Measure your social media efforts with UTM tags

Every company should have a social media strategy. It helps you to increase traffic to your website, it makes it easier to engage with (potential) customers and you’ll increase brand awareness. Of course, you want to see if your efforts pay off. Are you getting closer to the goals that you’ve set up in your strategy? Let’s take a look at how you can measure your social media efforts.

Ways to measure social efforts

If you spend your time writing social posts, creating images and more, you want to know if your social media strategy and your campaigns work. Of course, you can check Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, and Instagram Statistics. But the thing is, those show only a limited amount of information, mostly about what happens on that particular platform. If you’re doing fine with just the information that these platforms provide, of course, that’s great.

Perhaps, though, you want information about the relation between social media and the traffic to your site. That’s where UTM tagging comes in. UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module. Google uses this method to track your URL so you can track custom campaigns in Google Analytics. In other words, it helps you to see whether a post or campaign on social media actually led to more traffic on your website.

Want to make sure your social posts look fabulous? The social preview feature in Yoast SEO Premium helps you with that. It visualizes what your post will look like when shared on Facebook or Twitter!

Using UTM tags

A UTM tag consists of parameters that will help you track back your URL and give you information. The UTM tag will always come after your URL when you share it on a social channel. So, you take the URL of a post and simply paste the UTM tag after the URL. By doing so, for instance, it could look like this:

https://yoast.com/measure-social-media-efforts/#utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=seo-post-social&utm_content=link&utm_term=measure-social

There are several websites that help you build a UTM tag, but it’s always nice to understand what you’re looking at. The UTM we use when sharing this post on Twitter, for example, is: 

#utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=seo-post-social&utm_content=link&utm_term=measure-social

The source is mandatory. The other information, such as content and term, gives a more detailed explanation about the type of things you’re sharing on social media platforms. Make sure to be consistent in your tagging. If you mix uppercase and lowercase, Google Analytics will see it as two different types of tags. This means that data gets separated in Google Analytics. At Yoast, we use a # to start off the UTM tag, but most tools use a ?. We use the # because then we know for certain that we are not causing duplicate content since Google ignores anything after the #. So let’s break down this UTM tag, shall we?

The parameters

utm_source=twitter.com
The source explains where visitors are coming from. Because we’re sharing this post on Twitter, we’ll use twitter.com. For Facebook, we’ll use facebook.com. And so forth.

utm_medium=social
The medium explains what kind of medium is used (surprise, surprise). Twitter is a social media platform and Facebook is a social media platform, so we’ll use social. By grouping all social media platforms with the medium=social UTM tag, we can easily see in Google Analytics what all social traffic is doing for our site. This way, we can compare a post that’s been shared on all social media platforms to, for example, the same post shared in newsletters. 

utm_campaign=seo-post-social
Where source and medium tell you more about where your visitors came from, the campaign tag tells you more about the subjects you’re sharing on, in this case, social. For instance, if you have a product launch or a sales campaign, you can use this UTM tag to track in Google Analytics how that specific campaign is doing. Your campaign is something you have to think about really well, as it has to cover everything you want to be covered. The one that we use for this post is the one that we use for all the daily blog posts that we share. If we share something, for example, that has to do with the Yoast Care fund we’ll use ‘utm_campaign=carefund’.

utm_content=link
The content piece describes what kind of content you’re sharing. You’re always sharing a link, that’s true. But if you’re sharing an image, your content will be utm_content=image… As the image will be the central point. (or video, gif, voice memo, whatever you’re planning on sharing!)

utm_term=measure-social
The utm_term tag is mostly used to add keywords for Google ads. That doesn’t mean you can’t use them for other things than ads. This tag can be used to add more information about the post you’re sharing on social platforms. For instance, the topic of the post you’re sharing or the date.

Make your own UTM

Once you get the hang of creating a UTM tag, you’ll do it with your eyes closed. But for now, it might still seem confusing. A good tool to use when you just start building your UTM tags is the Campaign URL Builder tool by Google Analytics. It’s important that you use the UTM tags in such a way that you can understand it and get the correct data from it in Google Analytics. It doesn’t matter if another company or website does it differently, as long as you know what your own UTM tag means. You have to find a way that works for you. In the image below, you’ll notice that the order of the parameters in the generated campaign URL differs from how we did it: This does not matter.

Campaign URL Builder by Google Analytics

Make sure that you save your campaigns somewhere, so that in the future, when you post something that’s related to the campaign, you can make sure you use the same one. Whenever we post a YoastCon 2020 related blog post or page, you’ll see we use &utm_campaign=yoastcon2020. Or for anything that’s related to the Yoast Care fund, we’ll use &utm_campaign=carefund.

Let’s measure your social media efforts!

Now, I can hear you thinking: ‘That’s all nice and stuff, but now what? Who will tell me if my social media posts are working?’ Well… You will! With the help of Google Analytics of course! In the video below, Annelieke, Lead of our Research team, explains how you can interpret your data and where you can find the information that you collected with the use of your UTM tags.


To find the relevant data in Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns. Here, you can find all the campaigns that you’ve set up an UTM tag for. In the search bar, you can search for more specific campaigns. Just type in the campaign name you want to learn more about! You’ll find information about the number of users that clicked on that campaign, the bounce rate and the conversion rate, for instance. Watch the video, for more options and a more detailed explanation.

Note: Facebook likes to mess things up with your self-made UTM tag that you put all your hard work in. Even though that’s not very nice of Facebook, you can still see where people went by looking at the landing page. 

Now, it’s your turn!

Creating and measuring your UTM tags might be a little hard in the beginning. But, believe me, you’ll find a way to make it work for you. Take your time for both creating and measuring, and start with a campaign that you really want to be measured. If you’re still asking yourself: “But why should I… does social media even influence my SEO?” then I suggest you to read this post that’s answering that exact question and come back later. If you’re ready to start, then I wish you the best of luck!

What’s your favorite way to measure your social media efforts?

Read more: Basic SEO: How to use social media »

The post Measure your social media efforts with UTM tags appeared first on Yoast.

How to write a blog post: A step-by-step guide from preparation to publication

Writing a successful blog post all comes down to the proper preparations. It starts before you even begin writing: what do you want to say and to whom do you want to say it? You might want to get going right away but remember: writing takes some time. And once you’ve written an awesome blog post, you’ll need to invest time in promoting it and keeping the content up to date. Today, we’ll cover all you need to do to write a successful blog post, from the first inception, to long after publication. So let’s dive right in!

Before we get going with our step by step guide, have a quick look at this image that depicts the three phases of a proper writing process: 

In total, there are 6 steps you should take when writing and publishing a blog post. Does this sound a bit overwhelming? Don’t worry, at the end of this post, you’ll find a practical (and downloadable) checklist with an overview of these steps!

