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Here’s the Thing About SEO on Medium

To SEO or not to SEO

If you’re like me then SEO is not a fun concept to think about.

That being said, I spent about 13+ years thinking about this very term when I was heavily invested in my personal and professional WordPress blogs in the past.

Nowadays on Medium, I don’t care too much about SEO.

Here’s why.

Medium has one huge advantage

And this advantage alone trumps all the WordPress blogs I’ve ever had, no matter the size, topic, and attention to detail with SEO.

What’s this big advantage for SEO on Medium?

It’s Medium’s Domain Authority Score (DA).

What is DA?

From Moz:

Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how likely a website is to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). Domain Authority scores range from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to greater likelihood of ranking.

Hence, the higher your DA score, the higher you rank on Google.

A blog (or any new website) starts with a DA score of 1. 
100 is the top of the mountain here.

You’ll never get there with a personal blog. I mean technically you could but… well, buckle up for a long wait.

Here’s Medium’s DA score: 95

95 points out of 100!

Why I don’t care about SEO on Medium

With a DA score of 95, any Medium story has the potential to become the number 1 result on Google for various keywords within the text.

You don’t need to pay particular attention to the use frequency of keywords, keyword phrases, or anything really. SEO on Medium is as easy as just writing a story.

On a personal blog, all of this matters in the smallest detail. On Medium, you’re already miles ahead.

Can SEO still improve rankings?

With all this said, SEO on Medium still works, of course. By paying attention to detail, you can increase the likelihood of ranking on top of search results. Here are the key factors for that:

  1. Use keywords in the headline. Clickbait isn’t really important for SEO, but the use of your desired keyword (which you want to rank for) is. Use this keyword in the headline in a natural manner.
  2. Use the exact same keyword a few times in your post.
  3. Use the keyword in the Medium tags.
  4. Use a similar keyword a couple of times

What’s a good keyword?

You might be asking yourself what keyword to use? Well, generally speaking in SEO, lower competition keywords with high search volume are great.

For SEO on Medium though, with its advantage on DA scores, even a competitive keyword is up for grabs.

I’d still avoid the most obvious (and most often one-word) keywords. Instead, a longer keyphrase should work better. You might have heard the term long-tail keywords. That’s the basic idea behind it.

The bottom line

SEO on Medium is a double-edged sword.

  1. On the one hand, if you just want to write and not give a d*mn about SEO, Medium is the perfect place because even without any SEO practices, some of your posts will rank high on Google for a few keywords.
  2. On the other hand, if you’re interested in SEO and/or want to specifically target one or more keywords, applying simple SEO principles will increase your chances of ranking high.

One thing is for sure: It’s way easier to rank on Google with a well-written Medium post than with a post on a (newish) personal blog with a low DA score.

One important note at the end: SEO on Medium will mainly increase the external views of your pieces as SEO won’t affect internal distribution and views by members. And we all know that Medium doesn’t pay for external views. Through good SEO, you could get more referrals by ranking high on Google though.

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