I’m going to share one simple but obscure Facebook tool that can help you fix a Facebook link preview that’s not working. Facebook used to allow you to change the image or title of any link preview right on the platform but that is no longer the case. They’re trying to cut down on fake news so they only allow you to change Facebook link previews if you own the content.
Facebook Link Preview Problems
Let’s say you tried to share a blog post from your own page on Facebook, but when you looked at the Facebook link preview you saw that the image you used didn’t really look good or maybe it didn’t show up at all. So, you go to your blog post and update the image, then go back to Facebook only to find that the Facebook link preview isn’t working. Or at least it still shows the old image, not the new picture that you recently added to your blog post.
The Cause of Some Facebook Link Preview Problems
The reason the old photo might be showing up in the Facebook link preview, even though you changed it, is that Facebook caches things. This helps the app remain speedy. It means that, in the background, Facebook went and looked at your blog post once, saved what it saw and doesn’t think it needs to go look again because it assumes you haven’t changed anything. What you need to do is tell Facebook to go look again.
The Facebook Sharing Debugger
You can tell Facebook to look again by using the Facebook Sharing Debugger. This is a tool where you can enter the URL you plan to share. It will show you a preview of what Facebook will display. If the photo or other information looks old, just hit the “Scrape Again” button and it should pull in the updated image from your URL.
If you are having trouble getting Facebook to grab the correct image, you can put specific open graph fields that tell it what to grab on your website. This might be something you have to talk to your web developer about. If you’re using WordPress, you can use a plugin to create those fields.
Why Work Toward the Perfect Facebook Link Preview?
It might seem like this is a lot of headache to go through to get the right Facebook link preview, but a good image can drive significantly more audience engagement than one that cuts off the important parts of an image, doesn’t quite fit into the frame or isn’t compelling.
Additional Facebook Link Preview Options
You can try to get your domain verified through Facebook so you can edit Facebook links for your own site on the platform. If you don’t own the website with the content you’re linking to, the only option is to ask them to change their content to get a modified Facebook link preview. You could also post a photo with the link in the post copy, but that’s not highly recommended because it will likely result in fewer people clicking through to the content since that creates a much smaller area for users to click.
A Few Other Benefits of the Facebook Sharing Debugger
The Facebook Sharing Debugger will show you much of the extra information attached to a Facebook link preview. This is useful if you are struggling to view the entire subheading for a Facebook link preview. You can copy and paste the full text of the subheading since sometimes even on a desktop preview that text gets cut off. You can also use this tool to get the direct URL for the image you see in the link preview. This is great if you want to share the link as a link with the same image on Twitter and can’t count on the Twitter preview to populate the image you want.
The Facebook Sharing Debugger lives on the Facebook for Developers section of their website. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a developer or have those kinds of skills to use it.