Step 1: Preparation

Let’s say you’ve taken a good look at your keyword research and decided upon a topic to write your next blog post about. Don’t start typing just yet, because first, it’s time to prepare that post! That means you have to answer a few questions. But trust me, answering these questions will definitely help you write a great blog. So, let’s have a look at the questions you should ask yourself:

What is the purpose of your post?

Before you start writing, you should first take some time to think about why you’re writing and what you want to achieve with this specific article. Articles can have different purposes:

  • You can write because you want to persuade people. You want to convince them to buy your product or adopt your ideas. 
  • The aim of your article could also be to entertain and amuse people. A column is a good example of an entertaining text. 
  • Your blog or article could also be informative. In this case, you write to share knowledge about a certain topic. 

Different articles on your website can have different purposes. Also, many articles have multiple purposes. A blog can be informative as well as entertaining. In any case, it’s important to think about the purpose of your article because it will give you a direction to follow. An article that intends to persuade people should be written differently than an article with a solely informative or amusing function. 

Read more: Why the purpose of your text is important for SEO »

What is the main message of your post?

You should also think about what you want your readers to know or take away after they’ve read your text. We refer to this as the message of your text.

For example

If you want to write a post about the importance of well-structured texts, the central question of this post could be: ‘Why is it important to write well-structured blog posts?’

The message of a post about the importance of well-structured texts could be: ‘It is important to write a well-structured text because it will allow people to understand your text better, it will lead to higher conversions and higher rankings.’

In order to formulate your message, you could try to phrase a question which your text should answer. We refer to such a question as the central question of a text. And the text you write should give an answer to your central question. So make sure that your central question is clear. Try to come up with a summarized answer to your central question in one or two sentences. This summarized answer is the message of your article. 

We usually put the message in the introduction of the post (telling readers what the post will be about) as well as in the conclusion of the piece. Making your message explicit is, in our opinion, especially important in web texts. It helps your readers to instantly grasp the message of your article and increases the likelihood people will keep on reading.

Who are your readers?

Ideally, you already thought about the kind of audience you want to reach when you started your website. But it never hurts to remind yourself before writing your text. So, take some time to think about the people you are writing for. Make sure you adapt your text to them and adjust the difficulty level of the information in your article as well as the difficulty of your style (use of jargon, long sentences etc). A good rule of thumb is to keep things readable and accessible to reach a wider audience.

What information do you need?

In some cases, all the information you need to write your text is already in your head. For example, if the chef of a local Italian restaurant wants to write a blog post about the types and uses of pasta, he probably doesn’t need to open any books. But if he wants to write an elaborate culinary history about 500 years of Italian cuisine, he might need some other sources. So, determine whether you need sources (the internet, books, newspapers) to get the information you need for your text. 

You should take the central question of your piece and come up with a number of sub-questions you want to answer. Find and formulate answers to all your sub-questions using your sources (books, internet, scientific articles, etc.). This will provide you with the basis of your post or article.

After this phase, you might want to make some adjustments to the (central) message of your article. Take some time to phrase or rephrase your message (the summarized answer to your central question) to make it entirely clear.

What ‘s the best way to structure your text?

The final step in the preparation process is the most important one. You have to decide how you’ll structure the information you want to communicate to your readers. If you don’t think about this beforehand, odds are your text will lack a logical order and will be hard to follow for your audience. A proper text structure is also important for SEO. Not sure how to begin? This post offers practical tips to create a decent structure.

Step 2: Write your blog post!

At this point, you’ll have all the information you need and an outline of the subjects you want to discuss in your blog post. And yes, this means that it’s finally time to start writing. So get going! And don’t worry. Your text doesn’t have to be perfect yet, as you can edit things later on.

Get it all out there, while trying to stick to the structure you decided on and making sure your tone and style are in line with the audience you want to reach. Also, you don’t have to write your blog post from start to end. Feel free to switch between paragraphs and skip hard bits to get back to later on. Whatever feels most natural to you!

Keep reading: SEO Copywriting: The ultimate guide »

Step 3: Correcting, editing and optimizing

Once you’ve put everything on (digital) paper, it’s time for the editing phase. Now, you should look more closely at your text and smooth out weird sentences and errors. That means checking for mistakes on a sentence and paragraph level, and also evaluating whether the structure of your blog post actually makes sense. If you’re not an experienced writer, it can be very helpful to use online spell checks or to ask someone you know to read your text. Another pair of eyes has a fresh perspective on your text and can, therefore, spot mistakes much more easily.

Optimize your post for the search engines

Optimizing for search engines should, of course, be a big part of preparing your blog post for publication. For example, it’s important to check the distribution of your keywords, meta description and the readability of your text. As you know, the Yoast plugin offers a lot of help with this step! Check out the SEO analysis tool, and our post on how to optimize your blog post.

Step 4: Practicalities before publishing

Before you can send your new masterpiece into the world, there are a few more things to do, to improve its chances to do well: 

Don’t forget to add images

Images are an invaluable addition to (almost) every blog post. So before publishing the post you wrote, you need to add at least one quality image and make sure your images are optimized. Some bloggers prefer to create photos and images before they start writing their texts. Others prefer to first write and then find the correct images. Whether you use stock photos or create your own graphics, make sure you at least have a header image that can also be used to share on social media. In Yoast SEO Premium, there is a social preview where you can see what it looks like when your post is shared on Facebook or Twitter. And you can also set a different social image if desired.

Add categories and tags

Categories and tags provide an extra layer of structure for your site, and you really need to give some thought to how you use those. As you’re preparing your blog post, it’s easy to forget to add the right taxonomies. So check whether you’ve done that before you hit the publish button!

Optimize for social media

Not only can you set your own social image in Yoast SEO Premium, you can also write a different description for Facebook and Twitter than for Google. People who find you through Facebook, often have a different connection with you than those who find you through Google. Make sure the description resembles that! 

If Pinterest is a platform that’s relevant for your blog, another part of your blog post’s preparation is designing a Pinterest image. These should have a ratio of 2:3, which means that it’s vertical. Also, fun to mention: Pinterest comes with a scheduled feature now. So you can schedule your pin before publishing the post. Just make sure you put the correct publishing URL in!

Step 5: After publishing your post

After publishing your blog post, you can either sit back and hope people will just pick up your newest masterpiece or you can take some steps to draw attention to your new post. It’s time to make some noise and get the story out there!

Share your post on social media

Although social media are designed to keep their users on their platforms, instead of clicking a website, your followers love hearing from you. And especially if you write for your social audience, it’s important to post your blog posts on these social media accounts. There are plugins that push your blog posts to social media as soon as you hit publish, but you could also do this yourself.

And although Pinterest isn’t a social medium, but a visual search engine, we’ll discuss it here as well. While Google finds out about your new blogpost through crawling and sitemaps, Pinterest doesn’t. So, if you want your content on Pinterest, you need to actually tell Pinterest you have a new post by posting to it. So if you have not used the scheduler or want to place your pins on more boards, now is the time to do so!

