Why aren’t my post images being generated for display in LinkedIn updates?

I'm exhausted and fed up trying to trouble shoot this issue. I have a new post at http://www.facilitiesservicesnet.com/2013/04/18/branding-the-brand-experts-installing-allsteel-beyond-wall-for-canadas-glenn-davis-group/.

Regardless of whether I use the LI share button or paste in the URL at the LI update box, the post image is not being generated.

I created 2 test posts and tried them. Same result: post excerpt is generated, no post image.

  • gkosovic

    The WP site where I have the issue is using the Thesis 1.8.5 theme (up to date, as far as I can tell). The theme does not appear to support the Featured Image element of WP Codex. However, it does have a built-in Post Image and Post Thumbnail specifier, which are working as they're supposed to. I have tried everything I can think of, including now 3 more hours of Internet research. I get the same result (that is, no post image generated for LinkedIn update) regardless of whether I insert the image directly into the post content or use the Thesis 1.8.5 theme's Post Image and Post Thumbnail specifiers (which appear on the post edit page, in case you're unfamiliar with Thesis). I've also tried 2 Featured Image plugins, again with no resolution of my issue.

  • PC

    Hiya @gkosovic

    Greetings and sorry for the delay on this one.

    The WP site where I have the issue is using the Thesis 1.8.5 theme (up to date, as far as I can tell). The theme does not appear to support the Featured Image element of WP Codex.

    Did you try contacting Thesis support yet ? They might have got an easy fix to this.

    While I have not used Thesis myself but I found an article which might put you in the right direction : http://www.famousbloggers.net/generate-auto-thumbnail-first-image-thesis-theme.html

    Please advise if that helps.

    Cheers, PC

  • gkosovic

    Thanks again, PC. I appreciate your diligence in trying to assist me toward a solution. I read the developer's blog you pointed me to. Unfortunately, the info there, while accurate for it's time (Sep 2011), is pretty much stale. And the blog post was mainly written to elicit feedback on a new plugin he was conceptualizing.

    Since you wrote your reply to me, I have activated the WordPress Featured Image function in the subject website and tried everything else I could think of to solve the problem. The effort included reading up some on Open Graph tags, researching Open Graph plugins, and installing the plugin Open Graph Protocol. It does what the developer says it will do but it didn't solve the issue with LinkedIn update post failures to "grab" an image. (I found myself being envious of some fellow sufferers who were reporting that LI was grabbing the wrong image, which struck me as a somewhat better situation than having no image to accompany the excerpt in the LI update post.)

    I also posted my issue with the Thesis folks (DIYthemes) and got an encouraging reply from girlie, one of the regular Thesis support writers.

    However, none of this hours of activity has resolved the issue. So I have concluded that the problems are all on the LinkedIn end. After reading what seemed like hundreds of posts at the LinkedIn site, I saw mounting signs of some breakdowns at LinkedIn starting in the late March to early April time frame. Images are not displaying in updates (my issue), text is not displaying in updates, images uploaded to company pages are appearing once and then disappearing forever after, and a host of what seem to my non-coder brain as pretty closely related issues are occurring.

    If you hear of anything else that sounds potentially helpful, please do please it along. My thanks again.

  • PC

    Hiya,

    I tested it on your site and looked for potential conflicts as well, and it seems to me like if it's an issue with the theme.

    The best way to test this however would be to create a new test site, just with default theme and sharing buttons active. Add a post with an image and a featured image and share it on linked in.

    You can test this on wpmu.org by sharing any link to linked in and you will see that it picks up images while sharing.

    Can you please try that out once ?

    I wish it were a theme from us so we would have called our developer but it being a third party product, there is not much I can suggest here :slight_frown:

    Looking forward to hear from you in any event.

    Cheers, PC

  • gkosovic

    Many thanks, PC, for your efforts to troubleshoot this problem. I saw the test post you created and I also saw that no image thumbnail would display in the LinkedIn share box.

    Following your suggestion, I changed the theme to WP's Twenty Twelve at a different site and created a post, inserting both a post image (right align) and a Featured Image. Sharing buttons are active. You can see it at http://www.cogenteditorial.com/coming-soon/. All attempts to generate a LinkedIn share box with post image thumbnail failed, and I tested both with and without a featured image and with and without a post image.

    The OG tags appear in the page source and they look correct to me. (It appears that a JetPack plugin generates the og tags.)

  • PC

    Hey George,

    I tested it with a couple of plugins but it seems that only LinkedIN is not picking up the image to be shared.

    Let me call our lead developer @Vladislav on this thread to seek his support on this issue.

    Please note that it might take him a while to chime in as he is working on a major plugin update.

    Please do not remove the admin credentials as Ve might need that while troubleshooting.

    @Vladislav : og image is not being picked while sharing to linked in. Every other social service works fine.

