Recently, Facebook decided to stop the ability to edit previews attached to link posts. That means that you won’t be able to customize link metadata (i.e. headline, description, image) from all link sharing entry points on Facebook. They believe that it is a feature that has been misused to spread false news. However, this also limits companies and people that are trying to share valuable information on Facebook but have limited resources or knowledge to tweak their website.
No more modifying Facebook link preview and what it means for marketers:
Every website is set up differently, and for many people (or companies) making changes to a website can be a tedious process that requires a lot of approvals, money, etc. Commonly these sites are not optimized correctly to be shared on social media. Being able to edit Facebook link preview allowed marketers to write better titles, including a visually engaging image, and to optimized descriptions without touching their website.
Not anymore. Now when you share a link the Facebook link thumbnail stays as it is, limiting the way that marketers want to present their content. Even though the reason that they got rid of it is to stop people from using it for misinformation, this affects marketers trying to improve traffic and brand recognition for companies with limited resources. Because in order to have a good-looking Facebook link thumbnail you must add Open Graph tags to your website.
These are a couple of examples:
When sharing this link, it seems that it comes from a source that you can’t trust and probably that there is no valuable information on that page.
Having a post with an optimized link meta-data helps with traffic, branding, and reputation. An appealing image, an engaging title, and a descriptive description can increase your click-through rate and give confidence that you are a trusted source.
Improving your Facebook Link Preview
Include the link in the post and attaching an image instead
One temporary solution is to actually include the URL in your post and to attach an image.
You must be saying “but my URLs are so long and ugly” – I completely understand. If you are concern about the look of your URL you could use a URL shortener, but you must remember: use campaign tracking. Using campaign tracking is important because you will have better data about your traffic. Basically, you are telling Google: my traffic is coming from social media, specifically from Facebook. To set the campaign parameters and shorten your URL you can use Google’s Campaign URL Builder.
I recently decided to give Rebrandly a try. Rebrandly gives you the opportunity to brand your short links by using a specific domain. When you set up a link on Rebrandly you can also set your campaign parameters.
You must remember that this is not a long-term solution or necessarily the best solution. If someone else decides to share your link, they aren’t going to do this. They most likely would try to share your link, but once they see that the snippet doesn’t represent what they are trying to share/talk about on their post, they won’t share it.
Set up Open Graph Meta Tags
This is the ultimate solution. Facebook recommends using Open Graph meta tags in order to have the ability to control how your links appear on Facebook. This means that you need to add tags that will mark up the content on your site. These markup tags are added to the “head” section of your website through code.
Like I mentioned before, it might be complicated for you or your company to make this type of change to your site quickly. However, I would recommend considering making this change a priority because Open Graph is a protocol that other social channels use to interpret the content on your site. Adding this markup to your site can make a big impact on the performance of your content on social media.
To learn more about setting up Open Graph Meta Tags visit Facebook’s sharing guide or this guide that explains it with examples.
Use Yoast Open Graph/Social tab feature
However, if you are using WordPress and the Yoast plugin, you can enable Open Graph metadata. You can specify the title, description, and image that you would like to use for the Facebook link thumbnail:
To enable the OG metadata, go to the Social settings page:
To specify the title, description, and image you want to use look for the social tab. There you can also set the metadata for Twitter.