If you develop WordPress websites (or Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Shopify or in fact any website that integrates with social media) then you really should be testing that the various social media services are reading and understanding your website content correctly. It’s simple enough to have your pages and blog posts shared on Twitter, Facebook and other social media but are you doing that little bit extra to ensure that social media is able to index your website content? Social media is critical for SEO and making sure that the various services understand your website content correctly is quick and can help SEO immensely.
Below are described three testing tools. The tools are for Facebook, Twitter and Google+. These social media have been chosen as they are the most common specific social media integrations added to WordPress websites.
How to add social media data markup in WordPress
Before describing the testing tools it’s worth knowing how to add Facebook, Twitter and Google+ markup and integration in a WordPress website. There is the manual way of adding the HTML markup and integrations but this will become very time consuming if you blog often or have many pages. The simplest way of adding the various HTML meta is to have a WordPress plugin do this for you. Here are two plugins that will do the ‘hard work’ (once setup there is nothing more for you to do as the plugins will do the rest).
Jetpack allows for creating a link between your Google+ profile and the content you publish. You then need to verify authorship and soon enough your photo will be showing next to your content in Google search results. Jetpack also automatically adds Facebook Open Graph meta which helps Facebook understand the page or post content when shared via Publicize and adds Twitter Cards info. What is a bit frustrating about the way that Jetpack adds the various meta is that its quite technical to change the data automatically output by the plugin.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
My preference for adding Facebook Open Graph, Twitter Cards and specifying my Google+ profile is using the WordPress SEO by Yoast Social Media options. What I really like about the social media implementation of this plugin is that the options remain simple to understand yet are powerful enough to provide customization options.
Besides displaying the meta in the HEAD section of your website (the plugins above will add the necessary HTML for you), you’ll also need to verify Google Authorship and approve your URL within Twitter. Facebook doesn’t require any sort of verification.
Testing that Social Media understands your content
Once we’re using a plugin to display Twitter Card info, Facebook Open Graph meta and our Google+ Profile URL we need to make sure that the meta being output into the HEAD of our website can actually be read and understood by the various social media services. Below are the Facebook, Twitter and Google+ tools to use.
Facebook Open Graph Testing
Facebook provides a tool (called the Open Graph Object Debugger) that is easy to use and provides alot of information about what Facebook sees from your website. This Facebook tool is also awesome in that it advises what needs to be corrected so is great for troubleshooting when, for example, Jetpack publicize isn’t automatically posting to Facebook.
Twitter Card Validator
The Twitter Card Validator allows for manually creating a Twitter Card which we don’t need in WordPress as plugins will do this for us (see above). The Twitter Card Validator has a tab called Validate and Apply and this is the tool we’re interested in. Just enter your URL into the field and click go and you’ll see what Twitter sees on the URL. After validating then apply and hopefully Twitter will approve the link between Twitter Cards and your website.
Google Authorship Setup
Once the necessary HTML for your Google+ profile in being output into the HEAD section of your pages and posts then all you need do is link to your website from your Google+ profile and verify your email address. Once that is done then Google is able to link your Google+ profile to your website in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) i.e. your photo or chosen image will show alongside your website results in the SERPs.
Three tools for the three most important social media services. For SEO reasons you really should be using these tools to check that social media services understand your content.