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Tumblr is a fantastic platform that can really benefit your brand’s marking approach if used properly. The SEO benefits are direct, and social exposure is integrated. We will get to “the how” later in this post, but for now, let’s start with some theory. After all, that’s how you learn everything worth learning – theory first, and then practice.
The Fundamentals: What is Tumblr?
Tumblr is a hybrid blog and social network platform. Or, as I like to call it “a blog on SEO steroids”. Are you thinking “Sounds like WordPress.com. Why should I bother with Tumblr?”
With Tumblr, you will gain more exposure. Period. Don’t get me wrong, WordPress is great (I love the self-hosted software!), but the hosted solution is not “social” enough. WordPress.com hosts 70 million blogs. Tumblr, on the other hand, hosts over 130+ million.
Plus, if the big name brands are going for Tumblr, why not copy them? It’s an opportunity to copy their branding and marketing moves for free. It’s not like these guys can’t afford their own blogging software… They pick Tumblr because it rocks!
As I have mentioned above, Tumblr is more than just a blogging platform. Users can share and like each other’s content, follow blogs, and perform searches via hashtags. But what does all of that have to do with SEO? We are getting there…
Tumblr Win #1: The DoFollow Compound Effect
Most social networks set all their outbound links to be “nofollow” by default. Tumblr’s links are dofollow, which means that there is a certain flow of authority, PageRank, and “link juice” from Tumblr to your pages.
Dofollow links are not that hard to build. So what make Tumblr’s links so special?
They can spread easily…
Just like the retweet feature on Twitter, Tumblr allows its users to reblog the posts that they like. Let’s say you post a compelling image with a link back to your site and people reblog it 150 times. That’s 150 (okay, 151) dofollow links built to your site naturally – the way it’s meant to be done!
Tumblr Win #2: It’s an Investment
While Tumblr is usually used in conjunction with other channels, there is no law that prevents you from using it as your main one. When needed, you can make your Tumblr page your “main” site, at least for now. The social aspect (combined with the internal dofollow effect) makes it relatively easy to rank high in the SERPs on its own.
Why do I call it an investment? Because you can always use the page to post links to your main site later. By then it might reach a high PR (PR3 is very reasonable if you are good enough), and the links you post will weigh a lot.
How to make it work for your brand, your business, and yourself?
By now you can see the great power a Tumblr blog can have. Now how about putting what we’ve learned so far in action?
Remember, all Tumblr’s power means nothing if you don’t do your part. It’s still a social network. People need to like the stuff you post for the SEO benefits to start building up. That starts with posting compelling content.
I will give you a few content ideas in a moment, but first I would like to address something that I think is important…
Don’t just post anything. Unless your business model is similar to theirs, you don’t want to be like Reddit, Imgur, 9GAG. Yes, a wide range of content can go viral. But what’s the point if it has nothing to do with your brand message?
Identify the message you want to communicate to your followers (or future followers) and keep your posts centered around a theme.
These are 3 pictures I pulled up from the Tumblr of Norton, Red Bull, and Coca-Cola. Can you tell which brand posted which picture? That’s my point!
Hot Content Ideas
1. Photographs / Pictures / Illustrations
We’re talking about creative pictures here. Actually, have a look at the 3 pictures above! The Norton’s one looks like it requires graphic designing skills. If you have them, use them – they work great on Tumblr! Red Bull has a more complex approach in their picture. A quick look at their Tumblr page shows that they also post regular pictures. So if you are good with DSLRs, shoot away! Coca-Cola created something simpler, but very themed. They show that with enough imagination, you can even create something nice in Paint!
As long as you are creative, it doesn’t matter if you use a Nikon, Photoshop, or Paint (but you do have to be good, or hire someone who is!).
Memes are awesome! They have the ability to go viral if used properly. Please notice I said “used properly”. Unless you have a very large team of highly creative people working for you, it’s going to be hard to come up with a meme that’s actually witty every single day. Use them once in a while as part of your content, not as your main focus.
3. Quotes from famous people…enhanced
It’s amazing how you can take one line, and instantly boost its perceived value by “packaging” it nicely and sharing it.
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new” – Albert Einstein
Which one are you more likely to “Like” on Facebook? The dynamics are the same on Tumblr. People like pretty stuff.
Hopefully you now understand what Tumblr is and how powerful it can be in terms of SEO, as well as driving direct traffic to your site. Use the content ideas above and build your own mini SEO asset!