by Nick Gromicko
When you share a link on Facebook, the social media platform automatically pulls information from the link’s originating website to feature in a preview. This is done using a “crawler.” The crawler “scrapes” a webpage’s HTML and pulls various information, such as an image, a page title, and excerpted text. All of these items are important for attracting viewers so that they’ll click on the shared content and visit your law firm’s website. Link shares without any compelling featured information or some kind of preview will likely result in viewers scrolling past the content, and consequently not visiting the website. Unfortunately, the legal profession is boring. And so sometimes the information that Facebook automatically pulls is incorrect or outdated or dull. Facebook’s Sharing Debugger tool can help fix this common problem.
About Facebook’s Sharing Debugger
Facebook’s Sharing Debugger allows you to preview the raw scraped data and see the link preview from Facebook’s perspective for troubleshooting purposes. To troubleshoot most issues, you can use the Sharing Debugger reporting data and address it at the source, whether it’s WordPress, Wix, Shopify, YouTube, etc.
A common problem is an outdated image or title displaying in the link preview. In some instances, Facebook will pull preview information that does not reflect any recent changes made to the source website. For example, say you share a YouTube video from your channel, but you delete it because you noticed a typo in the title. After you fix the typo on YouTube and try to post it again, Facebook will still pull the original uncorrected title with the typo. This occurs because Facebook does not re-pull the information; rather, the platform has already stored or cached it. This is particularly problematic for attorneys when they want to announce immediately that they won a large judgement for their client. This problem can be resolved by scraping the URL with the Sharing Debugger.
To use Facebook’s Sharing Debugger, enter the URL into the Debugger. The raw scraped data and link preview should appear in a report. The Debugger will inform you of the last time the URL was scraped, so if you made changes after that time, you can click the “Scrape Again” button. A new link preview with the updated information should appear because Facebook will have sent out crawlers to pull the information again.
Open Graph or OG Tags
Some problems are more complex and require a review of the technical details provided by the Sharing Debugger. For example, say you post a WordPress article, but notice that the image pulled is not the image you prefer. To fix this, you may need to manually set the Open Graph tags (og tags) on the source platform. Each tag tells Facebook precisely what content to pull for the link preview. Some of the tags include og:image for the image, og:title for the title, and og:description for the excerpted text. Instructions vary across platforms, but it’s generally a straightforward process.
Sharing content on Facebook is most effective with an eye-catching link preview. And yes, Checkmate Marketing can come up with link previews that have high click rates, even for law firms. However, sometimes the information that Facebook crawlers automatically pull needs to be tweaked. Facebook’s Sharing Debugger Tool makes it easy to troubleshoot problems related to sharing URLs. Facebook also makes it relatively easy to understand how to tweak your content by understanding how it utilizes open graph tags. In some cases, implementing changes may require special access. My advice to law Firms is to let us handle your cyber marketing for you.
The internet is big, and I know how it works.® – Nick Gromicko