Internal linking to new post from other posts

Are you aware of the importance of site structure? To improve your post’s chances to rank, you should add internal links. Internal links are links that are in your text and they tell Google all about context. It’s important to link to your blog post. While writing your post, you most likely already linked to other posts you’d already written. After publishing, make sure you check which blog posts could have a link to your new post and add those links immediately. 

Step 6: A while after publishing your blog post

To make sure your blog posts don’t disappear in the large sea of content out there, it’s important to keep working on promoting and improving them even after they’ve been published for a while. 

Including posts in the newsletter

A lot of businesses maintain a newsletter. If you send out a newsletter, you have to decide if you are going to share all your recent blog posts, or will only share your funniest or most informative ones. You can share your newest blog post in today’s newsletter, and if it’s still relevant six months from now, or you’re doing a themed newsletter, you can include it again. If the content is still relevant, it won’t matter if the article is one week or month old.

Reposting on social media

You shared your blog post on social media right after you published it, but that doesn’t mean you cannot republish it again after a few months! The same goes with the newsletter. Don’t overdo it, but it’s safe to reshare something 6 months after you first shared it. You can even decide to use another social image or another introduction text to give the social media post a different look.

Analyzing the post performance

After a month or so, you can start to analyze your post’s performance. This is something you need to do regularly, for instance, every three months. You should look at Google Analytics and check Google Search Console to see how people find your blog post, but also whether you’re ranking for the keywords you want to rank for and if you should create more posts surrounding the subject or make the blog post even more in-depth. 

Optimizing where necessary

SEO is an ongoing process. One month, you may rank #1 for a keyword, but what if the next month your competitor has created a better piece and starts ranking first? And, did you know search intent for a keyword can change over time? In short, you should periodically revisit your blog post with the data you have collected and optimize where necessary. 

Check what your competition does better than you and decide whether you want to optimize. Do you feel it’s worth your time to improve a post if you dropped from the first to the second place? Optimizing could mean you need to focus more on things like link building, or Schema. Check what your competitors do that you don’t. Don’t copy, but learn from them.

More internal linking

So ideally, you already worked on your internal linking when you just published your post. If you did that and kept an eye on it over time, then you can skip this step. If not, you probably need to work on your internal linking again! Use the orphaned content filter in Yoast SEO Premium to see which articles need some attention regarding internal linking.

Practical checklist

To keep track of what you need to do to write and publish a perfect blog post, we created a checklist. You can print it out and keep with you as a cheat sheet when you’re preparing, writing, and fine-tuning your text. We even added some empty checkboxes so you can add extra steps if we didn’t cover something you consider absolutely necessary! Download the free checklist here!

Conclusion

Writing a blog post can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. You need to invest time in preparing your blog post, writing it, and even once it’s written, it’s important to make sure it gets the attention it deserves by sharing and improving your text. It might seem like a lot, but in the end, you’ll see your content perform well consistently. And trust me, it will be worth it!

Read on: SEO copywriting: The ultimate Guide »

The post How to write a blog post: A step-by-step guide from preparation to publication appeared first on Yoast.

Earn money on Pinterest with Yoast WooCommerce SEO

With over 250 million users, Pinterest is a platform many online shops cannot ignore. According to the platform, 84% of its users use Pinterest to decide what they should buy next. Whether you have a small business or sell all over the world, Pinterest is the place to invest your time in. Want to start using Pinterest for your business or want to get more out of it? Here, we’ll explain not only how Pinterest works, but also how you get the most out of it. You’ll also find out how the latest schema update of Yoast SEO 11.0 helps you with reaching your goals.

Pinterest explained

Unlike common belief, Pinterest is not a social media platform: it’s a visual search engine. Users browse for ideas, called pins, and go to other websites to read about or buy something. The pins are vertical images with an optimized meta description.

Because Pinterest creates a personal feed for all of its users, it can place your pins in feeds of people who do not know you yet. This is based on the recent search history of your users and based on the people, subjects and boards someone follows. If you like a pin, you can repin it on one of your own boards, which spreads the message even further. So if you optimize your own pins well, it can go viral if it reaches the right audience.

Unlike social media such as Facebook and Twitter, a pin can generate traffic and customers to your website for months to come. It’s actually more common for a pin to generate traffic a few months after you first put it live, as the power of sharing is incredibly important on Pinterest.

Consider it a snowball effect: as your pin gets repinned, Pinterest will learn more about your pin each and every time. It bases this knowledge on the boards it’s placed on, as well as the description the pin has and the kind of people who interact with it. A pin that doesn’t seem popular at first, can suddenly spike a lot of traffic 4 to 6 months after your first placed it online.

Claiming your Pinterest account with Yoast SEO

Pinterest has two types of accounts: personal accounts and business accounts. If you have an eCommerce site, make sure your account is a business account. It’s incredibly easy to do so in only three steps!

  • Log into your account on Pinterest, go to your settings and find the ‘Claim’ option. Here you can insert the URL of your domain.
  • Next, Pinterest will ask you to verify your website. Choose ‘insert HTML-tag’ and copy the code within the content quotes, as displayed below.
Pinterest’s HTML tag to verify your website
  • Go to your website’s dashboard in WordPress and click on SEO in your left-hand menu. Then, click on Social and go to the Pinterest tab. Here, you’ll find a box for the Pinterest confirmation. Paste the code you copied in step 2 here and save the changes.
The Pinterest tab in the Social section of Yoast SEO

You’ve now claimed your website!

The Claim section in Pinterest

The last thing you need to do is to make sure your pins will show up as rich pins. With rich pins, the metadata is shown on the pin itself. This increases engagement as more information is given. To make sure your website is ready for rich pins, follow the steps on the rich pins validator page of Pinterest.

A rich pin, including price, stock and a link to your website, encouraging people to check the product out in your online store.

Product pins: the most important pins for you as a store owner

Pinterest has four kinds of pins:

  1. article pins;
  2. app pins;
  3. product pins;
  4. recipe pins.

We’ll focus on product pins, as these are the kind of pins you need to create as a shop owner. Product pins make it easier for your possible customers to see what you’re selling, how much it costs, whether it’s in stock and more. By providing this information immediately, you’re grabbing the attention of your audience and will drive more traffic to your website.

Yoast WooCommerce SEO and Pinterest

The WooCommerce SEO plugin stitches the Yoast SEO schema output and the WooCommerce schema output together, making sure it’s one, coherent, graph. At the same time, it also enriches the output with several attributes.

This means that, when you own an online store that runs on WooCommerce, you only need the Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin on top of Yoast SEO to make sure Pinterest can get all relevant information. You just have to install the plugin, we’ll do the rest for you!

The moment you or someone else shares the product on Pinterest, we’ll make sure Pinterest understands it’s a product, what the price is and who the seller is. On top of this, we’ll also explain to Pinterest that the main entity of the page is the product you sell.

