It’s important to keep your share URLs consistent with your Parse.ly canonical URL. Parse.ly looks at the “<link rel=”canonical”>” tag and the “<meta property=”og:url”>” tag when determining the possible aliases for a post. If these URLs are different, it can cause incorrect reporting of not just shares, but pageviews, visitors, etc. in the dashboard as well.
How could different share URLs affect my pageview counts? They’re not related.
The reason for this is how Parse.ly considers the idea of a post. A “post” is one Parse.ly canonical URL, with multiple link aliases. So “http://example.com/article12345” could be the Parse.ly canonical URL, but “http://www.example.com/seo-friendly-slug” redirects to the above canonical. In Parse.ly’s system, those two links are grouped under one “post”: that is, hits and shares to either of those are counted to the same post. The second URL is considered an “alias” in our system to the Parse.ly canonical URL.
The reason that your share URLs could affect share counts is that we rely on third-party services to get our share counts, and in order to maximize the share count accuracy we receive from these third-party services like Twitter and Facebook, we make every share link an alias of the Parse.ly canonical URL, so that each of those URLs will be polled for shares data from Twitter and Facebook. Normally, this is not a problem, since the canonicals and share URLs match. When the share URLs are different, however, you must ensure that they resolve or redirect to the same URL as the Parse.ly canonical URL or pageviews can be misattributed.
Here are some examples of the right and wrong way to do this:
Correct Share URL tags
<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/article"/> <meta property="og:url" content="http://www.example.com/article"/> <meta name="twitter:url" value="http://www.example.com/article"/>
Incorrect Share URL tags
<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/article"/> <meta property="og:url" content="http://www.example.com/article1"/> <meta name="twitter:url" value="http://www.example.com/seo-friendly-url"/>
But I use an SEO-friendly link for my share canonicals, but a different link for my Parse.ly canonical URL. Will this be a problem?
No- as long as the SEO-friendly link resolves or redirects to the Parse.ly canonical URL (for example- in the above example, as long as example.com/seo-friendly-url redirects to http://www.example.com/article, then there will be no problem. The SEO-friendly link will be aliased to the Parse.ly canonical URL and everything will be correctly categorized. Please note, however, that it is best practice to have one single canonical URL and we strongly recommend publishers to have one single canonical URL for all their social networks as well as for Parse.ly.
I’m still not sure about this. Can I get more information?
Sure! Shoot firstname.lastname@example.org an email, or ask your account manager for help, and we’ll be happy to get back to you and help in your specific case!