How to Optimize Your Website Content for Social Media
We spend so much time creating content for websites. Isn’t it time we made this process smarter and better for the digital world we live in?
Today, content is consumed rapidly, and every piece of content is at the mercy of how fast users can scroll. What can you do to stop a user’s thumb in its track and get them to click on your content?
- Make sure your content is engaging, relevant and original.
- Use meta tag technology to automatically optimize your content for social sharing.
- Apply best practices that will lead to increased engagement with your content.
We’ll discuss more about each of these areas below. After reading this brief overview, you should come away with a better understanding of how to optimize your website content for social media.
Content is Still King
Just like SEO, content is king for social sharing optimization. Much has been written about how to produce engaging content for websites. But there are some unique things you should do to increase engagement and influence social sharing.
- Place a call to action in your content. There is nothing wrong with asking people to share.
- Use images. You should be obsessed with using high quality, high resolution and unique imagery. Images are displayed in LinkedIn and Twitter feeds and are more eye-catching than just words. Try to stay away from logos and don’t use stock imagery. Graphs, charts, statistics and custom images work best.
- Use hashtags and usernames. Research your hashtag targets and understand how they differ by platform. For instance, hashtags on Twitter act as keywords. Use common tags like #investors or #websitebestpractices. On Facebook, they tend to add color and personality to your content, so using something more unique like #MyTeamKicksButt is useful. Use usernames in specific situations, such as attributing a quote to a person or referencing their work.
- Target users or groups…with care. Don’t go overboard. Target specific users and groups with extreme care. Research and pay attention to the users and groups you are thinking of targeting with your content before you start targeting them.
- Make it easy to share. People are easily distracted. Make it easy to share by including social sharing buttons for all your content!
Meta Tags: A Primer
Meta tags are bits of HTML code that explain your content in very specific ways. They don’t display on your website but live on the back end, providing information to user’s browsers, search engines, apps and other websites.
There are hundreds of meta tags, some of which are critical, like the “title” meta tag, and some that are virtually unused on the modern web, like the “keywords” meta tag.
<meta name="title" content="Widgets, Inc. Announces Awesome New Products!" />
Meta tags are in the code of your content’s header, and look like this:
How your content displays on social channels is heavily influenced by meta tags that are specific to social media.
Open Graph (OG)
Recognized by all major social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, open graph tags have “og:” as a prefix to distinguish themselves. For instance “og:title”.
<meta name="og:title" content="Widgets, Inc. Announces Awesome New Products!" />
When website visitors share your content, it's important to have the basic OG tags labeled for each piece of content (we'll come back to that in a minute). More information on OG tags can be found at https://ogp.me/.
Twitter Card tags are specific to sharing website content on Twitter. It's an added visual element that helps to tell your story and make your content more engaging. These tags have “twitter:” as the prefix.
<meta name="twitter:title" content="Widgets, Inc. Announces Awesome New Products!" />
See an example of a Twitter Card below.
More information on Twitter tags can be found at their official developer website.
It's important to know and understand the best practices, limitations and boundaries of these tags when creating your content. There are no issues with using redundant meta tags (like og:image and twitter:image), but Twitter supports Open Graph tags, making everyone’s life a little easier.
Where to Start
Since most major platforms support OG tags, start with the basics and fill in anything else that’s platform-specific, like “twitter:card”. At the very least, you want each piece of website content to have a title, description, image and URL when shared. You also want to distinguish the Twitter Card type.
Start by focusing on these tags:
For images, make sure your image is under 1 MB and optimize the size and aspect ratio. 1200x630 and 1.91:1 is a good start.
Preview How Your Content Will Look
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all provide tools to preview and troubleshoot the display of your content on their social media sites and apps.
Essential Best Practices
Finally, we have some best practices for your website content that impacts SEO, in addition to how your content looks when shared via a social platform.
- Title: max 70 characters.
- Description: max 200 characters, between two and four sentences.
- Image: at least 600px x 315px, but 1200px x 630px is preferred. Stay close to a 1.91:1 aspect ratio. No larger than 1 MB.
- URL: Use the canonical URL for the page.
Our expert team uses these best practices (and more) when building a client’s investor relations website or corporate web presence. By following these tips, you’ll create a modern website fit for the digital age.
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