Medium.com has better SEO (search engine optimization) than most websites, and certainly my own blog.
I tested these two situations for six months each:
(1) Posting my writing to my website blog first, making sure it was indexed, then importing into Medium a few days later.
(2) Posting on Medium first, then copying to my own blog a week later.
The second method — posting to Medium first — always wins SEO for the keywords in the article.
My content will be discovered by more people if I post to Medium first, compared to posting on my own website.
But what about my website SEO?
Isn’t it better for my website’s SEO if I post content to my own blog first, instead of right onto Medium?
However, I’ve noticed that my articles that do well on medium get a lot more views than the most popular articles on my own site.
Medium has far greater resources to keep their SEO superior (and therefore, more discoverability of my Medium articles), compared to the small resources I have for my own website SEO.
As a result, any kind of link-building efforts (getting people to link to my articles, which is essential for SEO) that I do for my Medium articles will get much more traction than for my website articles.
In short, many more new readers will find me if the Medium.com version of my articles are the ones indexed as canonical (priority) by Google.
Some other reasons I love writing on Medium.com:
A pleasant writing & reading experience
I draft my articles on Medium because I enjoy the writing environment.
It looks clean. This helps my writing flow.
The technology is smooth and it auto-saves every couple of seconds.
For the reader, the experience is excellent. Whether they’re reading on desktop, tablet, or phone, the articles look great.
Medium helps me vet my content
I think of content in 3 stages:
- Stage 1 is casual, exploratory content. I’m testing the market/audience to see if the idea has resonance, and therefore, worthy to develop further.
- Based on above-average audience response, I then take it to Stage 2 where I edit and re-share that content and buy FB ads to distribute it further.
- Stage 3 is where I integrate and monetize my best content, e.g. publish a book, course, etc.
Medium is a great platform to test my writing. If people who don’t know me clap up my articles, that really says something :)
Only the posts that are “good” in the eyes of the Medium audience will get claps. The best pieces get the most claps.
How many claps you get will be relative to the size of your audience.
My audience on Medium is relatively small, but still, it is helpful to see which of my pieces get few claps, and which get a lot more.
The more resonant posts are worth the effort to repurpose and reshare.
This is why I want you, dear reader, to only “clap” for my posts that you genuinely like. For my posts that you feel are “meh”, please don’t encourage me ;-)
Putting my best Medium posts on my newsletter
What about Google’s duplicate-content penalty?
Google supposedly penalizes websites that repeat the same content as published elsewhere. It’s called the duplicate content penalty.
However, in my own testing (with Google Search Console) there’s never been a duplicate content warning when my articles appear on both Medium.com and my own website.
My guess is that Google understands that people often re-post the same article to Medium.com and Linkedin.com since these are popular content-syndication sites with strong spam filters.
To be safe, add a “Rel=Canonical” tag
Near the top of your blog post (in the <head> section if possible) add this code:
<link rel=“canonical” href=“https://medium.com/@georgekao/why-i-love-posting-to-medium-com-bca1be563f7e” />
…except swap out the underlined link above with the link to your Medium post.
(Read more about Rel Canonical tag.)
By using the Canonical tag in your website articles, you signal to Google that you’re simply syndicating the article from Medium over to your website.
So here’s what I will do from now on…
- Write and publish my article to Medium.com first.
- Wait a week for Google to index it. (I can check if Google has indexed it by putting the article title in quotes and seeing if it comes up on Google.)
- Then I’ll put it on my own website blog, with a canonical tag.
Meet people where they are…
I think too many people worry about sending “more” traffic to their website.
Instead, think about building your audience: you simply want more of the right people to discover you and to engage with your content, wherever they like to read.
Native content is king — content that is posted on the platform where the reader already is.
With your website, you’re always at the mercy of Google’s frequent algorithm changes. Even your email newsletters might increasingly go into people’s spam or “promotions” folders.
The most reliable way to reach your audience is when they like your content so much that they seek it out, wherever they are.
People who discover Medium.com love the reading experience and tend to become fans of this site. If they discover your articles here, they will want to read your articles here. Make it easy for them to do so.
Important Note about Medium’s “Free Article” Count
If you’re going to write on Medium, you might consider joining their Creators/Partners program, so you can start to get paid. It’s not much (with my audience here, I get only $50–100 USD per month) but if you write an article that goes viral, you could earn much more.
You need to understand how to make your articles “eligible” for curation and distribution, e.g. get paid, and potentially get curated by the Medium team for wider distribution.
However, there is one drawback by putting your articles into Medium’s “distribution” system: for the people who aren’t Medium members ($5 USD/month) who read your articles on Medium, each of your articles will count toward one of their “3 free articles per month”.
If you want to share your article in your newsletter or elsewhere, and don’t want your readers to pay to read or to count toward one of their free monthly articles, you need to learn how to get a “Friend Link”.
When I send my Medium article links in my email newsletter or post it on my Facebook Page, I always use the Friend Link… this is why my newsletter subscribers have never been asked to pay to read my Medium articles.
The more readers of your Medium articles (even free readers) the more likely your articles get “clapped” up or shared, and those will be paid links (not “friend links”). Every Medium member who reads your article (that was found on Medium or shared by someone other than you) means that you’ll be earning money from Medium.
(Originally written March 2018, updated January 2020.)