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Getting the Correct Thumbnail Image in Facebook Post

wrong Facebook imageEver had the wrong thumbnail image or no image appear when you post one of your articles to Facebook? Frustrating, isn’t it? It’s especially bad if you need to automate your publishing. You carefully research and craft a fantastic blog post and start distributing it on social media and other outlets, and then the Facebook image issue happens.  What the heck?

Why Isn’t Facebook Picking up the Correct Image?

Facebook scans the site’s header for Open Graph tags with post image information. The Open Graph code looks like this:

<metaproperty=”og:image’ content=http://abccompany.com/en/wp-content/uploads/yourimage.pgn”/>

One of the reasons may be the thumbnail image size. Facebook itself states this information about the Open Graph:

The URL of an image which is used in stories published about this object. We suggest that you give us an image of at least 600 x 315 pixels. However, bigger is better, so if you have a 1200 x 630 or larger image that you can use, please give it to us. Also, we recommend that you keep images as close to a 1.9:1 aspect ratio as possible to avoid cropping. (Note: image size must be no more than 5MB in size.)

The thumbnail image may not be recognized if it is smaller than the other images you have in the og:image tag.

Size is not the only reason for thumbnail images not being recognized:

  • Several caching plugins do not support use of thumbnails when uploading content to Facebook
  • CDN issues could obstruct correct thumbnail sharing
  • Lack of a meta tag associated with the open graph image

Three Possible Solutions to Incorrect Facebook Thumbnail Images


Manually Upload the Image

You can use the upload image feature to publish the image you want. This example is from a large image. The same feature is available for small images.

manual upload of Facebook post image

With this option you can get the correct image at the optimal size, but there are two tradeoffs. The image shows up in your page’s photo list. Also, when other people share the link the incorrect image may still show up. They would have to manually upload the image, which they will not do.

SEO by Yoast for WordPress Sites 

If you have a WordPress site and use Yoast’s plugin, you can specify the Facebook image. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to the Yoast metabox. Under the Social tab, you can upload a thumbnail image.

Yoast Facebook post image

This solution should solve the problem. If it does not, you will need to clear your Facebook cache.

Facebook Open Graph Object Debugger Tool

Facebook has developed a debugger tool to help with image issues.  Paste the URL of the post in the debugger tool. Click on Debug. Facebook will show you issues it finds. The most common issue will be

common Facebook image warning

You will see a preview of what Facebook has scraped.

debugged Facebook post preview

Then, paste the debugged URL into the Facebook post to get the proper image.

debugged Facebook post image

This method does not work all the time. Sometimes a website has other issues that prevent it.

We hope these solution options help solve your incorrect / no image Facebook thumbnail issue. An image that matches your post will better enhance your Facebook post for viewing and sharing. Happy Facebook posting!

10 Blogs You Should Be Following

writing-fountain pen

photo credit: matsuyuki via photopin cc

Keeping up with a fast changing world and spotting trends is no easy task. I follow a bazillion (or is it gazillion?) blogs on different aspects of marketing, social media and business/entrepreneurship. The blog post emails are blowing up my inbox as I write. I could spend all day reading them and learning more and more but then wouldn’t get to implement what I learned for my clients or myself.

So you don’t have to decipher where to start I have gathered a list of 10 blogs I follow and why. Picking a list of my favorites is impossible so I simply scanned my inbox. Some of these blogs are written primarily by one person while others are written by large teams.

Chris Brogan @chrisbrogan

Chris Brogan, CEO of Human Business Works, provides business, marketing and sales insights along with personal development advice. His posts often arrive at exactly the right time I need the information or a kick in the pants. You also definitely need to sign up for his weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to start your Sunday. His laidback, conversational style is genuine and makes you feel like you are talking with a longtime friend. He also has a podcast for those who don’t like to read. I can’t wait to read his latest book, Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth.

Gini Dietrich / Spin Sucks @ginidietrich

When I first encountered Gini Dietrich, I thought Spin Sucks was only for public relations professionals. However, much more is discussed on Spin Sucks for both the PR and marketing professional, including branding and social media. Not only are the posts well-written and informative but the discussions are thoughtful. Along with writing her own posts, she has fabulous guess bloggers and hosts Livefyre discussions. Also, for some fun, she writes a weekly post called Gin and Topics. These posts contain five videos that she finds or are submitted to her.

