Tumblr’s Biggest Strength is its Biggest Weakness to Google

If you haven’t heard of Tumblr, you will. The pace that it’s currently growing is similar to (if not greater than) the type of growth that Twitter experienced 2 years ago. The blog/microblog/community hybrid social media site is well on its way to hitting the mainstream soon.

While its users and fans are often rabid, there is one entity that doesn’t give it much respect: Google. Search engines in general are frowning on ranking Tumblelogs well in their results pages because of Tumblr’s greatest strength: ease of content aggregation.

Simplicity, Thy Name is Tumblr

Anyone who has a Tumblr page can create 2 things extremely quickly: content and backlinks. One simply has to go through other Tumblr pages that the millions of users have created and click the “Reblog” button. They can add their own content to it in the form of notes, add tags, even adjust the URL. They also get a backlink from the source because whenever something is reblogged, a note with a link goes up at the source.

Assuming that most bypass the notes and tags, it is possible to place content on your Tumblelog and a backlink in approximately 4 seconds.

To put it into perspective, one of our clients currently runs 15 successful and content-rich Tumblelogs and spends less than 30 minutes a day keeping them maintained.

This simplicity is one of Tumblr’s greatest strengths, if not THE greatest, but…

… Google Doesn’t Like It

Anyone who optimizes sites for Google knows there are 2 things that hold the most value for rankings: content and backlinks.

Tumblelogs are set on subdomains of tumblr.com or on their own domains hosted by Tumblr. For most platforms, this is extremely useful in SEO as the search engines consider subdomains as their own unique website in many occasions. Blogger, a site that is owned by Google, has literally millions of subdomains that act as stand-alone websites where people can create theirblogname.blogspot.com and have that site rank well for their keywords.

Tumblr does not have that luxury. Somewhere along the lines, Google and the other search engines realized that it would be not only possible but encouraged by Tumblr and other people duplicate content and generate backlinks. As a result, it takes a lot more effort to get the search engines’ attention for stronger rankings.

Another factor that hurts Tumblr on the search engine is the lack of unique title tags for many of the pages. Those created as “Text” get the title of the story as the title tag, but pictures and videos share the same title tag as the homepage of their Tumblelog.

We are currently testing to see if this lack of respect from the search engines applies to outbound links. If the links are tainted in some way, Tumblr’s usefulness in optimizing other sites is also reduced compared to other platforms. We will see, as we have several test Tumblelogs running. When we know for sure, we’ll post the results here.

Does It Matter?

If you’re getting into Tumblr for SEO purposes to either achieve rankings directly or to use Tumblr as a linking tool, there are other similar free blogging and microblogging platforms that are superior.

If you’re getting into Tumblr because you want to share and find content, then Tumblr is ideal. The community aspect combined with the ease of use and maintenance make Tumblr a prime site through which to have fun, share, and network.

Does Tumblr matter? It all depends on how you want to use it.

* * *

Read more about Tumblr on this Social Media Blog.

About JD Rucker

+JD Rucker is Editor at Soshable, a Social Media Marketing Blog. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and founder of Dealer Authority. He drinks a lot of coffee, usually in the form of a 5-shot espresso over ice. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Comments

  1. Thanks for putting all this information together. Would using Tumblr mean that Google would not pull up my blog content at all? Or is it just that the links would not prove beneficial?

  2. Hmm, though I’m using tumblr with my own domain, it took only a few days for me to hit #2 on Google.

  3. google can certainly add an exception for tumblr blogs in their algorithm if they wanted to.

    their recent tweakings of the algorithm haven’t really been getting good feedback.. they should concetrate more on what people want i think.

  4. Thanks for providing me this information.I will definitely take care about my blog not to pull up by google.

  5. There are some SEO adjustments floating around for Tumblr that, in addition to best practices in the wording of your captions for non Text posts, seem to totally help in terms of rankings.

  6. I don’t think anyone who uses Tumblr cares how they rank on Google. Content is designed for the dashboard more than for direct visitors to individual tumblelogs.

  7. We’ve not used Tumblr ourselves, so haven’t heard anything of its SEO effect. To be honest I had personally assumed it would be mainly used by small time bloggers who aren’t fussed by their search rankings, mainly because those are the people I know who use it. I never realised Google might devalue it – I’ll have to look into this, thanks.

