Using OpenGraph Tags to Increase Click Through Rates
OG Tags Allow You to Alter the Previews on Social Media
Social media channels will attempt to create a preview of any link that you share so that the other users might have a better idea of what it entails. The problem is that they usually take a guess at the content that should be included in the preview.
The problem with this? It usually sucks... And that's really bad, for you.
Customize Your Social Previews
Ever notice when you go to share a link on Facebook or other social media platforms that the preview of the link is terrible? It might have a random image, like a mis-shaped version of your logo... The Title might read something like "Home" or "About" instead of your company/site name. The description is likely just the first 100(ish) characters that Facebook found on the page....
Not only is it unattractive, it's not likely to draw many clicks... So what can we do about it?
Did you know that you can tell the social media channels exactly what to put in those previews which allows you to have a MUCH better presentation and draw more clicks? It's part of a process called "Click Through Optimization" and specifically uses a few snippets of code called OpenGraph Tags (also known as "OG Tags").
CTO is Not SEO (but helps)
Note that the content within your Open Graph tags has nothing to do with on-page SEO, so you don't have to worry about focusing on keyword-rich content. Instead, the goal of this content is to draw clicks from your viewers- so make it something catchy.
In this regard, it's very similar to the "meta description" on your page, which helps Google create the preview of your site in the SERPs. While it's not being indexed for it's keyword density, it is certainly useful to increase your click through ratio (which actually does help your SEO).
Let's Not Make Facebook Guess
There are a few main parts to a preview on social media (Facebook, in this example). The three main parts are the image, site name, Title, and Description.
By using the appropriate tags in the <head> section of our page, we can basically dictate what our preview looks like. At the time of this article, the recommended character limits for each section are as follows:
Let's Add Our OG Tags
Most modern Page Builders for most modern Content Management Systems will include a way for you to designate your OG Title, Image, and Description. It's important to do that, and then make sure that you check your preview BEFORE you share it online.
In order to check the social preview, go to the Facebook Debugger and enter your URL. When you click "Debug" it will fetch the link and generate the preview. If you make changes to your site, simply click the "Scrape Again" button and the preview will be generated again.