Pinterest SEO, Best Practices, and Your Burning Questions Answered33 min read


Image of three matches with the text: Pinterest SEO, Best Practices, and Your Burning Questions Answered

Sarah Hoople Shere, Head of Product Marketing, Pinterest
Sarah Hoople Shere
Head of Product Marketing, Pinterest

Did you tune in for our recent Facebook Live with Sarah Hoople Shere, Head of Product  Marketing at Pinterest? We covered how to be found on Pinterest, new best practices, and answered your burning questions – and there were a lot of them. In fact, we went on for nearly an hour and a half and were asked more than one hundred questions, the most popular and/or impactful of which we’ve answered below.

Sarah shared so many great little nuggets that will help us get our content discovered. By the time we finished, I think all our heads were spinning. So, here’s a timestamped recap of the discussion by topic so you can take time to digest and discuss in the comments below. Enjoy!

Psst... Want to see how Pinterest can multiply your online store's traffic and sales in 2018? Watch our free training for 5 core lessons to attract your perfect-fit customers.

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Key Takeaways for Content Creators Using Pinterest

The First Five Pins are Prioritized. What does that mean? 00:05:26

Update June 4, 2018: Mention of the “First Five” has been removed from Pinterest help pages and was downplayed in subsequent live interviews. The basic reasoning for the recommendation still stands: Pin consistently rather than all at once. Pin when your followers are likely to engage. Be mindful of how your Pins will appear in the follower tab – keep things varied enough so people won’t want to unfollow.

Why You Should Not Delete Pins 00:15:44

One dud Pin may not get distribution, but it will NOT hurt the performance of your other Pins. Further, a Pin can take weeks or months to take off, so do not delete Pins.

If you have a product that is no longer available, rather than deleting the Pin (remember, there may be thousands of Repins out there!), either redirect that page to another page on your site with a listing of similar products, or edit the page where the item used to be available and point people to other similar items or a category of similar items.

DO change the descriptions when you save a Pin again or Repin 00:30:16.

This will help in SEO. Much like Google doesn’t index duplicate content, Pinterest is looking for different descriptions even if you use the same image. “Keep in Mind the Pinner’s Experience.”

There is no Need to Pin Manually 00:25:20

While it is a good idea to visit Pinterest to keep up with all that’s new and so you don’t forget what it’s like to be a regular Pinterest user, there is no Smartfeed or search benefit to Pinning live. Feel free to use an approved partner scheduling tool (like Tailwind).

*No credit card required

Content Creators should Pin their own content rather than Repinning (Saving) their own content. 00:28:06

We want followers to Pin AND Repin because Pinning shows that they found value in the content, but Repinning gives an engagement signal. But we should Pin our own content fresh. – “fresh” means a new Pin of old content, new content, or a new image going to any content. A new image for a new page is the freshest and most preferred, but they are all considered “fresh.”

Why, in theory, you might not NEED to Pin anyone else’s Pins, but why in reality you do. 00:55:42

Start with your own content – prioritize that for distribution (first five). But, consistent Pinning is a must. So if you don’t have fresh content to Pin from your site every day, you need to Pin other people’s content.

There is no magic ratio! No 80/20. No 20/80. Fill in the gaps of your own content with other people’s content.

Biggest FAQs from the Audience

  1. When does the first five start? Midnight UTC
  2. How much does the first five really matter if it applies to followers only? Depending on the adoption of the follower feed, quite a bit. Your Pins are served up to your followers first. Their engagement sends Pinterest a signal to distribute it more widely. Naturally, you’ll want your most impactful (usually your own) content to be in the first five spots of the day.
  3. How to handle with scheduling on Tailwind:
    1. Figure out when your followers are the most engaged (Tailwind’s Smartschedule can help!).
    2. If you want to account for the “first five,” figure out when midnight UTC is for you.
    3. Your Pins should be between those two times. For example, if midnight UTC is 8pm for me, and my followers are most active and engaged at 10am, I will schedule between 10am and 7:59pm, with my most impactful Pins starting around 10am.
  4. Does it matter if we post pins directly from our landing page vs uploading straight to Pinterest? NO
  5. What do you do if someone posts a picture under the tried tab that has nothing to do with your pin? Sarah says, “Flag it! Two flags from two accounts=removal,” so ask a friend to help!
  6. How do you flag stolen Pins that aren’t yours??? Use option 3: This pin isn’t useful – the image doesn’t appear on the site.
  7. Can you explain the optimal ratio and the consequences of going outside them? The ONE ideal ratio is 2:3. Squares are fine, but a taller Pin usually performs better. If you go taller than 2:3 (600x900px or 735x1102px or equivalent), your Pin will not be distributed as widely as possible, and may be truncated in the feed.
  8. Should I go back and (add keywords, change description, add hashtags) to old Pins? No. Do not spend your time editing old Pins. Pin fresh Pins.
  9. HOW many times a day did you say I should Pin? There is no magic number. Pin daily, Pin consistently.
  10. Save to the most relevant board first – why? Because that Pin will carry with it the data from that first board. The more relevant it is to the Pin, the better idea Pinterest will have about the content and the more accurately and widely it can be distributed.
  11. Are group boards obsolete? No. They can be helpful in getting your content distributed. Check your Tailwind Board Insights to make sure they are still performing well for you.

