Open Graph and Social Meta Tags… huh?

Posted under Social Media, Website
social-mediaFair warning: I am about to get a little bit more technical than most people may be bothered to deal with, but that is the very reason you should, because it will set you apart from competitors who aren’t already doing this.

Following on from Dawn’s blog on making your website more social, I am going to tell you how to go one step further and make your content more compelling when it’s shared across social media.

The problem

Links to your website not appearing properly or looking as good as they could on social media platforms.

Have you ever seen a Facebook post that looks a little like this:

facebook post without open graph

Not very appealing is it? There is no picture, no description, nothing to draw a user in and make them actually want to click on the link. If you are creating content and putting effort into your website, it seems a shame to portray it in this way don’t you think?

In this example, they could have specified the picture that they wanted to pull through and displayed a compelling description and an eye-catching headline, but how?

The solution

Implement open graph and social meta tags on your website.

What tags?

If you own or look after a website, you have probably heard about meta tags at some point, even just in passing and probably in relation to SEO (search engine optimisation).

In SEO we talk about meta tags for page titles and descriptions to let search engines and users know what your page is about. Optimising them properly means better rankings and click through rates for your website. Well, it’s not just search engines that use meta tags, social networks do too and we call them social meta tags. Taking the time to properly implement this will mean your website’s content will get better click through rates, meaning more traffic to your site from social!

Open graph is Facebook’s version of social meta tags and if you are only going to implement one set, then I suggest you use these. Although many of the other major social networks have their own tags, they will default to open graph if they can’t find them on your page.

Here is an example of how a link would display on Facebook if the page uses open graph tags:

facebook post without open graph

A tweet from a website with social meta tags vs a tweet without social meta tags:

tweet without social meta tags
tweet with social meta tags

For the curious: If you are wondering where these meta tags actually live on a web page, simply right click on the page and click ‘view source’, and you will see all the code that makes up the page. Towards the top, if they exist on the page, you will see social meta tags:

social meta tags

 

Show me how

If you own a WordPress site it’s easy as there is pretty much a one-stop shop to do it. Simply download the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin (a fantastic plugin for the majority of your sites SEO needs). The plugin developers have built on a social section which with the tick of a box will add all the meta tags you need for Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

If your site uses a different CMS such as Joomla, Drupal etc., there are plugin solutions out there, but you will probably need to install one for each social network. This

Finally, if your site uses a completely custom CMS, then you will need the help of your web developer to implement social meta tags. Cyrus Shephard has written a fantastic post on Moz, which provides the code templates for social meta tags you need for doing it manually.

Laura McGill

Laura is our digital guru – she loves the opportunity to be both creative and analytical, digging into clients’ analytics and developing insights to help creatively solve problems and fuel successful marketing campaigns.

She is Google Certified and eats, sleeps and breathes the latest developments in digital marketing. She’s passionate about it – and that is great news for all our clients.

She says she loves working with supportive and friendly colleagues at Media Matters. She describes herself as being tenacious, forthright and loves puppies and kittens! She also possesses an incredible attention to detail.

Away from work, she is busy renovating her home with partner Stef – and perhaps not surprisingly loves gaming and socialising.