Social Media Optimization with WordPress SEO by Yoast

Our WordPress SEO plugin handles optimization of your WordPress site for search engines and we dare say it does a very good job of it. Most of that is technical optimization, like our XML sitemap functionality and aids in content optimization, like your page analysis function. 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.

There’s been a Social menu in the SEO plugin for quite a while, high time we explain to you what it does an what you should do when you’ve installed the plugin. We’ll focus on 3 different social networks:

As these are the biggest networks out there it’s what we’ll focus on, although there’s a note about Pinterest too.


Facebook’s OpenGraph is used by quite a few different social networks and search engines outside of Facebook itself, but obviously the main reason for adding it is for Facebook itself, the biggest social network on the planet. 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 is the page about?
  • Which image / images should be shown next to the post on Facebook?

Recently, some stuff has been added to that, which we added in the update discussed in our previous post: a tag to relate the content to the author of the content on Facebook and a tag to relate the content to the publishers page on Facebook.

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

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 Next, enter your Facebook Page URL for your site or brand, 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 work, after that, WordPress SEO takes all of the work out of your hands. If you want to “debug” how Facebook perceives your page, open up a URL in the Facebook Linter, this one for instance is for the 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, as that (starting with the latest release) will take care of all the needed meta data and thus allow you to properly share your videos on Facebook, even allowing for them to be played inline, which looks like this:

Video Embed on Facebook


For Twitter, the functionality is quite similar to Facebook. The functionality is called Twitter Cards, and I’ve written about it before. 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

For our recent post on conversion optimization, this card would look like this:

Twitter Card

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. 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.


Google+ will take almost every value from OpenGraph that it needs, which makes all of this really easy. There’s a couple of steps for rel=”author” to work properly though: they need to fill out their Google+ profile URL in their profile settings and then link back from their Google+ profile to your site. This will make author highlights work and makes the article used above look like this in the search results:

conversion rate optimization search results

There’s one other thing you need to do as a site owner: you need to make sure you connect your Google+ profile for your company. You can do this on the Google+ tab of the social page.

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:

  • Facebook profile URL, make sure follow is enabled on their profile.
  • Google+ URL.
  • Twitter username.

Also make sure the author links back from his / her Google+ profile to your site or author highlighting will still not work.

A word on Pinterest

Pinterest’s recent introduction of Rich Pins allows for OpenGraph markup as well, which is something we’re enthusiastic about and are looking into. Expect some work from us with some of the bigger e-commerce plugins for WordPress out there.


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 add new features, we’ll keep our plugin and this article up-to-date, so be sure to update the plugin regularly.

Update Jun 27th: We just released an update to WordPress SEO that changes the design of the WordPress SEO Social settings page to a tab based design.

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78 Responses

  1. Theresa WagarBy Theresa Wagar on 25 June, 2013

    Thanks so much for the bit of training social media connections. One quick question though . . somewhere I read that if we use a Facebook plugin on our site (i.e. Facebook LIKE Box plugin), we should NOT use the opengraph part of WP SEO because it conflicts or creates duplicates. Your way sounds so much simpler and interacts with more than just FB. What is the best solution?

    Thanks! Theresa 8-)

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 25 June, 2013

      You should basically disable OpenGraph in other plugins…. I don’t think any other plugin currently handles it as well as we do…

      • Theresa WagarBy Theresa Wagar on 25 June, 2013

        Thanks Joost!, I agree you handle OpenGraph beautifully. i’ll have to see if there is a way to disable it in the other plugins. Didn’t realize so many other social media were dependent on the info.

  2. Tea SilvestreBy Tea Silvestre on 25 June, 2013

    When I click on Add Facebook Admin, it takes me to my own 404 page. I’m using Digg Digg but don’t see an option for turning off Open Graph there. Did I miss something?

  3. BrinBy Brin on 25 June, 2013

    I clicked “Add Facebook User” and now it says “Currently connected Facebook admins:” and on the next line: “- X”. Is this correct? Also: why do any of this? What’s the point/advantage? Your post doesn’t say what any of this does… What’s the advantage of filling out this Social info? For what? Why?

