Tumblr Photo Posts and Google - Update 2015

Bob Leggitt | Tuesday, 3 March 2015 |


Just a quick post for Tumblr users interested in getting their photos found on Google. It’s been difficult in the past to find Google-friendly workarounds for the Tumblr Photo Post, which has always been blighted by very poor SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) potential.

Specifically, in Photo Posts, there's been no provision for adding a proper title, which Google can recognise as such. Google needs titles in order to understand which text on your blog is key information. With no easy way of adding a machine-recognisable title to Tumblr's Photo Post format, Google has been unable to do this, with the usual result that the search engine struggles to work out which bits of your page it should try to match with primary search terms. That means the posts are much less likely to be found.  But since the latest revisions to the Tumblr posting interface, it’s been possible to quickly and conveniently designate a machine-recognisable title for your Photo Posts.


Tumblr Photo Posts still don’t get a proper, designated title. However, the new Tumblr interface allows you to select ordinary caption text and turn it into a heading. Without getting too technical, what the function does is to mark your selected text with ‘h2’ Heading tags. You won’t see the tags – you’ll just see your text get larger. But Google will see the ‘h2’ tags, and when it does, it’ll know that text is important. Important enough to be considered a title. If your ‘h2’ title reflects what’s in your photo, you should have a much better chance of people finding it on Google.


Start a new Photo Post and upload your photo(s) as normal.

Beneath your photo(s) in the caption box, type a title you feel will match the search term people will use to find your post. For example, if your photo depicts a Scottish fishing boat, and you believe people will search Google for a picture of a Scottish fishing boat, type the phrase Scottish Fishing Boat. Now select this text, and a line of tools will pop up above it. On the mini toolbar, click the ‘H’. This instantly turns your text into a heading. You'll see it grow in size straight away.

Tumblr post box

You may also want to add some ordinary text in separate paragraphs, underneath. This is a good idea, as the more information Google has about your image(s), the wider the net you’re casting for web surfers' more elaborate 'long-tail' search terms.

Now publish the post. The Heading/Title will look larger than the other text in the Tumblr dashboard, as below. It's beneath the photo, rather than at the very top of the post, and that'll be the case on your blog too. But that doesn't matter to Google. Your text has the right invisible marker tags, so to Googlebot, it's effectively a title...

Tumblr post


Always remember that many other people are optimising for the search engines too, and that Tumblr still has deficiencies as compared with other blogging platforms or software. This is not a magic wand that instantly puts images on Google regardless of all other factors. You need to be clever in finding the gaps and niches which other publishers haven’t covered, and you need to be clever in the way you match your titles and word your captions. But using the Heading function on the new Tumblr toolbar will help, and it’s a step in the right direction for a post format that was previously almost impotent in terms of befriending Google.
Bob Leggitt
Bob Leggitt is a print-published writer, multi-instrumentalist and twice Guitarist of the Year finalist, Google-certified digital marketer, image manipulation expert, virtual musical instrument builder, "Twitter detective", and author of successful blogs such as Planet Botch, Twirpz and Tape Tardis. | [Twitter] | [Contact info]