Open Graph and its impact on SEO
Definition of the Open Graph protocol
The official definition of the Open Graph protocol indicates that this is a protocol which allows a web page to become a "rich" object in a social network.
More specifically, the Open Graph Protocol is a set of tags that allows a webmaster to give major social networks (Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Linked in...) detailed information about its pages. This information will allow social networks to better display a link on those pages that have been placed by the users.
The Open Graph protocol has been originally created by Facebook and is now managed by the Open Web Fondation.
What is the impact of the Open Graph on SEO ?
In theory, the impact of the Open Graph on SEO is limited. Actually, the Open Graph protocol is intended primarily to social networks (Facebook, Google +, Twitter...) and not to search engines (Google, Bing...)
In practice, however, the social networks, like Facebook for example, have become so important in recent years that the search engines can’t ignore the Open Graph data in their algorithms. It would be adventurous enough to accurately describe the impact of this kind of data, but its impact undoubtedly exists. It is also certain that the major search engines analyze these Open Graph tags. In particular, Google may tend to favor pages used in its Google + social network.
For SEO, historically, the webmasters should primarily focus their attention on the title and meta description tags of their pages. Today, it is equally important to add Open Graph tags on the web pages, particularly if these pages are frequently shared on social networks like Facebook.
Placing Open Graph tags
To add the Open Graph protocol, you must simply:
- Add the namespace "http://ogp.me/ns#" to the html tag
- Between the head tags, you must add the meta tags with their property and content attributes
- The specifications define 4 Open Graph tags like "Requirements" : og:title, og:type, og:url, og:image
- Other tags are also useful, especially if your page has a rich content (video)
Here is a detailed example of Open Graph data implemeting:
<html xmlns:og="http://ogp.me/ns#"> <head> <title>Article on the Open Graph</title> <meta property="og:title" content="Article on the Open Graph by Yakaferci" /> <meta property="og:type" content="article" /> <meta property="og:url" content="http://www.yakaferci.com/open-graph/" /> <meta property="og:image" content="http://www.yakaferci.com/images/yakaferci_small.jpg" /> ... </head> ... </html>
For complete technical specifications of the Open Graph, you can access the official Open Graph website
The free Yakaferci tool for analyzing the Open Graph tags of your pages
Yakaferci provides a tool for validating the quality of your Open Graph tags.
Analyze your pages Open Graph tags with our free SEO Page Analyzer:
To start a Yakaferci analysis, simply enter the link to your page in the area above and click the Analyze button. You can then access the different pages of the report.
The free Facebook tool for analyzing the Open Graph tags of your pages
Another useful tool provided by Facebook is: le debugger Open Graph
The main Open Graph tags
The Open Graph meta og:title tag (requis)
It’s the title of your page for the Open Graph (for example Facebook, Linked in...).
There are no official requirements regarding the maximum size of this field. However, it is better not to exceed 65 characters just to be sure that the title is not truncated when displayed on a social network.
The Open Graph meta og:type tag (requis)
It specifies the type of your page (website, article, video, music...). Required field. This field describes the main type of object contained by your page. These types are predefined. Visit theofficial Open Graph website to see the complete list of possible types.
The Open Graph meta og:image tag (required)
It’s the URL of the image which represents your page in the Open Graph. Required field.
The Open Graph meta og:url tag (required)
It’s the"canonical" URL which is the main URL of your website. Required field. Most of the time, the canonical URL is the shown by the browser when displaying the page in question. This is especially useful if your website can have multiple dynamic URLs pointing to the same page.
The Open Graph meta og:description tag
It’s a short description of your page. Accoring to official recommendations it should not more than one or two phrases. Unofficially, it should not be longer than 300 characters.
The Open Graph meta og:video tag
If you have a video on one of your pages, this is the place to put its URL.
The Open Graph meta og:locale tag
It’s the language of your page (en_US, fr_FR...).
The Open Graph meta og:site_name tag
It’s the global name of your website.