  8. That was some really useful information. I do think that Tumblr is a lot more convenient and simple to use, but if it will hurt my brand’s SEO rankings, I will have to think twice about using it.

  9. I found Tumblr’s community has an easier time “interacting” with my Tumblr blog through their “Love + Reblog” options and it’s nothing but a picture + snippet + redirect text post.

  10. To say Tumblr is not SEO friendly is an understatement. I’ve run my Tumblr blog for almost 6-months now, posting several times per week (images, text, reblogs, lots of hyperlinks to outside sites, I follow others) —yet in the eyes of Google my Tumblr blog simply does not exist.
    If I can’t find my own Tumblr blog though a basic Google search how would I find and share anyone else’s Tumblr posts?
    You really have to sign-up and become part of the Tumblr community in order to easily find other Tumblelogs —in this sense, Tumblr is like a closed digital gated community —but welcomes all with open arms.

  11. There are some SEO adjustments floating around for Tumblr that, in addition to best practices in the wording of your captions for non Text posts, seem to totally help in terms of rankings.

  12. Thank you for your answer. I have been asking why after many post my tumblr blogs do not rank well in Google although I felt that I have superior articles there than any other blogs I wrote somewhere else. I simply love the look and simplicity. But I do not reblog.

    But I do not see any of my tumblr blogs in any top20. Now, I understand.

    Thank you.

  13. I would like to know what microblogging sites you believe are best for SEO purposes. I was a big believer in Utterli until the site shut down. I was able to get indexed by google and land on page 1 for many keywords within as little as 2 hours on Utterli. I’m searching for a replacement now.

  14. DETROIT (Reuters) — December is expected to be the third equitable month that U.S. auto sales detain more than 12 million vehicles on an annualized basis, capping a year of steady recouping pro the auto sector, analysts said.

    While December alone cannot foresee 2011 exhibition, a full chronology abode of sales at this tread suggests the recovery could kick into higher gear.

    “That’s a long route from the 16 million and 17 million sales rates that we experienced representing the mastery part of this decade. But we’re coming obsolete of 2010 on an upswing and I have in mind this bodes comfortably for the benefit of 2011,” said Ford Motor Co. sales analyst George Pipas.

    Automakers are due to report December U.S. auto sales on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

    A timbre to optimism entirety diligence experts is the come up in retail sales, typically more beneficial than enlargement quick sales to companies and rental car agencies.

    Swift and rental sales are expected to impel up 19 percent of December sales, downstairs the typically of 20.4 percent for that month, according to data from TrueCar.com.

    more – Auto loan calculator

  15. I’m with ya on this one. I agree completely, great post.

    I do however find it to be a great source for backlinks! I think it’s used best when sharing information, storing cool stuff for yourself and others, and linking to a blog post or website with any anchor text of your choosing. Sure, there are superior sites out there for that, but Tumblr does the job too! Great post, I’m with it.

  16. Thanks a lot for a great review and valuable conclusions.my take is that tumblr is still a good tool for SEO purposes, it just shouldn’t be the only tool in your arsenal. Platforms like posterous can be a good substitute for easy publishing too. I’d love to see a review of this one as it relates to seo. Thanks again!

  17. It’s all about the purpose of the blog, I use tumblr for posting sneakers news and it works great but I feeling that one day I will have to switch I want my website to be more serious.

  18. I’ve got in top 10 in Google with a keyword (title of my tbumlr blog) within a month.

  19. There goes my evil plan to exploit Tumblr.

  20. thanks for sharing info.. google need approve tumlr

  21. Brilliant post. I wish I saw this before I moved my design photo blog to Tumblr from WordPress. I always wondered how to work out the SEO part so this really helps.

  22. I was using Tumblr to building back links to http://www.TruckerDeluxe.com – great post by the way, very helpful.

  23. yourgolfguide says:

    Lately I have been using tumbler solely for backlink building for My Golfing Hints and Tips Website , takes a matter of seconds and each backlink is DOFOLLOW with numerous links ranging from PR 0 – 6, this can instantly add alot of value to any website on the next google update, thanks tumblr

  24. I have used WordPress a lot and they have a ton of plugins. I always felt like I was doing something to help my SEO with WordPress. Since I started using Tumblr I haven’t done anything and have had great results. My question is how does the “reblog” affect SEO with Google? Does it look at it as duplicate content or has Tumblr done it right by have a “source” backlink to my original content.

    thanks,
    Craig

  25. Thank you very much for sharing the information. I saw a few thumblr blogs with high PR and wondered where they got this.

