question. This title is likely a close match to a related query.

Avoid keyword-stuffed titles and headers.

You may have heard that your titles or headers should include certain kinds of keywords, such as multiple variations on terms like attorney (attorney, attorneys, lawyer, etc.). Or that law firm SEO requires stuffing as many keywords as possible into titles and headers and the body text on your website. Neither strategy is effective.

The “secret” to creating a good title or header is accurately summarizing what the page or section is about. For example, a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia might have a page with information about drug possession charges. 

A good title for this particular page might be:

What You Need to Know About Fighting Felony Drug Charges in Philadelphia

A keyword-stuffed version of that title might look like this:

Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer, PA Criminal Defense Lawyers, Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney, Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorneys.

While the first title is quite informative, the second doesn’t tell you anything. It’s just a bunch of keywords. Keep in mind that Google has gotten wise to this kind of behavior and seeks to eliminate it from search results. If it’s not going to be useful to users who make a query about felony drug charges, it’s not going to be useful to Google. The search engine wants to keep its users, which means providing them with the best possible results for any given query.

Learn more about creating law firm webpage titles and headers the right way

Good titles and headers are important but often overlooked. However, when you craft your titles and headers with potential clients in mind, they help your potential clients find you. They can also guide potential clients to the information that you want them to consume. To learn more about developing compelling titles and headers, listen to our podcast episode: “How to Add Law Firm Webpage Titles & Headers the Right Way.”

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