Derek Halpern / Social Triggers @derekhalpern

Ever wonder about the psychology behind how people behave online? Derek has the lowdown. His blog will help turn people into loyal subscribers, increase sales and grow a website’s reach. Along with text posts, he does a lot of short videos, and I also love finding out which freeze frame facial expression he’ll have. He has a straightforward, passionate approach and backs up his information with extensive research from top academicians and experts.

HubSpot @HubSpot

HubSpot has a large team of writers covering all areas of marketing. They provide best practices, tips and hacks for marketers of all levels. Along with blog posts, they offer multiple whitepapers, templates, case studies and other freebies you won’t want to miss. If you have a marketing question, they likely have a post with an answer. Oh, and I hear the HubSpot marketing platform is great, too.

Jon Loomer @jonloomer

Jon Loomer talks about all things Facebook. He writes about best practices and explains in detail how to do Facebook advertising. When anything changes on Facebook, he is on top of it and often talking about it in advance. He is my go-to source. I even has his Facebook image dimensions post bookmarked.

MarketingProfs Today @Marketing Profs

Ann Handley and her great team bring a wealth of marketing information through its blog. I don’t think there’s a marketing-related topic they don’t cover. You also get access  to free webinars, case studies and whitepapers. I’ve attended some of the webinars and have been impressed.

The Moz @Moz

The Moz writing team brings a  great deal of information, tips and tricks about content marketing, analytics, SEO, email marketing and social media. I find it to be a great resource personally and when I’m writing blog articles.

Mark Schaefer / {grow} @markwschaefer

Mark Schaefer is the author of the classic book The Tao of Twitter along with great books. He writes about digital marketing, social media, marketing strategy and business. His insight into what’s happening in those areas is valuable. While I don’t always agree with his opinion pieces, he does make me think; that’s always good.

Marcus Sheridan / The Sales Lion @TheSalesLion

Marcus Sheridan writes about inbound and content marketing, social media and branding for businesses. He got started with online marketing when he started blogging as a way to save his pool business. I love how he shares his personal experiences both good and bad. It makes you feel that you can also  have the same success. When I’m not reading his blog posts, I catch his Mad Marketing podcast.

Social Media Examiner @SocMed_examiner

Social Media Examiner’s writers provide information on how companies can maximize their use of social media, blogs and podcasts. Along with articles, this blog provides expert interviews, case studies and industry research reviews. I often go to this site to find an answer to a specific social media question.

This list could go on and on. I strongly encourage you to explore these blogs and many other great blogs that are out there. Don’t just read what they post online. Subscribe to their blogs for additional information. Where did I learn about these blogs? Twitter. So, yes, social media works.

Three Tips for Becoming a Better Blogger

Lost in all the romanticism of the inbound marketing craze is this simple fact:

Creating content is hard.

Yes, content works. Yes, having fresh, relevant blog posts on your site will help improve your search engine optimization. And we’ve already discussed the importance of quality blog posts posted less frequently over not-so-great posts posted daily.

If you’re not a writer though – or even if you are – the process of blogging takes work. It takes a plan. And, you know … writing. Sometimes a lot of writing. It can be very intimidating and, if you’re not totally comfortable, can lead to quick burnout.

As someone who has been through the cycle of blogging like crazy, then sitting dormant for six months (or longer) and then blogging again for a couple of months only to have it fall by the wayside again … I feel your pain. It’s not easy.

The best way to combat this is to have a plan.

These are things that I’ve frequently recommended to my students to help improve not only the quality of blog posts but the consistency as well. Today, though, I recommend them for all of us. We all could use a refresher from time to time to help improve our blogging.

With all that said, here are three tips to help make us better bloggers.

Set aside time to write every day.

Pardon me while I rely on a cliché – practice makes perfect. Just as an athlete practices with her team or a musician practices with his ensemble, writers need to practice. And that practice should be daily.

So, set aside a block of time – 30 minutes or so – every day to write. What you write may not ever be published. It might just be a way of getting your thoughts onto paper or into a document. (Yes, journaling counts!) Or maybe what you write eventually turns into a blog post. Either way, taking time to focus each day on writing helps you hone your craft and can help get those creative juices flowing.

Write about what you know.

If your content is of quality, odds are good that people are finding your posts through search. And if that’s the case, one of two things is likely true – either your reader is seeking specific information to answer a question or is already knowledgeable about the topic and seeking more in-depth information.