  26. I have created a tumblr blog and submit sitemap to Google Webmaster tool. I realized that google doesnt care about sitemap and it is not even downloaded by Google yet. Normally my other websites’ sitemaps are downloaded within a minute. I am not so sure what is the problem but I have huge doubts about using tumblr as microblogging service.
    Also it is obvious that tumblr doesnt support block type modules – blogspot implementation is extremely useful- and it is a pain to optimize theme in terms of ads and other stuff. You supposed to choose theme carefully and you have to know about html and creepy tumblr style markup.

  27. Hi I am using Tumblr to blog and connect it to to my site.
    I am disappointed that google do not find the text in my blog /tumblr.

    I would like to ha a link from the blog to for example:
    http://feedbackakademin.se/Gestalt-definition-teori.html

    Do you have any suggestion for tool? WordPress? posterous?
    Regards
    Stefan

  28. I think “SOME” not all of your commentors above are not understanding that when you post your blog on TUMBLR, any of the words on your blog, keywords or information will not be spidered right as it should. If a person wrote about Kittens in my blue bathroom and I typed it for a search on Google, I would show up unless you do some manipulation coding.

    As for some other blog web sites out there like WordPress, I would do a search on Kittens in my blue bathroom on Google and it would be on the listing right away.

    Ive done some tests on some of my friend’s blogs and the only thing would show up for TUMBLR on a search engine is their subdomain site. Of course Tumblr shows up on Google if I typed out the username of the subdomain off of Tumblr.

  29. I’ve been finding some high PR indexed pages on tumblr, lots of them. It’s incredibly easy to get links from them by simply clicking the heart at the top of the blog. It’s tumblr’s version of Facebook “likes”.

  30. I created a wordpress blog to the point of making it look nice with a couple of posts to get started… i go back to work on it a month later and it’s been hacked. I lost everything, i couldn’t even log-in to delete the hackers work. Not a lot of work went into it but i lost my content and i’ve heard this is common with wordpress. I would hate to get a year or 100 posts in and have to start over again so that’s my reason for the switch.

    I’m experimenting with tumblr for a few weeks now and it’s interesting but it does feel like a “gated community” as Darryl Jonckheere suggested above. I also feel the pages are very picture driven and when someone reblogs a picture i’ve posted from my website, tumblr will link to the my page but it saves my picture to it’s own URL at (http://s3.amazonaws.com) as opposed to my website where the picture exists, that really bugs me.

    I’m open to going back to wordpress but i’ll need to research how to back everything up and prevent getting hacked again…

  31. Nothing is better than self-hosted site. You own the full-power on your blog and Google loved it. Don’t ever trust free-hosted platform because they can banned you easily when you get popularity among other sites ;)

  32. I luv Tumblr because they have simple platform

  33. Amazing post! Basically Tumblr has their own fans who don’t care about getting indexing by SE. But for me it’s important for SE visit and index our blog. For me, I love Blogger or WordPress than Tumblr. I hope Tumblr will fix their system and become most popular blog site.

  34. Thanks for the honest insight. Lately using Tumblr to get quick and easy backlinks to rank highly in Google seems very fashionable but clearly there are downsides and Google will or already has cracked down on such techniques. Useful as part of a SEO campaign I guess but better to ensure your tumblr blog has some actual content.

  35. This underlines the power of Google… And I will bow down to it :)

  36. Hi, Thanks for awesome post on Tumblr. Before this I want to host my blog on tumblr but after reading this article it’s not good micro-blogging platform if you want to get advantage of Google

  37. Extremely well written, I had a feeling tumbler was too easy for seo, makes sense google would not give it high value.

  38. Interesting… I have read several posts saying that Google loves Tumblr and many people swear by it in SEO terms ?!

  39. Thank you for this interesting article on Tumblr!

    “We are currently testing to see if this lack of respect from the search engines applies to outbound links.”

    Have you ever come to conclusive results with your tests? I would be interested to know more.

  40. Good article. But does anyone really know for sure how the google algorithm works. Outside Google that is

  41. I’ve just spent 10 minutes creating a couple of blog pages to try and draw some traffic from a couple of low volume furniture related keywords.. It will be interesting to see if the blogs get crawled pretty quickly and if it has any impact on our SERP’s.