Pinterest’s New Features & Updates

What is the Following Tab? 00:03:15

It’s a dedicated space on Pinterest where we can see content exclusively to people we follow. Pinterest is suggesting and making content recommendations in the Smartfeed, but sometimes you just want to see what your followers are doing! Now we have Smartfeed, follower tab, and hashtag search.

How much do followers matter? 00:31:52

They matter! Followers still represent a small portion of the total people you reach on Pinterest – this hasn’t changed – but Pinterest wants to make it easier for Pinners who care about your content to discover your ideas. That’s why reach is shown instead of followers on business profiles. You will find you reach far more people than the number of those who follow you.

“Before the following tab, your content was also distributed to your followers first, but they couldn’t easily separate that from other recommended ideas in the home feed. The following tab is a dedicated space for Pinners to see content from people and brands they are following. This gives Pinners the chance to see recommended ideas in their home feed, and ideas from brands they are explicitly following in the following tab.”

The quality of followers is more important than the quantity of followers. “When followers engage with your content, they amplify your message so you reach even more people. This gives Pinterest the signal to surface your top performing Pins even more broadly.” YES!

How can I be a “recommended Pinner to follow” 00:26:33

With the new follower feed, Pinterest is finding new ways and new places to recommend new creators to follow.

“To be eligible to be shown as a recommended creator to follow –

  1. Save (Pin) regularly (lots that link to your own site),
  2. Have a business account (convert your account to a business profile if needed),
  3. Claim your website. “

Those are table stakes to being recommended. Pinterest is working with a way to look at whether a creator is particularly engaging for this type of content. But it’s all best practices – sorry, there are no hacks to get yourself included.

Tailwind can help you stay consistent with your Pinning, though!

*No credit card required

Demystifying the First Five 00:05:26

Now that we have the Following tab, the “first five” helps Pinterest avoid “spamming” Pinners’ follower tab feeds in the event someone they follow saves a whole bunch of Pins at once. It helps avoid the issue where people might unfollow someone they really love just because the volume is overwhelming. (See also 00:04:26).

If two content creators are saving their content at the beginning of the day and have followers in common how do you determine whose first five Pins will be seen by their followers first? 01:14:13

It’s literally chronological at that point – whoever Pinned first. If it’s roughly the same time, it may alternate one Pin from one, then one from the other, and so on.

What is Pinterest doing about stolen Pins? 01:01:18

Sarah says, “On the topic of stolen Pins, we hear you on the pain this causes! We’re actively working on a number of techniques to combat it and would love for all of you to help us in this quest. You should already be seeing an improvement as we have been aggressively investing in domain quality – making sure the content on the landing page matches what the Pin promises.

We believe it’s super important to the Pinner experience that the landing page content lives up to the promise of the Pin that they click on. We invest in making sure that landing pages load quickly, have relevant content and do not contain spammy or harmful content.

Reach out through the help channels, send the Pin. and let us know where it should link.”

How to Report Stolen Pins Which Are Not Your Own 01:03:35

An audience member asked, “I’d love to know the best way to report stolen pins that are not your own. I file DMCA reports for my own but also want to report pins I see that were stolen from blogger friends and are redirecting people to the wrong site when they are clicked. Without hurting my blogger friends’ real pins!

I’ve been using one of these 3, but want to know which is best:

1: This is spam – this is from a fake account (what does “this pin is spam” mean? Does it refer to the landing page as being spam or something wrong with the image?)

2: This pin isn’t useful – the link is broken

3: This pin isn’t useful – the image doesn’t appear on the site”

“What great community that looks out after other people! The best of these options is #3. Flagging it as spam may inadvertently remove all instances of the Pin image. If you use option 2, Pinterest knows the link is NOT broken, so it might get ignored.

