How fast does a Medium story show up on search engines like Google?

Getting more visitors and views for a Medium story can be done by social shares, recommendations, and likes.

Social is good, search is better. There’s more people that use search engines than social media. Google reached 1 billion users in May 2011; Facebook reached 1 billion users in October 2012, 17 months later.

So how fast could your Medium story or publication get more visibility by being findable on search engines? I wasn’t able to find an answer, yet. But will update this story when/if that answer surfaces. (Medium, what do you say? You could unveil the mystery.)

Medium user Sushubh noticed Google was slower at crawling Medium posts than WordPress’ posts:

However the indexing speed of newer content is nowhere close to WordPress blogs. For instance, Google is yet to discover the recent 2–3 posts. WordPress blogs are indexed in near real time for frequently updated blogs.

What would make new Medium stories show up sooner on search results? Frankly, I don’t know for sure. From what data I could dig up, it looks like could take up to 1 or 2 days. (Could it be faster with a custom domain or more social shares?)

For instance, one of my stories posted on Nov 12th (around 12:00pm Pacific UTC-08 = 20:00 GMT) is crawled and cached by Google on Nov 14 00:56 GMT. The math works out to 30 hours.

Medium does have a site map in place, and site maps are also in place for Medium publications using custom domains. (ht: Sushubh) That’s one thing that helps. But, we need more help.

Lots of people, businesses, and organizations want to have their website’s content show up as a top result on a search engine, so that their content has higher visibility (for free at that), and that’s potential for more website visitors and increasing probability for engagement, converation, donation, or whatever kind of results they’re aiming for. This is called SEO, which stands for search engine optimization. And 1 of the 200+ factors used to rank Google search results is timeliness or freshness.

Why Google baked this into their Caffeine upate: “Searchers want to find the latest relevant content and publishers expect to be found the instant they publish.”

One of my 2006 blog posts was titled “why Santa wears red.” It used to rank on the top of page 1 on Google search results for that phrase.

More content has used that phrase since 9 years ago, pushing down my search engine result position lower. At the time of this writing, Google searches on that phrase, without quotes it’s a top 30 result, and with quotes, it shows up as result #9.

May the odds ever be in your favor.

But then again, your Medium story could get indexed by Google in as fast as 18 minutes! (as I’ve just figured out how to search for the most recent posts indexed) Looking at these recent stories, I found no discernable pattern of speed-to-index to number of followers or social shares.

Bottom line (at this time): somewhere between 18 minutes to 30 hours is the time it takes for Google to index a Medium story.

This article was written in 2015. A lot has changed in a couple years. Google changes its search ranking algorithm almost everyday. (And, note there is a difference between being indexed and being ranked on the first page, just so you know.)

What this means is that your Medium article could get indexed by Google in under 24 hours, if you’re regularly posting Medium articles. But if you’re infrequently posting or pretty new, those signals may be taken into account by Google when they crawl the web.

strategist / podcaster @ ErasingShame.com / author of MultiAsian.Church / blogger @ djchuang.com

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