I remember the day that I got invited to join Pinterest (when it was still in Beta form!). My friend and bridesmaid Shelby told me about this awesome site filled with beautiful pictures, craft ideas, and so much more! When I accepted my invitation from her the Summer of 2011, I was instantly hooked and I knew Pinterest was going to be BIG! Check out the cute snap shot of my Pinterest profile back in the day:
Not only is Pinterest a super fun website, but it’s also an essential tool for bloggers and business owners. It provides a way for us to get our content out there, and get it out there fast. There are certain things that we can do to drive traffic to our Pinterest profile and pins and from Pinterest to our websites. Today I wanted to share with you all the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years on how to best use Pinterest and how to make Pinterest work for us! I’ve taken a couple Pinterest classes and I’ve read countless articles, so now I want to share my knowledge with you!! PS: If you’d like to follow me on Pinterest (which you totally should #shamelesspromotion), head on over to my profile and see what I pin!
First, let’s start off with some technical Pinterest SEO tactics:
Pinterest went through a big update about a year ago and created the Smart Feed. Basically this update made it so everything you pin doesn’t show up on your followers feeds, but only makes your pins show up when a certain topic is searched. It also means that the best pins are shown first in searches vs just the newest pins created. A definite pro to this change is that you aren’t constantly being spammed with 100’s of pins from someone’s Halloween board, when you only feel like looking at Spring Fashion. Now it’s all about using the SEO tactics you use for your blog, on your pins, boards and profile! Here are the ways Pinterest determines which pins show up for searches:
Pinner Search Rankings Use:
- The name (hint: Use your blog name on Pinterest!)
- Number of followers and how active these followers are
- Is the domain verified? (A tutorial on how to do this is below!)
- The pinners activity (where pin schedulers come in handy!)
Board Search Rankings Use:
- The name and description of the board
- The board category
- How active the board is (how many times you pin to the board, etc)
- How many repins are from the board (this in itself means we should still use group boards!)
- Number of followers the board has and how active the followers are (hint: don’t ever buy followers)
- Who created the board, how many followers this person has, and how active they are on Pinterest
Pin Search Rankings Use:
- The pin description (if someone searches for Apple Pie recipes, if your pin description has the words “apple”, “pie”, and “recipes” in it, you’ll rank higher)
- The board the pin belongs to and it’s description
- Who’s pinned the pin and how high ranking that person is
- The number of repins the pin has
As you can see, using good search terms is extra important now, so take the time to change the description before you pin! I would even change the description on other’s pins you are pinning (if they aren’t SEO optimized), because the more pins you have with good descriptions, the higher your profile will rank in searches!
The next section of tips I have for you today is how to optimize your profile with your Pinterest boards. Your Pinterest boards describe what your blog is all about, so it’s important to make sure they look great, have great cover photos, and are cohesive with what you write about on your blog!
Here are my tips for optimizing your Pinterest boards:
- Make sure you have a board dedicated just to your blog or shop. This also needs to be your first board on your profile. I think it’s best to call it “Best Pinned From…” or “Most Popular from…”. This will show your followers where you are pinning your most recent content, and where they can be directed to to read your latest posts.
- Also have a board dedicated to food and recipes, even if you are not a food blogger. Food boards tend to rank the highest on Pinterest and are the most popular. By having a food board, you are automatically ranking yourself higher and having yourself show up on other’s feeds. Plus, getting recipe ideas from Pinterest rocks!
- Have the boards relating to the topics you write about as well as any seasonal boards (that are in season) at the top. You want to show your followers what you write about and what you pin! I keep non-seasonal boards or boards dedicated to collecting blog ideas secret so my profile looks uniform.
- The most searched pin topics are: Food & Drink, DIY & Crafts, Home Decor, Everything, Home Feed, Holidays and Events
- Make sure every board you have has a description with keywords to help people search for you. This description needs to SEO optimized so people can find it in searches.
- Make sure your boards don’t contain pins that aren’t in this category. This shows that you aren’t organized and it could look really bad to followers and fellow businesses. Always keep your boards organized!
- About every 3 months or so, take the time to clean up your boards. By this I mean go through each board, delete any duplicate pins you might have, delete your own content that you’ve pinned that didn’t get very many repins, and re-schedule out that content so it can be seen again. This is the best way to get your blog posts out into the Pinterest world again, and have an even bigger chance to be seen!
- Make sure all of your boards have a good amount of pins to them. If you have a board with only 3 pins, it looks bad! My advice would be to create a secret board of the topic you’re wanting to pin, pin as many pins as you can to it, and when it has a couple hundred pins make it a public board. That way you have a pretty board all ready to go, without any spamming of feeds going on (your followers still see a lot of your repins, just not every single one like before).
- Keep your board names under 20 characters so the whole name shows up. Along with that tip, make sure your board name is unique enough to be searched out and that it uses good keywords. Ex: Instead of just calling a board “Recipes”, call it “Easy Recipes for Date Night”.
- How many Pinterest boards do you need? There really is no magic number of boards you need for your profile, but it is good to have around 50 boards. This gives enough general and specific topics allowing your followers to really see what you write about and pin. I would also try to be apart of 5-10 group boards to further extend the reach of your content! If you’d like to join my Pinterest Board, Best of Blogging, email me at dressingdallas(@)gmail.com with your Pinterest email address and I’ll add you!
Another important aspect of your Pinterest strategy needs to be all about pinning. Pinning is the way you actually spread your content, and how you’re able to show others all about your blog or business. When Pinterest first started, it didn’t really matter how often you pinned or what your pin description was…it was all about how many followers you had. Now, it’s all about what your pins look like and how often you are pinning!