Reach out directly to the copyright owner with a link to the Pin so they can send it along to Pinterest.

If you consistently see a particular domain that’s redirecting traffic illegally, please let us know through help channels. That will ensure review of the domain in question.”

Should I Flag My Own Stolen Pins or Contact Support? 01:05:40

Both! Definitely report it as your own property (Report Pin – choose “This is my intellectual property”, AND contact support.

How can businesses take advantage of Lens if they’re not in fashion or home decor? 00:58:53

It won’t be helpful for surfacing content outside of that kind of industry. BUT, one of the ways that all businesses can take advantage of Lens capabilities is through PinCodes.

“You could create a board with all the ways your product could be used and then print out a Pin code for that board. So if you are selling strawberry jam, you could include a physical card with a Pin code with all kinds of recipes for the jam.”

You can also use Pin codes on your business card, flyers, etc. That allows people to easily follow you.

Which is the default view on Pinterest? The Following tab or the SmartFeed? 01:12:24

Smartfeed!

Are group boards still useful? 01:14:46

Beyond growing followers, group boards can help you grow content distribution, as the content you share to a group board will end up in the follower tab of someone who follows that board, even if they don’t follow you.

Follow-Up Question answered by Sarah off camera – If you change from http to https do you have to reclaim your site?

Likely not, but check the “Claim Website” portion of your Profile settings to make sure. It will let you know if it has been successfully claimed.

Follow-Up Question answered by Sarah off camera – What do you do if someone posts a picture under the tried tab that has nothing to do with your pin?

Flag it for removal. Once it has two flags, it will be removed. You can ask a friend to flag it for you to get the second flag.

Applying Pinterest SEO

Are photos and comments left on Pins a factor in ranking in Smartfeed and Search? 00:09:13

Have you seen the new Tried it comments and photos? The comments are now universal across all instances of a Pin for one URL – hooray!

Pins with photo tries or comments tend to get more engagement. So where you used to have three Pins for one URL, and maybe each had three tries, it is helpful to have those combined to have really valuable interactions which brings a lot of credibility to the feedback people leave.

What comes first? Do the comments in photos come before success in search? “They likely get found by great SEO first and then the tries and comments follow.”

How do you get your Pins to show up in the Smartfeed and in search? 00:12:00

Let’s review how your content gets distributed on Pinterest, since it’s different than on other platforms. “When you save a new Pin to Pinterest, it will be distributed it to your followers first. That’s the testing ground and it gets your content out much faster than Pinterest could ever do before. This is your most loyal audience – they love your content.”

Just a few weeks ago, Pinterest announced the arrival of a new Following tab where Pinners can see content just from people they follow, so this is one way Pinterest is quickly getting your Pins to your most loyal audience first. From there, Pinterest will see which of your Pins are getting good engagement and then it will quickly be distributed those Pins out to a much broader audience than your followers — by recommending Pins in people’s home feeds, and by surfacing your Pins in search results and related Pins.

So, the best thing you can do to get your content surfaced to people beyond your followers is:

  • Ensure that it’s engaging for your followers, because they are the ones that will quickly give a signal that this is good content and Pinterest should distribute it and
  • Treat it with SEO best practices so it’ll be identified as relevant to Pinners who might be interested in it.

If your content really resonated with your followers but it doesn’t have great SEO practices, it won’t be distributed as well. So you need to do both.

I asked, “What if someone purchased followers or changed focus of their business and now they have a large following of unengaged Pinners?”

Sarah answered, “Lean in to what is resonating with your followers – look at most engaged for boards and Pins. If you lean in to that, assuming it is still relevant to your business now, eventually that will take over.

Don’t falsely Pin though – if you Pin what IS relevant to your new area of focus, we will help you get followers for that topic. And you can work on growing a following yourself. Be authentic from this point forward. Even if you have a massive following that isn’t particularly loyal – focus on the ones that ARE loyal to what you are Pinning today.” Don’t start over! It will come around.

Do backlinks to boards and Pins matter? 00:17:18

No. Pinterest looks almost entirely at the content of that particular Pin – what it looks like, its description, etc.

Where should we use keywords (on and off Pinterest)? 00:17:35

“The most important place to add keywords is in your Pin descriptions. In terms of keywords, think of the Pinner’s mindset when they’re looking for content like yours, and then incorporate those keywords (so, for example, make sure your description includes something about the items in the Pin image but also the theme — something like, “this grilled asparagus recipe is great for a quick weeknight dinner, but also special enough to be a dinner party side.”)

