Social media meta tags are among us, and they are here to stay. Well, at least for the time being. So what is the importance meta tags in social media? As we all know meta tags are those descriptive elements we add to a web page that provide information to the web browsers, search engines, and other web services out there. They use these tags to to determine what information to display and what not to.

In the old days, these services took what is essentially a best guess at what your page is about. So in short, the meta tags make it easy for the services to say what it is, just like what a cover is to a book. Search engines made this popular because they could take this information and easily load it and display it to the user. So just like search engines use this meta data, social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, etc. are using meta data to allow for designers to dictate how they want their information to display on their sites.

If you haven’t read my articles about adding Facebook Open Graph Metadata, Creating A Twitter Card for your website, or Adding Google Authorship to Your Website then I highly suggest reading these as I go in to more detail on how to add these meta tags to your site.

Social Media Meta Tags

The purpose of this article though is to give you a couple of different ideas and available options in which you can add some of the more popular social media tags to your website. So here we go!

Google Plus Social Media Meta Tags

[styled_image w="500" h="104" lightbox="yes" align="right" image="http://www.robertmcquaig.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/google-publisher.png"]Google Plus social media tags are awesome little snippets you can add to your site that allow your pages to show up with an author stat next to them like you see in this picture here. There are multiple ways and options in which you can add this to your site (I’ll write an article on this one), but the most simple thing to add is your author link to your Google Plus profile. Check out my article on how to Add Google Authorship to Your Website for more details.

Facebook Open Graph Social Media Meta Tags

[styled_image w="300" h="190" lightbox="yes" align="right" image="http://www.robertmcquaig.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/open-graph.png"]Next up we have the Open Graph meta tags from Facebook. These are awesome, and while I won’t go through the length of detail I did in my previous article that outlines all of the uses, the quick and easy things to know are the url, title, description og: meta tags.

As you can see, it allows Facebook to make your stuff look pretty when someone likes or shares your page on Facebook. Putting these tags in place are probably some of the most critical ones to add if you had to choose only one set to add. You will see why later on in this article, but until then here is an example of each.

Twitter Card Social Media Meta Tags

[styled_image w="300" h="213" lightbox="yes" align="right" image="http://www.robertmcquaig.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/twitter-card.png"]For Twitter, they have their own things called twitter cards, and just like Open Graph, read my article on all the features and functionality you can add for your twitter card. To keep this short and sweet, here are some of the minimal items you can add to generate your twitter card.

Much like Open Graph, Twitter takes this info and makes it super nice and stylish when someone shares or tweets your page. Amazing how just a couple of extra tags on your page will do right? Please note though, you have to get approval from Twitter to use these, so go to my article and read how to do that.

Pinterest Social Media Meta Tags

Ok, so if you are familiar with Pinterest add how their tagging works, you really don’t have any control over how they display your information on their site. So while their aren’t any specific meta tags you can add (yet…get it together Pinterest!), you can however trick Pinterest so that the first image it grabs (which is the first on your site) is the one you want. Ok, ok, I know you can just put the image you want displayed first on your site, but what if you don’t want it to be first on your page (for whatever reason). An easy trick is to add the image, but make it ‘invisible’ so that it doesn’t skew your page. Here is how to do this. To note, get your website verified before you get all crazy trying to get your pin setup.

LinkedIn Social Media Meta Tags

Ahh, LinkedIn meta tags…this has got to be the easiest of all of them. You ready for this? Ok, here we go. If you properly added the Facebook Open Graph meta tags, then you are already setup to share your content on LinkedIn. LinkedIn recognizes the Open Graph meta tags title, image, url. You can read more about this on the LinkedIn Developer site. Just know, you don’t have to add these to your site twice…Just sayin’ as I’m sure someone would ask.