StumbleUpon: It’s NOT About the SEO! 4 Compelling Reasons to Become a Heavy StumbleUpon User.


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StumbleUpon as part of a strategy that the “SEO [Search Engine Optimization] Gurus” recommend to create backlinks to your blog content from social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit. The idea being that the more links you have from other sites, the higher your SEO will be.

And, as anyone who has ever used StumbleUpon just for this reason will tell you, you quickly realize that you are just wasting your time because just by thumbing up your own blog posts you are not gaining any significant additional traffic to your website.
From my own analysis, most of these types of people either stop wasting their time with StumbleUpon or hire a Virtual Assistant to do the “Social Bookmarking” for them.

And you know what? These people are missing out on so much that StumbleUpon offers.

Below are 4 compelling reasons why you should start using StumbleUpon. Yes, I know, StumbleUpon had its heyday and is facing competition from sites like Digg and Reddit. In fact, many lament that StumbleUpon is on its way down. I disagree: the strength of StumbleUpon is in its algorithm which delivers as promised: StumbleUpon helps you discover the Web. And if we all start becoming heavy users, users like you and me can help raise the quality and freshness of the content that appears on StumbleUpon. Let’s start stumbling!

1) StumbleUpon Helps You Discover the Best of the Web…in Less Time

I often get asked where to go to find relevant information with all of these blogs and Web 2.0 sites out there. Look no further: the more you use StumbleUpon, the more relevant of user-voted sites it will recommend to you. It’s simple: you install the StumbleUpon browser toolbar, and whenever you see something you like or dislike, you select the thumbs-up or thumbs-down button. You don’t have to do it for every site, but the more you do it, the more StumbleUpon will know about you and your interests. Then, when you are ready to “Stumble,” or randomly view a site that the StumbleUpon algorithm recommends to you, you simply select “Stumble” and you will be navigated to a site that was selected based in part on your previous rankings. I have found some great and relevant blog posts on StumbleUpon that just didn’t show up on other popular social media channels in this way. If you want to find more targeted information, StumbleUpon also gives you the option of “Stumbling” by category, so that all of your results would only be websites that others categorized for you.

If StumbleUpon sounds addicting, you’re right!

2) StumbleUpon Helps You Find Interesting People to Follow

Once you find a website that you like, assuming that you are not the first to submit the site to StumbleUpon, you can also see who first submitted the site as well as who else favorited the post. You can then go to their profiles for more potential informative websites to discover. You can consider it “social networking connected by ideas” because these people are giving the same opinions on the same websites that you are! It can work the other way around as well: if you submit your own “discovery” or first-time submitted website, you can see who else favorited it afterwards and find relevant people to follow in this way.

Once you find people you want to “follow,” you “subscribe” to their feeds of websites that they favorited. You can then go to your customized feed, similar to your Twitter or Facebook Wall, to discover new content. But it’s more than just a Twitter stream of tweets: you can discover new websites by most recent views, top rated, most shares, or even categorized by the tags that interest you. The more relevant the content is of the people you “subscribe” to, the better the content will appear both in your stumbling as well as on your “Discover” page on StumbleUpon.

3) StumbleUpon has a Unique Advertising System: You Can Buy Traffic to Your Website

What if you still want to somehow tap in to the StumbleUpon market and use it to drive traffic to your website? StumbleUpon actually welcomes advertisements, at 5 cents apiece, to the URL and category of your choice. StumbleUpon reviews each advertisement submission to ensure that the content matches the proposed category, but if it does, you can now insert whatever website you want into the stream of content that stumblers view. The more thumb ups you receive, the more other stumblers will start to see your content.

I know this sounds weird, but if you are confident in your content, why not lead StumbleUpon users to quickly discover your site? On the other hand, if you just want to lead people to a landing page or sell something to them, chances are this strategy will work against you and you will receive thumb downs, which will prevent others from stumbling your site. My advice: utilize a blog post that adds value and indirectly leads people to want to see the rest of your website. Social Media Marketing 101.

Also, if 5 cents a view sounds cheap, it is. The reason? Visitors from StumbleUpon have notoriously high bounce rates. After all, some of them were “just stumbling!”

