Pinterest may be more known as a social media network for sharing recipe ideas, blog posts, and décor inspiration. But, the site also doubles as one of the biggest search engines on the web.
If your Pinterest content isn’t optimized for Pinners’ searches, you may be missing out. Keywords are building blocks for search engine optimization—and Pinterest is basically a visual search engine.
Using the right Pinterest keywords will help your content reach the right audience.
There are a few ways to do keyword research on Pinterest, like using guided search to see automatic suggestions or drawing inspiration from hashtags.
In the last few years, Pinterest has become one of the top sources of social traffic for marketers, especially those running ecommerce sites. And that’s because, unlike other social media networks, Pinterest is a visual search engine.
Your posts on Pinterest – aka “Pins” – live up to 1,600 times longer than on Facebook or any other platform:
Why you should ignore monthly views
Do you get excited when the number goes up? Or, perhaps you are wondering why your numbers are so low compared to other pinners?
You know what? Stop worrying! It’s just a vanity stat.
It’s common to see 1 million monthly viewers on a Pinterest profile. Sounds pretty impressive, n’est-ce pas? Unfortunately, 1 million monthly viewers DO NOT convert into 1 million visits to my website, or email subscribers. If it gave me a teeny weeny 0.01% conversion rate of 100 Pinterest coaching sessions sold every month, I would be VERY happy. Is this happening? Nope.
So, what does this number actually mean?
The number of monthly unique viewers is simply the number of times any of the pins you shared appear in a Pinterest feed. Whether people click on it or not. In fact, they may not even see your pin in the stream of pins they scroll through on their screen. It is also important to note that it does not only include views of your own content, but it also includes content you have saved from other sites.
A high number of monthly viewers is, of course, extremely flattering. It looks good and gives you “street cred”. It’s an indication that Pinterest is showing your content in people’s Pinterest feeds. If nothing else, a high number of monthly views is a sign that your content is consistently being shown for certain keywords. So, if this is you, you’re probably doing a great job of key-wording your pins!
However, a high number of monthly views is absolutely meaningless if they are not generating traffic to your website. After all, the purpose of distributing your content on Pinterest is to get more business! If people are seeing your pins but are not clicking on them or sharing them, then you need to modify your Pinterest tactics.
Instead of fretting over your monthly unique viewers, take a look at your website data in Pinterest Analytics each month. A good KPI to look at is the number of clicks and saves a pin is generating. Let me explain.
Why Your Business Should Use Pinterest SEO
Although it is often lumped in with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest is actually a visual search engine. Yes, you can share images on Pinterest like you do on Instagram and Facebook, and it will refer traffic to your site. However, the way people use Pinterest and the way the algorithm delivers content is very different.
Here are some Pinterest statistics that should make you sit up and take notice of the platform:
- As of the Q4 2019, Pinterest has more than 335 million monthly active users
- 90% of weekly pinners have used Pinterest to make a purchase
- 40% of Pinterest users have a household income of $100,000
- 45% of all women online are Pinterest users
- 50% of new signups are men
- Two-thirds of all pins represent brands or products
- 73% of pinners say content from brands makes Pinterest more useful
- 93% of users use Pinterest to plan purchases
- 55% of users shop on the site
- 34% of Americans ages 18 to 34 use Pinterest
- Pinterest images reach 83% of US women ages 25-54
- There were 600 million Pinterest Lens searches in February 2018
- 59% of millenials have discovered products on Pinterest
People use Pinterest to plan moments in their lives and to research products and ideas to improve their lives. Much of Pinterest’s content is aspirational. People use it like a dream board of things they want to do and accomplish in their lives, personally and professionally. They are looking for products or services to fill their lifestyle and professional needs and enjoy viewing the images on Pinterest to get ideas and learn about trends. Given the way people use Pinterest to search and shop, most every business should investigate using Pinterest to expand their reach online.
Tailwind – the best free tool to grow your Pinterest following and monthly viewers
Tailwind is a scheduling tool that is usually considered to be one of the best in the industry. This amazing Pinterest tool has ample functions that let you go in and schedule pins in bulk to be published over a set pinning calendar.
With Tailwind, you can:
- Easily upload images
- Schedule your pins at the best time
- Measure and analyze the performance of your pins
- Reach new audiences via Tailwind Tribes
Additionally, there are three basic things we love about Tailwind:
- You can group themed boards into global boards for one-time, multi-board pinning: This feature lets you pin to one global board, and it’ll also go to lots of other individual boards assigned to it with one click. Thus, the global boards through Tailwind will be titled “boards” to distinguish them from standard Pinterest boards.
