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What is an SEO Title Tag?

Written by Gary Honold on . Posted in .
Home > Blog > What is an SEO Title Tag?

Key Takeaways:

  • Title tags summarize the content of a page in a few words to help search engine users.
  • Some of the most common mistakes include tags that are too long, too generic, or stuffed with keywords.
  • It is best to front-load the keywords into the title to increase click-through rate.
  • Array Digital has the experience and expertise to optimize your title tags and greater digital marketing efforts with customized solutions unique to your law firm.

Search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns require useful title tags for any kind of content or webpage, so optimizing the page title alone is a worthwhile endeavor. Not only do you need to know how to create compelling title tags, but you should be able to identify those that are not improving click-through rates.

Optimizing page titles to be both compelling and keyword-rich can be difficult for law firms. If you want to apply these strategies yourself, the following guidelines will help you get the best results.

Your time is valuable, but your SEO marketing efforts are critical to practice growth. Array Digital can tackle this work for you, creating an SEO campaign that incorporates best practices, alleviating the time demand from your law firm.

What is a Title Tag in SEO?

screen shots of how seo title tags look in serps

A title tag is a tag for a web page designed for internet browsers and search engines to use. When you have several browser tabs open, for example, each tab will have the title displayed. The same is true for titles of pages as they appear on search results. This title is embedded in the HTML code of the web page.

Think of a title tag as a quick way to identify the most important aspects of a web page. The title tag must concisely explain the content of the page enough to the point that users will know whether or not they want to click the result, assuming that the title tag is accurate.

Title tags offer several purposes:

  • They determine how your page ranks in the search engines (Google, Bing, and others)
  • They are a free way to increase the number of clicks your website gets.
  • They help the right people — your target audience of most likely clients — to get to your page, driving leads to your firm.
  • Title tags can appear in link previews, including on instant messaging apps and social media sites.
  • These tags appear in the browse tabs, helping people to remember to click back to your site if they have moved on.

Examples of Title Tags

Imagine you are a personal injury lawyer at Smith Law Firm and post a blog about what to do after a car accident.

While the title of the actual blog may be, “10 Things to Do After a Car Accident in New York,” the SEO title could read, “What to Do After a Car Accident | Smith Law Firm”.

In the HTML code, this SEO title would appear as follows, “<title>What to Do After a Car Accident | Smith Law Firm</title>.

Just note that including the brand name of your firm is not always necessary and can be detrimental when it limits room for better descriptors about your web page.

Consider some examples of title tags for SEO:

  • Comparative Negligence in South Carolina | Smith Law Firm
  • Criminal Defense Attorney in Cleveland | Smith Law Firm
  • How to File a Police Report in Miami | Smith Law Firm

When displayed in the SERPs, these titles are the first thing a searcher sees. Ask yourself what someone needs to read to make the decision to click.

Why are Title Tags Important to SEO?

Title tags are essential for SEO because it’s a ranking factor that Google considers when listing search results. Google has outright stated that its algorithm uses title tags as one of the major factors in determining page relevance.

Your title tag ultimately determines if someone will click on your listing on the search engine results page (SERPs) or on the competitors.

Title tags also help search engines understand what the page is about and, therefore, how relevant your page is to the searcher. This is why they must contain the target keyword for that page — the main topic of that page.

Optimizing Your Title Tags for Better Search Engine Results

Utilizing the following best practices for title tags, your firm will be in a much better position to rank higher in the SERPs. At the same time, they provide the right information to encourage a searcher to click, driving valuable, targeted traffic to your website.

How Long Should an SEO Title Tag Be?

While there is no strict character limit for title tag length, there are only so many characters that can appear in a search result in terms of pixels available. It’s generally best to keep the title tag between 50 and 60 characters. The wide range is due to title tags being displayed by width rather than length.

Since width is being measured for displaying the title tag on SERPs, you’ll want to avoid practices that lead to unnecessary width. Here are some examples of what not to do:

  • Don’t use all caps since capital letters are wider and physically take up more pixels on the screen.
  • Avoid using dashes and hyphens; instead, use colons or pipes (“|”) since they are significantly narrower.
  • All punctuation is not treated equally, as a question mark is far wider than a period or exclamation point.
  • Use “&” instead of “and” to save space.

Simple changes like this help meet Google’s requirements while also making the title tag easier to read.

Front-Load Your Keywords

When you are trying to rank a page for a target keyword, try to place it near the beginning of the title so it’s easy to see.

How Title Tags Affect Your SEO

Good title tags can improve your page’s click-through rate, which subsequently benefits your search engine ranking. Google monitors not only if people click but what happens after they do.

