What is Facebook Open Graph Protocol and Why Should I Care?
What is this mysterious sounding project also referred to as OGP?
We recently had quite the experience (okay, more like BATTLE) with Facebook Open Graph Protocol. From here on out we will refer to it as OGP.
Okay so what is it?
Well, to make a long answer as short as possible, OGP is a series of tags you can use in the metadata of your web pages to help push info to Facebook and make sharing more seamless between your website and Facebook. OGP is still in Beta, which means it still has a few bugs and doesn't always work perfect for everyone.
How will I use it?
Most people use OGP tags on their website and blog posts to tell Facebook what descriptions, titles, and images to use when a user shares your content on Facebook. There are many other advanced ways of pushing other OGP tags to Facebook. You can learn here about more advanced uses: http://developers.facebook.com/docs/opengraph/
How do I implement Open Graph Tags?
If you are working in a CMS like WordPress, don't bother entering your tags manually. There are plenty of plugins to help you out with this. If you need to enter the tags manually it's pretty easy. Go here and paste in the tags above the </head> tag in the HTML of your page. Then just make sure to edit the metadata appropriately for your URL and info.
How do I check my work?
To make sure Facebook is reading your OGP tags go to the Facebook URL Linter and enter the URL of the page you entered the tags on. The URL linter will catch any errors in your metadata and display the data you are pushing to Facebook. Edit the OGP tags so that no erorrs are returned on the URL linter. You will also see exactly what images from the page Facebook is scraping form your site. You can use the "og:image" tag to dictate what image or images Facebook uses when the page is shared. To learn more about each OGP tag and its' purpose go to: http://developers.facebook.com/docs/opengraph/
What else should I know?
- You need a unique URL to share an item on Facebook. If you have a slideshow that does not display unique URL's for each item, you cannot share slides from your slideshow.
- Keep in mind when you are testing your work that the title becomes fixed after you share something 50 times. So, if you are testing a URL too much and are not seeing any changes, that's why.
- Also, sometimes the URL linter has to refresh its' cache so don't be impatient. If you change something, and it's not displaying in the URL linter, check your work. If you are sure you did everything right, wait. Log in tomorrow and enter the URL again. Everything should be fine.
I would love to hear about your experience with Facebook Open Graph Tags. Do you have any tips of your own to add?
Learn more about the author, Justin Parra.
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- Open Graph Protocol