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3 Ways to do Facebook Domain Verification and Edit Link Post Previews

Take Control of Your Content Packaging

Facebook has provided much needed details on how to edit your link posts and take control of how your content appears on Facebook. Facebook has introduced the concept of “Domain Ownership” which allows businesses to claim domains and say “This link is mine!”. In this post we share how to complete the update in 3 steps:

  • Add your Web Domain to your Facebook Business Account
  • Complete DNS Verification or HTML File Upload
  • Associate Your Pages with a Verified Domain

When Do You Need to Make Updates?

We recommend taking action as soon as possible, but no later than early January 2018. Facebook states, “In early Q1 2018, we will only allow verified domain owners to edit their link posts.” Configuration should take less than a few hours.

Content is a product, and how you package your product is critical. The sooner you make these updates to take control of your packaging the better.

Context: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

On July 18th, 2017, Facebook discontinued the ability for most teams to modify their link content previews due to concerns around bad actors modifying the packaging of content that wasn’t theirs to modify.

“As part of our continuing efforts to stop the spread of misinformation and false news on our platform, we’re removing the ability for any Page to edit how a link appears on Facebook. By removing the ability to alter link metadata (i.e. headline, description, image) from all link sharing entry points on Facebook, we are eliminating a channel that has been abused to post false news. Our blog post has more information. On July 18, 2017 the ability to overwrite metadata for previews attached to link posts will no longer be available for most Pages and apps.” – Facebook

Imagine a bad actor modifying the Washington Post article that debunks the story that NASA was kidnapping children and sending them to Mars, instead writing “NASA Takes Kidnapped Children to Mars”. Unfortunately, some people believe this, sharing without reading. Bad News Bears.

Yes, this is a silly example, but the underlying issue - unrestricted editing - can cause issues. Facebook understandably needed to take action. That said, social media teams regularly modify their Facebook link post image, headline, and description to something other than the default content defined in their Open Graph Tags (aka “OG” tags; learn more here. Facebook previously allowed teams to do this for years, since default text and images often aren’t optimized for Facebook. Headlines can be too long, not punchy enough for social, or need revisions, and images may simply be low quality or not the best performing option.

Editing enables teams to improve post engagement by using better content packaging. This is why clients use Naytev to A/B Test Facebook posts.

A Flexible Solution Is Here! Facebook Domain Verification with Business Manager

Facebook is providing a few ways to not only edit link previews again, but also allow you to claim content ownership so that only your team can modify your link post previews. Awesome!

All methods involve verifying your ownership of your web domain. Here are your options:

  • DNS Verification (involves Business Manager)
  • HTML File Upload (involves Business Manager)
  • Open Graph Markup Tag (no Business Manager)

Facebook (and Naytev) recommend option 1 or 2; they’re easier to manage and more flexible. Below are Facebook’s exact recommended steps for implementing these two options.

Complete Facebook Domain Verification with Business Manager

We’ll keep this brief. There are 3 Steps:

  • Add your Web Domain to your Facebook Business Account
  • Complete DNS Verification OR HTML File Upload
  • Associate Your Pages with a Verified Domain

Step 1: Add Your Web Domains

Regardless of whether you go with the DNS Verification or HTML File Upload approach, you’ll need to first add your domain(s) in Business Manager; this takes just a minute. Here are Facebook’s instructions:

  1. In Business Manager, click on the Business Settings button.
  2. In the Business Settings, make sure you are in the People and Assets tab, and select Domains from the left side navigation list.
  3. Click on the Add New Domains button, and enter your domain in the Add a domain pop-up dialog.
  4. If you have more than one domain listed, select the domain for which you desire to confirm ownership. Note: Facebook enables you to share your domain with a partner if needed – more on this at the end of this post.
  5. Choose the method you wish to use to verify your domain: DNS Verification or the HTML File Upload. Note: You only need to use one method.

Step 2, Option 1: DNS Verification Add a DNS TXT entry to your DNS record to confirm ownership

The DNS Verification tab of your selected domain provides the TXT information you will need to add to your DNS record.

  • Navigate to the DNS record section of your domain host.
  • Add the TXT entry to your DNS record.
  • Add @ to the Host field (if it is required by your domain host).
  • Once the changes have propagated across your domain’s web servers, click the Verify button at the bottom of the DNS Verification tab for the selected domain. Note: Typically, this change takes only minutes to occur, however there are cases where it may take up to 72 hours to complete.
  • Leave the TXT entry in your DNS record as it may be checked periodically for verification purposes.

Step 2, Option 2: HTML File Upload If you don’t want to use DNS Verification, then instead you can upload an HTML file to your web directory and confirm domain ownership in Business Manager. You’ll need admin access to your website’s root folder to use this HTML file option.

The HTML File Upload tab of your selected domain provides the HTML verification file you need to upload to your website.

  • Download the HTML verification file.
  • Upload the file to the root directory of your website. You will be able to see that it is uploading at the link provided in the HTML File Upload tab.
  • Once it is done, click the Verify button at the bottom of the HTML File Verification tab for the selected domain.
  • Leave the HTML verification file in your website’s root directory as it may be checked periodically for verification purposes.

Step 3: Associate Facebook Pages with a Verified Domain Here’s where the simplicity of the Business Manager Verification approach shines. Assuming you went with the DNS or HTML approach instead of the OG approach, your domains are now an asset in Business manager that you can easily assign Pages to. Below are the steps Facebook shares for associating Pages:

  • Under Domains, select the desired domain, and click on the Assign Pages button.
  • You should see any and all of the Pages you have added to Business Manager (if your Page is not available, make sure you have imported it into Business Manager under the Pages tab). Select all the Pages you wish to add to the domain, and click Save Changes.
  • You should now see any added Pages listed under Assigned Assets for your selected domain.

Step 4: You’re Done!

Recap

Implementing Domain Verification is an easy way to control editing privileges of your content, ensuring you can modify how your content appears while also preventing others from misusing it. Facebook’s flexible options should help your team make these updates quickly and manage them easily going forward. Your content packaging is key and Facebook is putting packaging control solidly back in your hands.

Appendix: Need to Share Your Domain with A Business Partner? Facebook supports sharing your domain. Follow Facebook’s instructions below:

  1. First, complete “Step 1: Verify Your Domain”, then Select the verified domain you wish to add a partner to, and click the Assign Partner button.
  1. Select Domain Admin from the Role drop-down field.
  1. Enable sharing by either giving your partner a link or entering your partner’s Business Manager ID.
    • Share the provided link with your Business Manager partner.

Note: Each link can only be used once and will expire after 30 days if not used. Your Business Manager partner will be able to complete the domain sharing by clicking on the link and assigning their Business Manager to the shared domain.

  • Connect your domain using your partner’s Business Manager ID.

After clicking the Assign Partner button, click on the Connect your domain using your partner’s business ID instead link at the bottom of the pop-up dialog. Enter your partner’s ID, and click Connect to enable sharing.

Full disclosure, we provide these steps verbatim from Facebook’s documentation to avoid any confusion. Facebook’s documentation may change over time, so here’s the original post from Facebook providing details: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/sharing/domain-verification