How many times have you seen a link posted to Facebook with an image that had little or no relevance to the content?
Despite the fact that the social network sends a large share of referral traffic to websites, many links currently shared on Facebook aren’t even optimized for click-throughs, assuming the presence of a relevant description and image increase a Facebook link share’s click through.
Your site is probably one of them.
By not including Facebook’s open graph meta tags, these sites are all hurting their fans’ best efforts to help them.
Most commonly, the image is missing, or it’s just wrong.
Facebook is pretty good at guessing the right title and description; in most cases the image is where things fall apart. It’s always best practice to explicitly declare the title, description and image so that Facebook doesn’t need to guess.
Funny or Die is one site that could probably benefit from a Facebook tailored description, as descriptions optimized for search engine optimization clickthrough may not work as well on Facebook.
It’s really easy to fix this. Add the following three tags inside your HTML header:
<meta property="og:title" content="INSERT YOUR TITLE" /> <meta property="og:description" content="INSERT YOUR DESCRIPTION" /> <meta property="og:image" content="HTTP://www.LINK TO YOUR PREFERRED ICON.jpg" />
Important note on images: Images should be square-ish. If you have an image that is too wide, Facebook may not show it when links are shared, even though you have appropriately declared the tag. (Editor’s note: We’ve recently noticed that Facebook seems to be showing larger images than before, but even with this greater generosity, the maximum is about 250 pixels wide and 250 pixels tall.)
Once you’ve inputted the meta tags, how can you make sure that they work?
Go to http://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug. Enter the link to your website and Facebook will refresh its cache so that all future sharing of your link will use updated data.
If you dynamically generate new content, just make sure the tags are set on every page. The first time the page is shared on Facebook, the correct information will be shared.
Please, on behalf of your fans and brand advocates, add these tags to your website. Your fans are trying to spread the word for you, but they’re fighting an uphill battle to do so.
For more information on Facebook open graph tags, check out the open graph protocol’s information site at http://www.ogp.me.
Guest writer David Miller is founder and chief executive officer of Slugbooks.