When you share a blog post or any URL on Facebook or Twitter, these social networks access your content and extract the title, the featured image, and a short description from it in order to produce a summary card. This card is what they eventually end up sharing within your social message instead of the URL you’ve pasted, giving it a more professional touch and making it easier to click there.
Now imagine that later you change the title of the article or the featured image and want to share it again on Facebook and Twitter. Surprisingly, you’d be sharing the old title and image again, because both Facebook and Twitter keep a cache with that information for a long period of time to avoid re-checking a URL every time it’s shared.
You may think that in your case you’ll never need to change the title or image of an already published content. But it is a very common practice in online newspapers to give a second life to the content and therefore continue capturing readers. By changing the title and the featured image you make the content feel like new, attracting new readers.
If you use this practice (or are considering using it from now on), you’ll be interested to know that this cache, which both Facebook and Twitter stores, can be erased. This way you can force these social networks to access the new title and featured image. And here’s how to do it.
How to Clear the Cache in Twitter
Twitter provides a card validator for Twitter Cards, which is the name Twitter uses for the brief summaries. Simply go to https://cards-dev.twitter.com/validator, enter the URL of the content you want to update, then share it again and hit the Preview card button.
Also, notice that the Log section in the end of the page shows you the result of processing your content, so if there’s any problem with the meta tags in your website, you’ll know.
How to Clear the Cache in Facebook
To refresh the Facebook cache and get your content fetched again and the new highlighted image and title removed, all you have to do is go to the Facebook Debugger.
Once there, you will see a text field where you can paste the URL of the content you want to share. Do it and then click the button to debug. This will show you the result of processing the content of that URL, although if you already shared it, what you will see is the preview card and the time when Facebook accessed the content to extract the information (Time Scrapped).
Now just click on the Scrape Again button to force Facebook to retrieve information from the content right now. Once done, if what you see on the summary card has changed correctly, you can share that URL again on Facebook and the new messages will have that card included.
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Please note that by deleting the cache of Facebook or Twitter, your previously shared messages won’t change. That is, if on Monday you posted your last message on Facebook and on Wednesday you change the title and featured image, and then you clear the cache to share that URL again, then the new message you post on Facebook will take the new title and the new image. But all those that were previously shared will not be updated—for those old messages you will still have the previous title and image.
I hope you find this useful and put the title and image modifications into practice to see if this trick will attract more readers. Another option is to let Nelio Content take care of the promotion of your content, which will save you time.
Featured image by Felix Russell-Saw via Unsplash