How to Fix the og:image Open Graph Meta Tags are Missing Critical Issue (with pictures)
If you’re paying attention to your search engine optimization errors you’re likely here due to Some Open Graph Meta Tags are Missing critical error. This error is caused by an og:image meta tag missing from your website and is identified by the All In One SEO Pack SEO Analysis. Facebook Open Graph tags are metadata (that is, data about data) that define how URLs are displayed when posted on social media platforms such as Facebook, for example ; if these Open Graph Meta Tags have not been set then the URL may not display properly.
In this post we’ll take a look at the Open Graph Protocol, we’ll review the og:image meta tag, we’ll confirm that some opengraph meta tags are missing (which directly relates to the Open Graph Meta Tags are Missing critical error), and then we’ll remedy this issue. Finally, we’ll take a brief look at the Facebook for Developers: Sharing Debugger and we’ll conclude with a quiz.
This article relies on WordPress and the All In One SEO Pack plugin (AIOSEO).
Table of Contents
What is the Open Graph Protocol?
Let’s take a look at the Open Graph definition on the OGP website:
The Open Graph protocol enables any web page to become a rich object in a social graph. For instance, this is used on Facebook to allow any web page to have the same functionality as any other object on Facebook.
While many different technologies and schemas exist and could be combined together, there isn’t a single technology which provides enough information to richly represent any web page within the social graph. The Open Graph protocol builds on these existing technologies and gives developers one thing to implement. Developer simplicity is a key goal of the Open Graph protocol which has informed many of the technical design decisions.
According to SEO expert Neil Patel , social media meta tags can significantly impact link performance on social media websites. Content marketing, in this case, specifically placing your content where large audiences exist, is a powerful strategy that can generate views and engagement in the form of likes, comments, and shares.
What are Open Graph Meta Tags and Why Should We Use Them?
The Open Graph Protocol is used to convert a web page into a rich object and is useful, in particular, when sharing content on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as in applications such as WhatsApp and Skype.
Open Graph Meta Tags help to facilitate engagement when sharing content — for example, Open Graph Meta Tags can help draw the user’s eye to a link that’s been shared so instead of seeing a raw link, as we have below
we see rich content, which includes an image, title, and meta description.
As we will see shortly, adding Open Graph Meta Tags to a post or page in WordPress is easy enough to do using the All In One SEO Pack Plugin.
Open Graph Meta Tags Example
Open Graph Meta Tags are embedded in HTML and we can see an example of what this looks like by inspecting the source for a webpage that supports the protocol. For instance, below we can see the page source for the article entitled “Tutorial: Learn How to Mount a Local Directory in a Pod running in minikube (2021)“.
Why should we care that an og:image meta tag is missing?
The article entitled “How to Optimize Blog Images for Social Sharing: An Intro to Open Graph Tags” explains why the og:image meta tag is important: missing an image could result in an incorrect image being used or no image at all. Missing an image will hurt social media performance and failing to maximize the potential of a share due to an issue that is easy to fix in WordPress results in a lost opportunity.
There are many articles that suggest how to maximize engagement on social media platforms and one recommendation which applies irrespective of the platform involves adding a picture. According to the article entitled “7 Powerful Facebook Statistics You Should Know for a More Engaging Facebook Page“, posts that include an image receive 39% higher engagement. This article is an excellent read and includes other metrics and references which are worth reviewing.
What is the og:image meta tag?
The og:image tag is used to display a thumbnail image when a link is shared on Facebook.
In WordPress and specifically for this article, the URL to the featured image in a post or article will be used as the og:image value. If this is not set then the AIOSEO pack’s social media default post Facebook image will be used instead. Since this value is not set, a critical issue is noted when we run an SEO audit. We have other options aside from using the featured image, and these are shown below and keep in mind that the setting applies to the entire site.
The AIOSEO SEO Audit indicates that Some Open Graph Meta Tags are Missing
After running an SEO audit we now have two critical issues, one of which includes the missing og:image meta tag. If you don’t set a featured image on a page or post, the default image, which is not set, will be used.
Let’s take a look at audit results in the following image — note the red pointer which indicates that we have some critical issues to address, including some OpenGraph meta tags are missing.
Next, we take a closer look at the critical issue details.
To remedy this issue, we set the default post Facebook image in the AIOSEO Social Networks setting. The image below includes two red pointers that indicate where the change needs to be applied.
Next, we refresh the results of the test and we can see that this issue has been addressed successfully. Be advised, however, that there will still be a problem if the image size is not compliant with Facebook image dimension requirements — we will cover this shortly.
Better Digital Marketing Campaigns Begin with Fantastic Technical SEO!
The image below shows us that the Open Graph meta tags have been found.