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 25 June, 2013

      It explains why you should add an admin, so you can get access to Facebook Insights and see your site’s stats. As to the rest: if it’s not clear to you why better exposure on social networks helps your business: it means more people will get a chance to interact with you and/or your products.

      • BrinBy Brin on 25 June, 2013

        OK, sorry for my perhaps daft question (just having a bit of a hard time understanding is all) – I had no idea that I needed to do this in order to access Facebook insights.

        • BrinBy Brin on 25 June, 2013

          Right – all sorted now, I’ve done a bit of research and found out that doing this enables Facebook to automatically pull in images and text from each blog post to use in the facebook posts. Got it. Apologies for not realizing this sooner.

  4. BrinBy Brin on 25 June, 2013

    P.S. What kind of image should I specify for the “Frontpage settings Image URL”? A screenshot of the frontpage of my site? Where/when will this image appear? Thks.

  5. Christopher SimmonsBy Christopher Simmons on 25 June, 2013

    HI, Joost
    great timing, as I just redid the layout of one of my sites from a crusty 9 year old (2004) WP theme, which we’d hacked so many times, the Yoast SEO wouldn’t even work with it; so, new design, new name, and this was very timely for helping to fix the site so it would still play nice with the ‘new web’ and all our social media stuff. Great job ! Did the donate button go away in Yoast SEO, or did that get replaced by the (ahem) ad banners?

  6. Paul (Admonks)By Paul (Admonks) on 25 June, 2013

    Hi Joost,

    On my homepage I use the og-information and image, but it doesn’t work on Facebook or other social media. Do you know why that is?


  7. Josh BrancekBy Josh Brancek on 25 June, 2013

    Joost, thanks a lot for this awesome tutorial!!!

  8. JulienBy Julien on 25 June, 2013

    Did you say that the G+ was “hidden” because of frenchtouchseo’s comment on twitter? :)

    • Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 25 June, 2013

      No that was actually already in there :)

  9. LucasBy Lucas on 25 June, 2013

    Hi, are u planning to implement all of Google rich Snippets into SEO plugin ?

    • Joey BBy Joey B on 23 July, 2013

      That would be nice touch to add the rich snippets to the plug in thank you for all the great work you guys do!!!

  10. Sourav KunduBy Sourav Kundu on 25 June, 2013

    Great article Joost!

  11. BrinBy Brin on 25 June, 2013

    How does it choose which image to use with the Twitter Card? It would be nice if it always chose the “featured image” but this doesn’t seem to be the case… Is there a way to choose which image is used (or a way to stop certain images (like ads) from being chosen)? Many thanks.

  12. HassanBy Hassan on 25 June, 2013

    Yo Joost! It’s Open Graph, not OpenGraph :P

  13. Ruairi PhelanBy Ruairi Phelan on 25 June, 2013

    Thanks for the tutorial Joost, it is great to learn how each of the major social networks operate! Thanks :)

  14. Paul MycroftBy Paul Mycroft on 25 June, 2013

    Hey Joost,

    After clicking “Add Facebook Admin”, I see your icon on Facebook then receive the following after “allow” back on my site:

    “You don’t have permission to access on this server.

    Let me know what you think. Could it be that my WP files are inside an additional directory?


  15. Daniel LawBy Daniel Law on 25 June, 2013

    Hi Joost,

    Would be great to see more of Google’s rich snippets been incorporated into your WordPress SEO plugin. Would surely make it the all-in-one.

  16. Rana IrfanBy Rana Irfan on 26 June, 2013

    Hi Joost,
    Great article. Thanks for sharing nice post. i have a problem. 4 days ago i updated seo plugin but now its add only 25 Entries. i want to add my all entries please guide me. and author name or admin name shows in every post title. i.e “Congratulation sms messages english – Fani“. Fani is my username. I don’t want to show author name in post title.i am waiting your lovely reply. Thanks in advance.

  17. WaukeshaBy Waukesha on 26 June, 2013

    but I’m stuck here in the UK for now. You could make a long serving Linode supporter very happy and send me a medium t-shirt though!