    Cheers, PC

  • gkosovic

    Thanks, PC, and thanks to WPMU DEV for this terrific support. Can't tell you how much it's helping me keep a positive outlook. As you've probably deduced, I'm not a web developer of any stripe. I'm a writer, editor and strategist for marketing communications. I have 18 companies counting on their blog posts getting high-quality sharing to LinkedIn. Without the images, the post shares look pretty dull.

    @girlie at the Thesis home site (DIYthemes.com) tipped me off to the existent of a resource called Facebook Debugging Tool. I ran a few of my web pages through it. Also ran one of yours. All of mine got the same feedback:

    More Than One OG URL Specified:
    Object at URL 'http://www.facilitiesservicesnet.com/2013/04/22/manning-group-praised-for-large-scale-steelcase-installation-in-phoenix/' of type 'article' is invalid because it specifies multiple 'og:url' values: http://www.facilitiesservicesnet.com/2013/04/22/manning-group-praised-for-large-scale-steelcase-installation-in-phoenix/, http://www.facilitiesservicesnet.com/2013/04/22/manning-group-praised-for-large-scale-steelcase-installation-in-phoenix/.

    I looked at the source code for several of my pages. For the page referenced above (Manning Group...), here's a complete set of OG tags on Line 119 and another complete set on Lines 121 - 126. The second set of tags appears to be generated by "Jetpack Open Graph Tags." Can't tell where the Line 119 set comes from; if it results from something I'm doing, I'm completely unaware of doing it. I also ran https://premium.wpmudev.org/ through the FB debugger. The tool appears to report all of your OG meta but the site gets a polite slap on the wrist for "Open Graph Warnings That Should Be Fixed." As in:
    "Inferred Property: The 'og:url' property should be explicitly provided, even if a value can be inferred from other tags."

    What's your take on OG tags? FB and LI seem to think they're essential. Apparently, WPMU does not. Would appreciate you or Ve commenting on the necessity for OG tags and, if they're necessary or a good idea, how best to implement them. Should I deactivate the Open Graph Protocol plugin I installed a couple days ago?

    No problem leaving the guest credentials in place. I noticed the floating LI icon. Is that part of your testing process? Also, I'm not sure how long I can get away with leaving the "test" post on the site. Don't want to advertise that we're dealing with problems.

    Anything I can do to assist at this point?

    Again, many thanks for all of your assistance.

  • Vladislav

    Hello,

    OpenGraph tags are important to get the pages to show nicely when liked/shared on Facebook and LinkedIn, although LinkedIn supports much less content hints. They're also a bit more opaque then Facebook in how exactly this works, but a duplicate set of OG tags will likely cause problems. There's also a set of guidelines for images, here: https://developer.linkedin.com/documents/setting-display-tags-shares

    As for the actual image fetching issue - I can speak mostly from experience with Facebook scraper. It used to be quite touchy about image sizes, formats and response times, although it improved a lot over time. The LinkedIn one seems to be having some intermittent issues (going by their support forum), but it's also possible that it's being thrown off by the duplicate set of tags.

    As for what might be causing the duplicate set of tags - it could be a theme feature or (more likely) a plugin you're using. A number of plugins will add OG tags in the header for you, but you should only have one set if at all possible.

    Another thing worth noting is that OpenGraph scrapers keep your pages cached locally, so they don't have to request them again - LinkedIn scraper keeps its cache for a week (according to the documentation). Facebook has a tool (Debugger) to reset this cache, but it won't affect LinkedIn scraper. When you test with duplicates removed, you should probably be testing on a brand new post to make sure the caching issues are out of equation.

  • gkosovic

    Thank you, Vladislav. After reading your post this morning, I looked at the page source for the front page at http://www.cogenteditorial.com. As I expected, there were no duplicate OG tags. Surprisingly, there was no og:image tag, even though I had installed a post image yesterday which met LinkedIn's specification of min size of 150x80 (which I had read yesterday).

    It might be pointless for me to keep trying things right now due to LinkedIn's caching but I can't just sit here and see a social marketing program go down the tubes unless and until I'm absolutely convinced that there's nothing I can do eliminate or avoid the problem. So...

    I read your linked material at developer.linkedin.com and went back to testing at cogent editorial.com. I removed all plugins except Jetpack, Floating Social and WPMU DEV Dashboard. I created and installed a new post image sized at 180x110, which is the size that LI's "Setting Display Tags for Shares" page says is the size used in the LI share box.

    Here's the current OG tag code:

    <!-- Jetpack Open Graph Tags -->
    <meta property="og:type" content="article" />
    <meta property="og:title" content="Thanks for your interest!" />
    <meta property="og:url" content="http://www.cogenteditorial.com/coming-soon/" />
    <meta property="og:description" content="The Cogent Editorial website remains an idea in development." />
    <meta property="og:site_name" content="Cogent Editorial" />
    <meta property="og:image" content="http://www.cogenteditorial.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/test-linkedin-180x110.jpg" />

    It all looks correct to me. Do you spot anything that looks incorrect or suspicious?

