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James Perrin

Optimising Your Website for Facebook with Open Graph

4th Jan 2012 Social Media, Facebook, Social Media 2 minutes to read

The world of SEO and online marketing is forever changing. You only have to perform a quick search to see that the industry is already preparing itself and predicting what 2012 has in store. Amongst the many changes in the past year was the increased emphasis on social media and the sharing of content.

More importantly though, is that Facebook now makes up 52.1% of sharing on the web [Source: Search Engine Land]. With the social networking giant being responsible for so much sharing, isn’t it time that online marketers took better advantage?

Well yes, and there is a simple way in which you can control the message you are sending via social media channels such as Facebook. Being able to say the right thing in relation to your brand is very powerful, especially when it comes to the social side of the Internet, and thanks to Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol you can do exactly that.

When it comes to SEO and on-site optimisation in particular, one of the first things looked at are the title tags and Meta descriptions. These are integral to optimisation as search engines look at this information to determine what the page is about. In addition, they help the user establish what the page is about, and whether to click on the page or not. That said, this is where you can enhance your Click through Rate (CTR), because if the information supplied is relevant and engaging, then the user is likely to click through.

The beauty with Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol, is that social media can also take advantage of optimising web pages as well as search engines. This is so when they’re shared, the message you want to reach followers and fans can be conveyed, with the aim of gaining the number of clicks. Whilst some of you may have already fully optimised your site for social media sharing, others may have not. So what do you need to do?

Within the Open Graph Protocol, you can change and optimise the message that you are sharing amongst your followers and fans. The image below shows the Koozai Facebook feed and our most recent posts.

As you can see, the message that is shared from the original webpage is contained within the title and description. In this example, Facebook are displaying the exact information that we are telling them to display (from our own Meta titles and description). In this example, the information contained within is perfect, and exactly what we want to convey. However, if we wanted to change the message, to cater specifically for our social media audience, then using the Open Graph protocol will allow us to do so.

Worse though is if the message or content shared contains no information in the first place. In such a situation Facebook algorithmically determine what to display from other Meta information. This could be disastrous for your branding, as it often looks sloppy and irrelevant. Therefore, using the Open Graph tags are integral to the way in which your posts are displayed.

This is a simple step towards optimising your website for social media. As more emphasis is placed on social sharing, making sure you are sending the right message to your audience is absolutely essential for your brand and CTR, otherwise you could be missing out on all that extra traffic.

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