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Improving Social Sharing for Better Snippets

Social sharing is the cornerstone of content marketing and content management for SEO purposes. Therefore, it makes sense to optimize webpages for optimum sharing and appearance in order to attract users. Effectively, the following techniques will improve the social penetration of your content and its click-through rate. They may further invite higher-quality traffic, which will drive business to the website and increase your revenue.

It is important to know what constitutes a social snippet. Just take a look at one from Facebook or Google+. At the top is your personal commentary. The left side is taken up by a representative picture that is either of the author, or is a relevant image from the page. Underneath, you will find the content title and a link to the website. Finally, the social network features a presumably accurate description of the page. You can pre-select these by using micro-data in order to ensure that they are a good representation of your website. If you leave them to chance, the social platform could put an advertisement as the image or place irrelevant text as the description.

Thankfully, the Open Graph protocol1 enables users to add <meta> tabs to web pages so that social platforms know what to take. Facebook and Google both recognize OG webmasters will not need to utilize Schema.org tags as well. So here is a look at the different tags:

  • Title <meta property=”og:title” content=”content title ” />
  • Description <meta property=”og:description” content=”Content Description” />
  • Image <meta property=”og:image” content=”URL of image” />
  • URL <meta property=”og:url” content=”website URL” />

As with other types of content, you should make full use of these commands by putting together a captivating title, engaging description, visually pleasant images, and a canonical URL, as these are all elements that tend to received high click-through rates. The image should ideally be 150 pixels by 150 pixels, as Google+ will reject images that are any smaller. Also, avoid using images with a scale of more than 3:1. Furthermore, by utilizing UTM variables, you will be able to track progress and statistics in Google Analytics2 by using the code: ?utm_source=[platform]&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=[type of campaign]

Google+ features precious hashtags that can be used to distribute your content to the right group. The sharing tool offers suggestions when you type, so you can always be on top of current trends. Avoid abusing this function, however, as users do not appreciate being spammed with irrelevant content. Facebook, on the other hand, has no such features, and Twitter does not provide very much information with its tweets, so some additional efforts are needed there. For Twitter, you should create a custom shortened URL and limit the length of your tweets to 130 characters so that they can be quickly re-tweeted.

Naturally, you need information to determine how successful your efforts are when optimizing the social sharing. There are numerous URL builder tools so that you can attach your UTM campaign variable easily. These will drive referral traffic and make analyzing information much easier and faster. Additionally, these same methods can be used to improve Google’s Search Appliance for on-site searching. Websites with this function will be able to incorporate images in their personal SERPs in order to better direct users.

These techniques, naturally, must be supplemented by a strong online presence and a wide, relevant audience. A single but otherwise great post will attract less traffic than a consistently updated and engaging profile. Finally, Open Graph has a lot of additional functionality that can be utilized for SEO purposes3. It can be even automated so that content managers can focus not on the code but on the contents.

References:

  1. http://ogp.me/
  2. http://support.google.com/urchin/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2633653
  3. http://www.fetch123.com/SEM/open-graph-basics

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