Google is a bit more specific, where Pinterest can help with specifics OR broad ideas and themes. Incorporate keywords in a way that makes sense to the average person, but that covers everything from the thematic to the specific. What is the specific Pin about and what are the broad things that people might be looking for that I specific item or idea?

We also take into account keywords in your board titles and descriptions as well as your profile description. Cover all the ways a person might be looking for a person like you, a board like yours, or a Pin like yours. Those things give Pinterest more information on all of the Pins on this board.”

What’s the importance of keywords in Board Descriptions? 00:19:38

Pinterest uses several signals to determine board and Pin relevance. Adding board descriptions is a best practice even though you may see boards without them who are surfaced in search results because of other factors (they have lots of engagement, good quality Pins, etc.).

“The bottom line is that the more info you give Pinterest about your board, the deeper our understanding of the Pins on that board, which helps your content get distributed.”

Keywords in File Names – Does Pinterest Include that for SEO? 00:22:21

“No” – (but it’s understood that Google does).

Why should we make sure Pin descriptions contain the same keywords as our blog post title. 00:22:32

Pinterest is focusing on making sure that the content on the Pin matches the content on the site it links to. So use the same keywords in your Pin that you use in your blog post or page.

Make sure your Pin image is also on any landing page it links to. 00:24:10

But, what if you’re making multiple images? Is there something technical at play, or are we simply concerned with making sure there is some visual continuity from Pinterest to landing page?

It doesn’t have to be exact image, but make sure it’s relevant to the content of the landing page.

“It’s less about the image itself but it’s about making sure the description of the Pin matches the title of the page it’s linking to. Image is one piece of that – what we don’t want is a total mismatch.”

How can an online store owner use Pinterest effectively if they’re not blogging? 00:57:33

“Product pins can perform well on Pinterest — focus on dimensions & descriptions. Hopefully you have lifestyle images on your product pages, prioritize that one. If you don’t have lifestyle images, focus on the ideal dimensions, and make the product prominent. Focus on text on the image and great descriptions.”

How about non-English text? Who will see my text? 01:08:23

“It is prioritized in the local language and in the local market. There are some topics where the language matters less, such as photography and art. The international nature is actually a plus here. Focus the Pin description on the same language as the landing page. Pinterest will broaden the audience where appropriate.”

How do you find keywords on Pinterest? 01:10:15

Use guided search. Enter search terms, and look for those tiles below the search bar. You’ll see words that people are already searching for!

The tiles such as “Baked,” “Healthy” “Seafood” show us that in connection with “asparagus recipes,” people also want those!

How long does it take a pin to “rank” for a keyword? 01:22:22

“There is no actual time estimate, but this is why Pinterest introduced the follower tab and hashtags so distribution can happen much faster – especially if it is getting engagement. “

Does switching your website from HTTP to HTTPS affect its performance on Pinterest? 01:19:57

“Probably not. In the past, Pinterest treated two versions of a Pin (one with http and one with https) you might see that separately in analytics. That is going to change so they will be combined in analytics. The better the quality of the user experience on your site, the better. Switching will not hurt you. “

What’s the difference between monthly viewers and monthly engaged (in Pinterest analytics)? 01:21:05

“Viewers are all people who see your Pins. Engaged is the sum of all unique people who do something with your Pin – closeup, click, save.

Monthly reach on your business profile is roughly the same as your “viewers” number. “

Does your audience sharing from your site send an engagement signal to Pinterest that it’s important and cause the algorithm to serve up to more people? 01:19:07

“Yes! It tells Pinterest that someone else saw value in that content. All instances of a Pin that share an image and a link are counted as one Pin. That’s why comments and tries on Pins are all combined. All that goodness is wrapped up together.”

Follow-Up Question answered by Sarah off Camera – Is there a difference in reach between AMP and a mobile-optimized landing page?

“AMP is one way of having your site load very quickly, but you can also just make sure it’s optimized for mobile — ie, that it’s responsive, that it’s legible on mobile, that all the functionality works on mobile, etc.”

Pinning Practices to Get Your Content Found on Pinterest

Does it matter when I Pin? 00:02:45

Time of day doesn’t matter to Pinterest, but you might notice that your audience tends to engage more at a certain time of the day. Learn more about how Tailwind can help with that.

How many times a day should I Pin? Is there a point where it’s too much? 00:04:26

What’s the reason for the first five and how MUCH more weight do they have?

