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How to Optimize Your Facebook Content for Better Referral Traffic

How to Optimize Your Facebook Content for Better Referral Traffic

Facebook is driving users to websites at ever-increasing rates. The network’s impact on web traffic has pushed the volume of social media traffic higher than organic traffic in many cases.

Facebook sends more traffic to brand websites than any other social network, by far. A recent Shareaholic report showed that Facebook now drives nearly 25% of social media referral traffic.

Shareaholic Social Referral Traffic

If you’re a social marketer, right now you might be asking yourself:

How can I drive more referral traffic from Facebook?

Below are some tips for optimizing your content and your use of Facebook Insights so you can experience better referral traffic from the friendliest network.

Make Sure You’ve Given Facebook Crawler Access

The Facebook Crawler (no, this has nothing to do with Spiderman) fetches content from your site and generates a preview for people on Facebook.

Facebook Anthropologie
An example of how the Facebook Crawler auto-populates a preview image for a link when a Facebook users shares your link.

When a Facebook user shares a URL, it activates the Facebook Crawler. If your content is publicly available, the Crawler has no problem accessing it, but if your content requires a login or has restricted access, you need to enable access for the Facebook Crawler to generate previews.

This is important because folks are much more likely to click on your content when there is a preview image attached. According to our latest Facebook study, visual content is the primary driver of engagement on Facebook.

After photos, our study found that videos are the second most-engaging content type, averaging more than 2,500 engagements per post.

Brands have recognized the power of visual content: together, photos and videos account for more than 80% of brand posts.

Optimize for Facebook’s Internal SEO

The Facebook Crawler scrapes the HTML of URL’s that are shared on the network. To stay competitive, optimize what the Facebook Crawler picks up from your pages by using Open Graph meta tags.

These are the most basic tags you can use.

Source: Facebook Developers Site
Source: Facebook Developers Site

For more improved distribution and engagement, consider adding these HTML tags.

og: type 

What it is: The content type of the page.

The impact: This tag determines how your content shows up in News Feed. If you don’t specify a type, the default is website. You must choose one, even if the page in question features many content types.

og: locale 

What it is: Where the resource is located geographically. The default is en_US. You can use og:locale:alternate if you have other available language translations available.

The impact: This tag helps you deliver the most geographically and linguistically relevant content to users.

article: author 

What it is: A way of linking to the author(s) of the article you’re publishing.

The impact: This tag helps you link content more directly to its producer — likely, a member of your organization.

The target of the article: author tag can either be a Facebook Profile or a Facebook Page. As an added bonus, Facebook will likely offer a chance to follow the article’s author(s) when it’s displayed in the news feed. Your authors must have follow enabled so that people can follow them.

This is a good time to remind you that your authors, especially if they’re thought leaders in your space, should have Facebook Pages which invite users to follow them, not just Friend them. This strengthens bonds with the author and, thus, your brand. It also makes their posts more likely to show up in followers’ feeds.

article: publisher 

What it is: A way of linking to the publisher of the article you’re publishing.

The impact: This tag helps you link content more directly to your organization. The target must be a Facebook Page. As an added bonus, Facebook will likely offer a chance to follow you, the publisher, when the content is displayed in the news feed. This tag is only available to media publishers.

Make Your Images Shine

Here are some quick tips to make sure your images on Facebook are catalysts for sharing, not snoozing.

When Your Graphic Designer’s MIA

We work in social media. We didn’t get design degrees and we don’t have enough time to learn how to use Photoshop. Luckily, Canva exists (I swear they didn’t pay me to say that). Recite This is also a great resource for easily sharable organizational and/or inspirational quotes on sleek backdrops.

There are other options out there, but the point is, you don’t necessarily need to be a Photoshop wiz or have an eye for design to create effective visuals for Facebook.

Choose the Right Colors

By applying certain colors in the buying / reading / sharing process, you can see better results on Facebook.

Colors Social Media
Colors, emotions, and the brands who choose them.

For example, blue signals trust, red encourages action, and yellow activates excitement. This psychology of color isn’t a hard science, but it’s something to keep in mind before you choose neon pink as the background for your social image. You can learn more about color psychology on social here.

Go Logo Crazy

Our personal experience at Simply Measured has taught us that the presence of a recognizable logo helps posts generate more shares.

Instagram Screen Shot
An example of using an external big brand to draw content shares.

If you have the opportunity, include a logo (not necessarily yours) to feature in your image and watch shares skyrocket.

Text Tips 

Make sure the sense that your image conveys, your Facebook copy, and the content on the webpage are synergistic.

Facebook Lucky Magazine
An example of image, caption, and link text all working together delightfully.

Keeping it consistent is crucial, especially since people choose whether to click through or not based on the text on an image. You want to make sure they know what they’re getting into by clicking to avoid high bounce rates.

Another text tip to remember: the less text, the better. Don’t bombard your alluring image with paragraphs of text. Include just enough text to convey the information you’re hoping catches people’s eyes.

Size ‘Em Right 

Use images that are at least 1200 x 630 pixels for the best display on high resolution devices. At the minimum, use images that are 600 x 315 pixels to display link page posts with larger images.

How Does Your Brand Hack Facebook for Optimized Sharing?

We want to know! Tell us all your secrets! Just kidding…but, seriously, do you have tips and tricks you’ve learned along the way that you’d be willing to share? Holler in the comments.

Need a more basic lay of the strategy land on Facebook, from industry-standard definitions to successful case studies? Be sure to download our recently revamped Facebook ebook by clicking below.

Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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