Awesome for Search, Too: Simple SEO Tips for Tumblr

On December 24, 2010, wrote:

Tumblr is easy to fall in love with – especially if you’re looking for a light (and awesome) blogging platform. It’s going to be even easier once you’ve read the reasons why you should “Tum-blog” and taken note of the fact that the company has significant plans to expand next year.

If you’re big on SEO, however… umm.

Okay. So here’s the thing: Tumblr isn’t exactly the best blogging platform to support your SEO (search engine optimization) campaign. Unlike WordPress sites or even blogs hosted by Google’s own product, Blogger, Tumblr sites don’t rank well on search results. Which isn’t to say that Tumblr never ranks well – because with a few tweaks, tips, and tricks, you can position your Tumblr blog in a way that gives you an edge in the search rankings.

Optimize your page titles: Here’s one good thing about Tumblr: it allows you to modify the HTML of your posts. HTML! Isn’t that a form of code?! Scary! Not to worry. It involves nothing more than changing the <title> tag of the post so that it contains the actual title, the summary, and maybe even your blog name – in that order – on each individual post page. The information will then show up in search results, helping your content – instead of just your blog title – gain more exposure as they appear on SERPs.

<title>{block:PostSummary}{PostSummary} – {/block:PostSummary}{Title}</title>

Add meta descriptions: These descriptions show up in every search query as the two lines of descriptive text just under the hyperlinked search result. Google, the search engine you’ll want to focus on, displays no more than 160 characters for each description, so keep your text just under that. If you don’t create your own description? The search engines will make one for you – only, it’s going to be no more than an accumulation of randomly chosen, “spidered” words.

<meta name=“description” content=“Helpful SEO tips that optimize your Tumblr blog and give you a competitive edge in search”

Submit your XML sitemap to the search engines: Tumblr gives users the ability to generate their own XML sitemaps, and that’s cool, since it gives you an opportunity to show the search engines that you have great, organized, well-built-out content. (We’ve covered sitemaps in a recent post, too – be sure to check it out!) Your sitemap.xml file is located at http://NameOfYourSite.tumblr.com/sitemap.xml. To submit your sitemaps to the Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, just follow these steps:

Customize the URL of your posts: Before publishing your text, photo, quote, chat, link, audio, or video posts, look for an option on the right side of the page that allows you to set a custom post URL. Just like in WordPress, Tumblr automatically replaces spaces with hyphens, thus helping generate SEO-friendly URLs for your blog. Oh, and don’t forget to add tags, too! There’s a box just for that, located right above the custom URL option.

Optimize your photos: By that we mean more than just adding tags for each picture that you upload. Use good-quality photos, too, and make sure you use descriptive file names and keyword-rich alternative text (alt text) for every picture. For more secrets, read our guide to optimizing your site for image search.

Go social: One of the reasons why Tumblr is growing bigger is because it offers a more “social” way of blogging. This doesn’t mean that you cannot leverage other social media heavyweights with high PageRanks like Twitter and Facebook to promote your Tumblr site. Post links on your Facebook wall that lead to your Tumblr posts, or “tweet”your Tumblogging pursuits as often as you wish. The more social you are, the more likely get to be friends with the search engines, too.


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3 responses to “Awesome for Search, Too: Simple SEO Tips for Tumblr”

  1. Hi! My name is Andi and just opened a tumblr account for the little craft business that I am working on. Of course, like everyone else, I want my site to have great SEO and page rankings. However, although this is the second time that I have had a blog, this is the first time I’ve used tumblr. For my previous website, I used WordPress. I was attracted to tumblr because of the social aspects that you mentioned; it seems like twitter meets Facebook meets Pinterest meets flickr all in one! Plus, it’s the fastest growing blogging platform, and I really think that in order to be competetive you need to be current.

    Anyway, in the short time that I have had my site up and running, I’ve had a heck of a time figuring out how to optimize SEO for it. So far, this is the most comprehensive and understandable guide to optimizing SEO for tublr. Thank you.

  2. Chris Campbell says:

    Thanks, Andi! Appreciate your kind words. 🙂

  3. Isabel says:

    Hi, thank you for this! I have a (possibly dumb) question though. It isn’t clear to me where to insert the customized title tag, since many (reblogged) posts don’t have one in the HTML. They tend to just have text of post . Do I just stick it in at the top? And where does the meta description go? Or doesn’t it make any difference where in the HTML I put it?

    Thanks again!

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