Schema.org explained

Implementing structured data properly on your website has always been a hassle. In Yoast SEO 11.0 we made this easier for you: instead of focusing on the technical specifics of your website, you can now focus on selling your product. We’ll focus on the right schema implementation for you!

Schema.org is used to markup products, recipes, articles and more. Search engines as Google and, of course, Pinterest can read this implementation and present it to their users. On top of this, search engines understand a page or website that has schema.org implemented better. Here’s a little story to show how it works.

All in all, Schema.org is incredibly important for SEO. It will make your website a better search result as it will give your visitors an easier way to pick a result from the list of links.

Read more: How to use Pinterest to grow – my experiences »

The post Earn money on Pinterest with Yoast WooCommerce SEO appeared first on Yoast.

SEO basics: How to use social media

Social media endeavors should be a part of your SEO strategy. As social media usage increased in popularity, Google and other search engines couldn’t ignore them any longer. This means that your site’s popularity on social media ties in with your SEO more and more. The reason for this is simple: if people talk about you, online or offline, you’re relevant to the topic at hand. In addition to that, you’ll want to know about these conversations. In this post, I’ll give you some fundamental tips on how to use social media.

How to use social media

Below are some tips you can use in order to set up or to improve your social media strategy:

1. Keep your account alive

The most crucial advice in the use of social media is that you need to keep your account ‘alive’. Make sure you post on a regular basis. Sharing your new blog posts is a good start, but also let people know what you’re working on or what interests you. If you go on vacation, schedule posts for the time you are away, or at least let people know when you’ll be back. And, after a while, you could repost older content to draw people to your website with existing content.

2. Write captivating excerpts

When you decide to share your blog post on social media, make sure to select or write a short and appealing excerpt in order to draw people in. You could, for instance, choose the most important sentence or the main point of your post. Or you could simply choose to share the introduction of the blog post, if you feel that is captivating enough. You want this piece of text to get people to click on the link and read the whole post. And do ensure that people can easily navigate to other pages on your website, once they are there.

Our SEO for WordPress eBook guides you through every aspect of Search Engine Optimization »

SEO for WordPress$ 25 - Buy now » Info

3. Diversify

You can share different types of posts on your social media account. As mentioned in point 1, you could share your blog posts, but you could also share short news items, videos or simply some (behind-the-scenes) pictures. These kind of posts can make our brand more fun and personal.

In order to decide which posts do well on social media, you should analyze the number of views, shares and likes. Of course, we’d advise to share types of posts that receive a lot of views and likes more often.

4. Handle comments

If you share your posts on social media, you could also receive comments. Don’t forget to monitor this. You should handle these comments swiftly.

Read more: ‘How to handle comments on your blog’ »

5. Use awesome illustrations

For some social media (Pinterest and Instagram) it is all about the illustrations. But also on Facebook visual content is really important. They make your post stand out from all of the other posts in someone’s timeline, and can boost clickthrough.

When you use Yoast SEO Premium you can check what your blog post or product page will look like, before sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. See how easy that is!

6. Be part of the community

If you’re active in a certain community or niche, you’ll soon discover other interesting people in that area that your audience follows. Follow them too and interact with them, this could help your and their audiences grow.

7. Add metadata

Smart use of (hash)tags can also help your growth immensely. For instance if you are at an event, include the hashtag for that event in your post, so everyone searching for that event will come across it. There are also hashtags for certain interests or technology. Some people might even retweet everything that is posted in a certain hashtag, which is a great way to boost your post. But don’t go overboard! Nobody likes a post that is filled with all kinds of random hashtags.

Conclusion

Social media is a key aspect of every SEO strategy. Setting up a decent social media strategy can be hard and will ask for a bit of creativity. And, it’ll definitely consume much of your time. But, it’ll be worth it! And if you think about it, social media and blogging are very similar in many aspects.

Keep reading: ‘Social media strategy: where to begin’ »

Pinterest Analytics: a quick walk-through

Pinterest was launched in 2010 and holds a steady position in our social media landscape these days. With over 100 million active users and $11 billion reported value (2015/09), Pinterest is here to stay. I already did an article on Pinterest Marketing back in 2014, so it was definitely time to write another one. In this article, I’d like to focus on Pinterest Analytics and go over the various sections, charts and stats with you.

Social_media_pinterest_analytics_FI

Pinterest Analytics

Pinterest Analytics is divided into three sections:

  1. Your Pinterest Profile
  2. Your Audience
  3. Activity from your account

This is also reflected by the dashboard:

Pinterest Analytics Dashboard

Besides these three charts, the dashboard shows the top pin impressions in the last 30 days. Now let’s go over the three sections in the image above.

Your Pinterest Profile

Next to the title of the charts in the previous image, you see a ‘More >’ link, that gets you to more detailed stats. Your Pinterest Profile is divided into some subsections: Impressions, Repins, Clicks and All-time. Impressions tell you how many views your pins get on Pinterest. This is over time, in a selected time frame. You can pick the days of this time frame yourself, or choose one of the predefined time frames (7, 14 or 30 days).

Besides that, there is a select box in the header of all three sections that allows you to display data from ‘All apps’, or just from a specific device, ranging from Android phone, via iPad to (Mobile) Web. Only the Audience section has an extra option here to show all audiences or just your followers.

Impressions

Impressions tell you how many views your pins get on Pinterest. This is over time, in a selected time frame. You can pick the days of this time frame yourself, or choose one of the predefined time frames (7, 14 or 30 days). The chart itself shows the daily impressions, compared to the daily viewers, and the relative trend of these lines. Unfortunately, my personal profile lost about a quarter of its impressions over the last couple of weeks, so Pinterest gives me this smart advice: “Add more of your Pins to Pinterest to increase impressions and reach more people. Learn more.” They’re right. Pinterest should be used frequently to build an audience.

To see which pins worked best for you in the last 30 days, Pinterest Analytics also shows your top pin impressions, and, perhaps even more important for your Pinterest strategy, your best performing boards. Per Pin, Pinterest Analytics shows you the number of impressions, clicks, repins and likes, and if applicable, the type of Pin.
For Yoast, our General SEO board is by far the best-viewed one. It shows all of our latest posts and the great illustrations that accompany those posts:

Pinterest - General SEO board example

Repins and Clicks

Rich Pins

Rich Pins show metadata right on the Pin itself, giving Pinners a richer experience and increasing engagement. There are 6 types of Rich Pins: app, article, movie, place, product and recipe Pins.

All the reports in this section are set up the same way. The Repins section shows you the number of daily repins and daily repinners. The tip here is to add great images and add a useful description and Rich Pins to these images, so it’s worth saving (or: pinning) these images for later.

The Repins section in Pinterest Analytics includes an overview of the most repinned Pins from the last 30 days and the same for Pinterest boards.

