Social Media “Preview” Link Not…. Previewing

I recently had someone reach out to me because when their friends tried to link to her website on Facebook, there would be no image, title, or description. As someone who owns a business and wants to encourage people to share your site, it can be stressful when you’re not presented professionally. Or at all.

What’s going on?

What we’re dealing with here is called meta data, OG meta tags, to be exact. In plain terms, meta data is what gets your site popping up and ranking on Google.

For instance, when you’re out of town and hungry, you may Google “best Italian food in New York.” The Italian restaurants popping up on page one are all tricked out with “keywords,” and “key phrases,” such as “best Italian food,” “New York Italian food,” and “Italian restaurant New York,” etc.

These keywords and phrases go into the business site’s page titles, descriptions, content, and images. The more keywords the business has on their site, relevant to your search, the more likely they are to appear at the top of your search.

OG Meta Tags

OG meta tags are what tell Facebook to use certain titles, descriptions, and images in your preview link. More likely than not, your website isn’t showing up in a preview because your meta tags aren’t set up properly.

But how do you know? Use the Facebook Sharing Debugger.

All you need to do is type your URL into the bar and click Debug. Just for fun, I used www.facebook.com.

As you see below, I’ve circled the issues you’ll encounter regarding the Facebook preview. The og:image tag is what tells Facebook the URL for the image it needs to pull. Same with og:title and og:description.

Fixing the Problem

For those working with WordPress, the fix is fairly simple. For those working with almost anything else, all you’ll need to do is set up your og tags just like you would regular meta tags.

  1. Navigate to your list of Pages within WordPress
  2. Edit your home page
  3. On the right-hand side, click on Featured Image, and upload the image you’d like to appear when people type your URL.
  4. Click Update!

Most of the time, this will do the trick for the Featured Image. However, if not, just install Yoast! Yoast is one of the best free SEO tools within WordPress. Install it, activate it, hover over SEO on the left-hand side of your toolbar, and click on Social.

In the free version, you’ll see options for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. All you need to do is click on the Facebook tab, and choose which photo you’d like as your Preview photo.

Yoast!

Now, if you’ve also just installed Yoast! for the first time, and you don’t have another SEO plugin installed, make your way to your Pages again, and click on your Home page.

You’ll now see a new area labeled Yoast SEO. Below it, you’ll see “Google Preview.” This is where you’ll edit that meta data I was mentioning earlier.

Create dynamic titles and fun descriptions for your pages that will catch the eyes of people searching for your services. Make sure to speak to your audience, maybe as if you were approaching them on the street, and you only had a sentence or two to make them interested.

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