4) Yes, Using StumbleUpon Will Lead to More Traffic to Your Website…Organically

At the end of the day, similar to a Twitter ReTweet, as you stumble more content and hopefully start discovering a lot of new content that has yet to be stumbled, you will gain new subscribers who will see more and more of your content. Since you can’t automate following and un-following like you can on Twitter, StumbleUpon actually requires you to physically vet out those that you want to subscribe to and begin relationships with (isn’t that what social media is supposed to be about?). It also requires you to share more information about websites that you recommend and less self-promotion about your own, similar to Twitter. But should you have the right content, have created the right relationships on StumbleUpon, and have shared in the thousands of websites and thus have become a “StumbleUpon Channel” for others, the potential rewards for traffic back to your own website are huge: I have seen websites that have registered 100,000+ views just from StumbleUpon alone.

I have only been using StumbleUpon over the last few months, so I am still discovering new ways of using it. Heavy StumbleUpon users, I am sure, have longer lists of benefits. But hopefully the above will convince you to stop sitting on the sidelines ans start stumbling!

How have your experiences with StumbleUpon been? Do you prefer another social bookmarking site to it? Please inform us all! And please feel free to subscribe to my content on StumbleUpon!

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Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. I have been using StumbleUpon for about three months and find it excellent. I use it for locating articles and blogs in my fields of interest. However, I haven’t got the toolbar installed yet.

    Despite not being trained the site has given me consistently high quality results. I’d guess that about 45% of the articles/blogs it uncovers are both relevant and interesting.

  2. I’ve used stumbleupon for some time now. It drives great bursts of traffic that stabilize at slightly higher rates.

    And it’s fun for me to find blog to comment on… like yours.

  3. Stumbleupon has a very powerful benefit of giving peak traffic, on very specific and easy to read/view content. It doesn’t necessarily bring loyalty. People tend to browse pages in 2-5 seconds and stumble again to the next one. However, I do agree that you can find excellent sites, brillant pictures and funny stuff. Finally, the random aspect of the next stumble is really exciting!

  4. I have been stumbling since 1997. I have discovered so many websites it is amazing. I see stumbleupon as that spark of variety needed for a species to survive.
    I once read an article about website use and was amazed to hear that most people use the same 15 websites day afetr day and experience nothing really new from the internet. Stumbleupon solves this problem.

  5. Thank you all for your comments and good to see so many fellow SyumbleUpon fans here! Although I am a relative newbie, I already see the light and see how important a site StumbleUpon can be in helping me discover what’s out there. The more that join StumbleUpon, stumble, and rate sites, the more and better content there will be for us to stumble, so let’s all go out there and keep evangelizing StubleUpon to the masses!


  6. Hey Neal,

    Thanks for posting this article. This was some real good information on proper usage of web 2.0 sites.

    Thanks again.


  7. I’ve always struggled with StimpleUpon. I find it nowhere near as valuable as following interesting people on Twitter and picking up links from them there. And as a business we have peaks of traffic from SU, but only ever there for 2 seconds and a single page view before disappearing to the next. That isn’t valuable traffic for us.

    Ian Hendry
    CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ

  8. I’m using SU for several years now, sometimes more sometimes less. The great thing is that my old sites are still getting “stumbled”. This is free traffic even for older pages. These days I think the re-tweet model from twitter is more efficient for upcoming news.

  9. Good article Neal all of your points very true, I often describe StumbleUpon as a customizable research assistant living inside your browser (for those using the toolbar). I am personally a big hater of toolbars, and always removed the google ones, yahoo ones and the like, but stumble is there to stay on mine.

    Once stumble gets a better idea of what you like, and you fill your profile out and all of your categories you wish to receive stumbles from you can get some very interesting finds that are relative to the kind of information you need to keep up to date with.

    My friends I have networked with through stumbleupon cannot speak highly enough of it and as you said its addictive.

    I have seen some sites get a million plus hits to an article. So I think the stumble upon community is alive and kicking and here to stay. Often misunderstood, regularly overlooked, but works! bottom line.

  10. Hello Again,

    Thank you all for your comments. I just wanted to remind those that compare StumbleUpon to Twitter or complain that they don’t get a lot or enough high quality traffic from StumbleUpon: that is exactly what StumbleUpon is NOT about! If you’re using StumbleUpon just to drive traffic to your website, you will not get a lot out of it, and that is the purpose of my article, to show you the other value in StumbleUpon that you might be missing out on!


  11. Great Post Neal! Of all of the networks on that I post content, Stumbleupon sends the most traffic back to my site. Period! 🙂

  12. Thanks for the kind words Greg! Although I wrote the post to convince people that StumbleUpon should not be used just for the SEO, if you use it as I recommend it can become a major source of traffic as you have seen. Glad to hear there’s another StumbleUpon fan out there!