    The LinkedIn share box is not fetching and sharing the image. And that holds true regardless of whether I'm using the Featured Image function. (Currently, the post at http://www.cogenteditorial.com/coming-soon/ does not have an assigned Featured Image.)

    I'll turn next to the issue of OG tag duplication. Looking at the page source, it appears that Jetpack automatically generates OG tags. Is that true?

  • gkosovic

    I lost my site a few minutes ago. I've ben going round and round today trying to figure out this Open Graph tag situation and had concluded that it would make sense to eliminate the duplication of og tags. So I looked at the page source for a few pages, comparing the tag sets being generated by NextGEN and the tag sets being generate by Jetpack. I concluded that the NextGEN tags were better. (Based on Jetpack having generated no og:image tag in 2 cases.)

    I'd run across a post in the Support forum at wordpress.com by someone who'd been dealing with duplicate OG tags. He wrote:

    use “Remove Jetpack Open Graph Tags” plugin or open up your theme’s functions.php file and paste the following code.

    // remove jetpack open graph tags
    remove_action(‘wp_head’,'jetpack_og_tags’);

    ans said it had worked for his site.
    Seeing no Jetpack Open Graph Tags plugin to remove, I took the other approach and pasted the code into the Thesis custom_functions.php file. When I clicked the Save button, my browser window went white and remains that way now.
    I'm kind of freakin' here. Can anyone help? I do have a backup of the site database as of 25 April at a little past 6:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time US. Really could use some guidance.

  • Vladislav

    Hello,

    To make sure your bases are covered when you're editing a php file, the best way is to not use the WordPress interface if at all possible. If you're at least a bit comfortable with using a regular FTP program and navigating your site's directory structure, it will be much easier to both make sure you edited the file properly, and to also quickly and painlessly recover from any such issues as you experienced. If you'd like to give it another try, open up your FTP client and navigate to wp-content/themes/<your-theme-name> folder on your site. In this directory, try to find a file named "functions.php" - download that file to your local computer and back it up somewhere, so you have an original version ready if something goes wrong. Now, open a copy of this file for editing and add this line somewhere in the file:

    add_filter('jetpack_enable_open_graph', '__return_false');

    Please, make sure that the line you added is between the "<?php" and "?>" tags. Now you can overwrite the file on your server with the edited version and test. If something went wrong, you can always re-upload the backed up original version and have everything working again within seconds.

    As for the removing of the Jetpack OpenGraph headers, you may also want to try using this plugin: https://github.com/sgthemes/Remove-Jetpack-Open-Graph-Tags (this is the plugin that the post you quoted referred to). This might be an easier/safer way of getting rid of Jetpack OpenGraph headers, in case you're not sure how to edit a php file.

    Also, when you said "NextGEN", did you perhaps meant the "NextGEN Facebook Open Graph" plugin (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/nextgen-facebook/)? I'm asking because I just had a look into the latest version of Jetpack source, and it will explicitly check if you have this plugin enabled. If you do, Jetpack will then back off and not inject its own OpenGraph tags. Can you please check if you're using the latest Jetpack version?

  • gkosovic

    Thanks for your consistent attention to my situation. I will remember and apply your best-practice suggestion about backing up the functions.php (or, in the case of Thesis, the custom_functions.php) file locally before editing, then uploading the edited file to test. I had edited the custom functions through the WP interface before with only the desired result being achieved and no catastrophic results such as happened last night. Never again!

    At this point I have read many, many posts pertaining to the NextGEN Facebook Open Graph plugin but, no, I have never installed it. I was referring to NextGEN Gallery plugin.

    The naturally occurring duplication of OG tags when both NextGEN Gallery and Jetpack are in effect is regrettable but it's good to know it's also preventable. I have observed in looking at page source many times over the past 48 hours that Jetpack many times fails to declare an og:image tag when, in the same instance, NextGEN gets it right, and when they do both declare an og:image tag, one of them will assign the tag to the post image and the other one will assign the tag to the Featured Image.

    I suppose that web developers such as yourself and PC encounter this unintended insanity all the time. For someone like me who's simply trying to take advantage of current web technology that's supposedly user friendly, it amounts to a highly undesirable and potentially ruinous situation.

    My solution today is to start recreating this site using the Dottoro theme. I have invested a large amount of time to learn Dottoro and it is producing reliably desirable results all the time at the principal website where I'm using it. The theme includes features, such as image gallery creation, which I find even easier to use and more productive than NextGEN, and a number of others as well which allow me to avoid having to add many plugins to achieve the kinds of functionality I want. Nothing is perfect but, for me, Dottoro -- so far! -- is really terrific. In other words, still with no solution in sight for the issue you've been helping me with, I think it's best to move away from the Thesis-based mash-up I have now and toward something that seems to work well.

    Thanks again to you and PC and the WPMU DEV community. I would like to keep this thread alive for a while so that I can post whatever new information I might receive from the LinkedIn Support team. I am told they are working on it and I think we should give them a chance to respond. Perhaps they will come through with information that we will all benefit from.

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