6

My pages already have good html meta tags like title and description for Google SEO. I also added og:title, og:description, twitter:title, twitter:description and other meta tags, but I found in most cases og:title/twitter:title are the same as title, and description is also very redundant. So, can I omit some redundant meta tags for smaller page size, and not expect any negative impact?

<title>short title here</title>
<meta name="description" content="long description" />
<!-- section of og:... meta headers -->
<meta property="og:title" content="short title here" />
<meta property="og:description" content="long description" />
<meta property="og:image" content="..." />
<!-- section of twitter:... meta headers -->
<meta property="twitter:title" content="short title here" />
<meta property="twitter:description" content="long description" />

The og:url tag (for Facebook) also looks redundant to <link rel="canonical" href="..." > (for Google).

Can I omit the redundant ones, and keep only the unique ones not provided by another group, like this twitter card?

<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image" />

So, will facebook/twitter default to using the page's title/description tags when og:title/og:description are missing? And not penalize the content?

7
  • Note: the <meta> tag does not use and does not need a closing slash and never has in any HTML specification.
    – Rob
    Aug 27 at 9:28
  • In 17 years of owning a web dev company, I have never used the og: and twitter stuff for any of the companies we worked for and all were on the front page of search results for always. Now, if you need search results on Facebook and Twitter exclusively, that might be helpful.
    – Rob
    Aug 27 at 9:30
  • @rob XHTML requires that all tags (including meta tags) have closing tags or self close with by ending with />. It is not wrong to self close meta tags in other HTML variants. Documentation often includes the self closing slashes for widest compatibility that includes XHTML. These days I would never recommend somebody use XHTML over HTML5, so I'm not sure how much benefit that compatibility in documentation provides. Aug 29 at 22:20
  • @rob the og: and twitter: tags are not useful for any search, but for your URLs are shared on social media sites. They control how the preview of your page looks when shared. It is worth paying attention to them if you are trying to get traction in social media. Aug 29 at 22:22
  • @StephenOstermiller I would almost bet he is not using XHTML. If he is, he has far more serious issues with his markup. In addition, NO documentation by the W3C or WHATWG will give you ANY such example or suggestion to use a closing slash in the history of HTML even today and I defy anyone to find such a thing. While the closing slash is allowed, it is unspecified anywhere as a requirement or need, it does nothing, it has no meaning and browsers are instructed to ignore it. So doing so is pointless, worthless, a waste of effort and bandwidth. Why anyone would do such thing is bizarre at best.
    – Rob
    Aug 30 at 0:17
3

Twitter-specific Tags

The twitter-specific title and description meta tags are redundant if they are identical to your og tags, so you can leave them out.

If you omit twitter:title, Twitter will fallback to your og:title tag.

If you omit twitter:description, Twitter will fallback to your og:description tag.

If you don't include an og:type tag then you will want to include a twitter:card type. But if you do include og:type, then even twitter:card "may" not be needed, though personally I would still include it just to be sure. According to the twitter card markup docs:

If an og:type, og:title and og:description exist in the markup but twitter:card is absent, then a summary card may be rendered.

In any case, the best way to check the validity of your card is to use Twitter's Card Validator tool. Then you can be sure that your tags are set up properly to show cards.

Title and Description Tags

I am not certain whether Twitter or Facebook fall back to the title and description tags if og:title, twitter:title, og:description or twitter:description are not present, but I couldn't find any indication in their documentation that they do. Someone would have to test this on a live website with the Twitter Card Validator and Facebook Sharing Debugger.

Rel canonical and og:url tags

I found no evidence in Facebook's documentation that they pay attention to rel canonical, so I recommend you continue to use both rel canonical and og:url.

1
  • LinkedIn uses Open Graph as well Aug 30 at 16:58
2
+100

The only negative impact you'll see potentially would be in engagement on social media due to the snippet being smaller/less "in your face" on social media: Likes, Click Through Rate.

Facebook should fall back to the "rawest" form of metadata that your document provides - Its crawler is perfectly capable of it, however, it doesn't prefer it.

I say it's up to you!

In my book, removing these tags is totally fine! I can certainly respect a desire for clean code, but I mean we're talking about a few extra bytes. From an SEO perspective, I'm not concerned with it at all.

You certainly won't be punished by Google - they care more about the semantics that your structured data creates...or the AMP markup you provide.

You stated that:

The og:url tag (for Facebook) also looks redundant to (for Google).

I wouldn't say that (or any of the others) are redundant; og:url is more like "canonical" in the preferred language (in this case, Facebook's). Basically, I see it like Apple's "Thunderbolt" charger...because USB-C just wasn't extra enough.

Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn also respect Open Graph Protocol. If I'm not mistaken, Google+ did too (RIP).

If you wanted to accommodate social media structured data formats, this would be the minimum required:

<meta property="og:title" content="example title">
<meta property="og:description" content="a fun example description that's fun">
<meta property="og:image" content="https://example.com/thumbnail.jpg">
<meta property="og:url" content="https://example.com/">
<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary_large_image">

Twitter allows the substitution of Open Graph <meta> tags for its own - so those are certainly redundant.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.