  18. DiTescoBy DiTesco on 26 June, 2013

    Hi Joost. Thanks for giving this added explanation about how your Social features on WP SEO. Have to admit that I have not given it the proper attention, something that will immediately get rectified. Keep up the good work and thanks for all the contribution you are giving the community.

  19. Syed BalkhiBy Syed Balkhi on 26 June, 2013

    Love your plugin and the hard work that you are doing man. Excited to see the pinterest integration.

  20. Furqan HameedBy Furqan Hameed on 26 June, 2013

    Thank you So Much it is the best SEO Plugin I ever had Thank you so much Joost de Valk and I also admit this, it is the best plugin in all plugins which i use on my WordPress blog.

  21. Zach SmithBy Zach Smith on 26 June, 2013

    this was actually informative – not like most of what i see online. sharing :)

  22. PhilipBy Philip on 26 June, 2013

    Wow… Very useful information. Didn’t quite know how to set everything up inside the WordPress SEO plugin relating to the social aspect of this but after reading your email and post instructions on social media optimization, I’m now able to present a stronger social media presence…. Thanks!

  23. MikeBy Mike on 26 June, 2013

    Where does it pull the OG.Content from, I just started using OG and the plug in fills everything in bit the content, and its coming up as a W3C error?

  24. Michael BorgerBy Michael Borger on 26 June, 2013

    Thanks as always, Yoast. I have the same problem as Brin at the top. The only admin I had listed was an “X”. As I assumed that was some kind of bad account, I deleted it to start over. But now when I click the “Add Facebook Admin” button, I get taken to a 404 plugin on my site. What would be the cause of this and what’s the best solution? Thanks in advance.

  25. TammyBy Tammy on 27 June, 2013

    Hi Joost, I love the blog and your plugin but recently I am having trouble. If I search for a blog post by name it doesn’t come up. Do you think your plugin could have something to do with that? By the way I’m using it along side SEO Pressor. Any thoughts?


    • HassanBy Hassan on 27 June, 2013

      Why use two SEO plugins?! :|

      • Love QuotesBy Love Quotes on 21 July, 2013

        I Recommend to use only 1 SEO Plugin.
        Yoast WP SEO Is More Than Enough.

  26. diy-link-buildingBy diy-link-building on 27 June, 2013

    I really liked it. I was searching for such information. Thanks for sharing such an helpful post.

  27. Kate SmithBy Kate Smith on 27 June, 2013

    I’ve had an interesting experience with Google+ recently. After failing to market through Facebook and Twitter, and getting the impression that being seen their cheapened my brand somewhat, a simple effort to get visibility on Google+ has already started paying dividends ion terms of direct referrals and traffic.
    I know FB and Twitter are idea for some, but on some niches they can actually seem to damage a brand. They are thought of as “gossipy” and “trivial” whereas (perhaps due to it’s so far very low uptake) Google + seems to have a little more gravitas.
    Snobbery? Maybe, but then I’m just reporting what I’ve seen not judging it myself.


  28. EdmundBy Edmund on 28 June, 2013

    Hi Joost,

    There is something wrong with the Title & Meta section of your WordPress SEO plugin Version 1.4.11. When I updated it, the Save Settings button has disappeared.

    Please remedy it because I am sure a lot of people are having the same issue as me. Thank you.


  29. Lojas VirtuaisBy Lojas Virtuais on 28 June, 2013

    Hello Yoast,
    I got a quick question if you allow me?
    I noticed that their is a lot of open support requests for WordPress SEO at that have not been responded.
    I also got some questions about the plugin, but I don`t want to be disrespectful by posting at the wrong place or hijacking
    someone`s else thread.
    What is the best way to ask you a question about the SEO plugin?
    I know you are very busy person, and I don`t want to piss you off :)
    I will be waiting for your response..

  30. Michael- SEO ChicagoBy Michael- SEO Chicago on 28 June, 2013

    I love working with wordpress. Makes blogging very easy and so easy to edit your content. Thanks for the information it was very useful. Using social media is a great way to get the word out about your company!

