Open Graph images: why they’re important, and what LexBlog does to help

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A large part of driving traffic to your blog is effective sharing of your posts on social media. But when someone is scrolling through their feed, what is going to make them interested in your post amongst all the noise? Sure, an effective, well-written title might convince someone to click through to your blog once they read it, but first you need to catch their attention amidst their scrolling, and the most effective way to that is using a good image.

What is an Open Graph Image?

Open Graph tags are pieces of code on a website that tells social media apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter what an article is supposed to look like when one of their users shares it to their feed. Here’s what that code looks like on a recent post from this blog:

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As you can see, there is information about the post title, URL, the site it was published from, a short excerpt of the post content, as well as an image to use for the share, which is the most important part. While Facebook can usually do a pretty good job of filling in the blanks regarding the site and article title, if there isn’t an image specified, it will have to guess and might end up showing the wrong image, or worse, no image at all. Below you can see what a Facebook share looks like with and without an open graph image. Which one would you notice while scrolling and be more likely to click?

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The answer seems obvious, and there is plenty of data to back this up. According to a study by Buzzsumo, “Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images.” This doesn’t just apply to Facebook either, as “the data showed that the large (image) card had an average of 16.2 shares, while the next closest was a normal summary card at only 3.7 shares.”

How does LexBlog help our clients with Open Graph?

When you make a post on LexBlog, our software is doing work behind the scenes to make sure that your open graph tags are working effectively. First, we look for a “featured image” in your post. If there is one, that gets set as the open graph image by default, as well as the Twitter card image in the “large” format for optimum engagement. If you would like to set a different image for sharing, you can do that in the “social” section of the SEO panel on the edit post page:

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In addition, as part of our new blog onboarding process we provide our clients with a “fallback” image that’s branded to their blog, to make sure that even if a post doesn’t have an image, it will still have proper treatment when shared to social media. Here’s what that looks like for 99 Park Row:

New Feature Sneak Peek: Automatic customized Open Graph images for every post

While it’s nice to have a site-wide fallback image in case you make a post without a featured image, the same problem can arise as having no image at all when every post you share has the same image–people scroll right past it because they’ve seen it before and it doesn’t catch their eye.

Coming soon to the LexBlog platform, we are working on something to make having eye-catching open graph images even easier for our clients. Before the end of the year we will be rolling out an integration with Bannerbear, an API which will automatically generate these images for us and include information about the post (like the title and author) overlaid on the image. That way each post you share will end up looking different, and therefore be more likely to be clicked on!

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Example of a Bannerbear-generated Open Graph Image

We are excited to get this rolled out to our clients in the near future, and we hope it helps you generate more traffic to your posts on social media!

Angelo Carosio
About the Author

Angelo has been an integral part of LexBlog for more than a decade, starting on the Success team and then moving into a developer role. These days, he mostly spends his time working on the back-end of the LexBlog platform fixing bugs and working on new features for our customers.

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