My Link Previews Don't Look Right?
However, the preview that we show in the Queue are not used in the final post when published, as both Facebook and Twitter generate their own link previews independently, using information taken directly from the link that you’re sharing.
In This Article
- What Causes Incorrect Link Previews?
- Checking What’s Wrong With Your Link Previews
- How To Fix Broken Link Previews
- Common Questions
What Causes Incorrect Link Previews?
The link preview is controlled by the author of the web page you’re sharing, and by Facebook/Twitter.
The website author adds specific meta tags to the website, and Facebook/Twitter depend on those meta tags in order to render the link preview.
Here Are The Most Common Issues
- Facebook or Twitter could not find valid meta tags so they will not be able to render the link preview, or they may fill in the blanks using other information found on the website.
- The web page has multiple image meta tags. This may cause Facebook or Twitter to choose a different image to the one that you want to use. This often happens if you have a blog plugin that adds too many image meta tags.
- The website may not load quickly enough for Facebook, so they will give up trying to fetch the preview, and show a broken link preview instead. The sharing debugger may mention a “timeout” issue. You should always ensure your website loads quickly and reliably.
- Some websites do not allow bots (such as those from Facebook and Twitter) to fetch your page if the URL contains Google Analytics UTM tags. This is normally controlled in a file on your website called robots.txt. You should edit this file to allow bots to load your site if the URL contains UTM tags. If you are trying to prevent bots from inflating your analytics, you should set up filters in your analytics software to ignore bots instead.
SmarterQueue simply shares the link, it’s up to Facebook or Twitter, as well as the author of the web page, to determine how to display the title, description, and image in the link preview.
Checking What’s Wrong With Your Link Previews
Both Facebook and Twitter provide tools to help you debug issues with link previews 🤓
You can enter the link URL that SmarterQueue shows in the Queue, and see how the link preview will look, or what errors may be reported.
💡The Previews you see in the Sharing Debugger or Card Validator are not guaranteed as they could still be changed by the Platforms.
How To Fix Broken Link Previews
Both Twitter and Facebook provide developer documentation for how to set up the correct meta tags on your website so that they can generate link previews correctly.
- Facebook: developer documentation and best practices
- Twitter: developer documentation and card troubleshooting guide
If you update your website meta tags, you can force-refresh Facebook’s cached version of your link preview by clicking 'Scrape Again ' in the Sharing Debugger.
💡Once a link has received more than 50 likes/shares/comments, you will not be able to update the Title shown in the link preview.
It may be possible to update Twitter Card previews by using the card validator again, though if that doesn’t work, Twitter should update the Twitter Card previews weekly.
Why does the link preview break when I add UTM parameters or link tracking?
It’s important to use the final link shown in the SmarterQueue preview, and not just the original link of your website or article.
- If you turn UTM tracking on, we add query parameters to the link (e.g. domain.com/?utm_source=social&utm_medium=facebook)
- If you turn Bitly on, we add a query parameter to the link, to make the Bitlink unique (e.g. domain.com/?utm_sq=123456789).
Some websites are poorly configured, and cannot handle query parameters correctly.
In these cases, adding UTM parameters or Bitly tracking may prevent Twitter or Facebook from generating a link preview.
We strongly recommend only adding UTM parameters to websites you control, as you may create a broken link to someone else’s website, without any ability to fix it.
For example, some websites have a robots.txt file configuration which prevents Twitter or Facebook from fetching any page that contains query parameters, or specific UTM parameters.
If you find that link previews don’t work when you use UTM or Bitly for your own website links, you will need to fix your website so that it works with UTM parameters added to the URL.
Alternatively, you can turn off Bitly click tracking for specific posts, whenever sharing links to that website.
Why does the link preview use a different image to the post preview shown in SmarterQueue?
This usually happens is the web page has multiple image meta tags.
Most of the time, this will be due to a blog plugin which adds its own image meta tags.
Ideally, there should only be one image meta tag for the web page. You may need to disable some plugins if they are adding multiple image meta tags, and ensure you set the image meta tag correctly.
In WordPress, this is often done by setting the Feature Image – or you can use a plugin like Yoast SEO to help you control your social meta tags.