Have you ever seen a Facebook post that looks a little like this:
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?
Implement open graph and social meta tags on your website.
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:
A tweet from a website with social meta tags vs a tweet without 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:
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.