  42. is creating backlink switch tumbler is good or not?

  43. Has there been a follow-up to this? What were the results of the experiments?

  44. every platform has their own strength and weakness. tumblr doesn’t search-engine friendly? who said that? you can easily create custom search engine and put the code you have in tumblr, in addition, you can submit your rss (via feedburner) as site map. search engine problem is solved. create tags, more reblog is okay, and one thing you should remember: tumblr users has increased rapidly than wordpress dot com. in blogspot, you can press “reblog this” or “create a link” but people fake this functionality, they copy-edit articles (especially about computer tutorial and blogging) but in tumblr you easily click “reblog this” to increase backlink. tumblr is not the best, but we can tweak search engine friendly problem with google custom search engine and submit sitemap via feedburner. have you write a post today?

  45. This was a helpful article as I have been hearing about Tumblr and wondering if it could help me drive some new traffic to my t-shirt blog. Does anyone have any thoughts on purchasing backlinks from Tumblr? I found a gig on Fiverr with someone offering to provide 10 backlinks from Tumblr. Hey, it’s only 5 bucks. Any thoughts?

  46. I don’t really agree. I have seen many tumblr blogs rank very well in Google. Their poor performance is not really because of tumblr itself, but more that it has to do with your SEO methods.

    For example, I have a checklist when conducted external SEO:

    1.) What is the competitive level of the keyword you’re trying to rank for on Google?

    2.) Is the competition low enough for you to compete for a top rank? Or is it at least at a level where you can afford to compete?

    3.) Is the tumblr page’s internal SEO (keyword density, h tags, title, etc.) properly set up?

    4.) Is there a do-follow anchor link text (or a keyword-implemented domain name) on the page (preferably within the first 250 characters)?

    5.) Does it have unique content instead of just reblogged content?

    6.) Is it being linked by sites with identical or similar keywords? (Reblogging a pr5 tumblr blog about cats to put on a tumblr blog about funeral homes is not the best way to reblog).

    You shouldn’t assume that just because it is tumblr.com that you will get a top rank on any keyword you want on Google. You shouldn’t assume that just because you have a bunch of do-follows from reblogging other tumblr blogs that it will make you rank high on Google.

    You need to have your own unique content (and this alone can make your rank high depending on how popular it is). You need to be able to promote your tumblr blog with excellent link diversity. Do a search on which websites are ranking the highest on Google for your keyword. If your keyword is highly competitive, you can (for example) write a 400-1200 word article & ask those websites to put that article (with your anchor link text on it). These backlinks would give your tubmlr blog a massive boost in the SERPs.

    Or if your keyword has low competition, just set up a simple linkwheel & put your tumblr blog at the 1st level. These methods are what are being used by successful tumblr blogs that write unique content. If all you’re doing is setting up an optimized tumblr blog & then using duplicated content to promote it to rank high on search engines, you’re wasting your time.

  47. Nowdays many seo services using tumblr as their backlink sources, but I don’t know which is the best SEO tips nowdays.

  48. I was really hoping that Tumblr was going to be good for SEO because I was going to build a 200 page blog using it. I will definitely look into Tumblr a bit more before I do this. I am working on a blogger one right now and so far it’s going well, I wanted another few formats to build some large blogs on… Tumblr is nice to use though!

  49. Woops, got those 2 around the wrong way! Good post, I should add. Will be still experimenting with Tumblr though.

  50. I love Tumblr! I think it realy works with google seo…

  51. Thanks for the info, this made things much clearer for me. I was completely misinformed.

  52. I think Tumblr has a lot of potential, just not sure anyones really using it to that potential right now.

  53. Interesting post….I use both tumblr and blogspot for personal use and find that with very little SEO effort on my part, the blogspot outperforms my tumblr site.
    I do agree that tumblr lacks uniqueness in terms of title tags and seems to be limited in other areas, but it’s still a great site to use.

  54. I think after the penguin upgrade, tumblr is more useful for SEO than before

  55. I have seen many high ranking websites that have tumblr in their top back links.

  56. I knew as soon as I signed up to Tumblr it was too easy. But I’m hopeful that the quantity of backlinks will still add to the overall weight of inbound links to our site. They may not be heavily valued, but as long as they are counted in GWT then I think it is worth the time involved.