The Clicks section shows the number of visits to your website from Pinterest. The chart shows daily clicks and daily visitors, the additional information shows your most clicked pins and the boards with the most clicked links. As mentioned, these sections show pretty much the same stats per data type.

All-time

This is a nice overview of all the Pins that performed well:

  • Most repinned: the Pins that got most repins since you created your Pinterest account.
  • Best in search: the Pins that rank best. Ranking is based upon a) quality descriptions b) the use of Rich Pins and c) valuable links on your Pins.
  • Power Pins: Pins that led to the most engagement from Pinners (likes, repins, comments, sends, etc).

At the time of writing, the all-time section showed no data. I assume this is a temporary glitch. It should look like this:

Pinterest Analytics: all-timeImage used with permission from socialapemarketing.com

The overall conclusion is that you can use this section to find your gems, either Pins or boards, and see how you can add more similar or related pins to your Pinterest boards. You can use this section to see what works best with your current audience.

Your Audience

The Audience section has some pretty interesting information for you.

Demographics

The main graph in the Demographics section shows the number of monthly viewers compared to the number of engagements. Trends are key here. See what happens and of course, try to keep a steep and up going line here.

Besides the chart, we find information about the country, the metro and language, as well as gender of your audience. For Yoast, most of our audience lives in Washington DC, New York or Los Angeles, is English-speaking, and 51% of our audience is female. Which is pretty low, actually. The average percentage of female Pinners seems to be around 70% by the way.

Interests

The nice thing about Pinterest is that it’s used for ’emotional’ things like home decoration, recipes and pets. This also means that your Pins say something about you directly. It also means this ‘Interests’ section might be a bit ‘foggy’. What I mean by that, is that when your audience is into for instance Art, Furniture, Home Decor or Recipes and you are selling SEO related products, you might want to think twice before jumping to conclusions. These are probably boards that score very high in every Interest section in Pinterest Analytics. It’s things like Drawings and Web Design that match our business:

Pinterest Analytics: Interests

Focus on these things when optimizing your Pinterest boards.

In the section below these topics, you’ll find pinner boards with lots of your Pins and businesses your audience engages with. That last one is actually pretty interesting, as you probably know your benchmarks and these should be in here, if you’re pinning the right things. For Yoast, our audience seems to engage with for instance Buzzfeed, YouTube and WordPress.com, so I guess we’re fine :)

By the way, for every page section in Pinterest Analytics, there is a Show more option that allows you to expand the number of pins/boards/businesses you see.

Activity from your account

In this section, we find subsections for Impressions, Repins, Clicks, Original Pins, All-time and Pin It button.

This section is pretty much the same as the Your Pinterest Profile, but the other way around. It deals with all the things that originate on your website and lead to Pinterest.

Pinterest Analytics: impressions from yoast.com chart

On our website, we use a lot of illustrations that are pinned to Pinterest on a frequent basis. Spikes usually indicate new posts in our case. If your website is about photos, this chart might tell you what subjects work best for growing your Pinterest audience.

Pin It button exampleObviously, Pinterest Analytics recommends you to use a Pin It button on your website. This goes for all social media websites: if you want shares, likes or whatever from your own website, make it as easy as possible.

Tables below that chart mentioned above show the Top Pin impressions from the last 30 days. For yoast.com, one Pin tops everything: Anatomy of a WordPress Theme. That one originated in this post from 2011. Pinterest is your to-go-to spot for infographics as well :)

Furthermore, the second table on that page tells us that this board by Kim Winters is a large source for the Pins on that image as well. It led to 36 repins already and that board only has about 150 followers. Nice to know and it might help you find content related to your top pins (other things pinned to a board by Pinners other than yourself).

In our case, the Repins page in this section looks almost the same as the impressions page. The more impressions, the more repins, so that makes perfect sense. The same goes for Clicks, although this page tells us that WordPress SEO: The definitive guide to higher rankings for WordPress sites also drove extra traffic to Pinterest. It’s definitely worth checking all pages and comparing the data on these pages.

Original Pins

I like the Original Pins section, by the way. It’s not an extensive section, but shows you the “unique Pins created directly from your website”. Be sure to click the Show more link here for more pins:

Pinterest Analytics: original pins table

Clicking one of the items above provides more information on the pin: who pinned what to what board.

Pin It button

The last page in this section is about the use of the Pin It button on your website. There is a graphical overview of the number of times a Pin It button is shown on your website and the number of clicks on that button. This graph also shows how many clicks resulted in the creation of a Pin. Right below this graph is a second one, displaying the activity on Pinterest from the Pin It button: “When people create Pins from your website, you’ll be able to track how they do on Pinterest.” The data in this second graph will tell you:

  • How many impressions were generated by Pins created from your website.
  • How many repins these Pins got.
  • And how many times those repins generated clicks to your website in return.

Note that these graphs only relate to the last 7 days, and only show data when you are using the official Pin It button.

More social stats

That rounds it up for this post on Pinterest Analytics. I hope you enjoyed reading it and are able to use Pinterest Analytics to your benefit.

Read more: ‘Facebook Insights explained’ »

If you’re interested in social stats, be sure to read my articles on these social platforms as well:

In case I missed any hidden gems in Pinterest Analytics, please let me know!

Social media strategy: Where to begin?

Social media is not to be ignored these days: it’s everywhere! So, when you’re working on building and growing your website, you need to take social media into account. Not sure why? Check out how social media can influence your SEO. Now, where do you begin? In this post, we’ll walk you through the steps of determining a social media strategy that fits you and your brand.

The goal of your social media presence

What is your goal for being on social media? Beware: what type of content you’ll be sharing is not your goal. That’s a means to reach your goals. What are you hoping to accomplish by sharing? Do you want followers to learn about your products? Increase sales, possibly by sharing discount codes or promotions? Are you looking to educate them? For example, the blog you’re currently reading is important to one of Yoast’s social media goals: We want to share our SEO knowledge with everyone. 

There are many goals to choose from, and you can pick more than one. Try to maintain some focus though, start by selecting a few that you can focus on first. If you find it hard to pinpoint your goals try turning it around: what content would you like to share? What goals could you deduce from that?

If you want to learn more about using social media and other essential SEO skills, you should check out our All-Around SEO training! It doesn’t just tell you about SEO: it’ll help you put these skills into practice!

What type of content do you share on social media?

So, you’ve decided on your goal(s). On to the next question: What kind of content are you going to offer? Are you going to share your own blog posts? Or, articles written by others, that you find relevant for your audience? Product information? Behind the scenes footage from your company? Information about you as a person? There’s so much you can do – and again, you don’t have to pick just one! 

Pro tip: Don’t forget content you might already have, that you could turn into social posts!

Mindmapping can help with this phase. Sit down to a piece of paper (or use a digital tool) and start writing. Let your ideas flow! Write down all types of content you can think of, that would fit your brand and/or products.

