Sounds Greek? Hold your horses! I’ll explain everything. Be patient if you’re new to this concept and read the whole thing.
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Can you or should you republish your blog posts on a separate platform?
There is a common misunderstanding around republishing content or creating duplicate content. People think it’s bad to have the same (or similar) content on multiple domains (or even on the same domain but different pages.)
That is simply not true. In fact, Google has plenty of documentation regarding duplicate content and the myth that Google will penalize it. There’s no such thing as a duplicate content penalty when you do things the right way. Don’t believe me? Then read what Google has to say!
There’s no such thing as a “duplicate content penalty.” At least, not in the way most people mean when they say that.
Duplicate content itself is not an issue, and in fact, it can even be beneficial to you, provided you know how to properly create duplicate content using a canonical link.
That’s the discussion of our topic today:
~ How to properly republish your blog posts on Medium the right way, using canonical links, and the benefits of doing so. ~
What is a canonical link?
A canonical link is the URL of the page that Google thinks is the original and the most important from a set of duplicate (or very similar) pages.
Think of a canonical link as a master link.
A canonical link is added using a rel-tag. When you view the source code of any blog post or page, this is how the canonical link appears:
<link rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/blog-post-slug/" />
Consider the following example:
Let’s say I have an article on my blog: https://thesideblogger.com/originalpost1 (← not an actual link, just an example.) Now, let’s assume that I go ahead and republish that to another website with the link: https://example.com/duplicatepost1.
But even though I have the same (or very similar) content on both websites, I want Google to treat my website as the original. But how do I do that? How do I make sure Google regards the blog post on my website as the original and not the other one?
That’s where canonical links come in. The canonical link tells Google which one is the “master” post, and which one is the duplicate.
So, I’d have to do two things:
- I’ll have to add a self-referencing canonical tag to the original post.
- I’ll add another canonical link to the duplicate post, which will reference the original post URL.
Most websites (ones that are well-built anyway) will automatically add a self-referencing canonical link. So on that front, we don’t have to lift a finger. If you’re on WordPress, for example, and you use the Yoast SEO plugin, it will take care to automatically add a self-referencing canonical link to all of your posts and pages.
Similarly, when you publish a story on Medium (yes, we’re back to talking about Medium now), the platform automatically adds a self-referencing canonical link. Our job, then, is to change Medium’s self-referencing canonical link and refer it instead to the original blog post.
And now, here’s the good news: changing the canonical link on Medium is super easy! I’ll show you exactly how to do that in a minute. But before that, let’s discuss the benefits of republishing your original content on Medium.
The benefits of republishing your blog posts on Medium
Now that you know what a canonical link is, you may wonder what the true benefits are for republishing your blog posts on Medium.
To understand that, we need to go a bit deeper and truly understand the implications of republishing using a canonical link back to your original content on your own website.
When a canonical link is set to the original post (let’s say, your blog post on your own website), then any traffic/website visits to the second link (the duplicate post) will count towards the original canonical version, which will then increase the original post’s chances of ranking.
Meaning, when you republish content on Medium and tons of Medium users see your post, read it, and engage with it, Google weighs those interactions towards your original blog post. So, even if your Medium post gets a lot of views and your original gets little to no views, Google will assume it’s the original that should be ranked higher. Provided you’ve set up the canonical link on Medium to reference the original post on your website.
Just imagine. Medium is huge! It has a LOT of users. When you start publishing regularly on Medium, its algorithm will start to bring viewers to your content. And if you have republished something on Medium, then people will see that too. And even though all this action is happening on Medium, it’s your website that will reap all the benefits!
Pretty cool, right? And that is exactly why I love republishing [some of] my blog posts on Medium.
(Why not all of my blog posts and only some, you ask? Well, it’s because of my personal preferences, and I’ll share them with you shortly down below. Keep reading.)
How to update the canonical link on Medium
Here’s how I prefer to do this (there’s also a video down below that outlines this process):
- Start a new draft by clicking “Write” from the top of the homepage, next to your profile photo.
- Copy and paste your original blog post. You can keep the original as is or tweak it a little to fit Medium’s audience better.
- Publish the post when you’re ready.
- Then, go to your published post and click the three dots on that page (you’ll find it either just above the story title or at the bottom of the story/screen.)
- From the dropdown, click on “Story settings.”
- On the next page (this will be your story settings page), from the sidebar, click “Advanced Settings.”
- This will take you to the advanced options. Click to expand.
- Now you’ll see the canonical option. It will have a checkbox, and next to it, you’ll see this message: “This story was originally published elsewhere.” Make sure to check this.
- Once you check the checkbox, you’ll see a field where you can enter the original URL. This may be your blog on WordPress, on Squarespace, on Substack, or wherever your original post “home” is. This is going to be the entire URL, not just the domain name. For example:
- Then, click the button that says, “Save canonical link.”
(Important!) Do NOT use the import feature
There’s another way to automatically add the canonical link without you having to go to the story settings. It’s by using the “Import” function.
Basically, you can go to “Stories” (access it by clicking your profile picture, and then from the dropdown options) and click the “Import” button. This asks you to enter the original URL of the blog post and then pulls the content from the original location. Doing this also automatically customizes the canonical link referencing the original post.
I highly discourage this method.
Please do not import your story this way, even if it seems easier.
The first method I outlined above is the better way to republish your content, and here’s why:
When you use the “Import” feature, Medium automatically dates the post back to the original publication day.
So, for example, let’s say that you published a post on your blog three weeks ago. When you import the post on Medium today, Medium will publish it dated back to the original publication day. This is a problem because Medium users mostly see newer content. A three-week-old blog post will simply get buried and won’t get many views or reads. That’s counter-productive.
Because remember, the whole point of republishing is to get views from Medium users and have that weigh towards your original blog post.
But if you use the first method I outlined above (where you publish the post first and then customize the canonical link from the story settings,) then your post will be published with the current date, and Medium will treat it like a new/fresh story on the platform, driving views and reads.
Check out the video below to see how to add the canonical link the right way:
How to make more money by republishing blog posts on Medium
Well, most regular blog posts do not make money directly, do they?
For example, I have tons of blog posts on this (WordPress) blog, and I make money using affiliate links or by selling my products. But I don’t actually make money directly from the posts alone.
On Medium, however, if you join the Partner Program, you can earn directly from Medium with your published stories without having to sell anything.
So, on top of boosting your SEO with the help of Medium, you can also make money when you lock your story behind a paywall.
In other words, you get more benefits and more money when you republish your content on Medium for practically little to no extra effort!
Should you republish all of your blog posts on Medium or only a few?
That’s entirely up to you.
Personally, I do not like to republish all of my posts. Certain posts are… “special.” They’re my cornerstone content. My business stands on the back of these blog posts. They’re the pillars. And I like to offer those only on my blog and nowhere else because they’re “premium” without the price tag.
However, I’m generous when linking back to these special posts from Medium. Some folks click those links and land on my blog and become my readers and subscribers, so there’s that.
I love making money from Medium as much as any writer, but Medium isn’t a replacement platform for this blog, not for me. This blog—my business home—will always be unique.
Medium has its place. I republish many posts on Medium, and I also write unique content just for Medium. But essentially, I treat the two platforms differently, even when there is some overlapping content.
Hope this gives you a full picture of what it means to republish your blog posts on Medium and how to republish the right way using canonical links, as well as the benefits of doing so.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to respond.
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