WordPress has an automated setting that includes your firm’s name at the end of the title tag on all pages and posts. This conforms to the industry wide best practice showcasing the website brand at the end of a page title in the search results, separated by the “|” (pipe) character. See the brand title tags for Foot Locker, Eastbay.com, Road Runner Sports and Zappos in the query for “nike running shoes.”
These title tags use the brand to lend a feel of comfort and familiarity in order to draw your click. There’s no reason your law firm can’t do the same thing. (Note how Zappos has cleverly added a value proposition – Shipped Free – to the title.
Lots of you have really long names–names so long your receptionist gets winded answering the phone. “Nacht, Roumel, Savlatore, Blanchard & Walker, P.C.” “The Law Firm of Janice M. Greening, LLC” “Wahn Mayer Smith Creber Lyons Torrance & Stevenson” (a real name from the 90s). You get the point. Adding these brands to a title tag to show up in a search query is simply not going to work. For firms with exceedingly long names, these create page titles that exceed the displayed character limit (70 including spaces), leading to a less-than-stellar branding experience.
Title Tags Gone Long
Let’s review the search results for “seattle car accident law firm” with an eye toward what would draw the click (regardless of ranking).
Notice the first result from Avvo –which uses up every single character to offer value (find the best), hit the keywords (Car Accident Lawyer in Seattle) and leaves room to sneak in the eight-character .com brand. Just good luck? I doubt it. This was deliberate. So Avvo did it right, now lets move down the list. Following Avvo, we have The Jones Law Firm with a title tag that not only gets cut off but suggests that this Seattle Auto Accident Attorney is in Bell… view. And as far as most Seattlities are concerned, although Bellevue is just across the lake, it might as well be in another state as far as hiring an attorney. In the next result, someone tried to get the brand in there, but we are left with a brand cut in half: “| Phillips L . . . ” The next result doesn’t even have a brand, but does a great job of trying to demonstrate some geographic keyword stuffing – that also gets cut in half. Finally we end up with Wattel & York – and I would argue that this is done perfectly: clear keyword association and a very easy to read brand at the end–just like Foot Locker and Zappos etc. above. In the split second the user takes to decide where to click, Wattel & York is the most obvious choice.
What to Do If You Have a Very Long Law Firm Brand That Goes On And On With Lots of Words That No One Really Is Going to Take The Time To Read So They Will Click On Your Competition Instead
Fortunately the (free) Yoast SEO plug-in for WordPress makes it very easy to not only see if your Title tag is too long, but to override it as you see fit. Here’s an example from this very post where the title itself is too long:
And now, I’ve made the very easy manual fix:
Its very easy to customize the Title Tag for each page to include the branding within the character limits – just like Avvo did in our example above. Here’s three different pages from a foreclosure defense law firm that has taken the time to incorporate branding through customized title tags, based on the individual pages: