One of the best means of organic traffic generation is sharing. People share pages, posts and products they like with friends on social networks. If your website isn’t optimised for this with Open Graph, you’re potentially losing out on valuable recommendations.
What is Open Graph?
Open Graph is a standardised protocol to help generate web pages that look good when shared on social media. The implementation of it is quite technical, but it’s important to understand what it is and how it works even if you’re not a programmer.
When you share an external site on Facebook, it will pre-populate some fields, like the title, a blurb and an image to go with it, if applicable. If that site hasn’t implemented Open Graph, Facebook will make a best-guess as to what content to pull from the site for those fields, but it could be wildly off. This can be devastating for sharing purposes; for example, if a visitor wants to share one of your products on your e-commerce site, you probably want the primary product image to be pulled across and displayed on social media. Without Open Graph, it could end up pulling through a completely unrelated image from your site instead.
How do I implement Open Graph?
Open Graph is a set of meta tags that sit in the code of your website and specify certain information, such as what the title, blurb and image should be if the page is shared on compatible social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can’t see the tags when you browse the page, but it allows you complete control over what information is displayed when a page is shared.
If you’re using a popular CMS such as WordPress, Open Graph is probably already implemented, or you can find a plugin for it. If not, you’ll have to get in touch with a software developer to help you implement it.
Is it worth supporting Open Graph?
There’s virtually no downside to supporting Open Graph, but the benefits are huge. Most visitors aren’t going to bother correcting shared content when all the information is wrong and it means you lose out on very valuable referrals. Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising and sharing is a digital form of that – you want to make sure your content is optimised so that when your visitors share, it generates clicks.