If you’re paying attention to your search engine optimization errors you’re likely here due to an og:image meta tag missing from your website which results in a critical issue being identified by the All In One SEO Pack SEO Analysis.
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 this value is missing, and then we’ll remedy this issue; 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).
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.From the The Open Graph protocol website.
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.
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, considering that we have invested time and effort developing high quality content, failing to maximize the potential of a share due to an issue which 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 one is publishing to 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 the og:image tag is 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.
Next, we take a closer look at the critical issue details.
How to fix the missing og:image meta tag in AIOSEO
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.
And the image below shows us that the Open Graph meta tags have been found.
In the next section we’ll take a brief look at the Facebook for Developers: Sharing Debugger.
We can test the og:image meta tag link preview on Facebook using the Facebook for Developers: Sharing Debugger console, which requires that the user authenticate 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 still helpful
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 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 in Facebook, as demonstrated in the following example.
To fix this issue, the original image has been resized, and this addresses 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.
This article covered two issues which 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.
Meta Tag Quiz
- In the AIOSEO Social Networks option, what other social networks are available?
- Does 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 are 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 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.
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.