Have you ever shared a URL and found that the Facebook link preview isn’t working properly?

facebook link preview bugsYou’re going to love me forever for what I’m about to share with you!  Haha 🙂  I’ve banged my head against the wall.  I’ve wasted many hours tweaking the back end of my WordPress website over and over again, trying all kinds of tips.

Nothing seemed to work other than ‘waiting it out’ just chalking it up to the good old ‘Facebook Bugs’.  Then sooner or later it would magically show the link preview correctly (sometimes it would be hours, sometimes a day or more).

 

There are many combinations of issues I’ve had with the darn Facebook link preview. I bet you’ve had some of these happen to you too:

  • The Facebook link preview doesn’t show at all
  • The Facebook link preview shows some weird cryptic looking junk
  • It might show an old snippet that you’ve since updated and doesn’t reflect the current content
  • The preview doesn’t show an image (but you know there are lots on your page)
  • Or it shows some images, but not the one you really want to show 

crappy facebook link preview
 

Did you know that you can actually edit the title and description if you click on them in the preview before you hit publish?

Yep, you sure can. But I’m sorry to tell you that won’t help.  Because if/when the link gets shared by one of your followers, it will revert back to the original wacked out version.  Grrrr, right?  So how the heck do we fix this? 
edit facebook link preview

 

Don’t tell me that the answer to fixing my Facebook link preview has to do with my meta description!

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard friends and colleagues complain about this same issue.  Experts are always quick to jump in and share their tips on how to make the Facebook link preview show up the way we want it.  They share with us the same old stuff about meta descriptions and Facebook Open Graph and bla, bla, bla. 

Duh!  I think these days it’s pretty safe to say that we all know that already.  You don’t need to be a WordPress and website guru to know that.  In fact, with all the fancy plugins these days, and all the advanced technology with WordPress Themes, tools to assist us with proper meta titles, descriptions and cool SEO stuff are pretty much integrated and built into everything for us already. 

 

By chance, if you’re reading this and you’re not in the know about meta data, you can read this great blog by Content Marketing Institute as an Essential Guide to Meta Descriptions to get you up to speed. 

 

So for those who already have their meta descriptions configured correctly (whether coded or using a plugin)…

But are still having issues with a wonky Facebook link preview…

Prepare to have your mind blown with a simple fix…

 

No more runaround.  No more getting advice that leads us in circles to redo everything we’ve already had done.   No more tweaking everything we can think of and ending up with the same problem.  No more being at the mercy of the Facebook bugs. 

Here’s the thing.  You might not be seeing the Facebook link preview you want because the info has been cached by Facebook.  That’s just techy talk for saying that Facebook saves the info from URLs and pages that have already been shared, for better performance.  So you just may need to go in there and force Facebook to clear the cache. 

 

Here are 3 simple steps to force Facebook to clear the cache

 

     STEP 1: Click here and go to the ~~> Facebook Debugger Tool for Developers

     STEP 2: Copy and paste the URL you’re having troubles with into the tool and click ‘debug’
debugger tool for facebook link preview
The debugger tool will inevitably plop out a bunch of techy diagnostic mumbo jumbo, but you can just ignore that.  We’re just doing the magical cache clearing behind the scenes.
ignore the techy stuff in facebook debugger
STEP 3: Refresh your Facebook window and repost the URL. You should now see the correct Facebook link preview. 

correct facebook link preview  

The Facebook Debugger Tool wasn’t originally created for this purpose, but hey, it makes life much easier for us, right? 

 

There’s a WordPress Plugin for that

If you’re totally addicted to plugins (like most of us are), there’s also a cool WordPress plugin that will do this for you automatically.  Once installed, it will make sure Facebook’s cache always has the most up-to-date details.  Learn more about the Automatic Facebook Cache Cleaner WordPress plugin here. 

Just one little caution for you… you don’t want to overload your WordPress site with tons of unnecessary plugins because it can affect your site’s performance, and also the more plugins you have, the more chances there are for conflicts.  So where at all possible, you should opt for taking care of things without plugins. 

 

Now you’ve got 2 easy solutions to fixing Facebook link previews.

Was this little known secret helpful to you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below! 

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