Optimizing Your URL Display: A Primer for Social Media Success
As a digital marketer or content creator, you know that social media is key to driving traffic and building brand awareness. However, simply sharing your content on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter is not enough. To truly capitalize on the power of social media, you need to optimize how your content appears when shared. This is where Open Graph meta tags come in. Open Graph tags are snippets of HTML code you add to your webpage that provide metadata about the page. When someone shares your link on social media, this metadata is used to generate an eye-catching preview of your content that includes an image, title, and description. By implementing Open Graph tags, you can ensure your links stand out in the crowded social media space and encourage more people to click through to your content. In this guide, you will learn the basics of Open Graph tags and how to add them to your website to boost traffic and enhance your social media marketing efforts.
What Are Open Graph Metatags and How Do They Work?
Open Graph metatags are snippets of code that provide information about a URL when it's shared on social media. They allow social networks to understand your content and display an informative preview, including:
- A title that summarizes the content
- A description of the content in 1-2 sentences
- An image that represents the content
- The canonical URL of the content
When you share a link on social media, the receiving platform reads the Open Graph tags and uses that information to create an engaging preview of the content. This helps recipients quickly understand what the link is about and determines whether they want to click through.
To implement Open Graph tags, you add metadata to the section of your webpage's HTML. The required tags are:
You can also include optional tags like and to specify the type of content.
Using Open Graph tags helps search engines index your content more effectively. It also makes links more shareable and clickable on social media, allowing you to gain more traffic, build brand visibility, and strengthen your online presence. With some simple code additions, Open Graph metatags can have a big impact on your website’s social sharing and search optimization.
The 3 Required Open Graph Metatags
To optimize how your web pages are displayed when shared on social media, you must implement Open Graph metatags. The three required metatags are:
- og:title - The title of your web page. This appears as the title link when shared. It should be concise yet descriptive, around 60 characters or less. For example:
- og:description - A short summary of your page content, up to 160 characters. This description shows up as the snippet under the title link. For example:
- og:image - The URL of an image that represents your page content. The image should be at least 200x200 pixels. For example:
Implementing these essential metatags allows social media platforms to properly understand and display your web page content when shared, making it more appealing and engaging for users. Additional optional tags can provide further details about your content to optimize visibility and referral traffic. With some simple code additions, Open Graph metatags are an easy way to enhance how your brand and content are represented across social media.
Optional Open Graph Metatags for Better Social Sharing
The <title> tag contains the title of the page and is displayed at the top of the browser. It is also used as the default title for social sharing if no Open Graph title is specified. For best results, keep your title tag between 50 to 60 characters.
The <meta name="description"> tag contains a brief description of the page content. This description is used as the default content for social sharing if no Open Graph description is specified. Aim for a description of 155 to 160 characters for best display on social media.
The <meta property="og:image"> tag specifies an image URL to be displayed when your page is shared on social media. The image dimensions should be at least 1200 x 630 pixels for best display on Facebook and Twitter. For LinkedIn, the minimum size is 600 x 315 pixels. Using an eye-catching, high-quality image that is relevant to your content can significantly increase engagement and click-through rates.
The <meta property="og:url"> tag specifies the canonical URL of your page. This ensures that the correct URL is displayed when your page is shared, even if there are parameters or multiple URLs that point to the same content.
Site Name Tag
The <meta property="og:site_name"> tag specifies the name of your website. This name is displayed beside your page title and image on social media shares. For brand consistency, use the same name you have selected for your <title> and <meta name="author"> tags.
The <meta property="og:type"> tag specifies the type of content on your page. The most common values are website, article, book, or video. Specifying the content type helps social media platforms better understand and categorize your page.
Use of these optional Open Graph metatags provides more control over how your web pages are displayed when shared on various social media platforms. Optimizing your content for social sharing in this way leads to increased traffic, higher engagement, and improved brand visibility.