After that, it’s time to choose. What are you going to focus on? Keep in mind that engaging your customers with interesting content will increase their affinity for your brand. Think about what your audience would like to see, read, and preferably even share with others. In general, engaging content will do better than posts written mainly because you want to sell.

Determining content buckets

Now, you know what you want to accomplish with your social media presence. You also know what type of content you’re going to gather or create to do so. If you order these types of content, do you see any overarching themes? Try to combine all you have up till now by deciding on content categories or topics, also known as content buckets. Here are some examples of content buckets that we could choose to focus on at Yoast:

  • Product information
  • SEO knowledge
  • Our company culture
  • Engaging with customers

Other categories could be sharing the latest news, or announcements for events, or podcast episodes, and so on. But for this example, let’s say these are our four main focus topics. The first three are subjects we’d like to create posts about, the fourth differs slightly. Rather than just broadcasting, it’s about engaging in existing online conversations related to our brand or products. This is probably one of the most important focus points for brands anyway, as people these days expect to be able to connect through social media.

So, basically, you want to end up with a few content buckets for your social media presence. The goal is that every post you put out there should contribute to at least one of these content buckets. That’ll help you keep focused.

Prioritize and allocate your time

Another trick to help you keep focused is allocating a percentage of your time to each of the content buckets you determine. For example, engaging with (potential) customers could be very valuable, but also more time-consuming. We could decide to spend 40% of our social media time on that, and 20% each on the other three subjects.

That doesn’t mean flexibility is impossible, it just serves as a guideline for yourself. It helps you focus on what you find most important, and to make sure that you give that the attention it needs. When planning your content, check up on this. Are you keeping to it? Do you need to focus a bit more on one or the other? In a later blog post, we’ll come back to evaluating and reassessing your social media strategy.

Which social media platforms for your business?

Not every social medium fits your brand or your message. If you’re in the recruitment game, LinkedIn is an awesome network to build your presence on. If you’re in tech, definitely check out Twitter. If you offer products that look nice or like to share recipes, Pinterest just might be your best fit.  

Do a little research, look into the different platforms. The web is full of up-to-date reports on what platforms work best for wat content! Figure out what platforms fit your goals, and if they accommodate for content you’re looking to create. Would it be easier for you to create textual content? Or mainly visuals? Thoughts like these should help you figure out what fits your brand best. 

Decide what platforms you’d like to focus on first anyway, you can always add more. It’s harder to keep up when you need to tend to a lot of different platforms. Some platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, also offer ways to advertise. That could help you make your brand and company known way beyond the scope of your actual followers. Advertising isn’t just for selling products, you could also use it to promote some of the interesting and fun content you publish. Or to grow your audience!

Which social media does your (desired) audience use?

Unfortunately, you could be out there sharing the best content you can offer, without it getting any traction. You need to reach the people that actually need or want your content! For example, if you’re aiming for a corporate, older audience, TikTok probably isn’t the platform you should focus on. For now, at least!

To know where to find your audience, you first need to know what your (desired) audience is. So, you start by analyzing your audience. When you know who you’d like to reach, you look into the platforms they use most. There are numerous online sources, like Sprout and Business Insider, that regularly publish numbers on social media usage. Combine this data with your own goals and the platforms that fit those, and decide what you’ll be publishing on with what type of content.

Your brand voice and social media style 

Based on your audience and brand as a whole: think about the way you’d like to communicate on social media. Is your tone formal or playful? Would you use emojis regularly? Could your posts contain words like “gonna”, rather than “going to”? Decide what fits your brand and the content you’d like to put out there, as well as what fits your audience. If you think about this thoroughly now, it’ll make writing all your future posts so much easier.

Engaging with your followers

Basically, all you need to contact a company through their social media is an Internet connection. That means: People will ask you questions, post complaints, share their enthusiasm, publish reviews, and so on. Decide how you want to handle those. Are you going to respond to every message that people send to you? Are you going to keep an eye on all mentions of your brand name, even if your profile wasn’t specifically tagged?

The latter could be a great way to grow your brand awareness. Here’s an example of where someone mentioned Yoast SEO without tagging @yoast. We weren’t even mentioned at all, in the original tweet. For us, responding to this is a great way to reach more people and spread even more SEO knowledge.

Be realistic

Reading all of the above might have you all pumped up and ready to go. Or, a bit anxious as it might seem like a lot of work. Don’t fret! Now’s the time to be realistic. How much time would you be able to allocate to your social media presence every week? Or every day? Realistically.

You need to put the effort in, so don’t try and ‘do social media’ as an extra, or an afterthought. By doing so, you probably won’t reach your goals anytime soon! If you want to chime into all kinds of conversations online, it’s going to cost you a lot more time and energy. If you set up WordPress so that it automatically posts your new blog posts to Facebook, that would save you time. Automated posts differ from when you manually share by adding a fun or intriguing description, though. 

Think about a process that would work for you. How many posts would you want to publish on what platforms? Are you going to sit down once a week to write all of them, or take some time every day? Will you only post your own content, or collect and share articles by others? It’s easier to generate more content if you repost others’, but it could also cost you more time if you’re not already reading those other sources. Plus, it’ll send traffic to other sources than your own. That doesn’t have to be a problem, depending on your social media goals.

Make a social media plan

You’ve decided on where you’re headed: that’s the strategy. Now the plan is how you’ll get there. You have collected a lot of very useful information up till now. Time to turn it into an action plan! Think of a concrete and actionable plan that would fit in with your regular weekly schedule. You can always alter it along the way, but it’s great to have a plan to get you started. 

To help your future self and others to understand what you’re aiming for, it’s a great idea to write up a short document with your findings. Your goals, the brand voice you decide on, the content buckets you’d like to focus on, and so on. If you have several larger goals, you might want to prioritize them.

Concrete goals for social media presence

You’ve decided on your strategic goals, like “spreading SEO knowledge”, for example. You could do with more concrete, actionable goals in your social media plan. A few examples:

  • In the next 12 months, traffic from social media to my website will increase by 25%.
  • In the next 6 months, my profile on Google My Business will have 10 new reviews.
  • In the next 3 months, I will share at least one post on Facebook every day.

Be bold, dare to try! If you don’t reach these goals, you set new ones for the next period of time. You need something to aim for to keep you motivated.

There’s a lot you can do, as you can see. In a future post, we’ll look into measuring and evaluating your social media efforts. Good luck for now!

Read more: Does social media influence SEO? »

The post Social media strategy: Where to begin? appeared first on Yoast.

Pinterest marketing for your business

Pinterest marketing for your businessPinterest is growing fast and has definitely found a steady position in the social media landscape. It’s like collecting baseball cards. It’s creating mood boards for your home redecoration. It’s your online recipe book. And Pinterest marketing could help your business as well. In this post I will explain how you can use Pinterest as a part of your online marketing mix.