  31. Zach SmithBy Zach Smith on 28 June, 2013

    Thanks for publishing another great article for us. This is best for any technology related blog. :)

  32. JamesBy James on 28 June, 2013

    I love working with wordpress and this is another great article. thank you very much

  33. SereybothBy Sereyboth on 29 June, 2013

    oh open graph! Thank for a detail explanation about it! I always skip it. Gonna take a look on it now ! Thank Joost for a nice post!!

  34. AdamBy Adam on 1 July, 2013

    Hi Joost,

    Thank you for integrating social media platforms Facebook Twitter and Google + into the Yoast seo plugin. I must say the seo plugin is without a doubt the best plugin and most useful and effective plugin i have ever used, thank you sir, you are a legend!

  35. MarceloBy Marcelo on 2 July, 2013

    Hi Joost.
    Sorry for asking this here, but nobody is answering in the corresponding support forum at and the plugin page here don’t admit comments. Can you confirm if the Comments Redirect plugin work with WP 3.5.2 and multisite?
    I’ve noticed you use it here, but I’m not sure if it’s the same version as in the WP repo.

  36. rubenBy ruben on 3 July, 2013

    Very very interesting


  37. Ahmad AwaisBy Ahmad Awais on 6 July, 2013

    Love your work and Pinterest thing will be something great. I want to tell you that your open graph tags are not good.

    If my site is Freakify – Design Collections
    And I post a 20 LOGO Designs of 2013

    The title tag I set up in WP SEO outputs this title “20 LOGO Designs of 2013″

    But the Open Graph for Fb, its title is “20 LOGO Designs of 2013- Design Collections”

    It messes up everything, whenever I want to share a link on FB I have to edit it.

    Can you address this issue?

  38. Alpeshkumar GodhaniBy Alpeshkumar Godhani on 6 July, 2013

    Above code are occur following W3C error
    Element meta is missing required attribute name.

    Attributes for element meta:
    Global attributes

    please give approximate solution for this

  39. anthony davisBy anthony davis on 6 July, 2013

    Indeed a very nice post – SEO services|SEO Tonic provides professional search engine optimisation services, improving search engine rankings for businesses throughout New Zealand.

  40. Packers movers KolkataBy Packers movers Kolkata on 8 July, 2013

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  42. TheoBy Theo on 8 July, 2013

    Hi Yoast,

    had some validation issues as html5, i changed the property attribute to name (opengraph) and deleted the xmlns:v=”” on breadcrumbs. Now it validates as html5.

    Thanks for the plugin.

  43. KristinakathyBy Kristinakathy on 9 July, 2013

    Yoast is a great WordPress SEO plugin which can be installed easily. Nice post!! Keep sharing like this.

  44. ArunBy Arun on 9 July, 2013

    Great plugin easy to install and easy to use.Does all the seo task itself.I love this

  45. Great website! Just came across your page today during my search. You provided m with all my answers. I look forwarded to bookmarking you and following daily! Thanks.

    Painting Artist, Inc.

  46. Mathews JohnsonBy Mathews Johnson on 11 July, 2013

    Social meida optimization is quite hard now a days, but I read lot about youst plugin for SMO, its works good

  47. audi a4By audi a4 on 11 July, 2013

    Yoast is a great WordPress SEO plugin which can be installed easily. Nice post!! Keep sharing like this.

  48. Richard A. LewisBy Richard A. Lewis on 11 July, 2013

    I just want to say that the Yoast SEO Plugin has been very helpful for my clients. Both in their ability to use it themselves as well as analyze their sites performance. Keep up the good work.

  49. Glen MichaelsenBy Glen Michaelsen on 11 July, 2013

    I’ve been using Yoast on some of my WordPress sites, and i find it very cool :-)

    Its worth recommending.

  50. JoeBy Joe on 11 July, 2013

    This SEO tool is great! It makes doing SEO so much easier, Thanks!

  51. IanBy Ian on 12 July, 2013

    Thanks so much for this post. Can I ask for some clarification on the Google+ settings?

