Have you ever wondered why when you post a link to a particular website page on Facebook or LinkedIn, the preview shows you a different title, description or image? We are going to show why this is and what you can do about it.

When you create a page or a post on your website, you should have added in a meta title, meta description, featured image and then also similar information in the social section. Once a link to this page is posted on social media, such as on Facebook or LinkedIn, then that platform crawls it and remembers the information associated with that link.

This is fine about 99% of the time.

But what if you later change details on the page or post? If you change the title of the page, or perhaps the description and featured image then Facebook and LinkedIn don’t recognise this. This means if you go to share the link again, it will show the original details for the page. The reason for this is that Facebook and LinkedIn crawl the page expecting the information to remain the same. Most of the time you would create a new post or page, not drastically change an existing one.

So here is what you need to do.

In order to reflect the changes that you have made, you will need to clear the Open Graph cache.

You may have heard of clearing cache before. You can clear your own browser history cache. Or you can clear the cache on your website.

Clearing cache is something we regularly discuss with clients as so many forget to do it. We often take calls from clients saying they can’t see our changes or what we have done hasn’t worked and the simple reason is they didn’t clear their cache, which updates the changes. Once reminded, this is easy enough to do.

What people find trickier though is clearing the Open Graph cache in Facebook or LinkedIn. But it really isn’t hard once you know how.

How to clear Facebook's Open Graph cache

Facebook launched the Open Graph API in 2010, which lets you pull information in and out of Facebook. It allows people to interact with content on your site through tagging items as ‘objects’ – how people interact with it will be the ‘action’. For example, reading an article: reading is the action and the article is the object. Another functionality of Open Graph is its ability to be integrated into a sign-up process. With this, people can log in to a website using their Facebook credentials without having to be on Facebook itself.

If you post a link, then the Open Graph shows the description, title and image you have set for this. If you update the content at the link but it has already been crawled then you need to make sure you clear the Open Graph cache. Here is how you do that.

The best way to clear Facebook’s Open Graph cache is to use Facebook’s helpful debugger tool. You can use this to ‘scrape’ the URL – that means it gets rid of the old information, and it will collect the new information, so the correct version will now be displayed if you share a link on Facebook.

On the debugger tool you simply enter the page’s URL, click ‘debug’ and then ‘scrape again’. We’ve set out these easy steps with images below:

  1. Go to the debugger tool, paste the URL in the box and then click the debug button: https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/sharing/

2. Click the ‘scrape again’ button

You should see a preview of the link, showing that the image and description has changed to whatever you updated them to. Now when you post the link to Facebook, this is what will appear!

How to clear LinkedIn's cache

Clearing the cache for a LinkedIn post follows a similar process to Facebook. It is just as simple to do and means you can safely make changes if you want to update old or incorrect content. Like Facebook, LinkedIn has a tool where you can enter a URL to see how it is shared. Here are the steps for changing how the information will appear:

  1. Go to https://www.linkedin.com/post-inspector/, paste your URL in the bar then click ‘Inspect’

This should have scraped the information and now be showing your updated details!