How to Implement Open Graph Tags for Videos

By Jessica Davidson | Sep 6, 2012
More Articles by Jessica


Most people covet that number one position in search results, but what if there was another way to attract similar click through rates and traffic without obtaining the number one position? That is what video thumbnails in search can do for your site. As Brian Massay noted, video thumbnails can “make a number three ranking perform like a number one ranking.” With a video thumbnail appearing next to your website, the result stands out next to those without thumbnails, even those with higher rankings. 

Open Graph Video Thumbnail

What is the Open Graph Protocol?

Research suggests that when coupled with a video sitemap, the Open Graph Protocol has the ability to make video thumbnails appear in search results. The Open Graph Protocol is a rich code standard developed by Facebook that enables a webpage to become a rich object in a social graph. Open Graph tags allow you to define objects on your web page that can appear as thumbnails in Facebook posts and search results. For video optimization, the Open Graph code can act as a verification signal for spiders that may not be able to determine the existence of a video on a certain page due to java script. To learn about the Open Graph Protocol in greater detail, visit the Facebook Developers website.

Open Graph Tags

Below is a list of Open Graph tags for videos:

  • og:url – The URL of the page in which the video is housed
  • og:title – Pretty straightforward. The title of video
  • og: description – Again, pretty straightforward. A brief description of the video
  • og:type – The object’s type. In the case of a video object, the type is video.
  • og:image – The image thumbnail for the video
  • og: video – The URL of the video file
  • og:video:width – The video’s width in pixels
  • og:video:height – The video’s height in pixels
  • og:site_name – The overall site for which the video is part of

Only the og:type, og:title, og:image, and og:url tags are required elements for videos, or any other object for that matter. The other tags are not required, but are recommended in order to provide additional information about the video.

How to Add Open Graph Video Tags

The Open Graph tags are placed before the </head> tag. The code below provides an example of the Open Graph meta tags in action.

Open Graph Tag Code

While the addition of Open Graph tags enables a video to be associated with a webpage, there are no guarantees that the video thumbnail will appear in search results.

Are you planning on adding Open Graph tags to your videos? Leave your answer or any comments below or find me on Twitter.

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