What Are Title Tags and How to Optimize Them

By Lisa


Category: SEO

What is a title tag?

The title tag is an HTML element used to briefly describe the topic of a web page and is essential in optimizing your website for both SEO and user experience. The title tag is displayed in two places:

It shows in your browser here-

title tags

It also shows up in the search results here-

title tags

Why it’s important:

  1. Google places a high level of weight in the algorithm for this tag.
  2. It’s highly visible in the search results so it’s not only important for SEO, but also for getting prospects to click on your link to visit your site.

How to change your title tags

Homepage – What to change your title tags to:

If your firm has multiple practice areas, it can be OK on the homepage to include up to three of them in the title tag. Additionally, whereas we prefer to have the firm name at the end of the title tags on subpages, it’s actually best to put the firm name first on homepages.

The format would be as follows: “Law Firm Name – [City] [Practice Areas] Attorney”

Homepage Examples:

  • Personal Injury Firm Example: Smith & Whitestocking – NYC Personal Injury & Car Accident Attorney
  • Bankruptcy Firm Example: Smith & Whitestocking – NYC Bankruptcy & Chapter 13 Attorney
  • Divorce Firm Example: Smith & Whitestocking – NYC Divorce & Family Law Attorney
  • Elder Law Firm Example: Smith & Whitestocking – NYC Elder Law, Probate and Estate Planning Attorney
  • Criminal Defense Example: Smith & Whitestocking – NYC Criminal Defense & DWI Attorney

Sub-Page – What to change your title tags to:

The best format for a sub-page title tag is “[City] [Practice Area] Attorney – Law Firm Name”

Sub-Page Examples:

  • Car Accident Page Example: NYC Car Accident Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking
  • Bankruptcy Page Example: NYC Bankruptcy Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking
  • Personal Injury Page Example: NYC Personal Injury Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking
  • Divorce Page Example: NYC Divorce Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking
  • Child Custody Page Example: NYC Child Custody Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking
  • Estate Planning Page Example: NYC Estate Planning Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking
  • Probate Page Example: NYC Car Probate Attorney – Smith & Whitestocking

Getting Geeky – Advanced Tip:

As you will notice in the title tag example above for Black Fin, we used the phrase “Results-Driven” to help differentiate our company from the competition. As you progress in this training, we would suggest you revisit your title tags in 4 months to rewrite them to be more persuasive. Don’t worry, we will remind you of this at the 4 month mark.

Common Mistakes

  • Title tags that are too long
  • Title tags that don’t include the primary keyword
  • Title tags that don’t include the brand name, or the correct brand name per the Google Map (GMB) listing.

Additional Notes

  • Every web page and blog post should have a unique title tag
  • Title tags should be no more than 70 characters (Here’s a character counter tool: http://www.charactercountonline.com/)
  • We do not suggest using state abbreviations in your title tag. It wastes space. Instead, use a state abbreviation in your headline (H1 Tag).
  • While we generally use the hyphen (-) in our title tags, it’s also acceptable to use other separators such as the pipe symbol (|).
  • Always make sure to check your work when finished. If your title tags aren’t updating properly, you may need to “force rewrite” your titles by following the instructions on this page: https://kb.yoast.com/kb/the-seo-title-output-for-the-plugin-doesnt-work-as-expected/

Additional Resources:

  • SEW’s Title Tag Guide: https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/05/16/how-to-write-meta-title-tags-for-seo-with-good-and-bad-examples/
  • Moz’s Guide: https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag
  • Moz’s Preview Tool: https://moz.com/blog/new-title-tag-guidelines-preview-tool
  • Yoast’s Guide: https://yoast.com/page-titles-seo/
  • Yoast’s Guide to Using Variables: https://kb.yoast.com/kb/yoast-wordpress-seo-titles-metas-template-variables/

Client Review


"I cannot be happier with Gerrid Smith and Black Fin, and highly recommend their services."

- Seth Gladstein, Gladstein Law Firm