How to Optimize Facebook Sharing Using Facebook’s Link Debugger
Have you ever tried to paste a link to Facebook while looking to get followers on Facebook, only to find that the information doesn’t show up correctly? For example, maybe the title is wrong or the image doesn’t load. That’s where the Facebook Debugger (aka Facebook Open Graph Debugger or Facebook’s Link Debugger) comes in.
The debug tool also refreshes any scraped content on your website, so it can be useful if you need to update them more often than the standard 24-hour update period that Facebook has.
By pasting your link into the Facebook Link Debugger, you can see the information that Facebook uses to share your link. And you can spot any errors or missing code. Facebook will then pull up any issues that they see on their end and provide the appropriate instructions on getting this fix.
Here’s what you need to know about the Facebook Link Debugger, and how you can use it to boost your shares.
How to use the Facebook’s Link Debugger
We used the Facebook Link Debugger to check a link from a blog post about our whitepaper, “Unearthing the Hidden Gems in Private Sharing.”
On the results page, we can see a preview of how it will look when shared on Facebook:
And we can see the Facebook Open Graph tags:
Here’s where it gets interesting. Facebook Open Graph tags are special metadata tags that Facebook uses to pull the information it needs from your site. That means, if your link isn’t displaying the right content, Facebook Open Graph tags will help you fix the problem.
Basically without Open Graph tags, Facebook has to guess which information to show. By placing Facebook Open Graph tags on your site, you can specifically tell Facebook what to display when you share a link.
For example, you can add these tags to your articles to specify the URL, content type, title, description, and image.
<meta property="og:url" content="http://www.link.com" />
<meta property="og:type" content="article" />
<meta property="og:title" content="Title" />
<meta property="og:description" content="Description of article." />
<meta property="og:image" content="http://link.com/images/01/image.jpg" />
Facebook will show what they are scraping on their end and how the sharing properties will appear within their environment. You’re also able to use the “Scrape Again” option which alerts Facebook’s crawlers to go to your website and update the meta properties. We recommend giving this feature a go if you recently updated the open graph tags but they aren’t showing up correctly on the front end.
If your site is run on WordPress, you can also use the Facebook Open Graph plugin to make this process even easier.
Why the Facebook URL Debugger is so Important
Shares are golden on Facebook—especially now. Facebook recently changed its algorithm to favor posts from friends and family over a post from publishers. As the result, publishers will need to rely more on Facebook users to be their amplification systems, since their own posts won’t hold as much clout.
That’s why publishers need to prioritize the share. They need to empower readers to share articles by planting the Facebook Share Button on their sites. And they need to make sure that once readers do share to Facebook, the content is properly displayed. The Facebook Open Graph Debugger is key to making that happen.
Note: Please keep in mind that ShareThis does not have control over how Facebook pulls sharing information from your site. By using the above methods and Facebook’s Open Graph Debug tool, you will have all the resources needed to optimize your Facebook sharing.
As LinkedIn and Twitter use Open Graph tags to build their preview too, you can use their debuggers for their crawlers to scrape your content and to check how the preview of your page would look like on their platform. For your convenience, please follow the links below to check their debuggers:
Additionally, if you’re looking to grow your Facebook audience and engagement you can find out more about a variety of Facebook marketing tactics (such as our guide to Facebook Pinned posts) in other posts on our site.