Tips for Testing and Debugging Your Open Graph Metatags
To ensure your Open Graph meta tags are functioning properly, it is important to test and debug them. Follow these tips:
Check Your Meta Tags on Facebook’s Sharing Debugger
Facebook provides a useful Sharing Debugger tool that allows you to enter a URL and see how the link will appear when shared on Facebook. Enter your webpage’s URL to view the title, description, image, and any other information extracted from your Open Graph meta tags. Check that the information displayed accurately represents your content. Make any necessary changes to your meta tags directly on your webpage.
Test on Other Social Networks
While Facebook’s Sharing Debugger is helpful, you should also test how your URL will appear when shared on other major social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. These platforms may extract meta tag information differently. Search for your URL on each network or share the link from your personal social media profiles to view how the content appears. Make adjustments to your meta tags as needed.
Ask a Friend to Share and Provide Feedback
Have a friend or colleague share your webpage’s link on their social media profiles. Ask them to provide screenshots of how the link appears on the various networks and platforms. Get their feedback on whether the shared content effectively represents your webpage. Use their input to improve your Open Graph meta tags.
Check for Debugging Errors and Warnings
Some social networks provide debug tools or warnings if there are issues with your meta tags. For example, Facebook’s Sharing Debugger will display error messages if required meta tags are missing or invalid. LinkedIn and Pinterest also provide debug tools and warnings. Check for any errors or warnings and make the necessary corrections to your meta tags.
Continuously Monitor and Improve
Open Graph meta tags should not be set once and forgotten. Monitor how your webpages appear when shared on social media over time. Make improvements to meta tag content, add additional image sizes, or include new meta tags as needed. Staying on top of the latest Open Graph standards and best practices will help keep your shared content optimized.
How to Use Open Graph Metatags to Drive More Social Media Traffic
To drive more social media traffic to your website using Open Graph metatags, follow these steps:
Add Open Graph Metatags to Your Website
Open Graph metatags are snippets of code added to the section of your website. They provide information about your web pages such as title, description, image, and URL so social networks can properly display your content when shared. The required metatags are:
- og:title - The title of your page. Use an informative but concise title that encourages clicking.
- og:description - A short description of your page content. This appears below the title and image in social shares, so write an engaging description that captures interest.
- og:image - The primary image associated with your page. Use an eye-catching, high-quality image that represents your content or brand. The image should be at least 600 x 315 pixels.
- og:url - The canonical URL of your page. This ensures the correct page is displayed when the link is shared.
###Choose Images that Capture Attention
Select an og:image that is compelling and relevant to your content. Images with faces, visual metaphors or striking colors tend to get more attention and shares on social media. The og:image appears next to your link on social networks, so choose wisely to make the best first impression.
Promote Your Content on Social Media
Actively sharing your content on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn exposes it to new audiences and signals to search engines like Google that your content is popular and important. When you share your content, the Open Graph metatags you implemented will allow an informative preview to be displayed, enticing viewers to click through to your website. Driving referral traffic from social media to your site in this way can significantly impact search rankings and lead generation.
Analyze and Optimize
Monitor how your content is shared and viewed on social networks to determine what is resonating with your audience. Look for opportunities to refine your Open Graph metatags, content, images and social sharing strategy to maximize traffic, links, and engagement. Make incremental improvements over time based on performance and analytics.
In conclusion, optimizing your URL display with Open Graph metatags is a valuable effort that can significantly impact your online presence and boost website traffic. By adding just a few lines of HTML code, you gain control over how your links appear when shared across major social networks. You can provide an eye-catching image, an engaging title and description, and your company logo to give shared links a professional, branded look. Implementing Open Graph metatags helps ensure your content is displayed attractively and accurately every time someone shares your URL, allowing you to make a strong first impression on new potential visitors. The small investment of time to configure metatags is well worth the long-term benefits to your brand and business. Overall, Open Graph metatags are a simple but powerful tool for improving link shares and driving referral traffic.