Want a winning Pinterest strategy? It begins with search engine optimization (SEO) and your essential Pinterest SEO strategy. I’m going to share with you my Pinterest SEO best practices and my top Pinterest SEO strategy.
Note: Pin scheduler Traffic Wonker has sadly gone out of business, but owner and CEO Andy Fling has given me permission to share his useful Pinterest research and other information on my site. I jumped at the chance as Andy is the smartest guy I know when it comes to Pinterest!
Pinterest has the potential to drive hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to your site. Unfortunately, most bloggers don’t understand what needs to be done. That’s where this essential Pinterest SEO guide will give you an advantage over your competition.
What is Pinterest SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your site for increased “organic” traffic from search engines. Most of the process centers around figuring out which keywords your customer will use to find you and using these keywords throughout your blog and Pinterest account. Choose your keywords well, and not only will you have increased traffic, but your visitors will come ready to make a purchase.
How to Be Discovered on Pinterest
To get the most out of Pinterest you’ll need to consider how people are finding you and how to optimize your account for every possibility.
Pinterest visitors search:
The Pinterest SmartFeed
The Pinterest SmartFeed is the homepage for Pinterest. It’s the page people see when they log in. The Pinterest algorithm carefully considers each pin it adds to this feed so that visitors have the best experience with the site.
Pinterest fills this feed with pins from four content pools:
1) Pins Saved by People You Follow
2) Pins from Your Interest Categories
3) Related Pins
4) Promoted Pins
To make the most of the free traffic, your goal is to be discovered in each of the first three categories. The fourth category is Pinterest’s CPC (cost-per-click) advertising program.
Understanding the Pinterest Search Algorithm
Search engines never share everything about how their search engine works, because they don’t want people doing things that would unfairly alter the results. However, through careful observation and the things the Pinterest staff is willing to share, we can make smart choices.
Four factors determine ranking in Pinterest search:
1) Linked Domain Quality
2) Pin Quality (Number of Saves)
3) Pinner Quality (Number of Followers and Monthly Viewers)
4) Search Term Relevance
When you understand how to optimize each of these four factors your traffic will grow significantly.
Increasing Domain Quality
Part of the Pinterest algorithm is a tool that learns about your content over time. If your blog is a source of high-quality content, new pins will be an instant success. If your blog hasn’t been delivering great content, it’s not too late to turn it around. It will just take some time to teach the Pinterest bots that your content is one that should be shared.
A couple of things you can do right off the bat are:
1) Convert Your Pinterest Account to a Pinterest Business Account
2) Claim Your Website
3) Enable Your Blog for Rich Pins
4) Start Pinning Consistently
After you’ve got that going, go back and review your old posts.
Ask yourself if there are ways to improve:
1) Your Title – Test your current title with CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.
2) Post Quality – Consider expanding the post or improving on what you’ve already written.
3) Supporting Images – Consider enhancing your post with one or two more images.
I wrote a post a while back that wasn’t getting much traction. I didn’t understand why, because it was a quality, in-depth post with really creative graphics. I decided to revise the title and do a few tweaks that didn’t take me more than 15 minutes. Now this post is one of my top performing posts.
Curious which one it is? Check out: How to Be a Pinterest Marketing Superhero
Increasing Pin Quality
The quality of your pins is determined by the engagement visitors have with them. If people are clicking for a close-up, saving your pin, clicking through, adding a photo, or commenting often, Pinterest will regard your pin as a high-quality pin.
The Pinterest team recently said:
We distribute your content to your followers first to figure out what’s resonating. From there, we distribute your best-performing pins to other people who are looking for ideas like yours.
To understand the level of quality for each pin, Pinterest performs a site-wide search for all versions of your pin and combines the total engagement counts. Even the comments and photos are combined each time the pins are updated.
To improve pin quality you should:
1) Write Great Post/Product Titles
2) Design Great Pin Graphics
3) Write Compelling Pin Descriptions
4) Save Pins to the Most Appropriate Board First
How to Be a Pinterest Influencer
Pinterest ranks your account based on the pins that you curate. Share great pins, and Pinterest will trust you to share more. Share pins that no one cares about and Pinterest won’t have much confidence that your account is something visitors will get excited about.
Pinterest considers these things about you and the pins you share:
1) Number of Saves
2) Number of Clicks
3) Number of Impressions
4) Number of Comments
5) Your Activity on Pinterest
6) Account Size (Total Pins)
7) Relevance of Pins to Each Board
How to Stay Active and Get Rewarded
Posting pins with a Pinterest approved scheduler like TrafficWonker can save you tons of time, and keep your account active every day, throughout the day. TrafficWonker also features analytics tools to help you figure out which boards are helping the most, and which group boards you should consider leaving.
How to Discover and Share the Best Pins
You don’t need to guess which pins are popular. There are a couple of ways to guarantee that the pins you share are top quality pins.
1) Search Pinterest for the perfect pins to share. The pins that appear at the top of the search results are the pins that have been shared thousands of times. It’s a very good idea to add them to your account too.
2) Curate pins with TrafficWonker. Our FastFIll tool allows you to curate quality pins from any Pinterest board in seconds. Simply paste the board URL into TrafficWonker’s FastFill tool. FastFill will scan the board to find the pins with the most saves. Seconds later you’ll have 50 of the best pins that board has to offer added to your queue.
