Pinterest is one part social media and one part search engine, which makes it a powerful tool for individuals and businesses alike to build their brands and drive traffic to their websites. Recently, we have decided to throw our hat in the ring and apply our expert on-page SEO techniques to Pinterest in order to take full advantage of this growing platform.
Traditionally, Pinterest has been the home of DIYers, fashion bloggers, and photographers who enjoyed the platform’s use of large attractive graphics and simplistic interface. Unlike popular social media channels like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest doesn’t have very many options and doesn’t focus so much on follower counts and likes as it does on serving quality content to those who are searching for it.
The overall atmosphere of Pinterest has shifted in recent years. What was once a website full of random, albeit attractive, images has since transformed into a high-quality source for finding the best blog content on the web. Although basic photography is still an important component of the platform, there has been an upswell of purposefully crafted graphics designed specifically for the blogs they link to. These pins convey important information and help Pinterest decide who to serve them to according to specific search queries.
Using what we know about on-page SEO, we have been able to skyrocket our Pinterest engagement in just a few short months, and have learned a thing or two about what makes a great pin and how this platform can best be used for both lead generation as well as eCommerce.
We’ll be taking a look at the steps we took to reignite our Pinterest, where we are now, and where we expect to be in the future as we continue to refine our efforts.
How Pinterest Behaves Like a Search Engine
Pinterest is a powerful platform that can be used to drive traffic to your blog, offers, products, and more, using the same basic principles that search engines use to help users find what they are looking for. Pinterest users can pick a topic that interests them and search for information on it just as they would on Google.
The difference here is that rather than text-based links like you would see on Google, everything on Pinterest is visual. While every pin has its own title and description much in the way a web page does, it’s the pin itself that is most important. This is what will ultimately encourage a user to either save or click the pin.
While saving or “repinning” a pin is good for its impressions, the quality of a pin is often decided by its SEO relevancy. Pinterest relies on optimized titles and descriptions in order to best serve its users, which means you must use appropriate long-tail keywords and a supporting description.
In this search for “seo tips,” we can see an array of highly targeted results that rely on a properly constructed title and an attractive pin that is easy to read and describes the content that it is pointing to. Pinterest can “read” the text that is present on an image and will take this information into account when serving results.
Just like Google, you can get more out of Pinterest by using long-tail keywords and related search terms to find exactly what you’re looking for with ease. The great thing about Pinterest is that you can create boards centered around your favorite topics and save the pins you find for later use, or simply to help your own followers find them.
Pinterest doesn’t simply rely on the title and description of a pin when taking its relevancy into account, but also the board on which it was originally pinned to, and that board’s description as well. Both of these areas should use the proper keywords as well in order to maximize your chances of your pin becoming popular.
Like any social media, Pinterest is looking for users who create and cultivate the highest quality content. If the content is high enough in quality it has a chance of going “viral.” However, it also functions just like a search engine, in that if you apply the right SEO techniques when creating your pins, they are all but guaranteed to gain authority over time and rank. These two forces combine to create a platform that has massive potential to drive traffic, leads, and sales to any website, so long as there is value present.
There is one important thing to note about the way Pinterest functions in relation to certain niches. Unlike Google, which applies to the whole web, Pinterest really only to very specific topics. While some niches such as SEO, blogging tips, DIY crafts, recipes, fashion, fitness, and health are very popular and ubiquitous on the platform, other niches are not represented whatsoever. You have to use your best judgment and run some initial searches to determine if you can make inroads on the platform using the techniques we implemented.
The Anatomy of an Effective Pinterest Pin
There are some challenges to overcome if you want to construct the perfect pin. Some of the techniques that work well elsewhere on the web don’t apply to Pinterest, while some of what works boils down to common sense. The most essential components of an effective pin are a bold and easy to read title, eye-catching color, and a reason to click.
Here is an example of one of our highest performing pins from the last month. It has received over five hundred impressions and ten saves by itself.
This pin covers the essentials: the title is large and easy to read, the colors pop, and there is an incentive for users to click if they want to know more about SEO. These elements are supported by a high-quality image, secondary copy that builds on the theme, and a title and description that match what the pin says.
There’s no magic sauce when it comes to building a great pin, you simply have to focus on these areas and be consistent. Make sure your copy is well-written and that you start with a solid foundation by leaning on a keyword that is being searched for. In this case, our keyword in question is “ecommerce seo.”
Before we took our Pinterest campaign seriously, we were only uploading images such as webpage designs, photos of our office, and the occasional infographic. Without optimized titles and descriptions and without contextual copy on the pins themselves, there was no way for Pinterest to understand what to do with these pins, and so our impressions remained quite low for years.
It wasn’t until recently when we finally decided to take the platform seriously and apply our on-page SEO techniques to our pins while taking the time to design high-quality pin graphics that would catch our users’ attention. Since we implemented these changes we’ve seen a complete transformation in the way our Pinterest performs. The way you design your pin matters, it’s the backbone of the platform.
