What Are Social Meta Tags? How to Control How Your Content Looks in Social Media Shares
Have you ever pasted a link into Facebook or Twitter to find that the associated image has nothing to do with the content of that page, or that the post description reads like an SEO Mad Lib?
You think twice about sharing it, don’t you?
There’s a way for marketers to control the way their content displays as it shows up on social networks, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. You control the social media content your page generates through social meta tags.
For instance, if someone copies a link to the index page of the Tim Ferriss blog in their Facebook status update:
It looks like this:
What you see here has room for improvement. You want to compel a viewer to click, right? The problem here is that the image, headline, and description haven’t been crafted to get a click. People probably ignore or trash this post instead of sharing it.
Luckily, the title, description, and image that automatically pop up when a user shares a link on many social networks can all be specified by the content publisher. When you optimize your content to look good on social media, it is more likely to get a click.
Social share optimization is one of the tactics we prioritize with our SMM services.
Why? Well, aren’t you much more likely to click on the post if it comes across your feed looking like this?
Read on to learn how to customize the headline, description, and image of your pages using social meta tags. Jump to these sections with the links below, or read on for your guide to optimized social media content:
- Pro tips for crafting social meta tags
- Using WordPress? social meta tags in WordPress plugins
- Open graph tags
- Twitter card markup
- Schema for sharing on LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest
- Social Media Promotion with Meta Tags
- FAQ: How can I optimize my social media content using social meta tags to increase click-through rates and engagement?
The point of using social meta tags is to control the way your content is displayed in feeds rather than letting Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms generate the headline, description, and image for you.
- Adjust or recycle unused title ideas by using them as headlines in social media content.
- You may want to test different versions of an image. Use Open Graph tags and Twitter Card tags as a social media marketing testing ground.
- Tweak the image and content based on the network. Showcase images and text that will appeal to the unique interests of each network’s distinct audience.
- While Twitter is said to default to Open Graph tags if no Twitter Card markup is on the page, in our experience, you get a more controlled result if you include both types of social media markup on a page.
If you’re using WordPress, several plugins make it possible to implement social meta tags without ever having to write a single line of code.
Some options include:
- WPSSO for social markup across the major social sites
- JM Twitter Cards for the full range of Twitter Card types
- WordPress SEO by Yoast for Facebook Open Graph tags and Twitter Cards
WordPress plugins for social meta tags are a quick and easy way to associate custom headlines, descriptions, and images with your WordPress posts and web pages on a page-by-page basis.
If you’re using different software to operate your site, the social markup for Facebook Open Graph, Twitter Cards, and the other major social networks is below.
The Open Graph protocol is Facebook’s standard for implementing social meta tags. It has also become recognized by all the major social platforms, including LinkedIn and Twitter. This means that Twitter, LinkedIn, and other networks often pull the headline, description, and image indicated in the Open Graph tags.
The critical Open Graph tags are:
|Open Graph tag||Description of tag|
|og:title||title or alternate title of page which displays as the headline|
|og:url||URL of page|
|og:description||description of the page, of which Facebook displays 300 characters at most|
|og:image||URL of unique image, recommended dimensions 1200×630 pixels|
|og:type||article (otherwise defaults to “website”)|
In order to have the Facebook shares that come from your webpages formatted with a headline (title), description, and image of your choosing, like this:
… here’s what the social meta tags must look like in the HTML code:
<meta property=”og:title” content=”The Always-Up-to-Date SEO Checklist from Bruce Clay Inc.” />
<meta property=”og:url” content=”https://www.bruceclay.com/blog/seo-checklist/” />
<meta property=”og:description” content=”Just getting started optimizing websites? Here’s a time-tested SEO checklist to keep on-hand during your projects.” />
<meta property=”og:image” content=”https://www.bruceclay.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/SEO-Checklist.jpg” />
<meta property=”og:type” content=”article” />
To make sure your Open Graph tags have been properly configured, use Facebook’s Sharing Debugger to view an error report and see a preview of how a shared URL will appear when posted to Facebook.
Pro tip: If you update a page’s OG tags, use the Sharing Debugger to force Facebook to do a fresh scrape of the URL, which will cause Facebook to pull the new social meta tag data. Otherwise, it might pull from the cache instead of showing your updated content.
The basic markup tags for Twitter are:
|Twitter Card tag||Description of tag|
|twitter:card||Card type (full list of card types here)|
|twitter:title||Title or alternate title of page viewed as the headline|
|twitter:url||URL of page|
|twitter:description||Brief description in less than 200 characters|
|twitter:image||URL of unique image, recommended minimum dimensions of 440×220 pixels|
So in order to get this:
… the Twitter Card social meta tags will look like this:
<meta name=”twitter:card” content=”summary_large_image” />
<meta name=”twitter:title” content=” The Always-Up-to-Date SEO Checklist from @BruceClayInc” />
<meta name=”twitter:url” content=”http://www.bruceclay.com/blog/seo-checklist/” />
<meta name=”twitter:description” content=”Just getting started optimizing websites? Here’s a time-tested SEO checklist to keep on-hand during your projects.” />
<meta name=”twitter:image” content=”http://www.bruceclay.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/SEO-Checklist.jpg” />
Want to see what your page will look like when pasted into a tweet? Input a URL into the Twitter Card validator to see a preview and make sure you’ve configured your Twitter Card social markup correctly.
