Medium is a popular content publishing platform designed to bring together readers and writers to share ideas in a distraction-free environment. Since its creation in 2012, marketers have been using the free platform to post original articles or repurpose content originally shared from their primary domains.
While some businesses use Medium as a subdomain specifically to host their blogs, it’s also a powerful tool for content distribution. But if you’re going to use Medium to republish existing content, you’ll want to follow some SEO best practices to make sure it doesn’t compete with your original content in organic search.
I recommend using canonical links when using Medium in your content distribution strategy.
What is a Canonical Link?
When you have more than one page with the same content, a canonical link (also known as a canonical URL) tells search engines which version you want to appear in search results.
Why Should You Use Canonical Links for Medium?
Although Medium applies nofollow links to most articles on the platform, they will allow Google to index posts by trusted content creators. Suppose Google indexes a Medium post that contains content repurposed from your primary domain. In that case, it has no way of knowing which URL should be considered the master version and prioritized in search results.
A canonical link that points back to your original blog post tells Google it’s the master version of the page.
For example, suppose we decided to republish one of our Victorious blog posts on Medium.
Because the original version of the blog post is hosted on our primary domain, https://victorious.com/blog/, we’d want to make sure that the republished blog on Medium has a canonical tag pointing back to our site. The Medium URL would look something like https://medium.com/should-you-publish-your-blog-posts-on-medium, but that page would have a canonical pointing back to https://victorious.com/blog/medium-seo/.
Medium Canonicals Matter for SEO
- They tell Google to give ranking preference to the content on your domain.
- They pass link equity from your Medium posts to your original content.
SEO Builds an Audience YOU Own
Although repurposing content on Medium is an effective way to increase brand awareness, you’re leveraging a borrowed audience on a platform you don’t own. As such, you’ll want to consistently drive traffic to your company’s website.
Your repurposing strategy should never conflict with your SEO strategy.
When you make sure every repurposed article you publish on Medium has a canonical link, you prioritize your website’s content in search results.
When You Don’t Need Canonical Links on Medium
If you host your blog subdomain on Medium, you don’t need to add canonical links to your articles.
What’s a Subdomain?
A primary domain is a standard URL like https://example.com. A subdomain is a subset of a primary domain that might be hosted on a different platform, such as Medium: https://blog.example.com.
How Do I Know if My Medium Post Has a Canonical Link?
After publishing your Medium post, you can quickly check the page source code to confirm it has the correct canonical link.
How to Check Your Canonicals on Medium:
- Publish the post.
- Right-click on the page and choose View page source.
- Search for “canonical.”
- Confirm that it points to your original content.
If your Medium article is missing a canonical link, you can easily add one.
How to Add Canonical Links to Your Medium Articles
The easiest way to make sure your Medium article has the correct canonical link is to use Medium’s import tool. This handy tool uploads your previously published article directly into Medium’s platform.
Follow these steps to import your article:
- Once you’re logged in, click Stories.
2. Click Import a story in the top right corner.
3. Paste the URL of the story you’d like to import into the field and click Import.
4. Click See your story.
5. Edit your post and click Publish.
Medium automatically adds a canonical link that references the URL you just imported.
If you’ve already copied and pasted your article into Medium’s platform and published it, don’t worry. You can manually edit a canonical link on Medium.
Follow these steps to edit a canonical link:
- Find the article in your “published stories” list and select Edit story.
2. Click the three-dot button on the top right and click More settings.
3. Under Story Settings, click on Advanced Settings.
4. Under Customize Canonical Link check the box “This story was originally published elsewhere.”
5. Paste the original link and click Save Canonical Link.
Your article now contains a canonical tag that tells Google to return your original article in search results.
Note: You may need to refresh your browser window to see the new canonical tag in the page source code.
Canonical Links on Medium — Key Takeaways
- Content distribution is a key part of a successful content marketing strategy.
- Reposting content on Medium is a valuable way to build an audience.
- Drive your Medium readers to your business website to add them to your owned audience.
- Canonical links guarantee that your content distribution strategy supports your organic search strategy.
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