Social Optimiziation with Open Graph Protocol

We’ve previously talked about microformats like Schema.org, but what is there for social networking sites? Have you ever attempted to Like or share something on Facebook with strange titles or pictures showing up? You might not even get what you’re looking for unless you manually input that information and let’s face it, what customer is going to do that themselves? Such a thing does exist to help and it’s called The Open Graph protocol.

What is Open Graph?
This protocol allows developers to integrate their site into a “social graph”. Using specified markup, you can make any page on your site socially shareable by setting custom type (video, article etc.), title, meta description, contact information, and even address/location.

How do you implement it?
Open Graph supports simple markup data and it’s not really hard to apply. It’s really a matter of copying and pasting the right information. If you’re using WordPress, there are plugins that can generate this for you. It’s important to use the right code when using the markup on your website. As a rule of thumb, it’s important to test and check your work before going live or before you implement it on many pages, or even site wide. Check out this Facebook Tool which gives you feedback on a page where the code is added so that you can see any potential errors. It’s also helpful to check a live, working example such as Amazon or IMDb to see how they’re using the markup and replicate it on your site for maximum effectiveness.

Why is this important?
For e-commerce retailers, product pages could have unrelated or boring information when it shows up Liked or shared on Facebook and Google Plus. Having control of what shows up in your customers’ feed is important because you want to optimize for consumers, and not just have a default blurb of what the site pulls up. Moreover, using these tags means that you’re putting it in a language that search engines can easily read and it could help boost your rankings. You can also test it on 2 similar pages, one using the markup and one not and see what difference it makes for your particular product/service (in terms of comparing bounce rate, conversions, click through rate, etc). In other words, optimizing your site for social using Open Graph can only help as you’re making your site more search and social friendly.

Feel free to leave a comment or contact us if you have any questions about Open Graph or any other social media marketing strategies!

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