StumbleUpon Traffic IS Worth Something: Links
Ian Lurie May 22 2008
StumbleUpon can provide a valuable boost to an internet marketing campaign: It can indirectly lift link building efforts. A lot.
Read on and I’ll explain how it works, how I researched this, and how you can get the same benefits.
What Is StumbleUpon?
Skip this section if you already know this.
StumbleUpon is half site, half toolbar. You create an account online, then download their toolbar. From then on, you can give sites you visit a ‘thumbs up’ or a ‘thumbs down':
You can also click the ‘Stumble!’ button to see what other folks liked. As you like/dislike those sites, the service figures out your preferences and narrows things a bit.
There are also channels by topic and media type, and you can add friends and comment on the sites you stumble. And, you get your own page. You can see mine here.
But at its heart StumbleUpon is a tremendously addictive traffic generator. Download the toolbar and click ‘Stumble!’ once. I dare ya. You’ll find yourself sitting there an hour later, your pointer figure aching, wondering how you never found all those cool sites.
Links from Stumbleupon.com don’t help with SEO. They ‘nofollowed’ everything a long time ago to prevent spammers from overrunning the place.
But, if lots of people give a website or page a thumbs up in a short time period, the ‘Stumble!’ button will display that site more and more often. That generates a snowball effect: More folks see the site, more folks vote on it, it shows more frequently, it gets more traffic, and so on.
That traffic looks lousy. Lots of visitors, but their average time-on-site is so low you wonder if the visitors have their eyes open.
How StumbleUpon Builds Links
But some of those visits must be high quality. There’s a clear connection between Stumblefests and link growth.
March 19th, I started seeing a huge influx of StumbleUpon traffic. Within a few days I’d received nearly 7500 visits from toolbar users:
My Technorati links surged a few days later:
And my Yahoo! inlinks surged almost exactly 4 weeks later.
I checked against 12 other bursts of traffic from StumbleUpon over the last year. Same pattern: Surge in traffic, then surge in Technorati and Bloglines links immediately, and a surge in Yahoo! links within 4 weeks.
Now you’re sitting at your desk wondering “Why did I read this article?! More visits equals more links?! It’s obvious!”
It’s actually not. A lot of sharp internet marketers have relegated StumbleUpon to the trash heap as something that’s gratifying but has little long-term value.
I don’t agree.
Success on StumbleUpon can mean more links, which means success in the search engines and a broader web of folks bragging about you.
Include it in your social media and SEO strategy. It’s well worth the 2 minutes it takes.
Some people have made a science out of gaming StumbleUpon to get more traffic. You can if you want, but I’ve had good success by simply:
- Downloading the StumbleUpon toolbar.
- Stumbling stuff I like about 10 minutes per day.
- ‘Friending’ a few people who share similar browsing interests.
- And then stumbling my own stuff if I think it’s really worthy.
That last is important. Do not try to spam StumbleUpon. And don’t get 50 friends to stumble your articles every time you post one, either. The site has filters for this kind of thing, and you’ll find yourself dinged or banned.
But follow those four steps and you’re bound to start seeing more traffic on your site, and more links. StumbleUpon is worth the time.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More