Myths and misinformation abound regarding title tags and their role in search engine optimization (SEO) for law firm websites.
Title tags identify the title of a web page; they’re shown in search engine results pages as the clickable headline for any one result.
When it comes to to effective title tags, a little basic know-how can help you choose title tags that make your law firm website content more relevant to both search engines and to potential clients.
It can also help you avoid ineffective title tag strategies that may decrease the likelihood that a potential client will see your law firm’s website in search results.
Here’s what every lawyer needs to know to create optimal title tags to improve their online visibility and engagement.
Why title tags matter on your law firm’s website.
Title tags can affect the visibility of your law firm website content, both with search engines and potential clients. Understanding the purpose and function of title tags can help you optimize your website’s title tags to drive new business to your firm.
Title tags help search engines return relevant results.
Title tags help search engines understand what your page is about.
The title tag is one (of many) factors that a search engine uses to determine whether a particular web page is relevant to a query and should be returned in search results. The title tags on your law firm’s website provide an initial signal to search engines about the purpose (and relevance) of a particular page.
Search engines will often use title tags to generate the page title that displays in their search results. When you conduct a search, the title tag is the clickable headline featured with each result on the results page.
For example, our most recent SEO blog post uses the following title tag: “4 Quick Law Firm SEO Tips For Attorneys | LawLytics.”
Here’s what this blog post looks like in search results. You can see that the clickable headline is the title tag we chose for the blog post:
The title tag helps both a search engine and a potential website visitor easily understand what the blog post is about, as well its source.
What title tags do for your law firm’s potential clients.
Title tags also help potential clients understand what a page is about.
An accurate and descriptive title tag helps provide search engine users with a quick preview of what they’ll get when they click on a given result.
Search engine users tend to skim and scan results pages to find what they’re looking for. A good title tag can also help grab their attention.
Title tags also appear at the top of a browser window, as you can see below:
It’s important for your chosen title tag to accurately reflect the content on your law firm website’s page. It would be jarring and potentially off-putting for a potential client to see a title tag at the top of their browser that had nothing to do with the actual content on the page.
When your potential clients click on a search engine result, they expect the page’s content to be useful and valuable to them — and related to their query. If the title tag that you’ve chosen doesn’t match the content (or if the page contains thin content), this can decrease the potential client’s trust. They may then navigate away from the page in search of a site that can answer their question.
Your title tag may not always the title that appears in Google.
While title tags help signal to Google what a particular page is about and can influence the title Google displays in search results, the title tag is actually one of several factors Google uses to determine what to call your website in its search results.
If, for example, your law firm website doesn’t follow Google’s guidelines regarding title tags, Google may look for other information to generate the page title in search results.
Google tries to display page titles that that help a user understand why a particular result is relevant to their search query. For example, let’s say a title tag that’s chosen doesn’t match the search query or the title tag is keyword stuffed. If there’s something besides the title tag that better demonstrates the relevance of a result, Google may display a different title instead.
Creating effective title tags for your law firm’s website.
A unique, accurate, and well-chosen title tag tells search engines what your law firm website pages are about and why they might be a relevant for a user’s query. Title tags can also influence a potential client’s first impression of your website and influence their decision to visit your website over a competitor’s.
Poorly chosen title tags, on the other hand, don’t provide search engines or potential clients with enough information to demonstrate why your law firm’s website is useful and relevant for a particular search query.
Bad title tag practices, particularly keyword stuffing, can even have a negative impact on your law firm website’s rankings in search results.
Here are a few tips for creating effective, SEO-friendly and client-friendly title tags for your law firm’s website.
- Use unique title tags for every page. Each page on your website should have a unique title tag. This shows search engines and potential clients that your website contains unique and valuable content. It can help search engines return the most relevant pages from your website in search results.
- Be descriptive. A clear, descriptive title tag helps search engines and web users easily understand the relevance of a web page. For example, the title tag of your homepage shouldn’t just be “home.” That doesn’t tell search engines or potential clients anything about what your law firm does.
- Be concise. There is no limit to the number of characters you can use in a title tag, but Google does limit the length of titles it displays in search results. To avoid having the end of your title cut off in search results, the general recommendation is that title tags should be no longer than 50-60 characters. For example, let’s say you’re a DUI attorney who has a page about car insurance as it relates to a DUI. That page might have the following example title tag: “Atlanta DUIs & Car Insurance: FAQs | Jones Law Offices”
- Put the most important words first. To ensure that the most relevant information doesn’t get cut off when titles display in search results, include the most relevant words at the beginning of your title tag. (As you see in the above example, the information about “Atlanta DUIs” and “Car Insurance” comes before the name of the law office.)
- Be accurate. The title tag should match the content on the page. Google can potentially demote your law firm’s website in search rankings due to inaccurate or misleading title tags that violate its guidelines. It could also be off-putting for potential clients if there is a disconnect between the title of a page and the content on that page.
How to use keywords in your law firm website title tags (without keyword stuffing).
You may have heard that title tags should include a certain kind 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 title tags or elsewhere on your law firm’s website. Neither strategy is effective.
The “secret” to creating a good title tag is accurately summarizing what the page is about. For example, a criminal defense attorney in Reno, NV might have a page with information about drug possession charges. A good title tag for this particular page might be:
Fighting Drug Possession Charges In Reno | Smith & Jones Law
A keyword-stuffed version of that title tag might look like this:
Reno Criminal Defense Lawyer, Criminal Defense Lawyers, Criminal Defense Attorney, Reno Criminal Defense Attorneys.
This kind of keyword stuffing doesn’t provide a good experience for potential clients since it doesn’t help them understand what a page is really about before they click on it in search results. It doesn’t tell a search engine what your page is about, either. In some cases, this kind of keyword stuffing can even harm your site’s Google ranking.
Create SEO and client-friendly title tags with LawLytics.
If you use the LawLytics system, you don’t need to worry about the technical aspects of effective SEO for your law firm’s website.
The LawLytics system automatically adds SEO-friendly tags, including title tags, to your website pages. You don’t have to know anything about HTML coding to create effective law firm website pages. Title tags are automatically created using the page title plus your site’s name.
If you want to change the default title tag, you can edit it by going to the Advanced SEO tab on an individual page.
At LawLytics, we want to empower law firms to be successful without wasting time or money on costly SEO strategies that don’t help bring in new clients. Our state-of-the-art system is designed from the ground up to make success simple for busy attorneys. Learn how our tools can help your firm thrive.