Build Super Links and Traffic With StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon, the web surfing social network, is hands down a long term traffic builder for blogs, online businesses, and Web 2.0 services.

For a quick overview of SU:

  • Sites or users submit their URLs to StumbleUpon.
  • StumbleUpon members can find these sites via random yet targeted web surfing called “Stumbling”, clicking on the suggestions of their SU friends, or via StumbleUpon Search which matches user generated tags and search queries.
  • StumbleUpon users then vote on the sites or posts they find, with a thumbs up or thumbs down.
  • The more thumbs up, the more people who see the site via StumbleUpon.

I make it a point to submit what I feel are some of the more original posts here at Search Engine Journal to StumbleUpon and let their members decide on the value of the posts. Usually, such submittals to StumbleUpon result in 400-1,000 referrals.

On occasion, the referrals hit the 2,000 or 4,000 mark, over the course of a couple of days, depending upon the voting by SU members.

The slower drawn out traffic is a nice alternative to Digg, as a top story on the front page of Digg can result in server overload as sometimes up to 10,000 Digg users could click over in the course of 15 minutes.

As a StumbleUpon member myself, I don’t only submit my own properties for reader review. I also submit blog posts and new sites which I feel are of interest to me and my StumbleUpon friends.

But why stop there?

One form of social media marketing which I’ve found to be quite useful is submitting the sites which link to Search Engine Journal posts and other properties to StumbleUpon.


  1. TechDirt links to Search Engine Journal post
  2. I see traffic coming from TechDirt
  3. I go to TechDirt post and submit it to StumbleUpon with lots of good tags and info
  4. SU users find that TechDirt post
  5. SU users click on the link from that TechDirt post to SEJ
  6. More traffic to SEJ

It’s a form of rewarding or surprising those sites with some extra traffic, perhaps some links which will help with SEO, and the end result is more referrals to my site from the site which originally linked to me.

In such practice, by submitting sites or posts which link to your site to StumbleUpon, you are supercharging those links by adding more value to your incoming links and the sites which link to you.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker

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37 thoughts on “Build Super Links and Traffic With StumbleUpon

  1. I also see traffic from stumbledupon, quite a lot compared to other social media sites actually and it’s good traffic too. I need to watch it more and maybe extend my activities there.

  2. Finding Love, good question.

    I generally submit my own stuff only to StumbleUpon, but not every story.

    There are no StumbleUpon buttons on the site because a user has to submit via their StumbleUpon toolbar. To the best of my knowledge, there are not yet any widgets which identify the presence of the toolbar on the user browser and then serve a button to ‘Stumble’ or vote using StumbleUpon. That my friend would be an excellent widget.

    Are the other buttons besides Digg even useful? Good question and I’ve been asking this myself recently.

    Let’s do a rundown:

    Y!MyWeb : According to Yahoo 185 different stories have been saved or bookmarked by about 400 different MyWeb users. : SEJ has made it to the homepage on numerous occasions and the traffic boosts have been amazing. This usually happens when a story appears on Digg also.

    SEJ’s homepage has been saved by 446 people on and internal stories appear in bookmarks more often. button is a success.

    Furl, ma.gnolia & Spurl : Good services but I really don’t see much from them in terms of traffic, actions, bookmarks, links or referrals.

    Reddit: On occasion a story appears on Reddit and when it does a good amount of users are referred. I’m thinking that the button helps.

    Newsvine: I really cannot remember seeing Newsvine referrals to SEJ. Perhaps a handful over the past year. NV seems to be growing in popularity however, and I’ll keep the button on the site.

  3. Excellent, Loren. I’ve been growing to love StumbleUpon for the same reasons myself.

    As for widgets, see my article on StumbleUpon from this week:

    If you’re using FeedBurner, I’ve linked to a little FeedFlare file I’ve created that gives you StumbleUpon buttons. There are also a number of buttons those using popular blog software that they offer, which I cover. You really should be able to take the code and link that to little images like you do already.

  4. I typically don’t submit my own sites, but often will thumb-it-up if someone else does. I’m a pretty heavy SU user, so once I thumb something up it usually gets an additional 300-1,000 visits due to my SU friend network.

    SU really is pretty amazing though. A few of my posts have each had over 50,000 visits from SU over the course of the past 2 months.

  5. I indeed got nice traffic from SU. However, I do have some disappointments with it. I developed few sites, and am trying to figure out, by analyzing web statistics, what kind of content users like the most.

    Before writing my conclusions of analysis, let me say that I do understand that users will vary a lot depending on what tags you stumble a page with. Different tags will bring different people. That being said, here are few conclusions:

    1. Users like a lot lists, so just put at the beginning of a title ‘top 10′, ’12 things…’ , ‘100 ways…’ etc, and users will stumble a page more. For one reason or another, users like to think that there is a finite list of something, and that your page will cover all there is to the topic, or if not all, that by some magic you did manage to include TOP 10, or THE BEST xyz… Lists are so pervasive in all media. I personally avoid putting list about anything, but that’s just me.

    2. Good design is VERY important! I am just a web developer, and will have to find some designer soon to polish my sites.

    3. SU users (and internet users in general) seem to have ADHD. They just like to jump from page to page. If your page is not designed in the right way, they won’t even spend 10 seconds in it trying to figure out the context of the content. I cannot really blame them. I often behave the same. There are billions of pages, and if author doesn’t bother to make a page the most readable and understandable, why would user bother
    reading it.

    4. SU users like a lot, how shall I call it, ‘instant satisfaction’. To see cool picture, funny short video, some nice short wise saying. If content is brief (in regards of seconds needed to consume it), I guess there mouse is still somewhere above ‘thumbs-up’ button, and they will instinctively stumble the page. If there is, god forbid, content that needs some contemplation, users may simply forget to stumble the page.

    This is an excellent example of what I am talking about:

    Very little time was invested in the page (site). However, stumbleupon response was way better than for many other pages in which I invested hours, days or weeks of writing and programming, and that have much more useful things to say, or have cool internet tools.

  6. due to the random nature of SU, i was thinking what are the chances that your site would be stumbled upon when a user clicks the stumble button

  7. I also experience StumbleTraffic surge myself and now I’m in search to improve it a bit. Disappointing to see it only send traffic, not revenue. thanks for the tips. I did read it somewhere but your is more simple.

  8. I don’t want to sound completely silly but I still Can’t work out how to submit a site on StumbleUpon! I don’t seem to have the submit option! Frustrating!

  9. StumbleGenius Stumbling on thru, StumbleUpon thumbs up to you, hope to see you in more clicky stumble trips soon. Happy day merry seasons greetings an all that jazz.

    Read you later or tweet me on Twitter @StumbleGenius … tweet you soon ???

  10. Thank you for sharing. This is the info and ideas I was looking for. Being a neophite at this business it is sad to always see zeros on the site meter. Heres to traffic!!!

  11. Very good advice. I have just recently signed up to stumbleupon to try promote my new independent blog. At first I thought self promotion was bad, but, after reading other peoples’ comments it seems everyone is doing it … providing you give back of course. By the by, I have just given your page a nice thumbs up.

  12. Very interesting article as I get my head around using SU effectively. You also answer a few questions about how best to use SU for my travel sites. I too have just given this a thumbs up and know I will be re reading a few times.

    Many Thanks