Pete Campbell

SEO Blog with a mix of all things Geek, Web & Tech.

Is Tumblr good for SEO? No, it sucks


Out of the box, Tumblr is a great way to quickly get a blog up and running. It’s slick user interface means you can get content live in a snazzy format within seconds, without having to invest in web development wizardry. I love it for that.

But it’s a serious mistake to consider is part of an SEO strategy.
I’ve started classroom fights with fellow nerds and been given after-school detention for this opinion. As always, there is a lot of bad advice in the search universe on how to hack-and-slash the Tumblr platform to improve it’s borked SEO abilities.

Granted, it does have a few SEO tricks, but it’s not enough.
Will your posts get indexed? Yes, will they rank for pointless terms that nobody searches for? Probably.

Tumblr = Simplicity (Not SEO Friendly)

You see, Tumblr is designed to be a simple blogging platform by nature and as a result – a Tumblr blog sadly misses a lot of key details to really make an impact on search engine visibility.

I’ll admit it, I launched this Blog on Tumblr to get things started (what it’s good at) – but boy, did I regret it. Let’s have a look why.

6 Reasons why Tumblr SUCKS for SEO

  1. Tumblr will strip out any attempt to put the rel=”nofollow” attribute on links, free links anyone? #SEOFacepalm
  2. You can’t set custom META Tags on each individual post, I know this isn’t 1998 SEO, but META descriptions are a great way to improve clickthrough-rates. You can hack the theme to auto-generate META based on your post summary/tags but that’s just sloppy.
  3. No Category Structure – You can’t set a category structure to Posts or URLs (e.g. /recipes/italian/meatballs/) dampening the chance of gaining mid-tail rankings or building up authority to a ‘parent’ page
  4. Forget about gaining Google Images rankings – all image uploads in Tumblr will be stored on a separate sub-domain, with no reference to your Blog’s URL
  5. All Tumblr blogs come with XML Sitemaps & Robots.txt files which is great – but there is no way to customise them.
  6. Messy HTML & CSS code – Tumblr has some awesome custom themes, but lack of FTP access to your blog means all CSS, Javascript etc. has to be either coded within the page, or hosted externally – both of which will hurt a blogs load time

In time, Tumblr hopefully will do right upon these wrongs, but in the meantime, just use WordPress. It does everything, including making your morning cup of tea.

  • Simon Burns

    Great Post, love the fresh look on tumblr for SEO. You made me laugh bro, keep it up!

  • Pete Campbell

    Thank you Simon, it’s a harsh critique – but hopefully a useful one!

  • Anonymous

    It’s absolutely true.

  • Craig Arend

    I agree with you. As a professional blogger, Tumblr SEO beyond sucks. It’s cost me 10′s of thousands of dollars in annual revenue. I’m fixing for a move back to blogspot.

  • Kelly Brito

    It is so true. And Tumblr is such a great tool! It’s a shame the SEO is so poor. =/ I love it, but even Blogger is better when it comes to that – and we all want to be found, after all!

  • Anonymous

    All my SEO projects bring great results, except my personal blog which I put on Tumblr for testing purposes. Such a shame for an amazing blog service to fail so much in basic search engine optimization. It’s okay for outbound linking though.


    The Tumblr crowd is rabidly anti-commercial, which is another reason it’s no good for the purposes stated in the post.

  • Bunn Salarzon

    Thanks for posting this! I was just about to create a Tumblr page — today! — specifically for a new project: but, after reading this, I’ll just stick to WordPress. :)

  • Mike

    Wow? Really? I have five million links pointing at one of my sites from Tumblr…registered from within WMT…..5,000,000 (and its one of our top traffic sources).

    I think how you are determining SEO value is off, WAAAY off.

    This is really bad advice you are giving.

  • Pete Campbell

    Thanks for the comment. The post was trying to point out the Technical SEO flaws within Tumblr as a CMS system which still exist today and to me, are the bread and butter of SEO and should be considered when setting up a blog.

    That doesn’t mean I’m 100% hating on Tumblr though, blogs like generate tons of traffic and links – but I guarantee they’d see better visibility on a more SEO-friendly CMS platform

  • Jason Mailley

    If you got 5M true links pointing at your site, there is probably no needs to optimize much. The number of inbound links is not dependant on SEO but on your content, which I assume, is great.

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  • Lubka Christova

    Unfortunately, still true :(

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