First things first

A lot has already been written about Pinterest marketing by others, so let me explain why we felt the need to do yet another post about the subject. Pinterest has become interesting for any social marketing strategy. The use may be different, but all companies can find a valid reason to be on Pinterest.

Having said that, let’s start with some numbers:

  • Pinterest has over 70 million users;
  • 1 of 3 women uses Pinterest. 70% of the people that use Pinterest is female;
  • Age wise, the platform is used by roughly 25% of all people between 18 and 50 years old;
  • 36% browsed boards by a retailer or brand, 26% followed a retailer or brand and 23% specifically searched for a retailer or brand;
  • Tutorials, Guides and & DIY Pins see a 42% higher click through rate.

Note that these numbers aren’t provided by Pinterest (that would be nice), but are found on a number of websites and are all dated up from around a year ago. If you have more up-to-date numbers, let me know. Even in this more scientific report (PDF), numbers are not per se Pinterest’s, but a collected sample. However, despite the lack of trustworthy numbers, we can agree on the fact that Pinterest is growing and as a result of that, Pinterest marketing could be interesting for any business.

As a regular Facebook user (messenger, timeline, pages), I was surprised to learn that:

Customers spend more money when they convert from a Pinterest referral than any other social referral. Average order value for a Pinterest conversion is $80.54. Facebook, in second-place, is $71.26.
Kevan Lee on the Buffer blog

All in all, Pinterest marketing must look appealing to you as well right now. But you are probably wondering how.

How to use Pinterest marketing for your business

Pinterest, like Facebook and Twitter, adds another site for you to maintain. If you feel that you don’t have the time for another social media platform, don’t even try it. You might get hooked and blame me for that. If you take your business seriously, and thus your social media, keep on reading.

On your Pinterest page

Pinterest marketing, like Pinterest itself, evolves around pins and pin boards, where pin boards are simply collections of pins and pins are (collected) photos or videos.

Pin Boards

After creating a (business) account (be sure to add a great bio / description for your business), your first step is probably to create a board. If your first step is the pinning of a photo, you will be asked to create a board after that. You have to create the right boards. That board needs to have a decent, creative title and a great description. As it is an image based platform, be sure to focus on ‘activities’ in your boards, not on your product. Let me illustrate that:

  • if your product is speakers, show people enjoying music;
  • if your product is paint, show things that have been painted, not the cans;
  • if your product is consultancy.. well.. eh.

I think that last one will trigger recognition for a lot of people. But that’s the beauty of Pinterest marketing; to get a following, you actually don’t always have to create boards about your business. At Yoast, we have a LEGO board that has over 600 followers. By the way, the consultant in my example could for instance pin great infographics.

Pinterest board: 90's Nostalgia

BuzzFeed’s 90’s nostalgia Pinterest board

If you are able to figure out the interest of your target audience, of your potential customers, you can get to them via these subjects as well, of course. Pinterest is about personal interests too. And as with most social media, if you make it personal, most followers will appreciate that.

Pins

The pins that are repinned the most (80% of the pins (in 2012) on Pinterest are repins by others), all have great descriptions. Sometimes a pin only has the title or photographer mentioned in the description, but why not utilize that option for a smashing description of your product, including a link to the product on your website?

If you don’t have the perfect Pinterest picture, or other appealing images of your products, you can create great boards by repinning what others pinned. Find these images on the right boards from others for your business. Pingroupie is a great source for that. Using PinAlerts, you can check what people pin per specified website. To make it interesting, why not check the competition that way?

If you have a decent amount of pins, you can start analyzing these. Pinterest Analytics tells you where your visitors come from, and find out ‘what your audience is into’ (in Pinterest Analytics at Your Audience > Interests). If it turns out that the board you are putting most effort in isn’t the most popular one, work on the most popular ones instead. That will also help to boost followers and repins on your main board; users can follow a board or all boards from another user.

On your website

Pinterest marketing isn’t just something you do on the Pinterest website alone, but it could also be integrated in your website. It’s quite easy to add widgets to your site. Or Pin It buttons. Note that for your own pinning, these browser buttons might come in handy.

Perhaps even more important: use great images. Make sure your images are ‘pin-worthy’. That’s just another reason to get rid or adjust of these obvious stock photos you are using by nicely looking ‘brochures’ for your web page.

Also be sure to add schema.org markup to your pages. This will allow for Rich Pins, which could even include things like pricing and stock, right on Pinterest:

Rich Pins are Pins that include extra information right on the Pin itself. Right now, there are five types of Rich Pins: movie, recipe, article, product and place.
Pinterest for business

If your website isn’t built with WordPress, your developer will (or should) know how to implement this. If you have a WordPress website, there are several plugins you can use. For WooCommerce websites, our WooCommerce SEO plugin will add all the necessary schema for Product rich pins, so Pinterest will immediately get all related information to the plugin (pricing, availability) and show where to buy the product. Let Pinterest do marketing for you:

Pinterest marketing: Product Rich Pins

Pinterest marketing: Product (Rich) Pins

Pinterest isn’t just for images, but also contains videos. So, as a part of your Pinterest marketing efforts, making sure your videos are shown the right way is important as well. Our Video SEO plugin will add all required schema for Video Pins. Be sure to validate your Rich Pins afterwards.

Lastly: Promote your Pinterest page. Add it to the list of buttons linking Facebook and Twitter. Mention it in a blog post. If Pinterest is bringing traffic to your website, why not return the favor, right?

Closing thoughts

I hope I have convinced you to (convince your customer to) use Pinterest as a part of your online marketing mix. If you have any app recommendations, best practice tips and tricks or other suggestions that can help others in their Pinterest marketing adventure, please drop these in the comments. Here’s a head start.

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Is Social the New Google?

During one of our recent projects, we noticed something odd. The website at hand, a shop / blog selling organic products, had over 50% of all pageviews coming from Google Pinterest.

Social traffic from pinterest larger than google analytics referrals

Is this really as odd as we felt it was? If you come to think about it, social search has been stealing ground from Google search for years, which gave us Google+, which we didn’t embrace as we had already gotten used to Twitter and Facebook.

When I was at a camping site in France this summer, I asked some of the younger people if they were still using Facebook. These boys and girls must have been around 10 to 14 years old, and none of them were using it. They all used Instagram instead. Now I do know that the age policy for Facebook is to allow ‘children’ from 13 years and older, but we all know the minimum age requirement on Facebook is not always abided by. Tons of younger people already use the network, but there seems to be an ongoing shift (of teenagers) towards Instagram.

Somehow it seems that photos are the new blog posts. Of course we need text to explain things and start discussions, like in this article. But the ease of just taking a picture and posting it, with the main goal to share and get ‘props’ or comments for it, seems to be more attractive for these youngsters.

