How to Optimize Articles for Google at Medium and Why It’s Not That Hard

You will learn how to Optimize Your Writing For SEO at medium that search engines will love and see that it is not that hard as it sounds.

Jake Mura
Jake Mura
Aug 7 · 9 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

First, i need to explain the difference between your own website and medium.com. A website is a given content (content and code) hosted on a server at a given address (domain). New sites suffer because their authority in the eyes of the search engine is precisely zero. It is different from the so-called expired domains, to which I may one day refer. On the other hand, medium.com is a website from the “web 2.0” blog category (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0). Simply put, it is a page where users can create their own blogs with their own subpages at their disposal, i.e., what is after the slash in my case- https://medium.com/@jakemura (and then the post is a slash after “@jakemura”)

I will quickly explain the difference between a subpage and a subdomain. Within the medium.com address, everything after the slash is a subpage, and anything before the “medium.com” will be a subdomain (i.e. subdomain.medium.com). The difference is that the google search engine treats the subdomain as a new domain (so it have zero authority), and the subpage gains the values from the domain homepage. Let’s check it using the free MozBar tool (you have to create a free account and log in)- https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/mozbar/eakacpaijcpapndcfffdgphdiccmpknp

medium subpage statistics
medium subpage statistics
author’s photo

As you can see on the photo above, my newly created (August 6, 2020) profile already has a very high Page (PA) and Domain (DA) authority. That means that when publishing things on the medium, we immediately gain its authority that we could dream of to get on our own (medium homepage have impressive 2,341,788 links shown by moz.com!).

Regardless of what topic you choose, the first step should be to select specific keywords from the topic and check them. I will not describe the detailed analysis of the keyword evaluation here, and maybe I will do it in one of the next articles- let me know if you are interested. However, we do need some data. For example, the surfer SEO plugin (which is free, i am not related with the creators) is a good choice at the beginning): https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/keyword-surfer/bafijghppfhdpldihckdcadbcobikaca

You can do the same thing manually or find any other tool that will do that for you. It is not not an advertisement i used it for the sake of example and data.

In this way, you can build a set of results under which you would like your article to appear. I would recommend choosing one main keyword (the largest) and secondary keywords (few smaller). That’s why it’s better to have more keywords related to each other than to use a specific one by force.

Types of keywords:

Main keyword: optimize articles for Google at medium
Secondary keyword: rank medium post in google
Long tail from main keyword: optimize articles for Google at medium in 2020
Long tail from secondary keyword: rank medium post in google in 2020

There are many more, but for the sake of this guide, I will leave it how it is.

So, You have picked Your keywords, and you may be wondering where this tutorial is going. Let me explain why it is so important. When positioning a website, we need to optimize it, and this requires extensive programming skills and SEO knowledge. When running on medium.com, all your entries are automatically optimized reasonably well. It may not be incredible, but there is generally good optimization in advance.

Additionally, we have the previously mentioned authority of a site such as medium.com. In the case of a new website with low authority, you must gain authority in the search engine’s eyes on your own. That is a long, difficult task for long months/years of work. When it comes to a website on a strong web 2.0 platform- you have it on a plate. Obviously you lose control over the website (whole platform) but as always- something for something.

So, how it all goes to optimize your articles on medium. In essence, the higher the authority, the more you can afford. In this case, it will be the keyword density in the article’s content. Usually, keyword density is based on competition. You can still do it although in this case, we can afford much more because the Domain Authority of Medium reaches up to 96 (maximum 99, for example, google, youtube, facebook). In other words- you can make many more mistakes and be forgiven by big uncle google. The risk of an over-optimized article with zero authority is high, but in the case, that is not the problem.

The first thing you should pay attention to when writing an article is the number of words it should contain. Of course, there are advanced programs to analyze this kind of things, but they are usually paid. I will stay with free solutions, so surferseo extension.

Let’s enter the phrase, “How to Optimize Medium Articles for Search Engines” to google:

how to optimize Medium Articles for Search Engines
how to optimize Medium Articles for Search Engines
author’s photo

The surfer extension shows (search results or chart at the image) the word count for each article in the top10. You have to take the first 5 or 10 results, add the amount of text, and extract the average by dividing by the number of pages that you added.

Then you need to write down the minimum, maximum, and center value- in this way, you have a complete range that you should aim for. Remember that more is not always better. If the results of several hundred words dominate the query, then that means this is what the search engine expects, and if you write more, you may find yourself in a disappointment.

