On-Site SEO for Lawyers: Title Tag Best Practices for Attorneys
Chris Dreyer | July 30, 2016
What are title tags?
Title tags (also called page titles or just titles) are the strings of text that label a web page. You see them in browser tabs and they also show up in other places like search engine results pages and snippets automatically generated on social media websites. Titles (when configured correctly) give users a description of the page they are about to view. They also help search engines understand the content they are about to crawl.
Title Tag Best Practices
Title tags can be a deceivingly simple and inconsequential part of onsite SEO but they are very important. They are often the first thing a user sees in a search engine results page. The following best practices ensure that pages are relevant to the a target keyword phrase, have good click through rates in SERPs, and are relevant to users.
- Make sure the target keyword phrase for the page is in the title
- The target keyword phrase should be toward the front of the title
- The title should be no longer than 55-65 characters in length
- The title should be compelling and descriptive of the page content
Writing Title Tags Manually
At the most basic level lawyers can program their tags manually using the <title></title> tag. Even though many websites are not set up this way anymore, it helps to understand how it all works. The title tag goes in the head section of an HTML page and is wrapped in title tags like so.
Configuring Title Tags in WordPress Posts or Pages
Attorneys using WordPress can configure titles using one of many different plugins. One of the best plugins for SEO and this type of meta data is the All In One SEO Pack. When creating a page, lawyers simply enter the title of the page in the title section of the plugin before publishing.
Seeing your Titles in Action
It helps to see what your titles will look like in search engine results pages. Then you can see through a user’s eyes how compelling, relevant and click-worthy they are. Screaming Frog SEO Spider is excellent for doing that and lawyers can use it for free.
After you download and install the software, plug in your site’s URL into the software.
Choose a page that you want to add a title to in the page titles tab.
Once you click on a page, click on the SERP snippet tab at the bottom of the page.
In the SERP snippet pane you’ll be able to modify the title of the page to see what it could look like for users in search.
Show My Description
If you didn’t already know, Google doesn’t always show your title tags and other meta data that comes from your page. Sometimes this can work to your advantage (for example if you did not have a title or a meta description on the page). Other times it can be annoying because your carefully crafted title tags may not show searchers.
One way to stop that from happening is to tell search engines to stop doing that with meta tags. The NOODP tag (which stands for no open directory project) tells Google not to generate a snippet using data from the open directory project.
Using this tag, Google will often stop using the title and meta description found in other sources online and start using yours. Note that this does not happen in every case and Google always reserves the right to show their users whatever they think is right. Of course they will always try to show searchers the most relevant content based on their query.