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Discrepancies & Understanding URL Canonicalization
Discrepancies & Understanding URL Canonicalization

Answers about data discrepancies and how to fix them.

Written by Kevin Zhou
Updated over a week ago

SharedCount gathers data directly from Facebook, so our numbers match up.

We gather our results across all of Facebook, including private profiles. The original post counts as a share, as do subsequent shares of that post.

You may check Facebook Debugger to verify that Sharedbook's results are correct.

There are various reasons why you would get different results, they are;

How you type the URLs matters as URLs are very sensitive. So these factors are considered;
• https:// or http://
www. or without www.
• If the URL contains a slash at the end or not

This means that there are actually 8 possible distinct URLs for any given website, and this may return different data associated with them. For example:

And this is what we call Canonicalization.

What is a Canonical URL?

Canonicalization is the process of picking the best URL when there are several choices, and it usually refers to home pages.
For example, most people would consider these the same URLs:

But technically all of these URLs are different. A web server could return completely different content for all the URLs above. When Facebook “canonicalizes” a URL, we try to pick the URL that seems like the best representative from that set.

What about URLs that have been shortened with a service like or a redirected URL?

These types of URLs will be treated like canonicalized URLs to the destination URL. You can verify this within the Facebook debugger.

As an example, we can take a shorted URL such as (shorted for -- and check this within the Facebook debugger. You can see that its redirect path is pointing to, and therefore, will show the share count of

Sharing a shortened URL such as will increase the shared count of the canonical URL.

Here is a demonstration:


Canonical URL Tag Set

Example URL:

It looks like the Canonical URL is set to the following URL:

Therefore, it's returning the share count for the canonical URL, rather than:

To return the data you are looking, the website should fix the canonical URL issue.


  1. Remove this canonical URL meta tag

Important things to note

A small percentage of URLs don't return accurate results with Facebook. That's because Facebook normalizes shares for pages that declare a canonical URL, either with OpenGraph URL or canonical URL meta tags. That means they'll aggregate the shares across all those URLs that share a canonicalized URL. For URLs where these canonical URLs are set incorrectly or inconsistently, the data you'll get for those URLs and their shares will be limited.

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