“There’s definitely no such thing as Pinning too much, *but* Pinterest prefers consistency to volume, so if you’re considering saving 15 Pins on Monday and then none until Friday, it’s better to save 5 on Monday, 5 on Tuesday, 3 on Wednesday, 2 on Thursday for example.”

Regarding the “first five” rule: “So, the idea is that Pinterest shares the first five Pins from someone you follow, then moves on to showing the newest Pins from the next person they follow, and so on. In other words, we’ll get back around to showing your next five Pins, but that would appear after the content from other people they follow.”

The first five starts at midnight UTC – 8pm EDT. Find out when that is for you.

How the First Five Works in Practice: If I Pin 20 Pins at 8:01 EDT (midnight UTC) and Melissa, who follows me, goes to her follower tab at 8:15 she will see my first five Pins. If she doesn’t follow anyone else or if the others she follows who are not Pinning in that time period, she will see more than five. In the event that she is following more people, Pinterest spreads out those 20 Pins so she is not overwhelmed with my content.

What happens if I start Pinning at 8:01 but Melissa doesn’t come on until 10:30, will she see my Pins from 8:01, or the ones at 9:30? It will be the ones you Pinned at 8:01. Also, it may not be exactly five Pins, and it’s real time-ish.

Do not attempt to Pin all your Pins exactly at midnight UTC. Rather, Pin your first five Pins at the time when you users are most engaged after midnight UTC. Tailwind’s Smarschedule will figure that out for you.

Start a Free Trial of Tailwind for Pinterest!

*No credit card required

Should we delete underperforming Pins to increase our profile’s overall engagement rate? 00:15:44

“A very popular question!! No, Pinterest does NOT recommend deleting Pins. Underperforming Pins might not get as much distribution as those with a higher engagement rate, but that won’t hurt the distribution of other pins from your profile.

One dud Pin might have a hard time with distribution, but it won’t bring the rest of your Pins down!

Furthermore, that Pin could always become relevant/popular at some point in the future, and there’s no real downside to keeping it on your profile in the meantime.

That said, if you’re mystified about what works and what doesn’t, focus on your Analytics to understand which of your Pins are most engaging and what you should lean into for future content development.”

Should I Delete Pins for Physical Pins That Are No Longer Available? 01:05:54

Redirect the page if at all possible. Send people to a related category page. If it has a broken link it will not be distributed anyway, so don’t bother deleting. Redirect whenever you can.

If you can’t redirect, add to the old product page a “here is something similar” link. Anything but a broken link! 

Save to the most relevant board first – why? 00:20:20

“That’s the Pin that’ll get distribution priority, and the Pin will bring with it the data from that board. That’s where the Pin/Board relationship is so important. “

“So let’s say you have a Pin that’s a Thanksgiving-themed craft project and you’ve saved it to a board called “Crafts” and then to a board called “Everything Thanksgiving.” The Pin will have all the keyword data from its description but also from the Crafts board it was saved to first.”

So, even though some of the top Boards in searches don’t have any description, it’s not about searching for the board, it’s about the success of the Pin IN your boards. Give your Pins all the advantages that it can have!

Add your content while it’s fresh – why? 00:22:54

“Pinners love fresh content. That’s one of the reasons Pinterest introduced hashtags. When you look at hashtag searches, the Pins are shown by recency. And Pinterest has seen that people LOVE that fresh new content.

Historically it was kind of hard to surface that new content, but now that we have the Following tab, there is a dedicated place to get your Pins in front of your followers while it’s fresh! More than ever, freshness matters.”

What is a “Fresh” Pin? 00:23:30

  • A new instance of a Pin (not Repin)
  • A Pin for a new blog post
  • A new image for an old blog post

All of the above count, but Pinterest’s favorite type of fresh content is brand new content in the world – a brand new Pin from a brand new blog post.

Note: Any time you Pin from Tailwind, that is a “Fresh” Pin. We do not Repin for you.

Is there a Smartfeed or Search advantage to live (manual) Pinning exclusively or even just a couple of times a week? Does using a scheduler hurt you? 00:25:20

Sarah says, no. “We don’t penalize creators who Pin via third party tools like Tailwind.

We do recommend, however, continuing to log into Pinterest so you can see the latest & greatest features and continue to use the product as your consumers do.”

“Pinterest doesn’t reward people who use the platform natively over those who do not.” No distribution priority will be given for natively-Pinned Pins. You are considered “active” if you are saving content regularly – through any means.