In both of those cases, if you’re writing about something you don’t have a great deal of knowledge about or experience with, your readers are going to see through that very quickly.

As a writer, you’ll find it much easier to write about topics that you are comfortable with and understand thoroughly. It may take a while to get the structure exactly right or the subheads working in the way you want them to, but the writing process itself will be much easier. If you’re writing for your own site or your company’s site, don’t fight this. Write about what you know. Your readers – and potential customers – will see the genuine, authentic expertise and learn to trust you as an expert.

After you’ve gained some experience writing things you’re comfortable with, then start moving into doing research and writing about topics that you aren’t quite as familiar with. But trying to start with the unfamiliar will only leave you frustrated and less inspired to blog.

Never hit publish immediately.

No matter the deadline or the rush to get a new blog post up on your site, after you finish writing a post, resist the urge to publish it immediately. You can build it in your content management system and find all of your images and all of those important things, but once it’s ready to go, let the content itself sit for a bit of time. Get away from it. Take a walk. Move on to something else and then come back to it later. Maybe even wait until the next day to revisit it. You need to step back from what you’ve written to be able to properly edit and catch mistakes or holes in your information. Or, better yet, have someone else take a couple of minutes to read it. It may cost you a little bit of time, but you won’t regret it later.

Give these three tips a try over the next several weeks. See how your writing improves. Who knows, maybe you’ll even discover that blogging can be enjoyable!

Image Credit: Gualberto107 via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Think About Quality Over Quantity for Content

contentWe all hear it every day. We need to write more. Blog more. Post more content more frequently – daily if we can. Then promote that content every possible social channel at least once … although twice would be better.

It’s a lot of work. But we do it to make Google happy, right?

Maybe not.

While trying to turn your business into a nearly full-time content factory may seem like the trend these days, the idea of posting lots of content simply for the sake of posting content may actually hurt your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

Why?

Google favors content that is rich in quality, writes Maddie Russell of Square Social. In fact, Google has been known to warn those writing “thin content,” or content that doesn’t add value or is replicated elsewhere.

In other words, we should be thinking about quality over quantity.

How do you increase the quality of your content? Here are several tips.

  1. Post less frequently. Yes, this feels very counterintuitive in the content marketing space, but spending more time with the pieces that you write will lead to posts that have more value.
  2. Create an editorial calendar. Instead of posting the first thing that comes to mind, set up a schedule for your upcoming content. Set writing deadlines and identify the publish date of each piece.
  3. Consider adding other forms of content. Because you have decreased the number of blog posts you plow through each month, you now have more time to explore other areas of content marketing, including white papers or e-books. These longer-format pieces can be extremely valuable to your SEO efforts (and your email marketing list).
  4. Research your topics. When you do write a blog post, take a bit of time to do some research on your topic. Has anyone else written anything that you could reference? Linking to other posts is still extremely valuable to SEO, especially if you link to other authoritative sites with quality content.

By putting some thought and time into the content you create – and slowing down on your harried posting schedule – you’ll create pieces that are not only valuable to your SEO, but to your potential customers as well.

The Power of Content Calendars for Blogging

Blank screen. Blinking cursor. Blank mind. Deadline looming.

Ever find yourself scrambling for a blog post topic? Don’t worry you aren’t alone.

However, having a content calendar will help eliminate this last minute panic and integrate content and inbound marketing efforts.

Many people only write when they are inspired or think of a topic to write about. Unfortunately, this approach does not further your marketing strategy nor does it create loyal readers and brand advocates. In fact, this approach is haphazard at best.

A calendar not only eliminates the last minute panic but provides many other values, such as:

  • Helps you focus on your audience’s needs and interests.
  • Helps you provide greater value to your audience.
  • Forces you to think longer term.
  • Improves integration of marketing efforts.
  • Sets audience expectations.
  • Creates loyal readers and brand advocates.
  • Creating content once but using it across mediums.

When you start creating your content calendar, try for three months of material and expand from there. Three months may sound like a lot, but you will be surprised at once you can come up with once you start brainstorming.

Focus more on creating and promoting quality content than creating as much content as possible. For example, Derek Halpern of Social Triggers only does a handful of posts a month, but skillful promotion of that high quality content resulted in huge subscriber numbers and loyalty in just two years. Also, include on your calendar due dates for drafts, graphics, etc., especially if you are working on a team.

