* Updated November 2018 with recommended image sizes and eligibility for verifying Facebook link ownership
When you share a link on Facebook, it generally pulls in an image and a description from the page. If you wanted to change that description or image before posting you could. In an effort to stop fake news Facebook has removed the ability to make these types of changes. They did this to eliminate using clickbait type posts that attract you using a particular image or words, but redirect you to a completely different page. This is good, but sometimes when sharing your own posts you want to have more control over what Facebook displays to tailor it to a specific audience for example.
Open Graph Tags
Facebook uses metadata to determine what to show about a particular link. Metadata includes the headline, description, and image attached to the link you’re sharing. In 2010 Facebook developed Open Graph to promote richer integration of web content into Facebook. Open Graph tags tell Facebook the metadata content from your site to share in link posts. Other major platforms like LinkedIn, Google and Twitter also recognize and use Open Graph tags.
By adding Open Graph tags to your website, your links will be more appealing when shared. If you are using WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin adds Open Graph tags to your pages and posts for you using the title, image, and an excerpt from your content.
Previewing Your Link Sharing Data
If you want to see what information Facebook pulls from your page or post before you share it, you can use the Facebook sharing debugger. https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/
Enter the URL and Facebook shows you what your your link preview looks like including the image, description, and title.
Facebook also lists the metadata pulled from the article and displays it in a table below the preview.
Facebook caches the information for a given link. If it has been shared before, or you later change the information in the post, you’ll need to clear and refresh the data that Facebook has stored. To do this choose the Scrape Again button on the sharing debugger results.
Changing The Link Sharing Data
What if the results are not what you expect? Since you generally can’t change this information in Facebook, you will want to make changes in your post. It may be as simple as fixing the picture size for the image you want, or hand-crafting a message in the Open Graph data. We explain how to do this using WordPress and Yoast SEO.
Facebook recognizes that if you own the domain to the link you’re trying to share, you may want to make changes when you share the link. They have an option to verify your ownership of the domain, but this option is not available to all pages.
What If My Image Isn’t What I Expected?
If the image isn’t what you expected when you share to Facebook, it’s possible it doesn’t fit the size requirements for Facebook. Make sure your image meets these requirements:
- The recommended image is is at least 1200 x 630px in order to display a large picture with your link.
- The image size cannot be greater than 8MB
If your post doesn’t have an image that is available or usable, one of the options of the Yoast SEO plugin is to specify a default image to use throughout your site as a fallback.
Access this option from the SEO > Social menu on the Facebook tab:
Using WordPress and Yoast SEO to Modify Link Sharing Data
If you are using WordPress and Yoast SEO, you also have the option of selecting the description and image you would like to show up when you post to Facebook on an individual post or page basis.
Here is a step-by-step of how to customize your Facebook post with links from your website:
- Edit the post or page you wish to change
- Scroll down to the Yoast SEO section and click on the social icon
- Fill in the metadata information you would like to appear in your Facebook post
- Save your post
This will not only allow you to change the metadata you save, but whenever someone else shares the URL to your page as a post the metadata you selected will show up on their post as well.
Verifying Facebook Link Ownership
Facebook also has an option to claim and verify ownership of your domain, but this appears to be limited to publishers. If you are eligible you can change the metadata when you share the article to Facebook.
Pages eligible for this tool will see a new section in their Page’s Publishing Tools called “Link Ownership.” In this page, you are asked to add a special markup tag to your website Open Graph data. Once you’ve done this you can verify that you do own and control this domain.
Taking the time to get the social sharing set up correctly will streamline your social media posting process in the long run!