When Google+ began rendering article shares with larger images and a description back in March, there was a great deal of scuttling about, trying to determine what it took to get that treatment. If you look at my original post, there was update after update as new information was discovered and changes were affected on Google+.
We’ve known for a while now that it requires a large image, at least 506px wide, and now Google has confirmed that, along with a few other requirements and pieces of information. But with all these changes and questions, that initial article is such a mess I decided it would be best to share the information as a fresh post.
Here’s a recent example of an article shared to Google+ that rendered using the large image preview:
First, the images display at 506px wide so that is the minimum width your article image needs to be in order to trigger the rendering, according to Google’s documentation.
Now, I spoke with someone at Google just last week regarding this rendering and was told that an image width of just 401px would trigger the treatment, though the image would be scaled up. It remains to be seen whether or not that is still true.
Regardless, the maximum ratio allowed for images to work is 5:2. The maximum displayed height will be 303px, so any image with an aspect ratio of 2:1, and a minimum width of 506px, will be displayed perfectly.
So, after some initial testing, I settled on creating images for my blog that are 700×350, an aspect ratio of 2:1, which displays perfectly when shared to Google+. There is a concern that I am not taking advantage of the fact that tall images look better on Google+ and Pinterest when they’re shared as images rather than link previews and to that end, I plan to create secondary, taller images, for my more important posts and articles.
Here’s the big reveal…
In order for a shared link to trigger the rendering, it must _also_ use the Open Graph or Schema.org markup specifying that the content is of type Article, Blog or BlogPost.
So your content needs to have full Open Graph or Schema implemented and have tags for:
There are numerous plugins for WordPress which support all of the tags, with SEO for WordPress being the most common. For Drupal, you’ll need to be on Drupal 7 and have Metatags installed and configured.
There is no word yet on what the requirements are to get your Google+ page tagged and displayed automatically within these shares. Having a verified Page and Publisher markup in place does not seem to be enough.
So let’s review…
In order to qualify for the Article Rendering, your images and post need to meet the following requirements:
- Minimum Width: 506px
- Maximum Aspect Ratio: 5:2
- Maximum Displayed Height: 303px
- Open Graph or Schema.org Content Type tag: required
- Open Graph or Schema.org Image tag: required
- Open Graph or Schema.org Title tag: required
- Open Graph or Schema.org Description tag: required
Technically, the Title and Description tags may be optional, but there’s no reason not to use them if you’re going through the trouble of setting everythign else up.
If there are additional changes or requirements reported, or if it is determined what it takes to trigger the Google+ Page link, I will update this post accordingly.
If you have a site that you think meets all the requirements and still isn’t rendering, or if you have any other questions at all, please leave a comment below.
Credit to Mark Traphagen for sharing the Google documentation.