Now let’s get down to specifics – post topics. First and foremost, the blog is about your audience, not about you or your company.

If you are struggling for possible topics, here are some suggestions:

  • Answer your audience’s most frequent asked questions about your products, services or industry.
  • Compare your product or service to a competitor’s (pros and cons).
  • Discuss product, service or industry trends.
  • Do a broad overview post and then break it down into an in-depth series.
  • Adapt your social media or traditional marketing content to your blog and vice versa.
  • Testimonials.
  • Guest posts (external or internal).
  •  Think of related topics of interest to your audience (e.g., environmental issues for outdoor enthusiasts).
  • New view on a hot or much discussed industry topic.
  • Product or service launch.

Expose yourself to numerous topics and experiences, and then use them to create posts that relate to your audience. Your salespeople, social media and blog comments can provide you with additional ideas. If you do not want to write, try a video or meme. Keep asking yourself, “If I was a a customer subscribing to this blog, what would I want to read about? What would I want to know?”

Once you have a calendar of topics, set aside a specific time to write. If you are like me, you will fall back into the “when I get around to it” mode otherwise. Feel free to outline, draft or write more than one post at a time. Store them up like a squirrel does nuts for the winter. With several completed posts available, all you have to do is publish and promote them when the time comes. What a relief!

Do you use a content calendar? What has been your experience?

Google AdWords Call Extensions

I recently wrote a guest post on RavenTools.com/Blog on Google AdWords Call Extensions. Below are a few excerpts:

“Over the past few years, Google AdWords has expanded with Ad Extensions. These extensions are a great value-add for advertisers to get even more out of their search ads by including additional business information like address or product information. One of the AdWords extensions that advertisers should be sure to get to know is Call Extensions.”

Google AdWords Call Extensions on Mobile

Google AdWords Call Extensions on Mobile

As seen in the image, one of the most valuable reasons to use call extensions is the real estate it takes up in the mobile space. Every area in search results is valuable. The more space an ad can take up, the better.

The ability for the mobile user to call directly from search results removes any website barriers and adds a level of locality to ads. This “click-to-call” format greatly improves the user’s experience within search results. This call is also when the advertiser is charged. The charge works out to be the same charge as the cost-per-click on the ad.http://raventools.com/blog/google-adwords-call-extensions/

Have you used Google AdWords Call Extensions before? Share your comments below. I would love to know your experience.

Google Loves Blogs

I have said many times that a good writer can solve many search engine optimization problems.

That was the case 10 years ago and it still applies today.

It’s true there are tons of advanced techniques that can be applied to website optimization. However, most sites are not ready for those steps. When I look at websites that need SEO help, the problems are always much simpler. They just need to blog.  

Below are 5 top reasons Google loves blogs:

  1. Fresh Content – Let’s face it, many corporate websites are stale. Once all products and services are added, there is not much more text or content added.
    A stale site is an indication to search engines to not bother crawling the site to learn what it is about; after all, it’s not changing. Adding a blog to a main domain (www.mydomain.com/blog) will increase the crawl rate and send good karma back to search engines.
    Adding new content makes a stale, corporate site relevant.
  2. Structure – Because the better blog platforms are updated often, they have a standard, streamlined HTML structure. That usually means less coding, frames, and scripts that would interfere with the search engine crawling process. Plus, the URL structure is customizable and search-friendly, allowing for more keyword-rich content placement.
  3. Social Interaction – Blog comments are often highly-valued by Google. Open discussions mean a sense of community and updated content. In fact, Google doesn’t care if comments are positive or negative. This discussion is also a great opportunity to interact and connect with your customers.
    Blogs also tend to be very social media friendly. As stated before in other posts, social signals in search lead to more ranking possibilities.
  4. Trust – It’s not hard to believe that people would rather hear from other people and not corporations. However, most blog-less sites are not people-oriented. By attaching a voice and face to a blog it allows for consumers to make a personal connection. This personal connection opens the door for branding recognition and often links.
  5. Distribution of Links – Link building is a large part of search engine optimization. Too many sites pursue link building at the root level of the site, the main URL. Blogging allows more URL’s a chance to get links. Quality content, via well-written blog posts, gives people a reason to link deeper within a site. This allows more pages within the site a chance to be ranked.

Of course, it’s important to note that all of these advantage above mean nothing if the blog is not part of your own domain. Having a separate domain for a blog doesn’t help.