  13. Just came across this, you guessed it, Stumbling.

    Have used StumbleUpon for ages as a resource for finding information, finding resources and general relaxation (the kitty and doggy stumbles are such a stress relief).

    See questions about where to find blogs to comment on, where to find places to link to, where to find… Well stumble it!

  14. Thanks for the comment…a great example of how Stumbling can enrich your life. I agree 100% with your comments, so thanks for validating my experiences!

  15. I also just started stumbling. I didn’t even realized the website existed until someone “stumbled” on my site. I recorded about 70 hits because of that one stumble. So the site can definitely generate some traffic even if that’s not your ultimate goal.

    I also enjoy “sharing” new website’s on my twitter page.

  16. Exactly Kevin! I am also finding StumbleUpon to be a great source of content which I can also tweet about, just as sometimes I find tweets that I can submit to StumbleUpon. The key about StumbleUpon is that, as opposed to Twitter, you can save your thumbs-up websites and review them later…and the more you use StumbleUpon in this way, the better the recommendations become and the more people that subscribe to you. It’s like organic magic!

  17. Thanks for the great information about Stumble. We all use stumble many many times but do not know its benefits so its good that you explain broadly. I was just doing thumb up for the pages I like without going deep to it.

  18. choosing a category and stumbling is funny and saves time. I have chosen SEO and stumbling and see good websites with good content!

  19. Great article! I very much agree with you – and found this article via stumpleupon which I’ve been using for several years now.

    I do you twitter also but find it less efficient still than stumble.

    Kenneth Pedersen
    Golden Planet

  20. good article.

    i myself have found a good many people coming from stumble.

    one thing i disagree, stumble IS for SEO. increase in traffic and page view, etc. will bring you increase in SE rank.

  21. i try to spend an hour of my time a day to stumble around blogs for backlinks and also to learn something new. I love the tool and it has help me keep up to date with what im getting backlinks from and just seeing whats out there in the cyber world. thanks for the post.

  22. After becoming 4 years in Stumbleupon I must say that you are absolutely right…, but, 😉 Thanks for reminding me

  23. Hey Elroy, that’s great advice on choosing a category and stumbling! You can subscribe to categories and then have them display on the Firefox Toolbar by category. Thanks for the comment!

  24. Hey Kenneth,

    I am not a longtime stumbler, so it’s an honor that you found this article and also agree with what I wrote.

    Twitter is another way of finding great content, but you have to filter out a lot more noise and press more links than StumbleUpon…and the StumbleUpon recommendations engine always optimizes itself to introduce you to content that you will truly like…Twitter does not have this functionality, of course.

    Thanks again for the comment…and keep in touch!

    Neal Schaffer

  25. Eric,

    Thanks for your comment…and in all honesty, StumbleUpon has tremendous benefits for your SEO without a doubt. But is only helps if you become a contributor and user, and those are the points that I wanted to express in this post. Glad that you agree!

    – Neal

  26. Thanks for your comment…and that is a very interesting way of using StumbleUpon, to find relevant backlinks! I use StumbleUpon to research topics for a different purpose, but thank you for sharing your advice with us!

  27. Neal, thanks for the post. I’m actually not using digg or reddit. Stumbleupon is way more valuable in terms of discovering content both for recreational reading and business. Stumbleupon helps me find relevant sites and blogs to develop in my industry. Thanks a bunch for standing up for Stumbleupon. Alex.

  28. Alex,

    I am the exact same as you. I met with a computer geek this weekend who told me that a lot of them have moved from Slashdot to Digg and now Reddit, but for social media I don’t see any of those sites as being extremely influential or helping me find relevant content. At least with StumbleUpon, I know the more I use it the more relevant information it will send my way.

    Neal Schaffer

  29. I had no idea you could get PPC on StumbleUpon, I’ll have to look into it more 🙂

    Found this article on Stumble though, FWIW!

  30. You are right. People will waste their time if they use StumbleUpon for the purpose of SEO. StumbleUpon will help a site get indexed by search engines faster though. I used to use StumbleUpon when I barely made my site but now I just use it to stumble upon some interesting stuff.

  31. My experience is very nice till now with StumbleUpon where i am sharing my information,article , press release and video can share your information in proper category but this type of category is present in Twitter or Facebook so at last Stumble Upon is Best social Networking website in the world.this type of website is basically made for seo


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