Page and Post Metadata
The search engine meta description represents the blurb of text that will appear when search engines return that particular page as a search result. Describe the purpose of the page, including (in natural language) any keywords that might be of interest to a user searching for specific information that might be found in your page or post.
In posts, the content here should consist of a succinct overview of the most important details about this story’s content. Similarly in pages, the content should reflect the unique purpose of that particular page’s content.
While this description will not be visible anywhere on the post’s page, the text will appear in Google’s search results.
The remaining post metadata fields are directly related to sharing content via social media. When a story or page is linked in Facebook or Twitter (or an assortment of other social media networks), the social media site will attempt to fill in these fields with data it can automatically scrape from the page. Since this automatically generated data is not always the best content for sharing, filling in these fields will ensure that when the story is shared via social media it displays the best representation of the story for that outlet.
While Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn share a similar set of requirements, Twitter recommends some unique fields and alternate image sizes for optimal display within Tweets.
As recommended image dimensions and character length best practices are continuously changing, it’s best to use the values currently suggested within the instructional text on your website. These values are evaluated and updated if needed during each release.
Social Metadata Validation Tools
Both Facebook and Twitter supply validation tools useful for viewing previews of how metadata will appear when shared. Keep in mind that these tools will not work for development sites.
Use this tool by pasting in the appropriate URL to preview metadata for. If the page has not been shared via Facebook before, the tool will prompt to ‘Fetch new information’. Images may not be immediately available – refresh the page in a few seconds to view the preview with image included. It is also important to note that Facebook stores a copy of this data, which it will then use to display content when shared. Facebook will occasionally look for new information from the source URL, but to immediately refresh this content, use the ‘Scrape Again’ button to expedite the process.
Similar to Facebook’s debugger tool, but requires a logged in account to use. Twitter does not use the same mechanism for scraping and saving data, so this content should always reflect the most up to date metadata for the source.
Have questions? Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns at go.ncsu.edu/ucomm-dev-request.