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Can Medium outrank your website?

An example of when a story republished on Medium can outrank the original story published on your website

By George GkoutzouvalosPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
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When you republish content from your blog on Medium, you wonder whether Medium can outrank your blog in search engine results, or not.

Those online writers who have been around long enough to have first-hand experience of Google’s algorithm changes to fight duplicate content would strongly advise you against republishing the same content on various places across the web, if you want to avoid your content being penalized by Google.

Whether you like it or not, Google does not like duplicate content. No matter how tempted you may be to publish your content on different online platforms, you should always bear in mind that Google’s rules on content ranking cannot be overlooked or circumvented, and you would better play it safe rather than be sorry. This means that you should avoid republishing your content, if you want peace of mind, and since it has become increasingly difficult to rank high in search engine results over the past years, this is also a way to avoid making things even harder for yourself.

However, according to Medium, when you use the Import Tool to republish a story from your own website, instead of just copying and pasting it by using the standard layout to create a new story, a canonical link is added, which shows Google and other search engines what the original story is. As a result, the original story on you website is prioritized over the story republished on Medium, and in this way, you avoid being penalized by Google for duplicate content.

Medium also stresses the point that, if a canonical link is added to your republished story, Medium’s strong SEO can actually benefit your website, rather than harm it.

Unfortunately, there could be a problem in this logic.

On the one hand, Medium is a huge platform with a very large number of active users and members. On the other hand, your website may attract very little traffic, and you would be over the moon if you saw a couple of visitors a day. Even your Google page rank may be non-existent.

Let’s say that you decide to republish a post from your website on Medium by using the Import Tool, in order to have the best of both worlds, i.e. a presence on Medium and potential traffic from it, and a boost to your SEO.

Let’s assume that your story becomes popular on Medium and attracts comments. Surprisingly enough, this may harm the SEO of your original story that was published on your own website, because comments are seen as fresh content by Google, and fresh content is favored as a ranking factor. Finally, your republished story on Medium could outrank the story that was originally published on your website. Of course, you can’t ask Medium members not to comment on your republished story. Therefore, before deciding to republish your content on Medium, you should be aware of this potential problem.

In my opinion, by reposting content on Medium, you actually repurpose this content, rather than just republishing it.

For example, the purpose of publishing content on your own website or blog is to increase user activity, engagement, and traffic to it.

On the other hand, the primary purpose of posting content on Medium is to be active on Medium itself, and not direct traffic to another website.

Writers using Medium to republish their content should be aware of this fact, before posting content on Medium.

Applying a canonical link, in order to prevent a republished story from outranking the original one, will not have the desired effect, once fresh content is added to the republished story, as a result of the story’s popularity and increase user activity through comments on Medium.

Since a story republished on Medium is generally more likely to attract comments than the same story that was originally published on a very small low-ranking blog, it will also be more likely for the republished story to outrank the original one, regardless of the use of a canonical link.

Sources and further reading:

About SEO and duplicate content

The deadly SEO mistake I made cross-posting my blog content

Can small websites with low domain authority outrank large sites?

Why Medium is not the home for your ideas

Google: other websites can outrank you with your own content

Going beyond Moz metrics to answer: “Why is this site outranking me?”

Is duplicate content on Medium and LinkedIn bad for SEO?

3 myths about duplicate content

Medium post is ranked higher than the original blog post (canonical link sent)

The why, when, and how of republishing your blog content

how to
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About the Creator

George Gkoutzouvalos

Hi,

I have written articles for various websites, such as Helium, Hubpages, Medium, and many more.

Currently, I work as a translator. I have studied Tourism Management at college.

See you around on Vocal Media!

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