Pro tip: If you update a page’s Twitter Card tags, use the Twitter Card validator to force Twitter to do a fresh scrape of the URL, which will cause Twitter to pull the new social meta tag data. Otherwise, it might pull from a cache instead of your updated tags.
As mentioned, Open Graph tags are read by Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Most social networks recognize and support Open Graph as a default standard when it comes to social markup. But there is another solution for Pinterest and LinkedIn, which is schema markup.
To use schema markup to customize the title, description, and image associated with your LinkedIn or Pinterest, the social meta tags look like this:
<html itemscope itemtype=”https://schema.org/Article”>
<meta itemprop=”name” content=”Blog Post Title”>
<meta itemprop=”description” content=”This a description of blog post”>
<meta itemprop=”image” content=”https://www.domain.com/image.jpg”>
Again, this schema markup will go in the HTML code associated with your post right before the closing head tag, </head>.
You can validate your schema markup using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.
Start thinking of your social media content, like social advertising. Strategic social markup for enhanced distribution is everything in today’s dynamic digital landscape.
The key to maximizing your social distribution is to control how your content is displayed in feeds rather than letting Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms pull content from the page for you. By optimizing the meta tags that control social media content, you can craft messages about your blog post geared toward the distinct audiences you have on each social network.
Much like page title tags and meta description tags help boost organic search engine rankings, social meta tags are elements in your HTML that boost social exposure, increase social media traffic and improve click-through rates.
For additional help crafting more informative meta tags, be sure to check out our advice on how to use keywords in SEO.
FAQ: How can I optimize my social media content using social meta tags to increase click-through rates and engagement?
Leveraging the full potential of your content goes beyond crafting captivating posts; it’s about ensuring your message resonates with your audience. This is where social meta tags come into play. These unassuming code snippets are key to maximizing click-through rates and engagement on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Social media is a bustling landscape where millions of pieces of content compete for attention. To stand out, you must provide users with content that speaks directly to their interests. Social meta tags offer a solution. By customizing your headlines, descriptions, and images, you can create a tailored experience that captures attention and entices users to delve deeper into your content.
Open Graph tags and Twitter Card markup are your secret weapons for optimizing content display on Facebook and Twitter. Craft a compelling headline that sparks curiosity, a concise description that delivers value, and an image that resonates with your target audience. This orchestrated effort ensures your content is not lost in the sea of posts but instead shines brightly on users’ feeds.
Don’t limit yourself to just Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn and Pinterest also have their preferences. Schema markup can help you optimize the presentation of your content across these platforms, customizing titles, descriptions, and images to meet each platform’s target audience.
If you’re a WordPress user, implementing social meta tags becomes even more accessible. With plugins like WPSSO, JM Twitter Cards, and WordPress SEO by Yoast, you can streamline the process and effortlessly associate custom headlines, descriptions, and images with your posts and pages. This empowers you to maintain consistency across your digital footprint while ensuring optimized display on social networks.
Social meta tags are not just technical elements but the bridge between your content and your audience. By taking the reins and crafting how your content appears on social platforms, you enhance your chances of capturing users’ attention and driving engagement. Optimizing your social media content with social meta tags in a world where every click counts is a strategy worth mastering.
- Determine the social media platforms for which you want to optimize content (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest).
- Familiarize yourself with the basics of social meta tags, including Open Graph tags and Twitter Card markup.
- Identify the key content you want to promote through social meta tags.
- Craft an attention-grabbing headline that encapsulates the essence of your content.
- Create a concise yet impactful description highlighting your content’s value.
- Select or design an image that aligns with your content and captures users’ interest.
- Implement Open Graph tags in your HTML code to customize the content display on Facebook and other platforms.
- Utilize Twitter Card markup to optimize content visibility and engagement on Twitter.
- Explore schema markup options to customize content presentation on platforms like LinkedIn and Pinterest.
- Choose the appropriate schema tags (itemscope, itemprop) and populate them with relevant content details.
- To simplify tag implementation, Consider using WordPress plugins like WPSSO, JM Twitter Cards, or WordPress SEO by Yoast.
- Install and configure the chosen plugin according to its documentation.
- Access the plugin settings to input custom headlines, descriptions, and images for your content.
- Use social media validators (e.g., Facebook’s Sharing Debugger, Twitter Card validator) to test and preview how your content will appear.
- Adjust and refine your social meta tags based on validation results and platform-specific requirements.
- Update your website’s code with the revised social meta tags.
- Monitor the performance of your optimized content by tracking click-through rates and engagement metrics.
- Analyze the data to identify trends and areas for improvement in your social media strategy.
- Continuously iterate and refine your social meta tags based on user engagement and platform changes.
- Stay updated on best practices and emerging trends in social media optimization to maintain a competitive edge.