Featured Images not Displaying on Facebook Links (Quick and Easy Fix)

How to Fix Missing Blog Post Image When Sharing on Facebook (in only 30 seconds!)

It will take you longer to read this blog post than it will to fix this pesky little Facebook glitch.

Imagine spending time brainstorming ideas for your upcoming blog posts, and maybe even lining up the headlines as part of your overall marketing strategy. (Yay for you if you’ve done this!)

Then you spend an hour (or several if you get stuck with writers block like I do) actually writing your article or story, adding links, and generally making it look neat, tidy and professional.

Finally you take the time to find the perfect photo or create your branded, shareable graphic in Canva… only to discover to your horror that when your super-helpful blog post gets shared on Facebook, the only thing people see is a white box and a generic description that doesn’t even match your oh-so-brilliant blog post.

WTF?

 

Where did my blog’s featured image go?

Let’s examine the possibilities:

  1. You only imagined adding a featured photo, or maybe you forgot to hit save (causing you to double and triple-check your blog post…nope. Featured image is there. RIGHT THERE on the right hand side!)
  2. Facebook gremlins are eating your blog photos. (Interesting theory. Not very scientific. And probably not what’s happening… this time).
  3. The image (and maybe the blog post “excerpt”) hasn’t shot across the ethernet to be registered by Facebook’s little data-collecting elves.

 Are Facebook gremlins eating your blog photos, graphics and blog excerpts - Facebook debug tool

 

Believe it or not, but #3 is actually the right answer. (OK, maybe I took a little creative licence for storytelling purposes).

The reason your blog’s featured graphic, and possibly even the blog post excerpt, doesn’t appear is that your blog post was crawled (that is, inspected for elements) before you made your final changes, or you haven’t set a featured image and Facebook simply doesn’t know which photo to show when your blog post gets shared.

In geek terms, Facebook crawled your post (or page) after it was first cached, and doesn’t update it.

So it’s up to YOU to fix it. And the good news? It only takes 10 seconds to do it with this link. Or maybe 30 seconds the first time because you’re following along reading the steps below.

You’ll want to add it to your resources and tools file because the glitch happens more often than you realize!

I usually add a featured image and custom summary or excerpt AFTER I’ve written the blog post. This is easily done in a WordPress blog, especially if you use the Yoast SEO for WordPress plugin. And by after, I mean that could be a week or two later when I come back to the draft of my blog post and tidy it up to be published.

And the missing elements problem is not limited to blog posts either. Your featured images and excerpts can also be missing from your website’s pages too. Or your sales page. Or your landing page.
And that’s not only unattractive, it’s not good for business!

 

[bctt tweet=”A missing image when your blog link is shared on Facebook isn’t just ugly, it’s bad for business!”]

 

How do I know if Facebook is holding the incorrect image for my blog post link?

 

Here’s an example of what showed in a Facebook status update when I shared the link to my sales page. Maybe you’ve seen something similar yourself.

 

Blank image and outdated excerpt appears when I shared my blog post in a Facebook status update

A blank image and outdated excerpt showed when I shared my course sales page in a Facebook status update.

 

Obviously I was frustrated, and a little perplexed!

(Thanks goodness for asking questions in Facebook groups and getting answers from smart peeps like Emma Burford of Biz Rocks for leading me to this tool when I first discovered the Facebook missing image problem myself.)

 

Here is similar example where the wrong image showed up, along with the incorrect description (which is usually, but not always, the excerpt).

In this case I wanted to share Rebekah Radice’s post about creating a successful business blog, because it seemed like timely and valuable tips for my own followers.

When I posted the link from Rebekah’s article into my Facebook group, here is what showed.

 

Wrong featured image when blog post link shared in Facebook

Incorrect image and wrong excerpt showing when Rebekah Raddice’s blog post link shared in my Facebook post

 

In my opinion, this one is even more of a problem because many people seeing the 404 error might not even click on the link – which DID in fact direct to the correct and publicly visible blog post.

Now imagine you were planning to run a promoted post Facebook ad. It would be confusing or not quite as effective if you didn’t have an image (or the correct image) showing for that status update!

 

Never fear, it’s the Facebook Debug Tool to the rescue!

 

How to use the Facebook Debug Tool

 

Let’s get down to fixing this pesky Facebook glitch. You’ll be glad to know that it will take you more time to read this blog post than to fix the problem. Good news, right?

 

Here are the 7 quick and easy steps you need to take to use the Facebook Debug Tool so your blog post images show correctly when you share the link on Facebook.

  1. Go to the Facebook Debug Tool in the developers area. (Don’t freak out – you can ignore most of the “geek speak” you see in there.)
  2. Put your blog post, web page, or sales page URL (or anyone else’s for that matter) into the input box on the “Open Graph Debugger” web page.
  3. Click the “Fetch new scrape information” button.
  4. You’ll then see new info – maybe some intimidating looking red boxes and exclamation marks, and some gibberish that you don’t really understand. What is important is the section called “When shared, this is what will be included”.
  5. Is the image the correct featured image from your blog post or page? Is the excerpt/summary text correct?
  6. If not, simply click the “Fetch new scrape info” button again. (Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 times before the right photo and text appears).
  7. Once correct, go ahead and post your link on Facebook!

What’s handy is that once you update the photo using the steps above, any place you’re link was posted will automatically be updated with the correct image and blog excerpt.

 

Step 2 (screenshot)

Facebook Debug tool with Rebkah Radice URL entered to check how Google sees your blog post and featured image

Step 1 and 2. Facebook Debug tool with blog post URL entered.

Steps 4, 5, 6, 7 (screenshot)

Correct image and blog excerpt once Facebook Debug Tool has been run

Steps 4, 5, 6, 7. Correct image and blog excerpt once Facebook Debug Tool has been run (In this case it took 2 times to fetch new scrape info before it was right).

 

Or if you prefer, you can watch a short tutorial video on how to use the Facebook Debug tool.

 

That was easy, wasn’t it? So easy that you’ll want to share your new superpower with the world.

And guess what? You can!

Here’s something that’s pretty cool: You can run the Facebook Debug Tool on someone else’s blog post URL too! So do someone a favour and fix the problem that they probably didn’t even know existed.

Pay it forward. It’s good karma 🙂

 

So now if the featured image of  your blog post is not showing up when shared to Facebook, you have a super easy way to fix it, in 30 seconds or less.

 

Do you have any Facebook superpower tricks? Share them in the comments below!

 

 

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