Facebook for Developers: Sharing Debugger can be helpful when some open graph meta tags are missing
We can test the og:image meta tag link preview on Facebook using the Facebook for Developers: Sharing Debugger console. The Sharing Debugger requires that the user authenticates with Facebook, otherwise it is freely available for developers to test with.
According to , we can also use the Sharing Debugger tool to refresh scraped content — this is helpful when a website is undergoing many changes in a short period of time.
To run a test, enter the URL and then hit the “Debug” button.
The test result below has pointers to the link preview as well as the og:image URL value.
Testing with the Facebook for Developers: Sharing Debugger is helpful when Open Graph Meta Tags are Missing
The initial testing that was performed for this article relied on the index page of this website, which has acceptable feature image dimensions, and hence no warnings were raised.
Ironically, this was not the case for this page, where the featured image size did not meet the minimum size constraints set by Facebook resulting in a warning being raised, below.
The Facebook for Developers: Sharing Debugger has found two problems with a page analysis; for this article, we are concerned only with the image being too small. In this example the og:image meta tag points to an image that is not valid because it did not meet the minimum size constraint of 200px by 200px.
The lesson learned is that even though the AIOSEO pack SEO Analysis tests for the presence of the og:image meta tag it does not test that the size is correct and we must have both.
We can see the manifestation of this problem when we post a URL to our friends on Facebook, as demonstrated in the following example.
How to Fix the "Image Too Small" Warning in the Facebook Sharing Debugger
In order to fix this issue, the original image must be appropriately resized — this will address the “Image Too Small” warning. Note that I had to press the “Scrape Again” button, otherwise Facebook was pulling the cached image.
Finally, when we post the URL to this page, we can see that the featured image is now used by Facebook and this is the expected behavior.
How to fix the Open Graph WhatsApp Missing Image Problem
We need to go through an extra step when dealing with an Open Graph WhatsApp missing image issue and we’ll describe what this entails here.
Next we need to choose the image and then update the schema — we can see this in the following image.
Next we’ll test with Google and check that the schema is valid.
Finally we can see that the Open Graph WhatsApp image issue has been resolved by pasting the link to this article into a WhatsApp conversation.
The experience of sharing links on WhatsApp will be improved considerably now that the Open Graph WhatsApp image issues have been reconciled. Recipients will see a nice preview of the link and if they have to go back in the conversation history to find it, the link will be easy to locate.
Open Graph Meta Tags are Missing Conclusion
This article covered two issues that came about from an audit that I performed on my website. Once this issue was addressed in the AIOSEO Pack Plugin I reviewed two pages and discovered that an issue still existed on one of them. Any SEO audit should not just verify that the og:image meta tag is present but also that the image is correctly sized — otherwise we’ll fix the problem, albeit not really.
For your entertainment, I’ve added a quiz in the next section. Not all of these questions can be answered from this article, see question #5, in particular.
If you enjoyed this post then I have other articles on SEO that may interest you as well.
Questions and comments are welcome.
Open Graph Meta Tag Quiz
- In the AIOSEO Social Networks option, what other social networks are available?
- Do Twitter cards use Open Graph meta tags?
- How can we validate our site’s Twitter card meta tag settings?
- Consider that a page is shared on Facebook and both the page’s featured image as well as the AIOSEO (Social Networks, Facebook) default post Facebook image is not set — what happens?
- Which should, in theory, result in better engagement: a picture with a face, a picture without a face, or a picture with an appendage, such as a hand or foot, but not including the person’s face?
- Is the use of stock photography better than no image at all?
- If we set the default post Facebook image in the AIOSEO Social Networks option does this override the featured image for a specific page or post?
- What other WordPress plugins can be used when some opengraph meta tags are missing?
- Can the LinkedIn Post Inspector identify one or more missing open graph tags?
- Further Reading: Review Facebook Open Graph best practices and recommendations
Open Graph Meta Tags are Missing References
- What You Need to Know About Open Graph Meta Tags for Total Facebook and Twitter Mastery
- What is Open Graph and how can it help my website with social media?
- How to Optimize Blog Images for Social Sharing: An Intro to Open Graph Tags
- New Research: Do Pictures of People Increase Facebook Engagement?
- 7 Powerful Facebook Statistics You Should Know for a More Engaging Facebook Page
- How to Create a LinkedIn Post That 78% of Your Network Will Engage With
- Best practices for implementing Facebook Sharing for your websites and mobile apps
- Google Developers: Web Fundamentals: Google’s opinionated reference for building amazing web experiences.
- Open Graph Meta Tags: Everything You Need to Know
- The Open Graph protocol
- What is Open Graph and how can I use it for my website?
Addendum regarding the og:image page source location.
The following page source image demonstrates that the og:image meta tag is missing in the All In One SEO Pro block.
Once the og:image has been set, we can review the updated page source, and the og:image meta tag will be set in the AIOSEO block, as indicated by the red pointers. This step has been included here simply to demonstrate where this meta tag should be found.