    For each user, I’m assuming that by profile page you mean Google+’s About page. Do we paste in the ‘view as Public’ or ‘View as Yourself’ version of the link.

    i.e. should the link be something like this:

    or this:

    Similarly with setting the business profile page in the Yoast SEO settings, should the link look something like this:

    or this:

    Or am I wrong to think that we should be using Google Plus’ about pages and we should use posts instead?

    A definitive answer would be very welcome, thanks.

  52. CharlieBy Charlie on 13 July, 2013

    My son is dancing to Yo Gabba Gabba as I read this post. That really has nothing to do with Social Media SEO but sometimes social activities don’t need to be optimized for consumption.

    But the post did answer some of my questions and questions I did not even think about. Thanks for being awesome and yoasty toasty!

  53. CatherineBy Catherine on 15 July, 2013

    Will this plugin be affected by the changes that Google is making to the Keyword Tool by forcing users to be signed into Google Adwords in order to use this tool?

  54. anthony davisBy anthony davis on 16 July, 2013

    Indeed a very nice post – SEO services|SEO Tonic provides professional search engine optimisation services, improving search engine rankings for businesses throughout New Zealand.

    Explore more about : Search Engine optimisation

  55. Eva of Metrixa TechnologyBy Eva of Metrixa Technology on 17 July, 2013

    I actually like the WordPress CMS because it is user-friendly and easy to navigate. You can also optimized it easily for faster indexing of pages on search engines!

  56. anthony davisBy anthony davis on 19 July, 2013

    Nice post. I am also associated with Search Engine optimisation, SEO Business,SEO and love to enjoy the stuff on the same as its rarely found on internet. Thank you again for writing such a good post.

    Explore more about : Search Engine optimisation

  57. JulieBy Julie on 19 July, 2013

    First of all, LOVE Yoast! I recommend it to everyone. I didn’t know about the social media part. Thanks!

  58. WordPress SEO TipsBy WordPress SEO Tips on 19 July, 2013

    Fascinating Post.

  59. AnitaBy Anita on 21 July, 2013

    Dank voor het delen van de SEO tips! Ben erg blij met de plugin! Ben benieuwd naar je suggestie voor het delen van blog content op de LinkedIN website? Thanks

  60. shahalam khanBy shahalam khan on 22 July, 2013

    U done a quite good research on SEO tool, and a very good info love the post, thanx for sharing.

  61. French Furniture BlogBy French Furniture Blog on 22 July, 2013

    thanks for the post

  62. AnneBy Anne on 23 July, 2013

    I recently discovered the importance of Google authorship and linking back to the site. It makes a big difference.

  63. mohitBy mohit on 23 July, 2013

    thanks for such lobely post and also i migrated from aio to your plugin and its working great. one problem in titles settings i dont know how to optimize for best seo title so that google results are awesome. can u help in it???

  64. anthony davisBy anthony davis on 23 July, 2013

    Nice post. I am also associated with Search Engine optimisation, SEO Business,SEO and love to enjoy the stuff on the same as its rarely found on internet. Thank you again for writing such a good post.

    Explore more about :Search Engine optimisation

  65. Steve CostelloBy Steve Costello on 24 July, 2013

    I have just started using the WordPress SEO plug in.

    When I check the Structured Data Testing Tool, it keeps coming back with:

    Error: Missing required field “updated”

    What do I have to do to fix that?

    • iShoutNetBy iShoutNet on 24 July, 2013

      Hi @Steve i guess you’re getting that error for you current theme not for Joost WordPress SEO plugin :)

    • Arafin ShaonBy Arafin Shaon on 24 July, 2013

      Hi @Steve i guess you’re getting that error for you current theme not for Joost WordPress SEO plugin :)

  66. SEO Services in ChicagoBy SEO Services in Chicago on 25 July, 2013

    Nice Discussion on Social Media Optimization. Although I am no much expert in working on adding plugins to our site. But I do something same. It was nice reading this post and the other discussion made by other members. As much I know till date about adding such plugins to our site makes it more social and ranked. Keep posting.

  67. ArifBy Arif on 25 July, 2013

    Thanks for your discussion on social media optimization for websites..Hope we will have more detailed tutorial from you..