What does Search Engine Optimisation have to do with Pinterest? Pinterest is a social media platform, isn’t it? If that’s what you thought, I have news for you...
Pinterest is actually a search engine. And you need to treat it as one, which includes using some pretty savvy search engine optimisation. When you use Pinterest, it allocates hidden keywords to your pins and boards in the background.
Read on to find out how to make sure your Pinterest SEO is on point.
Search engines: Pinterest vs Google
How is Pinterest SEO different from Google?
Google is all about the long-tail keywords (phrases that contain around three to five words.) This means that you would try and optimise for phrases like “mudroom decor ideas” or “mudroom ideas for small spaces.
However, Pinterest uses short keywords and can combine them with interesting results. So you might use keywords like “Mudroom,” “decor,” “mudroom ideas,” or “DIY coat rack.”
Pinterest then uses these keywords to decide:
What pins to show to others
What related boards to show you
Where pins will rank in their searches
Below are some proven ways to make sure that you allocate the correct keywords to your pins and boards, right from the beginning.
6 ways you can optimise your pins for Pinterest search
1. SEO your pin descriptions.
Keywords are what will get your pins found in a search, and enticing descriptions are what will get people to click. Please don’t repeat your title in the description; it is a waste of your limited space!
You only get 500 characters (including up to 20 hashtags) in your pin description, so use them wisely. Try to make your descriptions keyword-rich, as well as descriptive and conversational. Crafting a good, solid, keyword-rich pin description is definitely an art worth practicing.
2. SEO your pin image text overlays and choose relevant images.
One of the major changes that Pinterest made in 2017 was the introduction of “Lens”. Lens is a visual search function that allows a user to take a photo of a product at home or in a store and then use that image to search Pinterest with. Pinterest returns pins it thinks are a match, allowing the consumer to research a product before purchase.
Text overlays is a fancy name for the text that you include in your Pin images. Pinterest can’t read the text on your Pins yet, but it is constantly being improved and updated, and it won’t be long before it can match up words as well as colours and images.
What does this mean for you?
If you sell a physical product, make sure it’s front and centre in your image! If you don’t sell a product, this is still relevant to you because it’s clear that:
Pinterest may be able to read your text overlay at some point.
Pinterest can see your images and is making associations with similar ones. This means that if someone pins a pin, yours may appear as a related pin at the bottom of the page.
Make sure you’re using keywords in your text overlays and choosing the right images, to ensure your Pins appear on relevant pages for those people that have already shown an interest in the topic of your pin.
3. SEO your blog posts.
Another way to use keywords is within your blog post titles and in the meta description of your posts. Using keywords here will transfer through to Pinterest if you’ve enabled rich pins.
4. SEO your hashtags.
Hashtags are still new to Pinterest, but that’s no reason not to use them! Make sure you’re choosing hashtags that are relevant and specific to your content. Always click through the hashtag to check it really is relevant before you use it.
5. SEO your board descriptions
This is fairly self-explanatory - use plenty of keywords in your descriptions, but don’t use hashtags here as they don’t work.
6. Change the description when you repin other people’s content
There are a lot of bloggers and website owners out there who don’t know much about Pinterest. As a result, there are a lot of great articles that are let down by descriptions lacking in keywords.
It does take time to change the descriptions on pins. And it can seem like it would benefit the blogger who owns the pin more than you. But, if you’re saving the pins to your own boards, it’s important that they include well-chosen keywords to help improve the overall optimisation of your board.
It benefits your pin quality to get more repins, even if they aren’t your own original pins. If you do try this, monitor your results and weigh it against the time investment. Personally, I think it’s worth the effort to change the descriptions.
How to make sure your optimized descriptions are used when people pin your blog posts
If you host your blog on WordPress, you can make things easy, by using a WordPress plugin like Social Pug to add the description and image that you want people to use when they pin your blog post from your website.
To achieve this manually, you should use the following code: data-pin-description="description here” at the end of your image. The code will add the proper pin data in, without filling up your alt tag space. This is considered best practice for both Google SEO and Pinterest SEO.
Eg: <img src = "example.jpg" data-pin-description="example description goes here” />
To stop the wrong images being pinned from your site, add the code: nopin = "nopin" to the end of your image code in the text editor view.
Eg: <img src = "example.jpg" nopin = "nopin" />
What’s next for Pinterest SEO in 2019?
It is impossible to predict where Pinterest will take their SEO practices. But from what we have seen in the last 18 months, you can be sure they will continue to crack down on anything that tries to “beat the system.” This is likely to include penalising for keyword-stuffing, making it harder to boost your own pins with repinning, and a crackdown on duplicate content or pinning irrelevant content.
All of these tactics are a way of “gaming” the algorithm, which certainly puts those who are using them in a precarious position.
What you can do to stay ahead with Pinterest SEO?
The answer is simple. Do what every search engine wants you to do: Focus on creating consistent, relevant, new, high-quality content for your readers.