If you’ve lost your social share counts because of a domain change or permalink switch, this article is for you!
You work hard to get your content shared and you deserve to be able to display your social proof appropriately. Afterall, social proof is a powerful psychological agent that can give you more credibility in the eyes of readers or customers.
Social Proof can undoubtedly be a powerful signal to your visitors that the page they’ve landed on is worthy of sharing because many others have already shared it. This is especially important for bloggers and people who are professional social media marketers.
But what happens when you’ve amassed a great number of social shares and decide to change your domain? Or maybe you’ve simply wanted a cleaner permalink structure and made the change from within WordPress?
Or maybe you’ve heard about the new emphasis that Google is making on sites with SSL (https) and want to make the jump so that you don’t get penalized.
Well, the sad news is this: as soon as you change your URL, permalink or add https to your site, you lose all your social share counts.
The reason for this is because of the way social networks track these counts– they’re tracking them against a specific URL. And currently there’s no way for these network API’s to have you tell them “this old URL is now this new URL and you should add the share counts to this new one instead.”
So how can you recover all your social share counts after changing permalink structures, adding SSL or switching domains?
Well we have good news. You can have your cake and eat it too with one of the built-in features of our flagship WordPress plugin, Social Warfare.
This new Share Recovery tool will allow you to bring back your Pinterest and LinkedIn share counts permanently if you have done any of the following:
- Changed permalink structures in WordPress
- Changed connection protocols (ie. gone from HTTP to HTTPS)
- Changed your domain prefix (ie. gone from www.yourdomain.com to yourdomain.com)
- Changed to using a subdomain (ie. gone from yourdomain.com/blog to blog.yourdomain.com)
- Changed domains entirely (ie. previousdomain.com to newdomain.com)
Please note: Due to recent (early 2017) changes to many social network APIs, Social Warfare cannot guarantee recovery of shares from networks other than Pinterest and LinkedIn.
If you have an active license for Social Warfare in your WordPress install, here’s all you need to do:
Background Information: How it Works
In order to recover your social share counts, Social Warfare will make 2 requests to Pinterest and LinkedIn. One request will use your current URL permalink structure, the other will use your previous URL permalink structure. Once the numbers have been fetched, if they are not an exact match, we will add the numbers together before displaying them on the buttons.
If the numbers are an exact match, the plugin assumes that that network is tracking the change and has already compensated accordingly. However, this only usually applies to HTTP to HTTPS or WWW to non-WWW (or vice versa). However, if a proper system of 301 redirects are in place, some networks can detect other changes as well.
Note: Our plugin will only fetch share counts for 2 patterns, the current structure and one previous structure. If you’ve changed more than once then you’ll need to pick the previous structure that you believe has the most shares.
In order to come up with that secondary, previous URL permalink structure, you’ll need to tell our plugin what that structure used to look like. You can follow the steps below to accomplish that.
Step 1: Navigate to the Share Recovery Settings
Inside your Social Warfare settings page, navigate to the Share Recovery tab.
Turn the feature to ON and proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Select previous URL format
Now, you have to tell Social Warfare which permalink structure you used to use. These options are a direct reflection of the options available to select from in the WordPress permalink settings.
Important: If your previous permalink structure has not changed then ensure that this is left on the “Unchanged” setting and proceed directly to the next step.
The options you have to choose from are as follows:
- Unchanged: For when your previous format on this setting is the same as your current format.
- Day and Name:
- Month and Name:
- Post Name:
- Custom: for when you have a previous format that doesn’t fit into the above structures.
Step 3: Select previous connection protocol
This step is only for those who have added or removed SSL/TLS and their site has gone from HTTP to HTTPS (or vice versa).
Important: If your HTTP/HTTPS structure has not changed then ensure that this is left on the “Unchanged” setting and proceed directly to the next step.
Choose the option that reflects what your previous version was (not what it currently is). So if your site was originally HTTP and is now HTTPS you would select HTTP from the list. Remember that you’re communicating to our plugin the link format that you used to use.
Step 4: Select previous domain prefix
If your site was (for example)
www.yourdomain.com and you’ve now changed it to only be
yourdomain.com (sans www.) then this option will allow you to recover shares with this type of change.
Important: If your previous domain prefix (www) structure has not changed then ensure that this is left on the “Unchanged” setting and proceed directly to the next step.
Simply select the previous iteration of your prefix from the list and Social Warfare will now check for those counts in addition to the current version counts.
Step 5: Enter your subdomain
If your site is currently on a subdomain (for example:
http://blog.yourdomain.com) but it wasn’t previously, you can enter your subdomain in this field and we’ll strip it out when we go to check for share counts.
Step 6: Enter your former domain (if needed)
If you’ve changed domains, enter your former and current domains in the provided fields without http/https or www. Just
newdomain.com will suffice.
Step 7: Use the debug tool to confirm correct pattern
If you want to double-check that your share recovery is set up properly, simply use our
?swp_cache=rebuild&swp_recovery_debug=true string on any post permalink to see what alternate permalink is being tracked.
So, for example you would check
http://yourdomain.com/post-name/?swp_cache=rebuild&swp_recovery_debug=true and see what URL shows up at the top of the article. If the URL showing is the one you want to be tracked, everything is working as it should.
You will need to keep share recovery activated for Social Warfare to continue adding the counts together. Actually, Social Warfare has a setting built in that won’t allow it to display counts if it fetches counts that are lower than it previously fetched. This is because every once in a while the API share count request fails and it ends up returning the number zero. However, if it fetches the number zero and it previously fetched the number 10, then we simply keep using the number 10.
With this in mind, here’s how it would turn out if you activate share recovery long enough to recover shares and then simply turn it back off:
- Activate share recovery function
- 10 (current URL) + 10 (former URL) = 20 shares
- Deactivate share recovery function
- Fetch 15 (current URL). Less than prev. Show 20
- Fetch 18 (current URL). Less than prev. Show 20
- Fetch 25 (current URL). More than prev. Show 25
- Activate custom recovery function
- Fetch 25 (current URL) + 10 (former URL). Show 35
So just make sure if you do use the share recovery function on your site that you remember to keep it turned on afterwards.
These settings should cover just about any possible scenario for permalink or URL changes to your Social Warfare enabled site. Please note that if you ever deactivate or remove Social Warfare from your site, your recovered counts will be lost. However, as long as Social Warfare is activated, your recovered counts are safe.
So go recover those precious share counts and sleep better knowing that Social Warfare’s Share Recovery has you covered.