5 Essential Meta Tags for Sharing Content on Social

If you’re familiar with the phrase search engine optimisation (SEO), then you’ve probably heard a thing or two about meta tags. But what about meta tags and social media?

Meta tags are snippets of information (think titles or descriptions) within the HTML of a page that give detail about the content. You can find meta tags in the header. Although search engines and social media sites can 'read' the data, it's not visible on the website itself. Business is social, and social is another channel to lead users onto your website. If you're posting a link to your latest blog on Twitter or Facebook; then optimising meta tags is crucial to guarantee the link displays as a rich piece of content. Meta tags can define details such as the title, description and image that automatically populate when you share a link on social. Why bother? Because the more appropriate and appealing the content is, the more likely others will share it and click on to the link. Facebook uses the Open Graph protocol for meta tags, while Twitter has its own protocol. Facebook tags use the prefix "og", whereas Twitter uses the appropriately named twitter. Some argue that Twitter successfully scrapes "og" tags too because it would be foolish if the company didn't follow the crowd and the largest social platform in the world. Either way, both social networks suggest an overpowering list of meta tags to include in the HTML, but only a few are required. 1. Title The meta title is simply the title of the content/webpage you want to share. If it's a new product, then put the product title, if it's a blog, well you get the gist. Make it clear and catchy - remember that Twitter will only display 70 characters. 2. Description Think about context here. You're adding a description for social media users', so tailor it to the voice of your audience. You haven't got time for lengthy details either as the tide, time, and social media wait for no one. More importantly, Facebook will display 300 characters, but Twitter only shows 200, so keep it concise. 3. Image A strong, eye-catching, and relevant image is necessary to influence users to share your content. You could allow a social network to crawl the shared link for social share images itself. However, you'd be at risk of it choosing an image that becomes distorted when made to fit social. An unclear or blurry image is not something connections want to share. A suitable image size for both Facebook and Twitter is 1200px by 630px. 4. URL Of the over-whelming Open Graph tag options you could include, Facebook only requires the above three meta tags and a URL tag for an optimised piece of content. The URL tag should be the canonical URL for the page you are sharing. 5. Card Property This point is only relevant for Twitter and is required to ensure content is displayed appropriately on the platform. Including the Twitter card property allows you to define the type of content you're sharing, whether that is a Summary Card with Large Image, or an App Card showcasing a new app. Once you have added your metadata to the webpage, preview your link using Facebook’s Sharing Debugger or Twitter’s Card Validator tool. And there you have it - an optimised piece of content in the form of a social post, that will attract higher click-through rates and shares on social media. If you need advice on social media management, metadata, or SEO get in touch with Holograph to see how we can stimulate your digital strategy.