Have you ever shared a link to your website on social media and wondered how or why it shares an image? Have you tweeted on Twitter only to find there’s no photo? Or maybe the image is not ideal so you’re wondering how to edit the thumbnail on Facebook? That’s why Open Graph Images (OG Images) are something you need to know about.
It’s essentially a piece of code (originally developed by Facebook) that allows you to associate an image with a page for sharing on social media. Much like how webpages have a meta title and meta description that show up in a Google Search, the OG image is part of the metadata that displays when you share the page on social media.
Metadata is not normally visible on the page in question, although you could use images and text from the article as part of your metadata. Open Graph images can display on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
If no OG image is set within the code, then it’s possible that no image will show. If your page has images, then Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn will pull the first image that appears on your webpage.
Unlike a Google search, social media is very visual. It’s full to the brim with images and videos! OG images help your link shares to grab the attention of the reader without requiring a separate image. If you don’t provide any open graph data, then you run the risk of the social channels choosing it for you. No one likes to have their logo or images automatically cropped out!
It’s certainly possible to choose your own Open Graph image for a specific page on your site. It can be done by editing the OG image code within the website. If your website is on WordPress, you can use a plugin that will allow you to upload an OG image of your choice.
However it is done, the “og:image” code must be a path to an image hosted on your website. We recommend a minimum of 600 x 315 pixels, which will encourage Facebook to display the image with the metadata (title and description) underneath, rather than together. This will give your image a more prominent position and occupy more social media real estate.
Beware: once you’ve chosen and uploaded your OG image and published your page, it can be difficult to change it. Choose wisely!
Still not 100% sure on how to upload your own OG images? The PS team are here to help and can guide you on how to do this.