Can I share a single image on a webpage?

WPSSO describes the content of webpages for social websites. You can enable a variety of social sharing buttons using the WPSSO SSB add-on, and share the URL to a webpage (post, page, attachment, etc.), but not individual components within that webpage (like images or paragraphs). It is possible to share the URL of an image using various techniques (browser add-ons, Pin It button overlays, manually cut-and-paste an image URL, etc.), but images are not HTML webpages – social websites read the head section of HTML webpages to enrich the social post. An image is just an image — social websites do not read EXIF information from images, so images stand on their own, without any reference to their original location, or any kind of related title, description, author information, etc. Sharing an image URL is akin to sharing a paragraph of text – there is no parsable context / link to the source (ie. a webpage on your site).

The correct way to share a single image, including it’s title and any descriptive text, is to share an HTML webpage that contains that image. This can be a simple template with no content besides the image on a black background, or the image with accompanying descriptive text, paragraph, header, sidebar, etc., but the image must be within the context of an HTML “container”.

There are a variety of ways to do this:

  • When viewing an image in the WordPress Media Library, use the “View Attachment Page” button. Since this is a webpage, and not simply a standalone image, WPSSO will add meta tags to describe its content for social websites. When you share this attachment page URL, the correct title, description, thumbnail, price (for e-commerce products), etc. will be available to the social website’s crawler.
  • If your image is in a NextGEN Gallery, you must use the ImageBrowser option to view images individually within an HTML webpage. If you use a “lightbox” effect to view images, there is no URL available to recreate that lightbox view. The URL points to the original (underlying) webpage, not the overlayed image.
  • If you would like to share a product image, you should share the product page. WPSSO will detect and use any featured, attached, or included images in the Open Graph, Rich Pin, and Twitter Card meta tags.