How Is Open Graph Data Used?
Understanding how Open Graph Data is used is the key to successful implementation. Building and maintaining a successful website can be challenging. To make something that stands out and engages your audience, it’s important to use all the tools at your disposal.
Open Graph is an internet protocol originally developed by Facebook to make websites easier to preview and share. This powerful tool standardizes the use of metadata within a webpage to improve content representation and give websites a real boost.
Overview of Open Graph tags
Open Graph builds on existing technologies in an effort to create something simple and coherent. Data is the key, with Open Graph using meta tags to make content more clickable and shareable. Open Graph meta tags are simple code snippets that control how web pages are displayed on social media. You insert them in your webpage, preceding your content with “og” before the property name. The following snippet provides a simple example:
<meta property="og:title" content="How Open Graph is Useful" />
Overall, there are 17 og tags listed in the official documentation, along with a long list of object types. The following six are the most important:
- og:title – the title of your web page
- og:url – the address of the content
- og:image – the URL of the desired image
- og:type – the type of object, such as article or website
- og:description – a brief overview of the content
- og:locale – the language used in the content
In simple terms, “the Open Graph protocol enables any web page to become a rich object in a social graph.” Its original implementation gave web pages the same functionality as other objects on Facebook, but it’s also used by other platforms. While most social networks attempt to create a preview of your content, Open Graph helps to avoid inconsistencies and maximize visibility.
These simple meta tags fulfill the following important functions:
- They make content more eye-catching.
- They inform people with one glance.
- They sync web content and social media.
- They provide context for social networks.
- They improve brand visibility and appeal.
- They help to drive traffic to your website.
On some platforms, Open Graph tags work when links are sent with direct messages, including Facebook’s Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage, and Slack. To see if your tags are working properly, you should test and debug them using a dedicated tool. Depending on the platform used, there are lots of options available, including Facebook Sharing Debugger, Twitter Card Validator, and LinkedIn Post Inspector.
Despite numerous advantages, there are some cons associated with Open Graph data. Like always with social media, privacy is a potential problem that needs to be addressed. Distinctions between private and public content are often blurred on Facebook and other platforms, so it’s always important to be careful of what you share. Despite aiming for simplicity and transparency, Open Graph is application specific, which can be rather challenging. While you can dictate specific actions by using different tags, interpretation by social networks can create unwanted complexity.
The world of technology is incredibly powerful and potentially liberating, but it can also be confusing. If you want to learn more about current trends and technologies, it’s important to stay on the front foot. We are currently producing a series of useful blogs on similar topics to this — just sign up to our mailing list (just below) and we’ll keep you in the loop.