Navigation ⇓

Is Your Website Facebook Friendly?

5th July 2016
Frog holding a camera

Is Your Website Facebook Friendly?

Have you ever wondered why at times you get a link preview when you share something on Facebook and sometimes you don't? It can be very frustrating. Say you want to share something you feel is important, something your followers should really see, and when you hit 'post' you get a bland text-post that will almost certainly be lost amongst the noise of the newsfeed because there is no eye-catching image to draw attention.

This could also be a problem for your business if you have a website full of stunning images that aren't previewing on Facebook. Yes, you can manually upload the images onto these platforms, but what about when someone else wants to share your site? No images will appear, somewhat reducing the oomph of their recommendation, which may go completely unnoticed. There are many people and businesses out there, all vying for our attention. Those without images are unlikely to get it.

But my website is full of images, why aren't they previewing? It's all in the code of your site. When you share a link, Facebook looks for preview information (metadata) in your site's code. If it can't find any, it is unable to generate a rich preview for the content.

To give website owners some control over the previews generated, Facebook has been offering 'Open Graph Protocol', which simply means that you can tell Facebook which image to display, what the title should be, and what the link description should be.

One point to bear in mind is Facebook's URL cache. When content is shared on Facebook for the first time, Facebook generates a preview for that content based on the available metadata at the time of posting. That initial preview generated by Facebook will be the same preview that appears whenever somebody subsequently shares that URL, even if the code is updated to enable rich previews. This is because Facebook won't crawl the source URL again, but rather use the saved cache from first crawl. So Facebook essentially needs to be informed that the code has changed if you want the preview to be updated. Fortunately this is straightforward with Facebook's 'Sharing Debugger'. You can use this tool to make Facebook recrawl your URL and generate a new link preview for your content. It will show you precisely how your content will look when somebody shares it on Facebook.

This is all simple to implement, so if your site isn't previewing properly in Facebook, ask your developer to fix it. Don't let your images go to waste! Make them work for you.