Social engagement and communication

Social networks could be considered ‘extensions’ for your website. Where a website usually is about sending information, the social platforms are used as marketing tools for that website. Besides that, these also allow for support and discussion. A lot of people are browsing Facebook and seeing your posts in their timelines on a daily, if not hourly basis, where the frequency of visits to your website is most probably much lower. It’s an easy way to connect and communicate to your target audience.

With the rise of social networks like Facebook and Twitter (who remembers Myspace?) the question arises whether it would be possible to build that social network solely around your website as well. So without the use of social platforms like Twitter and Instagram. I think only a few sites have been able to do so sofar. IMDB for example seems to have a solid base of frequent visitors. Several online news sites have, and perhaps a number of technology and gossip blogs.

With the expected ongoing growth of social networks as a whole, the entire internet is becoming more and more personal and as a result of that, so should websites. Some websites are able to make that happen on the website itself, but the majority of websites simply need social networks to take their site to the next, user focused level.

My gut feeling tells me it all depends on if you are able to find kindred spirits among those that comment. Or just having a huge audience so coffee table chats involve topics discussed on your website. Perhaps Yoast.com articles are discussed at WordPress conventions, WP Meetups or WordCamps. We surely hope so.

Social engagement seems to grow as we up our blogging frequency, send out our weekly newsletter and actively engage in conversations on social platforms. Social engagement for your website is just not necessarily (or only) built in comments, but involves all other communication platforms as well.

Just the other day, I was discussing some general online marketing issues with some online friends, only to realize after 15 minutes we were using the in-game chat for Clash of Clans for that…

Building an audience

As social communication or social marketing has been and still is gaining importance next to, or perhaps as a part of search engine optimization, we will do a series of posts with our thoughts about social marketing over the next months.

We have thought of a number of subjects to address, but if you feel there is a subject we must discuss in this series, please let us know in the comments of this article, or reach out on twitter, @michielheijmans. If we pick your subject (and you were the first to mention it), we will send you a free copy of our new ebook!

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

Social media optimization with Yoast SEO

Our Yoast SEO plugin handles optimization of your WordPress site for search engines, and we dare say it does that pretty well! Most of that is technical optimization, like our XML sitemap functionality, and content optimization, like your content and readability analysis. But there’s more to SEO than that. You need links pointing to your website and for that to happen, people need to talk about you and your website. That is the essence of social media, so our plugin helps you optimize for that as well!

Before we dive in, if you want to learn more about social media and other essential SEO skills, you should check out our All-Around SEO training! It doesn’t just tell you about SEO: it makes sure you know how to put these skills into actual practice!

In our SEO plugin, you’ll find a Social menu. In this post, we’ll explain what it does and what you should do when you’ve installed the plugin. We’ll focus on Facebook and Twitter, as these are the biggest networks out there. Of course, there’s a note about Pinterest too.

Facebook

Facebook’s OpenGraph is used by quite a few different social networks and search engines, but obviously, the main reason for adding it is for Facebook itself. Facebook’s OpenGraph support is continuously evolving but the basics are simple: in a few pieces of metadata you declare:

  • What type of content is this?
  • What’s the locale?
  • What’s the canonical URL of the page?
  • What’s the name of the site and the title of the page?
  • What’s the page about?
  • Which image/images should be shown when this post or page is shared on Facebook?

Most of the values above are filled out by the plugin by default based on your post’s data. It uses the locale of your site, the site’s name, your SEO title, the canonical, the meta description value etc to fill out most of the required OpenGraph tags.

If you fill out the data mentioned above and share the URL of this post or page on Facebook, your Facebook post could look like this:

So what do you need to do?

First of all, go to SEO → Social, the Facebook tab and make sure OpenGraph is enabled. Then decide to use either a person or an application as the “admin” of your site, as this will allow you to use Facebook Insights. Just click the appropriate button and follow the on-screen guidance which will take you to facebook.com. Next, make sure you’ve entered the Facebook Page URL for your site or brand on the Accounts tab, as that will be connected to each post as the publisher.

The settings below that are for the Frontpage: which image should it use and what description should be used. Take some time and craft these, making sure the image is large enough (at least 200px x 200px).

Then, set a good default image. This will be used when you have a post or page that does not contain an image, so it can still be shared with maximal visibility. This image should also be at least 200px x 200px.

Lastly, go to your personal WordPress profile (just click on your name, top right in the settings) and add a link to your Facebook profile, if you want to associate your Facebook profile with your content. If you do, be sure to also enable the “Follow” functionality on Facebook.

As you can see, this is a few minutes of work. After that, Yoast SEO takes all of the work out of your hands. Sometimes Facebook doesn’t pick up changes right away. So if you want to “debug” how Facebook perceives your page, open up a URL in the Facebook Debugger, this one, for instance, is for the Yoast.com homepage.

OpenGraph for Video Content

If you have video content, you would need to do more work, unless you’re using our Video SEO plugin. Our Video SEO will take care of all the needed metadata, and by doing so it will allow you to properly share your videos on Facebook.

Twitter

For Twitter, the functionality is quite similar to Facebook. The functionality is called Twitter Cards. For several of these values Twitter “falls back” to Facebook OpenGraph, so we don’t have to include everything, but it still is quite a bit. We’re talking about:

  • the type of content/type of card
  • an image
  • a description
  • the twitter account of the site/publisher
  • the twitter account of the author
  • the “name” for the domain to show in a Twitter card
Screenshot of a Yoast Twitter post.

If we share the same post as above on Twitter, with all the required metadata, this card would look like this:

The title is taken from the SEO title you enter in the Yoast metabox, the description is taken from the meta description unless a specific description for Twitter is provided in the Social tab of the metabox. The image is the featured image of the post unless a specific Twitter image has been specified. This leaves two values for you to fill out in the settings:

  • The site Twitter account, which you can fill out on the SEO → Social page under the Twitter tab;
  • The author Twitter account, which he/she can enter on their individual WordPress profile page.

Read more: How to use Twitter cards »

Preview your social media post!

Want to check what your post or page will look like on Facebook or Twitter? Then you should get Yoast SEO Premium. It lets you check, without even leaving the post editor, the layout of your post on Facebook and Twitter. Saving you lots of time switching between tabs! Joost explains how it works in this video:

Checklist for new authors

To get the most of all of the settings you’ve just set up, make sure each (new) author on your site fills out the following on their WordPress profile:

What about Pinterest?

Pinterest’s Rich Pins allow for OpenGraph markup as well. To create a rich pin you should add variables like product name, availability, price and currency to your page. As this is mainly interesting for products, we decided to add functionalities to create rich pins to our Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin.

Conclusion

So go ahead and use Yoast SEO to optimize for social media! This isn’t very hard to do, it just takes a few minutes of your time and you will “reap the benefits”. As these social networks keep on adding new features, we’ll keep our plugin and this article up-to-date, so be sure to update the plugin regularly.

Keep reading: Social Media Strategy: where to begin? »

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