If you want to use Pinterest for your business or eCommerce efforts, start with a few of your most important keywords and do some research into the search intent behind them. Construct high-quality graphics that plainly describe the content that is being linked to, and keep in mind that you ideally want users to save these pins to their own boards as well. This is one reason why you don’t see an overabundance of branding on Pinterest.
In terms of showing off your brand through your pins, you want to do so through the general aesthetic you choose. While logos and watermarks are fine and expected, no one is going to pin your pin if it has giant corporate branding all over it. Users want pins that they can “claim” and place on their boards almost as if they were their own. The composition of your pin, your fonts and colors, and your imagery should do the talking for your brand.
Week 1 vs. Week 12
When developing our newly refined Pinterest presence, we first had to decide what our goals were for the platform and settle on a theme. We wanted to provide valuable information on search engine optimization, digital marketing, and eCommerce that users could use to help them with their online business pursuits, while also attracting anyone who might be interested in our services as well.
To that end, we spent a couple of weeks crafting a line of templates that went through several rounds of revision until we were satisfied with them. Overseen by our knowledgeable design team, we focused on synthesizing a friendly and informative feel with our enterprise agency reputation, so that our pins would at once convey professionalism and accessible information that anyone could use.
After we were happy with our initial results, we began to jump into a regular pinning schedule. When we first began this new campaign, our account was not seeing substantial activity, averaging about 175 total impressions per month. I knew that to turn the ship around we had to start from the bottom up, so I deleted several boards and renamed others to include relevant keywords, and improved some of our older pins with optimized descriptions.
After the first full week of implementing our new Pinterest campaign, the results were already pouring in. While we only added a few pins in total that week, the changes to our board titles and other SEO optimizations that we performed was enough to revitalize our account and get some traction.
It’s important to make a note here about pin longevity. Unlike traditional social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, where posts lose relevancy very fast, a pin may take weeks or even months to gain traction, not unlike a web page. It’s all a matter of who finds it and saves it, and how the algorithm interprets what it sees. If you follow through with the right on-page SEO techniques, a pin that has been dormant for months can suddenly spring to life.
This is one of the reasons why Pinterest as a platform to drive targeted traffic is so powerful. Every pin that you create and add has SEO staying power that can one day translate into more traffic or even sales for your business. During our first week implementing this new campaign, a couple of the old pins that had been completely dormant on our account stirred and gained new impressions, and they are now performing better than ever. SEO techniques work extremely well on Pinterest and can drive a substantial amount of traffic if you are consistent and keep feeding the platform with quality content.
On that note, here is where we found ourselves after the first month of running our new campaign. Keep in mind that we were adding only two or three pins per day, and usually only on weekdays.
We accrued a staggering 12,411% increase in impressions, with over 500 engagements. This includes users clicking on pins, commenting on them, liking them, repinning them, or clicking our links. As you can see from the graph, we even had a couple of pins go semi-viral, amassing several thousand impressions and several saves and link clicks all on their own.
As we analyzed the results we were getting from our initial efforts, we began to double down on what was working, creating better-looking pins with catchier pin titles. When it comes to Pinterest, you can’t be afraid to drop what isn’t working and embrace what is. Some of our initial pin templates flopped, which forced us to refocus on what was working and apply those specific techniques to the rest of our pins.
We also saw a period of reduced impressions in late April that I attributed to lazy descriptions. I went through dozens of our older pins and some of our newer ones, and added optimized copy where needed, while also enhancing our boards with better titles and covers. We also created a few new templates, which turned out to be just what we needed.
Over the course of three months of adapting and experimenting, we have amassed some impressive results.
Not only have we accrued well over 100 saves, but we have more than doubled our followers. This not only means our individual pieces of content are “pin-worthy,” but in general we are doing what we set out to do: provide valuable high-level information to our users.
It’s clear that by implementing the proper SEO techniques on Pinterest, you can dramatically increase your engagement, drive traffic, and build a following. As you expand your Pinterest outreach, always keep in mind that for the best results, make sure your website is following SEO best practices as well and has plenty of relevant and valuable information for anyone who is clicking on your pins. Just like Google, Pinterest takes into account metrics such as bounce rate, session time, and whether or not your users are making purchases or signing up for your mailing list, as well as other actions. Take care of your SEO on all fronts and you will get the results you’re looking for.
If you are interested in improving your online presence with SEO, we here at 1DigitalⓇ can help you out. Our team of expert SEO technicians and writers can drive traffic to your website and keep it there through an array of on-page optimizations and attention-grabbing content. We are a results-driven agency that will work hard to increase your conversions and grow your business. Give us a call today at 215-809-1567 and find out how we can best address your needs.
- Matt Lovett
- June 17, 2020