If the title is misleading, users may immediately exit the page. Remember, engagement is critical to improve conversions for your law firm. Ensuring that your content is cohesive provides a better user experience overall.

Common Mistakes When Creating Title Tags

infographic on seo title tags

Maintaining best practices when creating title tags means avoiding common mistakes. Here are some of the most widespread mistakes we’ve seen when it comes to title tags.

Keyword Stuffing

The Google algorithm actively punishes keyword stuffing (the overuse of keywords) by making content rank lower or not appear in results at all, and title tags are treated no differently.

  • Use the keyword once, then use the rest to offer more detail about the page.
  • Just use one keyword in the title tag.
  • Research your keywords so that you can choose the most appropriate for your target audience.
  • Do include location or geo elements when possible.

Using a generic title tag like “Home Page” misses a huge opportunity to attract clicks and provide value to users.

Using the Same Titles

Titles need to be unique to offer specific information to people conducting searches. Using duplicate titles makes it more difficult for users to find relevant information. That, in turn, leads to Google search results ranking your pages lower for not being as useful. By maintaining a unique title tag, you have a better shot at pinpointing the particular audience that would benefit most from your content.

Long Titles

If the title is too long, part of the title could be cut off, leaving users unable to discern the context of the page. If they take a chance and find that it’s not what they’re looking for, they’re going to click off quickly, which Google will interpret as unhelpful content.

Concision is key when writing title tags, but remember not to keep things too vague, either. It’s a balancing act that’s worth getting right.

Aim to keep the title tag concise and, if you have descriptors or added information you want the searcher to see, incorporate that content into your meta description. That gives you more room to flesh out the title and page description.

Why Law Firms Partner with Array Digital

At Array Digital, we specialize in unique SEO strategies for law firms that allow lawyers to stand out among the competition and target the people who would benefit most from their services.

  • We use a results-based approach and continuously optimize, as SEO is an ongoing growth tactic.
  • We monitor results and make changes as needed to provide greater visibility for our clients’ websites.
  • We believe that templated solutions simply aren’t good enough. That’s why we offer custom services for each law firm.

What makes you unique is what’s going to make you stand out from the competition and reach potential clients who would benefit most from your services. Take a look at what some of our clients had to say about our custom solutions.

Testimonials

“Kevin and his team at Array Digital are true professionals and really know what they are doing.  I highly recommend working with Kevin and his company. Also, check his podcast out as it is a great resource for all types of attorneys.” — Ben L.

“Kevin and the Array Digital team are exceptional at what they do! If you are looking to grow your law firm, look no further. Array is the expert team that you need to take the complexities of digital marketing off of your plate and bring customers that need you to your doorstep.” — Greg T.

“…Array provides a personalized, attentive experience. I can tell that they value all of their partnerships and take pride in providing honest pricing and products that are backed by knowledge and experience. We trust Array with our name, brand and reputation 100%. Thanks Array, we look forward to working with you for many years to come.” — Jessica V.

Additional Resources

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If you are ready to improve your law firm’s SEO, Array Digital can offer experience and expert strategies for your marketing efforts, including optimizing title tags. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about how you can optimize your website to boost your rankings as much as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my H1 tag and title tag be the same?

The H1 tag and title tag should not be the same. Keeping them the same does not actively do harm, but it does prevent you from the opportunity to use variations of your primary keyword.

If you can use different title variations in the H1 and another in the title tag without resorting to keyword stuffing, you will have a greater chance of ranking for the keyword overall.

How are title tags updated?

You can update title tags through your content management system (CMS). In WordPress, for example, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin to make a specific SEO title field to fill out.

Additionally, you can implement the title tag in the HTML element directly if you prefer by using the <title>Sample Title</title> method. Note that the title tag should be located in the <head> section of the page’s HTML code.

Update title tags when:

  • You are not getting the traffic you expected
  • Your target keyword for the page changes
  • There’s too much competition for the current phrase, and your results are being buried as a result.
How long after updating title tags will it take to reflect in search engines?

It can take quite some time for your title tag change to be reflected in search engines if you change the title and do nothing else. You can speed up the time, however, by having Google index your page again, which you can initiate through the Google Search Console. Once doing so, search results will often use the updated title tag after just a few days.

If you need help updating and changing your existing title tags, let our team at Array Digital handle this task for you. We’ll ensure it’s updated following best practices and then indexed as soon as possible.

Written By Gary Honold
I am a digital marketer and SEO manager with 30+ years’ experience driving web traffic, leads, and conversions for clients in highly competitive markets.

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