Here are my tips for an awesome pinning strategy:
- Use a pin scheduler to help manage your pinning. The key to gaining followers and repins is to be pinning all the time. Pinterest really loves to promote active users. I use Tailwind to have my pins scheduled to pin throughout the day. This is another way to make sure you aren’t spamming people’s feeds by pinning all at once. I schedule about 75 pins to go out a day, and the whole set up is really easy! PS: this tip isn’t sponsored by Tailwind…I just love it ;).
- If you are using a pin scheduler, try to have 5-10 pins going towards each of your boards a day. I highly recommend using a pin scheduler just for this reason! I like to spend 15-30 minutes a day just setting up pins to go to my boards throughout the week. Remember, the more you pin, the more active you are, and the higher your own content ranks!
- Check all your pins to make sure the links lead to the correct source. Delete any pins that don’t follow this! You don’t want your followers to be lead to an incorrect site because it will make you look bad!
- Try to always pin vertical images, or square images. These show up the best on Pinterest and have a higher click rate! I’d try to stay within the ratio of 70/30…70% of the images you pin have vertical images and 30% have square or horizontal images.
- Also, if you need to re-size a picture for Pinterest, here’s a little cheat sheet for you: Your profile picture measures 165 x 165 pixels, your pins in the feed measure 238 pixels x any height you’d like, The expanded pins are 735 pixels x any height you’d like, the cover image on your boards are 217 x 417 pixels, and images on your blog need to be at least 100 x 200 pixels in order for it to be pinned (but definitely size them to be at least the expanded pin size!).
- As a general rule, your pins should be about 60-70% your content and about 40-30% others content. This helps your followers know what you are writing about on your website and where they can read your blog. It’s also important to pin others content because it’s a great networking opportunity! I always repin things from other people that are pinning my items!
- Use hashtags sparingly: Pinterest penalizes pin descriptions with too many hashtags (even though they’ve never specified how many is “too many”). If you’d like to load your description with key words, try using the pipes symbol ” | ” to separate the words instead. As always though, trying to write a pin description with all your key words is always best!
- Don’t know what keywords to use in your pin description? Pinterest actually makes this really easy to figure out! All you need to do is search the topic your writing about, and Pinterest automatically shows the most searched keywords with that topic. Take a look at those keywords and try to think of a 2-5 sentence description for your pin. You can also just click into the search bar and Pinterest tells you the most recent searched terms and the trending topics on Pinterest.
- Don’t give away too much information in your pin picture and in your pin description. If you show exactly the end result of how you organized your kitchen drawers, people will repin it, but they won’t head to your blog to read about what you did, because they can just tell from the picture! Same goes for the description. If you type your whole recipe in the description, there’s no point in clicking over to your blog. This all can lead to a huge decrease in traffic.
- Keep track of how many times you’ve pinned a post by using a notebook or a spreadsheet (or even a sticky note!). Keep track of your pinning schedule and make sure your blog posts are getting pinned, and getting pinned often. For my blog, I like to make sure my blog posts are getting pinned at least 5-10 times a month. This allows it to show up throughout the month and to bring more traffic to my site!
Here are some other tips I have for Pinterest:
- Don’t forget to add a description to your profile that’s searchable. You want your description to also be uniform with your blog and other social media as well. I use the same description of Dressing Dallas on all my social media profiles to make sure everything flows. It looks more professional that way!
- Always have a pin it button installed on your site. This way people can automatically pin what they see on your website to Pinterest. My favorite pin-it button plugin is jQuery Pin It Button for Images.
- Going along with my last tip, always link your Pinterest profile whenever you can! I link mine in the side bar of my blog, and in all of my Dressing Dallas email’s that go out to my subscribers. You can even place your Pinterest profile links at the end of every blog post, and on other social media sites as well!
- Make sure you always name your image files with a good description of what the photo is (this is a general SEO strategy). So instead of naming your photo “dress1”, try naming it “Simple Green Dress for the Spring”.
- When creating pinnable images for your blog posts, always try to use a picture with wording or a graphic with wording vs just using text. Pictures and graphics always have a higher re-pin rate than just text alone.
- If you’re not a photographer (or you don’t have enough time to take a photograph), you can always use stock photos! Some of my favorite places to get stock photos are Free Foto, Imagebase, Unsplash, and Dreamstime. If you check out my 100+ of the Best Blogging Resources post, you’ll find great tutorials on how to use stock photos, where to get them, and how to create awesome images!
- Every once in a while, head to your blog post archives and update some posts to be pinned. Maybe you didn’t have enough time to create a great pinnable image. Maybe you didn’t pin it at all? Spruce up those old posts and make your archives work for you!
A Short Tutorial on How to Verify your Domain:
The benefits of verifying your website are vast! The first benefit is you look a lot more reliable and professional. This is very important for those that plan on working with other companies or other bloggers because you want to look like you mean business. The second benefit to this is that pinners are able to find out about your blog or business very quickly and know exactly what you pin, what your topics are, and where the bulk of your content is! Here is a quick tutorial on how to verify your website on Pinterest:
- Click on the settings button and click on “Edit Settings”
- Under settings, head to the bottom of the page where there is a website section. Type in your website and click the “Verify Website” button. (Side Note: Mine looks a little different than yours because my domain is already verified).
- A new page will pop up giving you further instructions. Be sure to keep this open during the process!
- Follow the instructions exactly as Pinterest spells it out. Basically you’ll be copying and pasting a code into your websites HTML code.
- Once you’ve implemented your unique code, head back to the original Pinterest instructions box and click on “Click Here to Complete the Process”.
- If you uploaded your code correctly, a red check mark should appear next to your domain! And you’re done!
I hope you all enjoyed these Pinterest tips! Pinterest is such a game changer for bloggers, so definitely take advantage of this awesome social media! Do you have any other Pinterest tips? Let me know in the comments!