SEO Social

Twitter Cards: A Quick and Simple Setup Guide (for WordPress)

Those who prowl the Twitterverse are sure to have seen the snazzy “View Summary” buttons that occasionally appear underneath tweets. When you click on this button, the standard 140 characters suddenly expand beyond anything you’ve imagined possible on Twitter.

This is what a normal Tweet looks like:

tweet without twitter card

And this is your Tweet on drugs:

tweet with twitter card

Long ago, in the year 2012, Twitter began testing new ways for users to interact with Twitter. Extending beyond the normal limit of 140 text characters, these ramped-up Tweets could incorporate more comprehensive media formats like content previews, images, and videos. This new display format, dubbed “Twitter Cards”, allowed viewers to delve deeper into tweeted content if they chose to expand the short, succinct Tweet into richer media.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “It will surely take a lot of time and effort to set up something this complex.” But, contrary to popular belief, simply investing an hour or less is plenty of time to set up Twitter cards.

The Simplest Way to Set Up Twitter Cards (for WordPress)

For those of you who use WordPress, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of plugins that can help you easily set up Twitter cards.

A popular plugin, Yoast SEO, gives you the option to automatically generate the necessary coding. It pulls information from your settings to append to the meta tags, enabling Twitter to add these rich(er) media cards. While Yoast’s plugin doesn’t have a significant amount of post-level customization available in its current version, it does have everything necessary to create basic Twitter cards.

Twitter Card Yoast Plugin WordPress

A secondary advantage of the plugin (besides the obvious SEO benefits) is that it implements the rel=”author” relationship for your posts. If you haven’t heard of Google authorship before, it’s a feature Google introduced to the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) in 2011 that connects content with its original author.

Authorship increases click-through rates and may even impact rankings, so you’d be wise to implement if you have not already done so.  (At the recent Pubcon internet marketing conference, Google’s Head of Webspam, Matt Cutts, implied that authorship is going to become even more important as a determiner of ‘authority’.  So, if you haven’t already done so, be sure to get it implemented.)

How Can I Make Sure I Set Twitter Cards Up Correctly?

Now that your content has been set up and the header tags are perfect, the next step is to confirm that your Twitter card works properly by using the Twitter Validator tool. You can use this tool to create a sample card based on your page’s meta tags.

The last step in the process is to approve your site with Twitter. During validation, you will find a “Request Approval” button underneath that could easily be missed:

Twitter Card Validation Tool

After you click the request approval button, a pop-up box will appear. Fill in your information and proceed. You’ll receive a confirmation email stating that turn-around time can take up to a few weeks, but in our experience, it only took a matter of hours for Conductor.com to be approved by Twitter.

What Else Can I Do With My Snazzy Twitter Cards?

Congratulations, your snazzy new basic Twitter Card is implemented and working beautifully. If you want to take it to the next level, there are 6 other types of Twitter cards that can be used to further enrich your tweets: Summary with Large Image, Photo, Gallery, App, Player, and Product.

Twitter cards are a low-effort investment that can kick-start your Twitter social engagement or help you explode out of your account’s plateau. Let us know what Twitter cards you’re using in the comments, or, of course, on Twitter.

  • Jen Robustelli

    Hey Billy, nice post! Any chance you’ve seen research that shows this type of structured social data benefits rankings? I know I’ve seen articles around CTR impact of twitter cards…

    • Thanks JMR! I haven’t had a chance to read research on social media, but if you come across something good, definitely send it over 🙂

  • Nice article. For the life of me, I can’t get this to work. The plugin isn’t adding the tags to my , so I can’t validate the card.

    I guess I will add it long hand since, I’ve now spent more time wrestling the plugin than it would have taken to do it by hand in the first place.

    • Nathan Safran

      Tyler: Have you double checked that there isn’t a WordPress–>plug-in mismatch? Sometimes a plug in requires a minimum version of WordPress to function.

      • Nathan, Can you help me? I entered my username into the plugin but have no idea what to do next. What URL do I enter into the validator?

        • Billy Lam

          Hi Alex – the plugin should add the Twitter card meta tags to all your blog posts going forward, so you can enter any URL of your site into the validator and it will check if Twitter cards are working properly. Hope that helps!

  • Thanks for the tips. I’m trying to set this up right now.

    Cheers!

    Robb

  • Harri Bell-Thomas

    Just wanted to share another plugin that is specially designer for Twitter Cards – although Yoast SEO works well, the features (especially the card types) are quite limited. I’d check out ‘TCWP – Supercharged Twitter Card Management for WP’ on CodeCanyon – it honestly has a great feature set, worth its weight in gold!

    http://codecanyon.net/item/tcwp-supercharged-twitter-card-management-for-wp/5850316?ref=InfinityCode

    • cstebbins

      Thanks for the tip!

  • I don’t understand where to find my URL with the Meta Tags? Is it just my domain?

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