- The ability to space out those group pins in your chosen intervals to prevent redundancy: In this case, if you have 7 boards in a global board, the same pin can be pinned over a certain period of once a day, once every other day, etc.
- Your pin deck can be shuffled around while keeping the interval pins above locked in place at a given time: This feature allows you to upload up to 1,000 pins into your queue, click a button to randomize all of them, but still keep the interval pins in the bullet above locked in your chosen schedule.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that although Tailwind now has Instagram scheduling and publishing feature, most of the features are channeled towards Pinterest, and that’s the network we’ll focus more on for this Tailwind review and tutorial.
Pro tip: Create a free Tailwind account and start joining tribes to share your content and receive Pin saves from others within your niche! Let us know how you like Tailwind in the comments.
What to look for in Pinterest Analytics
Head over to Pinterest Analytics and take a look at some different monthly figures for your website:
Consider the following when taking a look at your Pinterest website analytics:
- Which are the Top Pin impressions from the last 30 days?
- How many are generating clicks to your website?
- How many are being saved/shared by other pinners?
This is the kind of data you should be looking at to help you evaluate your ROI on Pinterest.
How to Calculate Marketing Metrics
- Click-through rate = Clickthroughs / Impresssions
- Save rate = Saves / Impressions
- Engagement rate = (Clickthroughs + Saves) / Impressions
Identify the highest converting pins. Notice that pins that perform well are not necessarily those that get the highest number of impressions. Another interesting point to note is that for some pins the clickthrough rate is considerably higher than the save rate and vice versa.
- Click-through rate is higher than Save rate: The image catches people’s attention, but content may not correspond to their expectations. The pinner decides not to save it. Or, perhaps the pinner was just curious and never really intended to save the pin. You may want to try modifying the message on your pin, so that there is no expectation mismatch.
- Save rate is higher than Clickthrough rate: People are less tempted to click on this content. Instead, they save it. My guess is that this is inspirational content, where people are looking for ideas and collecting them for future reference, without necessarily clicking through to your website.
The Top Pin Impressions report gives you a good idea which of your pins resonate with your Pinterest audience. You should regularly check this data to check how your pins are doing and adjust your tactics whenever necessary. Identify which of your own pins are most popular. You could share these more often. Consider creating new images for existing blog articles, to give them a fresh look and feel and share them again.
Go to your Profile’s (not website) Top Pin Impressions. Do you only see other people’s pins here? Take a closer look and try to identify why they are doing so well. Is it possible to apply this to your own pinning strategy?
Are you using the right keywords, so that your pins turn up in the desired search results?
You can also benchmark this type of data over a much longer period of historical data. Simply select a larger date range and export the data for further analysis:
Get down to the detail in Google Analytics
The Top Pin Impressions from the last 30 days provides you with a list of the 50 pins with the highest number of impressions over the last month, i.e. the highest number of “appearances” in Pinterest feeds or search results. However, this does not provide you with the full picture. For that, Google Analytics is a mine of information to help you analyse how Pinterest is driving traffic to your website. There is so much information that it can be a bit overwhelming. You can start by looking at the following reports:
- Acquisition > Social to look at number of sessions generated by Pinterest. A session is a given time frame during which a user is active on your website (e.g. browse pages, download resources, etc). What percentage is this of the total traffic you get on your website?
- Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals gives you more detailed information such as new users and average number of pages viewed during a session. It also shows you which Pinterest feeds are sending you traffic (pinterest.com, pinterest.ca, pinterest.co.uk, pinterest.fr,…) If you are targeting a specific territory, this is interesting to know.
- Acquisition > Social > Landing Pages > At the top of the table, add “Source” as a Secondary Dimension to the report. You now have a list of your most popular web site pages and the source that sent this traffic to your site.
Rather than closely observing the number of monthly unique viewers on your Pinterest page, analyse the actual traffic Pinterest is sending to your web site. So, whether your monthly viewer number is high or low, it is important to understand that this is NOT a good measure of your success. Instead you should…
- Regularly check actual traffic via Analytics on Pinterest and Google.
- Check Pinterest Analytics to see which pins bring in most traffic.