  57. Hi I just want to ask for help! My tumblr blog has page duplicate title tags according to google webmasters. how do i fix this. i keep googling but find no relevant answer! help please!!!!! thanks so much

  58. Tumblr blogs gain high Pagerank easily but as far as search engine rankings are concerned they are not as effective as a Blogger blog.

  59. im hearing that tumblr is great for backlinks so im gonna give it a try and see what results i get. Nice post

  60. Snapshot 2 years forward. Is it mainstream yet? Does it feel mainstream? It’s rather good. I use it as a shooting range for content creation. Simple and effective.

  61. Obviously, you’ll be able to go to sites as You – Tube at which you might locate lots of funny vids. The line comes off the boat automatically once it hits a fish, which means that the user can catch a fish of virtually any size. Proffering multifarious benefits to the advertisers, it is a quintessential resort for companies big or small.

  62. Tumblr is one of the best way to get backlink

  63. Tumblr is the best way to get traffic.

  64. Tumblr given me PR3 due to backlink

  65. Tumblr is the high pr website network. So, backlink will be helpful.

  66. Tumblr has increased so many visitors in short time of period.

  67. I am waiting for my High PR backlink from Tumblr.

  68. Tumblr is the biggest source of traffic for me.

  69. Tumblr is the best!

  70. I am supporting Tumblr blog to get High PR backlink

  71. I used tumblr in past but did not like it much. But at that time i didn’t know that Google “don’t like” Tumblr. Thanks for this informative post

  72. It’s an awesome post designed for all the internet visitors; they will take benefit from it I am sure.

  73. Great post. I agree with you that tumblr doesn’t rank well in Google although sometimes I do notice some weird exceptions where it does rank well…

  74. Interesting point of view regarding the poor SEO, i did suspect this.. but surely if the blog is ran correctly it could be used to generate powerful amounts of traffic and also used to leverage other personally host domain names.
    This post is more or less 3 years old, hopefully googles attitude towards tarring Tumblr with the same brush has changed and it will let people who run their blog correctly to be ranked correctly..

  75. [...] terms of wordy content and SEO – apparently Google doesn’t treat it as well as it does domainprcheck
    blogspot. So what does all of this tells us? Tumblr is an easy to use platform ksa-flh that can also easily build [...]

  76. If theme fully seo optimized, then it can boost. in google ranking.

  77. It’s amazing designed for me to have a site, which is valuable designed for my experience. thanks admin

  78. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this superb blog!

    I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding
    your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates
    and will talk about this website with my Facebook group.
    Chat soon!

  79. I have not seen much traffic from tumblr although couple of backlink will definitely be helpful. Do not count this as main source of traffic.

  80. Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using?

    I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something
    unique. P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  81. It’s going to be end of mine day, but before finish I am reading this enormous article to improve my knowledge.

  82. I go to see each day some sites and websites to read articles, but this weblog offers quality based content.

  83. I was just going for tumblr when I read this great post, but as another commenter said, the article is pretty old now and I hope that google’s attitude towards Tumblr has changed.

  84. I also has same problem tumblr. Thank you for explain

  85. thanks for this great info on how to work google

  86. I search in google to find on how to do a backlink from Tumblr and found this great information. Thanks

  87. These small blogs offer no real information. Google should not list them in search results. I’m starting to see too many Tumblr blogs in search results. They offer nothing! Not much different than Twitter.

  88. I am always using the Tumblrs to build lots of quality of Backlinks. It’s Important to build few of quality backlinks than lots of low quality links.

  89. A nice piece, special thanks from a big games addict!.

  90. I love Tumblr blog is fast & good :)

  91. Superb post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a
    little bit further. Appreciate it!

  92. Having an opportunity to recover naturally. The tragic result will
    be home care more preferable. Malnutrition and abuse rank among the highest degree in homes across the nation. In an emergency,
    you wouldn’t want your home care senior locked from the inside to keep patients quiet.
    If you have a neutral reaction to a color, you should
    consider before making a selection when choosing home care agencies.
    Number three below will help with the tripping and falling.

  93. I don’t even know the way I ended up right here, however I
    believed this publish was great. I do not realize
    who you are however definitely you are going to a famous blogger
    in the event you are not already. Cheers!

Speak Your Mind

*