The NSA was Right – Metadata is Awesome for Social Media
Originally published on Amadeus Consulting's blog.
Online social sharing and networking continues to gain in popularity as more people seek alternative ways to interact and engage with each other.
One way people interact with each other is sharing articles on Facebook. You may have clicked on an article like this:
Have you ever wondered why and how Facebook retrieved that title, description and picture? In this example, Facebook read the specified code from this webpage and displayed the title, description and pictures to enrich the social sharing experience of this link.
Metadata for Social Media
Making sure your web pages metadata tags are formatted correctly will improve the process of sharing your site, article or product, and present a better result when it is displayed on social media sites, which means that people will be more likely to click and follow your links whenever they are shared.
Metadata describes and summarizes information about data on your site like the title, description, author, date created, images and several other types of data. Basically, metadata is “data about data” and if used appropriately it allows the site to interact effectively with other websites, including social and search.
Looking at the above example, the metadata shows the title, description and multiple images when this link is shared on Facebook. Since there’s not one defined image, they are allowing the user to choose the image they want shared.
Why would you want to include metadata on your business website?
Utilizing metadata enhances the user experience when sharing your links on social networks. You control what information Facebook shows when someone shares the URL from your site. Therefore, your page’s metadata should be relevant and entice the user to click on it. This information strongly influences whether or not the user decides to click on your website.
Adding Metadata to Your Page
Adding basic metadata to your webpage will ensure that your links are optimized for social sharing. Insert the META tags in the <head> area of the HTML code of your website. This can usually be done through most modern content management systems, or through newer plugins.
Metadata Code Examples:
This is title of your web page as you want it to appear when shared. Make sure to write a headline that’s engaging, relevant and less than 75 characters.
of:description –Write a compelling one to two sentence description of your content that will result in more clicks. This is the description Facebook will display.
og:image - An image URL which should represent the thumbnail image you want viewed when your link is shared. You can specify multiple images allowing the user to choose which image they want displayed as the thumbnail.
og:url – Place the URL of the page you’re sharing to direct users to the permanent location of this page. It may seem obvious but this will ensure all the shares go to this specific URL.
For more examples of metadata tags go here.
When to use Metadata Tags
It is highly recommended to specify metadata tags for all your key pages like blogs, news articles, restaurant menus etc. Again, most modern content management systems can be set to include a default image (company logo) and description for every page. This will ensure that when anyone shares your site on social media at least your company image and description is shown.
By adding these simple metadata tags to your site, you can maximize your social impact, enhance your user’s experience and increase your traffic.