- Check the keywords for your pins and update if necessary.
- Share more of what’s working.
- Create new images for existing blog articles.
- Learn from successful pins.
Pinterest’s Head of Product Marketing, Sarah Hoople Shere, chatted with Alisa Meredith of Tailwind, sharing their latest updates and answering viewers’ questions. Hearing how Pinterest works directly from a key insider helps us understand how the search engine serves up content. According to Shere, Pinterest is investing more resources to serve content creators and help them optimize their use of the platform.
How Pinterest Serves Up Content
Besides being shown to people who follow you, how do people find your pins? Shere explained Pinterest SEO and best practices for getting found on the search engine.
Here’s how your content gets distributed on Pinterest. When you pin an image, it gets shown to your followers first. Through the following tab, that happens more quickly than it did in the past. From there, Pinterest can gauge how well the pin performs and then show it to others through searches and recommended pins in their home feed. Shere noted that if you pin an image to more than one board, pin it to the most relevant board first. The pin from the first board will get shown to your followers.
Shere’s number 1 piece of advice is to make sure the pin is engaging and relevant to your followers. They are the ones that will give the signal that it’s a good piece of content that should be distributed more broadly. Her second piece of advice is to follow universal SEO best practices to make sure it’s relevant to other pinners that might be interested in it.
The People You Follow Tab
Pinterest has an option to navigate from your default Smart Feed to show pins from people you follow. This option to view pins in your “people you follow” feed (also known as the Following tab) gives the user more control over what they see in their feed. You’ll see the first few pins from people you follow, in reverse chronological order. If you’ve been using Pinterest for a few years, you’ll remember that you used to see pins from those you follow as your default.
You can think of this as Pinterest’s way of helping the platform be more social in that users have the option to view pins from people they know and follow – friends, bloggers, and businesses. It’s refreshing when you consider the changes to Instagram and Facebook and their algorithms which serve up content they “think” we want to see based on their algorithms.
As a content creator, this is a great way to get your content in front of people who follow you. Post consistently, and your followers will begin to recognize your pins and feel more connected to your brand over time.
Consistency Over Volume
Shere explains that there’s no such thing as pinning too much. However, she advises that they prefer consistency over volume. It’s better to pin 5 images each day than to pin 15 on Monday and another 15 on Friday.
In the event that pinners do pin a ton of pins at one time, they’ve accounted for that with their new algorithm. In your followers’ feed, they will publish the first 5 pins that you post that day; then they will show 5 pins from someone else that your follower follows as long as those accounts have pinned that day, etc. Then further down the feed, they will show your next 5 pins after content from other accounts that your followers follow.
When Does a New Day Start on Pinterest?
When you’re figuring out when new pins for that day will start to show up in your followers’ feeds, you need to know that the new day starts at midnight UTC (which is 8pm EST.) That’s when the “first 5 pins of the day” will show up in your followers’ Following tab.
Comments Will be Unified Per URL
In the past, pins with comments and photo tries were published underneath each instance of that pin, if it was pinned directly from the website. Now, they have consolidated comments into one stream. This shows that a pin has greater engagement than if the comments were spread out among several different pins from that one URL.
They’ve also added the ability to like and reply to comments. Pinterest is attempting to be more “social” by giving users new ways to engage with content. The comments and the “tried it” feature are great for content creators since they provide social proof that an idea is helpful or that it works.
Time of Day Doesn’t Matter, but…
Shere explained that the time of day that you pin doesn’t matter. However, the first 5 pins that you save each day will get the most reach. You may notice that your audience tends to engage more during a certain time of day. Watch your analytics to determine when that is, and then post those first 5 pins of the day at that time.
Essential Elements of Pinterest SEO
Keyword Rich Descriptions
The most important place to use keywords is in your descriptions. Think about what your audience searches for on Pinterest. Use those keywords in your descriptions, with variations of the keyword phrase. Include keywords about the pin as well as keywords around the theme of your pin. A good example of a keyword rich description is: “This chocolate fondue recipe is great for your next chocolate-themed birthday party and will have chocolate dessert lovers begging for more.” Great Pinterest descriptions include very specific topical keywords as well as broader search terms. You want to avoid keyword stuffing though so that your description is natural and engaging.
You can do quick keyword research within Pinterest by typing in a core keyword in the search bar. Similar to the way Google recommends keywords, Pinterest will recommend keywords under your search query. This will give you an idea of keywords that pinners are searching for.
