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How to Optimize Medium Content for SEO

Intro

In this article, you’re going to learn all about how to use SEO in your Medium strategy. I’m also going to show you how to optimize your content to increase your chances of ranking on page 1  of Google. If you’re new to my blog, and I’m a writer and content creator. It’s my mission to share with you everything I know about how to make money online with your writing.

So if you want to stay in the loop on all my latest writing tips,  be sure to hit the subscribe button below. If you’ve been following my channel for a while, then you probably already know that I’m a huge fan of  Medium. Medium is a huge publishing platform where virtually anyone can go to write about whatever they want and make money in the process.

I joined the Medium Partner Program about 11 months ago,  and in the time since, it’s become a huge part of my business. I already have a couple of other videos about how to make money on Medium and make the most of the platform, so if you haven’t seen those videos yet you should go check those out here.

What is SEO and Why Should You Optimize Medium Content?

But today, I want to specifically talk about the role of SEO in your Medium strategy.  SEO, or search engine optimization, is your content’s ability to rank on page one of  Google when a user searches for a topic related to your content. For most professional bloggers and online businesses, SEO is their bread and butter. 

Without those Google rankings, they would have no traffic and make no money. But one of the biggest benefits of writing on Medium is that they bring the audience to you. They have hundreds of thousands of paying members who come to the platform every day to read and once you become part of the Medium Partner Program,  you earn a cut of the subscription fee for every person who spends time reading your work.

So even if you’re a brand new writer, you can quickly get your content out in front of thousands of people just by publishing engaging content in the right publications. In other words,  you don’t need to know squat about SEO to be a successful writer on Medium. When visitors do find your content through Google,  you usually don’t make a whole lot of money from them.

My Philosophy About Medium and SEO

That’s because the visitors that are coming from Google are most often not paying members.  And non-members get access to up to three Medium articles per month before they get hit with the paywall. Case in point, I have articles ranking on page one of Google that has garnered thousands of views in the time since being published, yet  I’ve earned very little income on those articles. 

But does that mean that ranking your  Medium content on Google is pointless?  No. Because earning money through the Medium  Partner Program is not the only benefit of writing on Medium. For example, if you sell products or services you can use that Google traffic to generate leads through a call-to-action in your article.

You can also use your call-to-action to invite visitors to sign up and become paying members. Because if they do, you earn about a 50%  commission on their monthly subscription fee. Now,  that’s only about $2 a month per subscription, but with enough people signing up, that can turn into a nice little source of recurring revenue.

As for affiliate links, that’s a little bit trickier and  I’ll explain why in just a moment. First, I want to talk about the difference between optimizing  Medium articles and optimizing blog posts or other content that’s published elsewhere on the internet. When it comes to writing content for  Medium, I take a reader’s-first approach, always.

How to Find Relevant Keywords

I don’t optimize all my Medium articles for SEO,  and when I do, I make sure it’s not at the expense of creating a Medium-centric piece that’s engaging for the readers. I look at ranking on Google as more of a nice-to-have bonus than the primary goal. What’s most important to me is writing a piece that readers find engaging.  And I stand to gain both more engagement and more money if I use the platform the way Medium intended.

If my articles are dry, informational  SEO-driven articles, the Medium algorithm is not going to curate or distribute those articles.  And in fact, they may nix them from the Google rankings as well. That brings me back to the topic of affiliate links. Affiliate links are allowed on Medium, but you have to be careful about how you implement them in your articles.

For example, Medium does not like articles that come off sounding too promotional or ad-like and, if your articles come off reading spammy, you can even get your account banned.  The medium does not like the idea of people exploiting their high domain authority to write spammy affiliate marketing articles,  and they have made it clear that they are not indexing articles that are there to just make affiliate sales.

But that doesn’t mean that they won’t rank any articles with affiliate links.  The language they use on their website is a little bit vague, but it seems to take the creator’s overall profile into account when vetting what gets indexed and what doesn’t. I’ll link to the  Medium FAQ below where you can check that out.

Long story short, you can use affiliate links, but don’t overdo it and don’t make it the sole purpose of your article. Your Medium article should always first and foremost be serving the reader. That’s why “best of” posts and extensive comprehensive reviews are usually not the best fit for Medium.  So, I only publish articles that I think are a  good fit for Medium, and then I optimize them as much as I can without sacrificing reader engagement.

How to Write Medium-centric Content with SEO Principles in Mind

So with all that out of the way,  here’s my approach to optimizing Medium articles for Google. The first step is finding your target keyword phrase. There are a few different ways you can go about this. A couple of free tools you can try are Ubersuggest and Answerthepublic.com. With these tools, you just type in the general topic that you’re writing about and see what keyword phrases come up.

You can also use a tool called  Keywords Everywhere. This is a chrome extension that shows you the volume and related keywords whenever you look up topics on Google. But to see the keyword volume, you need to purchase credits. But it’s only ten dollars to use and those credits will last you about a year.  Another free tool I use is the Moz Chrome extension that checks the domain authority of pages that are ranking on the SERPs.

The domain authority is a metric to estimate how much Google trusts a website. So for example, I’m currently working on a Medium article that’s about  “About Us” pages, so I typed in “how to write an about us page” on Google. Now, as it turns out,  I can try and rank for this.

