How do I embed a Tumblr post and what is the value?

Embedding posts from Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and a few other websites, has become a common practice, especially among bloggers and journalists. It’s a tool that can help you tell a bigger and better story that revolves around engaging with fresh, dynamic content that is available to reuse simply and easily.

Embedding posts from Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and a few other websites, has become a common practice, especially among bloggers and journalists. It’s a tool that can help you tell a bigger and better story that revolves around engaging with fresh, dynamic content that is available to reuse simply and easily.

This week, Tumblr announced that it has followed other social media sites, and now allows users to embed posts from the Tumblr dashboard. That means that a whole new ecosystem is available to embed, and that’s giving people access to an incredible amount of content.

Tumblr is quite simply massive–their counter currently has them at 100.5 billion posts across 218.2 million blogs–and the styles of posts vary greatly between users, companies, and age groups. If you have a topic you write about, Tumblr offers something relevant that fits your niche.

To take a look at how it works, check out one example from my own personal Tumblr blog:

http://dustynine.tumblr.com/post/102447411757/the-king-george-cocktail-at-the-crown-royal

Essentially, the post looks exactly like it did on Tumblr, right down to my user icon, hashtags, and the action buttons in the bottom-right corner where Tumblr users can like the post, or share it. (Clicking the image takes you to my Instagram photo, since the image was posted directly to Tumblr from that service, but interactions with media will depend entirely on what was posted, and how it was posted.)

For those users who want to share their own Tumblr posts outside of the site, this new functionality is a big boon that allows people to spread content even further than before. You don’t need to post something twice–now you can post it once, and share it anywhere else. It even means that a company can run a Tumblr blog separate from their regular website blog, and selectively share posts on their website whenever they feel like it.

The only downside to the functionality is that, at least right now, you can only share content from the Tumblr dashboard, or from a site that has embedded a post already. The reason probably comes down to Tumblr themes not being all compatible with the necessary code, but whatever the reason, it means you need to keep an eye on the Tumblr dashboard to find posts you want to share, or do a search to find posts that way.

For instance, below is a post I found on Tumblr with the CES hashtag, from this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas:

http://mercedesbenz.tumblr.com/post/107418096918/progress-anyone-who-focuses-solely-on-the

How To Embed A Tumblr Post

So, how do you embed a post? It’s really simple. From the Tumblr dashboard, or from a shared post on a website (like this one), look for the icon that resembles three dots in a row and click on it. It will look like this after you click on it:

Tumblr embed a post

Next, just click on “Embed” and Tumblr will display the embed code, which has already been highlighted for copying. Copy it (using CTRL+C on PC, and Command+C on Mac) and, next, in your content management system, paste in the code.

For WordPress, you will need to paste the code into the Text editor (not the Visual editor), so the code doesn’t get mangled by the text editor. For any other content management system, you will likely need to paste it into the HTML view. It’s also important to note, for users who aren’t aware, that this code will only work in a content management system, including WordPress or Blogger. You can’t paste this code into Facebook or Twitter.

Okay, But Is Embedding Worth it?

Circling back to the start, for anyone looking for content to help them tell a story, Tumblr posts can be a great source for discussion, and of course they can be fun, interesting, or just plain funny. But, what other value is there?

In terms of Search Engine Optimization–if you are writing content for your site that you hope will appear highly in Google searches and possibly improve traffic to your website–there is also value in embedding posts because search engines can read the content that is being embedded. Whether it will help a lot depends on a whole bunch of other factors, of course, including keywords, keyword density, and even the length of the whole post.

The greater value, as I see it, is simply that social media offers a huge opportunity for engaging with your audience. Writing a smart, well-written article that includes embedded content can help retain visitors on your pages for longer periods of time, and possibly entice them to share a story elsewhere on social media. The value of embedded content can be big, especially with posts that offer images, video, or other graphics–and Tumblr is really all about the images.

There are no guarantees, of course, but this is a promising opportunity, and Tumblr has a wide range of incredible content from brands, businesses, and savvy people from around the world. If nothing else, it’s worth testing to see what reaction you get from your readers. Just be conscious of the type of content you share, and how relevant it is to your website, and your readers. Knowing your audience is still one of the most important factors.

Here’s one more of my own posts, for the Doctor Who fans, just for fun:

http://dustynine.tumblr.com/post/106871206557/after-finally-re-watching-guardians-of-the-galaxy

What does SEO really mean for your website?

There are two kinds of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), if you ask me.

One form of SEO is the necessary work that happens when you build a new website or update the site’s theme. This involves adding the proper elements to the page to help the content get picked up easier by Google, and it also includes basic plugins that help users adjust the SEO settings for each page–like the focus keyword–right from the content management system.

Content is King
There are two kinds of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), if you ask me.

One form of SEO is the necessary work that happens when you build a new website or update your website’s theme. This involves adding the proper elements to the site to help Google find your content easier, and it also includes basic plugins that help users adjust the SEO settings for each page–like the focus keyword–right from the page in the content management system.

The other form of SEO, however, is when you hire someone to stand on the digital street corner of the internet so they can try to attract attention from anyone who happens to be zipping past.

Comparing these two options, some could say that both are essential, but they offer vastly different results, and the price tag reflects how much effort goes into each as well.

For your average developer to set up your website properly with basic SEO options, you’re looking at work that can be completed in hours, whereas the promotional form of SEO could take hours each month, depending on how much you’re paying for (including back-links, blog articles, and so on).

As Smashing Magazine discusses in their latest article, The Inconvenient Truth About SEO, this is something more website owners need to think about. As writer Paul Boag says right away, “a lot of website owners see search engine optimization as the answer to their search ranking woes, when things are considerably more complex.”

“The inconvenient truth,” Boag goes on to say, “is that the best person to improve your ranking is you.”

As Boag explains, and as I can attest from my own experience running The GATE, the best way to increase your rank in Google is to create great content that is optimized for the readers and users, and in my opinion, for you to share it through social media to help build an audience.

Initially, especially for a new site, there is not usually much of an audience for most websites, so generating early traffic often means building it through social media and sending emails to existing clients. The catch right away, and what we come back to again, is that without great content, you really have nothing to share in the first place. Poorly written articles by SEO companies will rarely impress anyone, and they don’t provide any great details for readers, while interesting, thoughtful content will almost always generate sharing and user buzz.

This whole idea, however, also depends on social media integration with your website. Even the best content will not always ensure that users are going to take the extra step and copy your URL down to then paste it into another window where they have Twitter or Facebook ready to go. The best strategy, therefore, is to write intelligent content, and have social media sharing tools available on the major content pages of your website. This applies whether you are selling a product or a service, or blogging about the latest fashion news.

Back to Boag’s original point though, SEO techniques employed by third parties can work–there’s no question that they can increase traffic, but they’re built on the idea of manipulating Google’s system to make it believe that your website is relevant for a given topic, even if it’s not. To retain that position, it’s rare that you can then just sit back and stop paying the SEO company for their work. Without ongoing steps, when Google’s algorithm changes, it’s common for website positioning to fluctuate, and that means your paid-for position could suddenly crumble to nothing.

In the case of Black Hat SEO, the far worse implication is that your website could be penalized by Google and demoted entirely from a given keyword or search term.

As Boag says though, it does not have to be complicated. “Google’s aim is simple: connect its searchers with the most relevant content,” Boag writes. “If you are more worried about a good ranking than providing relevant content, then you are going to be fighting a losing battle.”

If you read Google’s webmaster guidelines, Boag points out what will work for you over the longer term: “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines” by creating “a useful, information-rich website, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.”

In other words, have a website that is filled with real information that will satisfy readers and interest potential buyers or advertisers. This is a vicious circle, since you may be starting with no traffic to begin with, but if you’re going to start anywhere, it should be with your content.

From my perspective, that’s why I encourage companies to start a blog on their website, have regular news items posted at least once a month, and find ways to build a reader base of interested people.

This all leads back to the most important thing I tell new customers: if you can’t produce content of your own and promote it over social media, then hire someone who can. A smaller investment in content and social media is a lot cheaper than SEO work, and it can produce far more worthwhile results.

My sales pitch here is that I can help you and your company produce great content, and I can help you build a social media presence with hundreds–or maybe even thousands–of engaged readers and customers. The benefit to this approach is that you can actually take control of your own social media channels and your content at any time. You don’t even need to learn anything about SEO–you just need to approach your topic honestly, and offer information that people want to read.

Read the rest of Boag’s article for the rest of his tips on creating content and the hazards of SEO, and otherwise feel free to have your say in the comments or contact me here.