So you create content and publish it on your website. That content is considered king. But why? Many reasons come up, but one stands out in relation to this post on Open Graph Meta Tags: shareability. One of the many reasons for content creation is to share it with your target audience. Then, you want to engage with them about that content. It’s a conversation or discussion starter, or continuation. Why is content king? It gives people something to talk about. It answers questions. It resolves or creates conflict. But how will your content ever do any of these things if you don’t push it out to where your audience is congregating, i.e., social media?
What are Open Graph (OG) Meta Tags?
These nifty tags tell Facebook and other integrated social media sites what to pull when your content is shared on their website. Facebook came up with OG back in 2010 to facilitate content shareability. Almost all of us have tried to share something on Facebook and the image doesn’t load properly, or the description is truncated or wrong. It’s frustrating. But with OG Meta Tags, we can actively tell Facebook what to include in shared URLs in status updates.
Here’s an image of MDPM’s OG Meta Tags:
And here is that page’s OG Meta Tags at work on Facebook, just before we published the share:
You’ll notice a few tags that are “default” when setting up OG for a website:
Twitter Card Meta Tags…
Yes, Twitter utilizes the meta tags on your web pages to facilitate optimum shareability of content. They don’t use the term Open Graph, but it’s the same content, just a different code. So do quite a few other social media sites. It’s wonderful because you can hand deliver what you want shared and shown on social media when you share it.
Here’s an example of Twitter Card code:
How Twitter Cards Work
A Few Options for Open Graph Meta Tags
Typically plugins save the day when it comes to Open Graph or other Meta Tags. If you’re not using a CMS that can handle plugins, you’ll need to manually enter the code, which isn’t covered in the scope of this post. But the process is pretty straight forward. Search for the guide on any of the popular search engines, and we’re sure you’ll find something that will help.
Nonetheless, you can use a plugin like WordPress by Yoast, which sets up your OG information per page, and you can customize it via the plugin. There are many other plugins, too, that will allow you to target only your OG and Twitter Card information while leaving your SEO alone, if that’s an issue.
Also, Jetpack is a plugin that by default integrates your OG and Twitter Card info without your request to do so. If you already have Jetpack installed, give your page a “view page source,” ctrl+f or cmnd+f, then search for “og:” without the quotes and you should find the code similar to the previous images above.
Unfortunately, Jetpack doesn’t allow its users to modify or update the OG or Twitter Card information through their plugin. The workaround involves adding some code to your functions php to essentially “turn off/change” the information created via Jetpack.
What Really Matters?
To bring this post full circle, your content is king. Your content needs to be shareable. Thus, you need to make it as easy as possible for your audience to do so. Open Graph and Twitter Card Meta Tags make it possible for your target audience, or your already loyal fans, to share and engage on their social media platforms without much friction on the technical side of things. And that’s what it’s all about: seamless functionality paired with optimal user experience.