If you click on one of the suggested search terms, you can drill down further and discover related keywords and themes that you can use in your content and your pin descriptions.
Your pin description should match the blog post title, which can also help with a lot of your link building efforts. Pinterest wants users to have a good experience. When they click your pin image to open up the article, they want the article to live up to the expectations the user has for the link they are opening. The content of the pin should match the content of the landing page or blog article.
To increase click-throughs to your website, direct readers where to go by using calls to action. Ask them to click to read the article or click to see the recipe. Also be sure to include your URL in the description and in the URL field when pinning new content.
Effective Pin Images
The optimal ratio is 2:3, or 600×900 pixels. If you go taller than that, your pin may get lower distribution and may get cut off in the app. Squares also work, but vertical pins work better because you’re getting more space in the feed.
Regarding the content of the pin image, users are looking for help contextualizing the information. Using lifestyle images, tasteful branding, and limited helpful text which hints at the original content is suggested. Tasteful branding is adding a little brand awareness to your pin, including a small logo or URL and on-brand colors. It ensures that as your pin is distributed over time, that your branding isn’t lost (especially if pinners change the description of the pin) and people can always try to go back to the original source. URLs or logos are best placed in the bottom or top center of the image.
Pin Fresh Content
A brand new pin, whether it’s from a new article or an old article, is considered fresh content. Your followers will want to see fresh content from you. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a scheduling tool or pinning natively on Pinterest, all content is treated the same. If you’re using a scheduling application, you don’t need to worry that your content will be served up less frequently.
Other Places for Keywords
Use keywords in your profile, board titles, and board descriptions. Cover all of the ways someone might be looking for your pins, your boards, and a person like you. Include keyword-related hashtags.
Yes, Pinterest now supports hashtags. When users search by hashtag, the pins are served in reverse chronological order. So, fresh pins appear at the top of the search. Pinterest has found that pins with hashtags do get more distribution the first day they are pinned. You can add up to 20 relevant hashtags to a pin description. Focus on semantic hashtags – general themes that people will search for. Pinners search for hashtags and click on hashtags within pin descriptions, so they are using hashtags to discover fresh content both ways.
Direct Pins vs. Repins
If you’re wondering which holds more weight, having your image pinned directly from your website or re-pinned, there isn’t much of a difference in how Pinterest evaluates the pin’s engagement. You want both as they both signal to the algorithm that the pin has value to those looking for ideas about your pin’s topic. Both direct pins and repins will help your pin show up in search and as a recommended pin in the home feed.
Focus on Analytics
Use analytics to determine what pins are most engaging and relevant to your audience and make adjustments. You’ll need a business account to view your analytics. You will also want to claim your website on Pinterest and embed the code on your site, as well as enable rich pins.
A common question among Pinterest users is, “Should I delete underperforming pins?” Shere’s answer is “no.” Pins with a low number of repins will not hurt your other pins’ chances of being distributed. She also advises that an underperforming pin that doesn’t do well initially may gain traction later on. There’s no value in spending time deleting underperforming pins.
Tips for Getting More Followers
Followers are a small portion of the people you reach on Pinterest. In your new business profile, check out the number of followers you have and your total reach. Most of your pin distribution takes place with people who discover your content (through searches and their home feed) and aren’t yet followers.
Now that users have the following tab and can more easily view pins from people they follow, content creators may want to focus on creating content their followers will engage with. As mentioned before, engagement from your followers will signal to Pinterest that your pin should be distributed to more people. Shere advises that the quality of your followers is more important than the number of followers. It’s better to have a low number of highly engaged followers than a large number of followers that rarely engage.
To build your followers, Pinterest is rolling out features to help recommend you to pinners who like your type of content. To help Pinterest recognize that you are a high-quality content creator and that they should recommend you to pinners, make sure you have a business account, claim your website, pin regularly, and have an optimized profile and keyword rich board descriptions.
Other steps to draw followers to your account include:
- Having a Pinterest follow button on your website
- Make sure your followers on other channels know you are on Pinterest and give them a link to follow you
- Embed the pin in your blog post and ask your readers to indicate that they’ve tried it by leaving a photo comment on the pin
- Join Pinterest boards
- Start your own board and invite people
- Use compelling images and infographics to create a brand identity
- Follow your competitor’s followers
- Optimize your profile name with keywords