How to Link to a Paragraph in a Medium Article

Reposting part of your Medium post on another site? Here’s how to make your Read More link point back to the rest of your article.

Don’t make your avid readers search for where they left off. Make “continue” really CONTINUE.

A great way to increase your readership on Medium is to post a stub of your article on other websites and link back to the full version. This is an effective tactic for driving traffic used by many successful Medium bloggers, but you shouldn’t make your readers search for where you left off in the stubbed version. Instead, make your readers applaud with joy by pointing your “continue” link directly to where they should pick up reading on Medium. But before you get copy-and-paste happy, there are a few things to clarify.

What’s a stub?

A stub is part of your article. In the case of copying from your Medium post, a stub would be a section starting at the first line of your article down to some juicy section that would be just enough to entice someone to click “Read More” or “Continue” in order to find out how your hero saves the day.

How long should your stub be?

I keep being told that size of my stub doesn’t matter, but I think people are just being kind. The fact is, it’s down to how long your original article on Medium is and where that magic spot lives inside your article that would encourage a click-through to the rest of the story. It should at least be longer than the first paragraph and shorter than 60% of the article’s length. How’s that for generic specificity?

Doesn’t Google hate duplicate content?

Supposedly Google hates duplicate content, but what counts as true duplication and what they penalize you for is open to debate. Here are a few guidelines that I have found very useful.

  • If you are rewriting an article for another blog (same general content stated differently) then re-posting the entire article elsewhere is perfectly fine.
  • If you are re-posting an entire article somewhere else verbatim, then be sure to include a canonical tag and a link at the end of the article stating where the content was originally posted. If this is the first time you have heard of a canonical tag then here’s a helpful definition:
A canonical tag (aka “rel canonical”) is a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Using the canonical tag prevents problems caused by identical or “duplicate” content appearing on multiple URLs. Practically speaking, the canonical tag tells search engines which version of a URL you want to appear in search results. — Moz.com “What is a canonical tag?”
  • If you are posting only a part of your article on another blog or site for the purposes of providing a sample of the full article and encouraging rabid fans to click through to the full, glorious explosion of inspired prolixity then Google will not penalize you as long as you wait at least 24 hours after your original article is published before posting the stubbed version somewhere else and you don’t post more than 60% of the full article.
Google will not penalize you as long as you wait at least 24 hours after your original article is published before posting the stubbed version somewhere else and you don’t post more than 60% of the full article.

How to link back intelligently

Imagine you are a just another procrastinator mindlessly clicking around from one site to another when you suddenly come across the most interesting and brilliant piece of writing that you have ever feasted your tired eyes upon. You get to the bottom of the page and… oh brother! It’s not a complete article. You click “continue” because you really want to read the gripping conclusion and find that you land at the top of the article again, just on another website. Where did you leave off? Is it worth scanning the page? You don’t want to start over again. Take pity on your audience and link them directly to where they left off using these simple steps.

Step 1: Right Click and Inspect

I am assuming that you have already copied the portion of your Medium article and pasted it into the other blog post somewhere else in the virtual world. Also, you have already created a link at the bottom of that stub with the words “Read More” or “Continue Reading” or simply “Continue”.

Highlight and click Inspect

Now return to the where you stopped copying in the original Medium article and right click on any word in the next paragraph (this is the first paragraph that you didn’t copy somewhere else). In the menu that pops up click on Inspect. A new section will open up in your browser window showing scary looking HTML code.

But don’t panic!

Step 2: Find and copy the unique ID

Don’t panic when you see all those <> characters and odd looking equations saying class=”hedgehogs” and stuff. Just look for the highlighted line in the code and locate the part of it that says id=. This is the unique identifier of the paragraph. In the example below it is id=”084d”. Your ID will be different. That’s not really frightening, is it?

Ignore everything else except what what I put in a red box.

You should be able to double-click on the value inside the quotes which will highlight it. Copy it or simply remember it (it’s usually only four characters) because it’s the secret to making your article link do what you want.

Before we go to Step 3, we are going to A) prove this works, and B) make it easier to paste in the updated link. In the tab where you have your full Medium article showing, go up the the address bar (where the page’s URL is) and go to the very end (usually there are some random-looking numbers and letters at the end) then add a # symbol followed by the paragraph ID.

I added “#084d” to the end of the URL

Hit enter or the button that makes the browser load the URL you just changed and you will see the page jump down to this paragraph. If it didn’t work, double check your ID and make sure you put the # symbol in front of the ID (e.g. #084d). When it does work, copy the entire URL and get ready to paste it as a link.

Step 3: Make your link smarter

Finally, go back to the stub you are posting somewhere else and highlight the words you are linking (“continue”, “more”, etc). Click on whatever the other blog requires for you to create a link — usually a chain symbol — and paste in the Medium URL with the #ID at the end. That’s it! Test it to prove it works and enjoy the new traffic.

If you have any problems or questions, leave a comment and I’ll try to help. I can’t do it for you and I can’t drive over to your house to look over your shoulder but I’ll do what I can.

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