Tumblr Takes a Fall in Google Search Rankings

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Blogs. Almost everyone has one (or in my case, three or four), follows one, or wants to create one. With the exception of a select few people who might live under rocks, everyone at least knows what a blog is. It’s like the journal you kept in the fourth grade under your bed, except know it’s on your computer and out there for the world to read.

Sites like Tumblr have revolutionized the blogging experience by making building your site and maintaining it almost effortless. Tumblelogs have two key features that help users create an enormous backlog of posts in a very short time – “notes” and “reblog”. Through the latter button, users can simple click and reblog content found on another user’s site. This is one of the things that has made Tumblr such a hit among the masses, it is also one of the reasons that it is not in Google’s good graces.

Search engines like Google use two key factors when creating rankings for searched sites: content and backlinks. Since Tumblr makes it so easy to copy content found on other blogs, it takes a lot more effort of on the part of a Tumblelogger to achieve a high ranking in results … because reblogging can easily become a duplicate content nightmare.

Now if you are the everyday user, like me, this doesn’t really matter to you. You are simply networking and sharing content with the Tumblr community, not necessarily looking to gain search engine popularity. On the other hand, we’ve seen that many big brands have been adopting Tumblr.

As Soshable points out, Tumblr’s popularity is all based on how you plan on using the site : naturally in the Tumblr-sphere … or as an avenue to try and rank.

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.

Other free sites, like WordPress.com or Google’s own Blogger, are better-fitted for the serious blogger; the one looking to make a name for themselves in the blogosphere. Do you have a Tumblr? Do you agree with Google’s issues with the community-based site?

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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15 thoughts on “Tumblr Takes a Fall in Google Search Rankings

  1. If you're using it to connect with the tumblr community, it's great, but,if you're trying to get a lot of traffic, it's not so good. I have 3 tumblr blogs still but I had to move the one that I wanted to have heavy traffic over to WordPress.

      1. I'm not sure I understand your question. Tumblr seems to be an image-driven community. If you have a photography blog or you're an artist, you'd do great there. The blog I moved is heavy on written content and it's doing much better on WordPress than it did on tumblr- though, fans from my tumblr days are still some of my biggest supporters and I continue to distribute the feed over there for their benefit.

      2. I know exactly what you mean Michelle.
        If you were to take a look at my personal Tumblr, you would see that the majority of my posts are merely reblogs of pictures I have found from other users that I am following. Tumblr is definitely a very visual site and I have to admit, I almost feel weird when I do all-text posts.

  2. Same here. Tumblr are more fitted for images, music or video. I used it to store my favorites from the Tumblogs that I follow.

  3. I do not see Tumblr great for a personal blog, however WordPress and Blogger are. Of course, anyone can choose among those two only by their taste, however, it seems Blogger blogs have a slightly little advantage over WordPress ones…

  4. @SEO @Hope

    That is very true. The type of blogs that flourish on Tumblr are definitely the ones that are photo and video rich. However, I wouldn't say that isn't good for a person blog, it just depends on what sort of blogging you like to do. For those people that may not be so good with articulating their feelings, photoblogs are right up their alley. But I would have to agree that if you are interested in doing more traditional blogging, WordPress and Blogger are definitely tops.

  5. Hi, guys. Most comments already expressed the basic use and feelings towards Tumblr, so, I just wanna add a bit of my experience with my Tumblr Blog – which, btw, is not a personal blog, and it managed to be even quoted among some of the best (making into one of Alltop's lists).

    A lot of people who follow the Blog have recommend that I changed to WordPress, to gain even more visibility. Here are the reasons why I'm sticking with Tumblr, despite all the SEO and third-party apps limitations:

    1 – Support: I never had such a great support by any web service as I got from Tumblr.
    2 – The community: Personally, one Tumblr follower is as important as 100 Twitter followers, for the level of conversation and engagement.
    3 – Being still a “young” service, I put a lot of faith in the development team, and the community. I think Tumblr was never met to be a WP or Blogger competitor, but sooner or later a lot of new features will come, making it more powerful – and, perhaps, SEO friendly.

    Keep up the great work!

      1. I feel we as an industry need to accept that not everything can or even needs to be optimized for search.
        This is a perfect example.

  6. Also, I found another use of Tumblr. After gaining much followers, you can put link to your Non-Tumblr blog and then people share your N/T blog. Also, when you post something special with link in it, people may take it from T and put it in their N/T blog (I know much people who finds content from Tumblr).

    So, my opinion is that Tumblr is good way of non-Seo promotion. Tumblr would be great for artists or photographers.

  7. I’ve found Tumblr to be quite easy to use in the past. I’m still not convinced that it’s one of the best ways to help you in the SERPS but either way it’s still a good presence if promoted properly