According to Keywords  Everywhere, it’s got a pretty decent search volume of 300 searches per month, and the DAs or domain authorities of these sites that are ranking are comparable, especially since  Medium has a high domain authority itself. But I  do prefer to use long-tail keyword phrases which tend to be easier to rank for and then there’s a  chance I can rank for both the long-tail phrase and the shorter phrase.

So along the side here  under related keywords, I see a keyword phrase “how  to write an about us page for small business.”So this has a much smaller search volume but it is more specific and therefore easier to rank for.  So I went through this process very quickly because I didn’t want this video to be hours long, but if you want more information on how to conduct keyword research on the cheap,  check out the video above here where I  go through this process step-by-step.

Now that we have our keyword phrase, the next step is to write an engaging Medium-centric article with SEO principles in mind. And when I say  Medium-centric, I mean writing the kind of content that appeals to readers. Honestly, I find the best way to do this is to make sure your personality is shining through in the article. Draw from your own experiences, use humor, and keep a casual tone.

Optimizing the Content: My On-Page SEO Checklist

At the same time, we want to try and cover the topic as completely as we can without making the article too long. One way to do this is to visit the websites that are currently ranking for the keyword you’re targeting and check out all their headings. Make sure you’re touching on as many of these topics as you can.

Now, generally in SEO,  the longer the article, the better chance it has to rank because longer articles are usually seen as more complete content in Google’s eyes.  However, super long articles are usually not as good for engagement with Medium readers. From what I’ve learned along with what I’ve observed on my account, articles tend to perform best when they’re between five and seven minutes long.

So after I’ve written the first draft,  this is when I will go through my SEO checklist for on-page optimization. First, we want to make sure that any images in our article have alt tags.  Alt tags are alternative text for your images,  and the purpose is to describe what the image is that the person is looking at. Some SEO tools like  SEO Yoast will tell you to put your keywords in the alt description, but I would only do this if those keywords help describe what is in the image.

To change the alt description of your image is easy. You just click on the photo and then you click on alt text, and then you can type in what the image is. So I just put “concept  art for a missed business opportunity.” and then  in brackets, I put “i.e the about page.” So, I sort of fit a little bit of a keyword in there but I’ve still described what is in this photo.

Second,  I want to put my exact keyword phrase two to four times throughout the article depending on the phrase and length of the article. You don’t need to add it more than that in most cases, and in fact, adding it too many times might look like keyword stuffing to Google, which is a big no-no.

Updating the Meta Data in Medium’s SEO Settings

So, I’ll usually put my keyword in three places:  I’ll put it in the introduction, which I’ve done here already. I’ll try to put it in a heading or somewhere in the body of the article. And then  I usually include it one more time near the end.  Next, I like to add some links. So I always try to include at least one outbound link to a relevant high authority source, usually to cite a statistic or back up a claim.

For example, in this article,  I have included a link to a marketing survey that helps support my point. Such outbound links not only lend my content more credibility, but some experts believe they help solidify the topic to  Google and create more page authority. I also try to include a few internal links where I can to relevant content within Medium, usually to my other articles.

Last but not least,  there are a few Medium settings that you can change within the editor to optimize your article.  From the editor, click on the three dots at the top here and click on more settings. From the left-hand menu, select SEO settings.  Here you can adjust the SEO title and the SEO  description. The SEO title is the title that will display on the search engine results, which may be completely different from the Medium title.

So for example, my title is “The #1 Webpage that  Small Businesses Overlook,” which is a decent title for Medium readers, but it’s a horrible title for SEO. So instead, I’m going to change this title to include my keyword. So this way,  we’ve got our long-tail keyword phrase right in the title, and then by adding the year in the end,  we’re also telling Google and the reader that this is recent new content. And then next, we have the SEO description or the meta description.

So the idea with this section is we want Google to display this text under the title in the search results. As you can see, the default is just to take the first couple of lines from the article, which is not optimal because it doesn’t immediately show what the article is talking about, nor does it contain the keyword phrase.

Summary

So instead, I’m going to take a snippet from further down my article that contains the keyword……and we’ll go back to my SEO settings……and paste it in here, but you don’t want it to be too long. You only have a certain number of characters, so if it’s in the red here you need to shorten it.

So I’m going to change it to,  “without an about page, you are missing a  huge opportunity to turn leads to customers.  to that end here’s how to write and about pages  for a small business.” So we’ve got our keyword phrase here and we’re within the allotted length for our SEO description. Now, at this point,  you can consider your optimization done and publish the article, and you have a pretty decent shot at ranking.

So there you have it, that’s how  I go about optimizing my Medium content for Google  Search. It takes a little bit of extra effort,  but having that traffic coming in from Google helps you build your brand and authority. If you enjoyed this video,  please give it a thumbs-up, and if you have any questions about Medium or SEO, please drop them in the comments and I will be around to answer.

Pallab Ghosh
Hi, I am Pallab Ghosh from Kolkata Founder of the Smallest Tech. If you want to give me any suggestion about this Blog then please email me at- contact@smallesttech.com. Thanks For Visiting
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