3) Review the stats to discover which pins are resonating with your followers, and post them more often. If you’re a TrafficWonker member, this happens automatically. Our Expert tool reviews your stats daily, plans a pinning strategy, and builds a new queue each week so you’re always pinning the perfect pins at the perfect time.
Perfecting Your Pinterest SEO Strategy
In determining your quality as a pinner, Pinterest considers if your pins are relevant. In other words, do your pins meet the needs of your followers?
We’ve discussed domain quality, pin quality, and pinner quality. From these points, Pinterest is able to figure out how important your pins are. Keywords will tell Pinterest what your pins are about.
To tell Pinterest what your pins are about, and start attracting more traffic, you’ll need to do a little keyword research.
The two tools that I recommend for keyword research are:
1) Pinterest Search Suggestion Tool and Guided Search
2) Google AdWords Keyword Planner
When you type in the Pinterest search box Pinterest will suggest a collection of keyword phrases to you. These phrases are ranked in order of importance. If you’re just getting started, don’t automatically pick the first one. Your competition wants to rank for this keyword too, and their Pinterest ranking is probably much higher. Instead, try a keyword further down the list. It will give you a much greater chance of ranking pins and boards high in the Pinterest search results.
The Google AdWords Keyword Planner is also an awesome tool for discovering keywords. While it’s not Pinterest specific, it will still help you figure out which keyword phrases people search with most. When using this tool search for low competition/high volume keywords (high traffic).
More specifically, look for long tail keyword phrases (3-5 words). Not many people will search for your products with that many words, but the people who do are the people that know exactly what they want and are ready to buy. Focusing your efforts on those customers is the best decision you will ever make.
Essential Pinterest SEO for Your Account
Now it’s time to start applying these keywords to your Pinterest account and pins. You’ll tackle this in four stages:
1) SEO for Your Profile
2) SEO for Your Boards
3) SEO for Your Pins
4) SEO for Your Blog
1) SEO for Your Pinterest Profile
When Pinterest visitors search for people, they may also be searching for people who do a particular thing, like baker, designer, or blogger. Do your best to include relevant keywords within the 30 character limit for business names.
A few examples include:
1) Jane Smith – Baker
2) John Jones – Designer
3) Jennifer Brown – Blogger
Then include a few well-considered keywords in your About Me profile.
2) SEO for Your Boards
Board descriptions are another great place to include well-considered keywords. Not only do they help Pinterest visitors find your boards more often, they also affect the SEO of your pins. When you add a pin to your board for the first time, the board description is added to the pin data. If your board descriptions have relevant keywords, your pin will perform better in search.
Board size is another thing you may need to address. Boards with 100+ pins tend to perform better in search. Consider filling all of your boards with at least 100 pins. Your most productive boards should have 500+ pins.
3) SEO for Your Pins
Writing keyword rich pin descriptions with a compelling call-to-action is the most important task you have as a Pinterest marketer. Nothing is more important. According to a HubPages study, pin descriptions should be 100-200 characters in length. Any more or less, and your return on investment will diminish. Simply including your product or post title and a call-to-action will serve you well. An even more effective strategy is to let people know what they will find, why it’s the best product or post, and why it would be a profound mistake if they don’t click through to learn more.
In my first example, the call to action is simply telling people what I would like them to do – Print and Download. Beyond that, I’m just providing enough information so that they can make a decision.
This Little Light of Mine | Print and Download Free Easy Piano Sheet Music (Digital Print) Professional Arranged by the MakingMusicFun.net Staff. Format:PDF Pages:1
In my second example, I let them know about the massive potential Pinterest has to make things great for their business. Then I let them know how big they can blow it if they don’t check out my post.
Pinterest has the Potential to Drive MASSIVE Traffic to Your Blog. If You Do Things Right Your Traffic Will Skyrocket. If You Do Things Wrong, All Bets Are Off. Learn 18 Strategies That Really Work!
In my final example, I’ve added a few hashtags. I have a love/hate relationship with hashtags. They attract additional traffic, but if your visitor clicks on one, they are gone forever. You’ll have to decide what is right for you. I do, however, like unique hashtags. I’ve used #TrafficWonker (a company brand) and #SocialMediaAutomation. If people click these hashtags, they are directed to many TrafficWonker pins.
Pinterest is an Incredible Marketing Resource, but There Are Strategies That Many Beginners Miss. If You Miss Them Too It Will Cost You TONS of Free Traffic. Click to Learn Five Tips That Matter Most. #PinterestMarketing #BloggingTips #TrafficWonker
4) SEO for Your Blog Posts
You’ll also want to make sure your Rich Pin descriptions on your blog posts include your keywords. They’ll be part of your pin too, and you want them to be working for you as well.
Your guess is as good as mine as to what Pinterest will do next. However, it’s likely that they will continue to follow Google’s lead, except with user added search results. If you’re interested in staying ahead of the curve, do everything you can to optimize your Pinterest account as if you’re optimizing for Google.
by Andy Fling
Founder and CEO of TrafficWonker.com
Other posts from Andy that you may enjoy: