Quick Guide to StumbleUpon Categorization and Tagging



One of the most annoying issues on StumbleUpon, both from a user and a webmaster perspective is the bizarre categorization system.

SU mixes tags and categories in a way nobody really grasps.

You can only memorize them by using this flawed system in a trial and error way. After more than a year of SU practice I finally got it, but most people don’t.


Introducing a quick guide

Thus I present to you a quick guide to StumbleUpon categorization and tagging.

Why bother in the first place? As I said before, StumbleUpon is channel surfing on the Web. It means that, metaphorically speaking:

don’t put celebs on the discovery channel or cars on the politics channel.

Otherwise you won’t reach your desired audience.

Miscategorization means:

  • No traffic beside the initial push of a few people
  • High bounce rate of those people who are not interested in your subject matter
  • Bad and angry reviews
  • Spam reports


Yeah, I’m on the Internet

I get miscategorized all of the time that’s why I wrote about the categories that make sense to submit my posts to:

  • marketing
  • search
  • stumbleupon
  • blogs
  • web development
  • internet tools
  • writing
  • business
  • internet

depending of course on the topic of the post. Most people just drop every post of mine in “internet”.

Even if deals with a tiny aspect of the Internet but mostly with a marketing or search specific subject most SU users don’t care for.

Ironically people submit my posts that really deal with the Internet as a whole to the marketing category where nobody cares.


Not everything is technology

Likewise most people miscategorize technology posts and websites. They all end up in science/tech.

The science and technology category on SU is not meant for the latest Internet craze, gadgets or hardware news. You have lots of categories for that:

  • internet
  • internet tools
  • cyberculture
  • IT
  • computers
  • computer hardware
  • computer science
  • electronic devices
  • electrical eng.

There is another problem besides miscategorization due to lack of understanding the system.

Some of the most bizarre miscategorizations happen due to the non-intuitive tag to category translation StumbleUpon performs.

Some tags get assigned to categories but not always the way you think.

At least one category even leads to nowhere. SU sometimes just assigns a seemingly random category which has nothing to do with the post or is based on the site’s general topic.


StumbleUpon tag to category dictionary

Here is a little StumbleUpon tag to category dictionary. On the left is the tag you enter, on the right the category it ends up in:

electronics -> electronic devices

web design -> web development

web-design -> web development

blogs -> weblogs

design -> graphic design

health -> health/fitness

technology -> science/tech

electricity -> electrical eng (electrical engineering)

non profit -> nonprofit/charity

iraq -> iraq conflict

These tags will be left without category (which basically kills a StumbleUpon submission):


tech -> [empty]
Use “technology” or some specific category from the above list.

children -> [empty]
Use “kids” instead.

charity -> [empty]
Use “non profit” instead.



StumbleUpon may decide for you

Last but not least any submission that you mark as “adult” will end up in the porn category where most people won’t see it at all.

Thus think twice before doing it just because you see some breasts on your image. Sometimes SU will simply decide what your submission is about.

For example an article I’ve added dealing with an all-time high of the Facebook stock price I tagged with “tech” has been categorized as “investing” a tiny category many people won’t notice at all.

Add more categorization and tagging issues in the comments! I’ll be glad to add them in the post.


Last updated: June 25th, 2015.


* (CC BY-ND 2.0) Creative Commons image by Micheal Theis