After all, you should write an article related to the topic you have chosen. Never copy someone else’s content because google recognizes it quite well and restricts pages containing non-unique content. “Hand writed content” will help you to get your medium stories to rank on the front page of google. When you did so, we can finally go to the proper edition. Once again, there are specialized programs for this, but this guide shows the basis, it is not to train a specialist in the field of SEO.

So let’s assume that the keywords density on our website should reach 1%. In other words, the concentration of the main and side keywords in the entire text should be at least 1% (in total- main plus secondary keywords), it may be a bit more due to the medium.com domain’s authority. Why it is important? The google crawler can recognize related keywords, so placing each word with a density of 1% will lead to over-optimization. Try to aim for one percent and no more than one and a half density of all your chosen keywords.

So then, if your text has 1000 words, the keywords should appear in the text at least ten times. If the article is short, try to reach this 1% of density, and if it’s longer, you can put little more (but still around 1%).

The key To Optimize Your Writing For SEO is to put the keywords in the right places, what is their priority?

The most crucial keyword (main) should be in the H1 header of the page, so it is just the title of the article.

Bonus tip- You can place you secondary keyword in the first lof the article like i did. You can use main keyword in h1 and then relate to it with secondary keyword at the start of first paragraph. In this way, you will additionally highlight what the entire article is focused on and help to get organic traffic to medium page.

The next keywords should be in h2 (because we can’t create h3), so the subtitle. On the medium, the H2 format can be obtained using the option:

h2 subtitle
h2 subtitle
author’s photo

Curiosity fact- you can open the page source by using the ctrl + u shortcut in the chrome browser. There, by shortening ctr + f you can search for a given heading before which you will see the sign “h1 / h2”. If you had used the uppercase “T” option, you would have duplicated the h1 heading, which should only be one. In the case of H2 Headings (subheadings), there can be more than one. It is crucial in optimize Your Writing For SEO at medium to not duplicate h1 headings.

Interesting ideas for headlines can be found at the website: https://www.hubspot.com/blog-topic-generator

Then, if possible, keywords should be included in alt tags. According to my observations, it is best if the alt tag contains what Google “sees”. How to get this result? Right click at the image (even in editor) and click “search google for image”. The result we get as a search result is the most relevant alt tag we can use. Sometimes the phrase doesn’t make sense and then it’s best to describe the photo yourself. If it is in a different language, it is enough to translate it into the one in which we are writing the article. If the graphic is the author’s, it is nowhere to be found, and it is thematically related to one of the keywords, then you can use some keyword as alt tag. It can also be just what we see in the picture, the most accurate description in one or two words. You should complete alt tags in all images. Neither should be empty! You complete the alt tags by clicking the left mouse button on the image and clicking “alt tag”.

medium.com alt tag
medium.com alt tag
author’s photo

Only at this point, we try to density rest of the keywords in the text. In the beginning, it is worth using the bold and italic options — one time each is enough, it is not worth overusing this option.

The final place is to complete the title and description for search engines. To do this, click on the three dots next to the “publish” option, go to “More settings”, and then to “SEO Settings”. Here you should set Title and Description within the given boundaries that medium suggest, including keywords. Remember that this is the text the user sees in the search box, so it must be as encouraging as it is well optimized.

meta title and description optimize
meta title and description optimize
author’s photo

Ideally, the title should contain the main keyword, and the subtitle includes one of the matching secondary words. Why is it important? Because the keyword that matches the searched phrase will be bold, which will affect the increased click-through rate to the article (CTR). The title and description for search pages also contribute to the overall word density for the entire page. You can use text from your article to create proper description.

Two places where I do not recommend using keywords because they will be separate and unrelated to the content are descriptions under the pictures and tags. Descriptions should show the source of image or declare that are “author’s” one. The destination of the tags on medium is rather organize content in the specific categories and not to get organic traffic to medium page from google. So i will recommend to use tags to describe the categories related to our content. (in medium.com environment) like i did on the image above.

The last tip will be to have a link to related authority page (i.e. wikipedia, facebook, itunes, google play). The google robot likes to see links to trusted websites, and when they are additionally related to the topic, our SEO benefits from it.

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Jake Mura

Written by

Jake Mura

Thinker and philosopher from nature, Coffee and Quotes lover from choice, SEO enthusiast, 25 yo. IM since 2015 🇵🇱 🇪🇺 https://linktr.ee/JakeMura

The Innovation

A place for a variety of stories from different backgrounds

Jake Mura

Written by

Jake Mura

Thinker and philosopher from nature, Coffee and Quotes lover from choice, SEO enthusiast, 25 yo. IM since 2015 🇵🇱 🇪🇺 https://linktr.ee/JakeMura

The Innovation

A place for a variety of stories from different backgrounds

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