Are you frustrated with the way your links appear when you post a status update on Facebook using a link from a page on your website?

One of the common questions we get asked is why Facebook won’t pull in the latest photo or content from a website page.  While there are several steps you can take to improve the appearance of a Facebook post, one of the most often overlooked is a very effective and simple tool called the Facebook Debugger.

Facebook Debugger Tool

The Facebook Debugger Tool scrapes a website for the open graph tags that help them determine what information to display in a post.  If Facebook is displaying old photos or content from your website it may well be that Facebook has previously scanned that page and cached the content.  The Facebook Debugger will force Facebook to request a copy of your page again, thus pulling in the latest information.

Here’s an example of a post I was creating for a client.  I had recently added two new photos to this page and updated some of the meta (open graph) information, so I knew what Facebook had pulled in here was not the latest available data.

Facebook post with old data - pre debug tool

Using the Facebook Debugger tool is as simple as copying and pasting in the URL you want to update into the tool.  You can find (and bookmark) the Facebook Debugger tool at: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug.

Here’s a view of the Facebook Debugger tool. It’s a no frills page to say the least. Just enter the URL in the box and click Debug.

Facebook Debugger

 

I submitted the above URL to the Facebook Debugger tool and then went back to Facebook and try to create a post with that same exact link in it. Here’s what Facebook showed me after debugging the page:

Mini golf after debug

As you can see Facebook pulled in the new image I added as well as the updated description.  Easy peasy!

It’s worth noting that the Facebook Debugger tool provides a fair amount of other helpful information about your website page such as highlighting any missing or incomplete open graph tags.  I’ll dig deeper into the other ways to use the Facebook Debugger tool in a later post but for now, this is a great place to start when trying to get Facebook to display the latest photos and descriptions from your website.