Is there an advantage to Repinning your own Pin rather than Pinning a fresh version of it? 00:28:06

No. As the content creator, it’s best for you to save a fresh version of it. “We prioritize Pins that were created by the owner of the website that those Pins link to. Also, when it’s yours, you can add relevant hashtags, etc. and make sure it’s saved to Pinterest (and distributed through the Following tab) as soon as it exists.”

Would I prefer others repin, or go to my site and Pin from there? Either! “One gives engagement signals, the other says everyday Pinners find it valuable and Pinterest sees more instances of the Pin appear across Pinterest we see it is worth distributing.”

Is it OK to Pin the same image to the same board more than once? If so, how often? 00:30:16

Sure, just make sure each Pin has a unique description. Tell your followers why this is relevant once again. Also keep in mind the Pinner’s experience – if they see both Pins in their following tab or on your profile … will it make sense? Which gets to spacing wisely.

“We don’t recommend looping for the sake of looping, but rather, as it feels seasonally appropriate. For example, it’s perfectly appropriate to resurface a particularly popular Halloween recipe each fall,” says Sarah

Just create a good experience for your followers – if I see it in my feed every week, it starts to feel spammy.

There is no SEO value to mindlessly repeating and repeating Pins.

How much activity takes place on profiles as opposed to home feed, search, related Pins, etc.? This would help a Pinner decide how much time to spend “organizing” boards and creating board covers. 00:36:42

A majority of engagement still takes place in discovery spaces — that is, the home feed, search results, and in related Pins. As Pinterest continues to introduce new ways for Pinners to discover and follow creators, they expect that will drive some increase in traffic to your profile. However, the new profile was designed to be both customizable but also easy to manage so you won’t need to spend much time managing your profile.

Engagement will continue to happen outside of your profile for the most part.

Spend time optimizing your Pins for search and discovery rather than spending too much time on your profile. Board covers are important to some people, but you get more bang for your buck by spending time on the Pins themselves (or on creating fresh content).

How much does the use of hashtags improve the reach of a Pin? 00:38:38

Pinterest has seen that hashtagged Pins get significantly more distribution the first day they’re saved to Pinterest. Again, people love fresh Pins! Creators can add up to 20 relevant hashtags to a given Pin but again, we should focus on quality over quantity here. Focus on general thematic hashtags — things like #springstyle or #instapotrecipes. That’s where Pinterest sees a good uptick in engagement on Pins.

People actually are searching by hashtags as well as clicking on hashtags on Pins. There are also suggested hashtag searches appearing in the Smartfeed. So, use them!

Can a local business (without national distribution) succeed on Pinterest? 00:40:23

“Sure! We have over 200 million monthly active users. No matter where you are, you should be able to find your local audience on Pinterest.

In order to help Pinners in your local area discover your content, be sure to use hashtags & Pin descriptions that include your geographic terms. Include your relevant geographic area in your profile description (and possibly even in your profile name) so as people are searching it feels very relevant.”

This will help you reach a more qualified audience.

Should I Pin other people’s content? If so, how much, and why? 00:55:42

Start with your own content – prioritize that for distribution (first five). But, consistent Pinning is a must. So if you don’t have fresh content to Pin from your site every day, you need to Pin other people’s content.

There is no magic ratio! No 80/20. No 20/80. Fill in the gaps of your own content with other people’s content.

If you pin mostly home decor and have a home account will it hurt your account or ranking if you add in some travel boards, fashion etc?? And vice versa, does it help your account if all your boards are very niche home decor boards with no other categories involved. 01:16:31

“Nope. Most Pinners do have more than one interest. So, there is some connection with those examples. Especially if there is a stylistic connection.” If you are going to a totally different niche, try to grow followers for just that board (embed it in a blog post, etc.).

Alisa here! Don’t do what I did – Pinning marketing content and then adding keto diet Pins. It’s not a total disaster because people do Pin across categories and they do follow you for your point of view which extends to other areas. But I set all those boards not related to marketing to secret so I can still Pin them without attracting the “wrong” followers.

Follow-Up Question answered by Sarah off Camera – Are board sections now important in search (the new guidelines suggest using them)?

“Yes. They can provide additional detail about the contents of a given board — another way for you to add data useful for SEO. So basically, a board without sections is not penalized, but you can use sections to give us additional keywords. Therefore, if you have a really specific niche board already, I don’t think it’s additive.”

Follow-Up Question answered by Sarah off Camera – Does it matter if we post pins directly from our landing page vs straight to Pinterest (as in, uploading and image, adding a link, and a description)?

No.

Follow-Up Question answered by Sarah off Camera – Why you would want to Pin your own content fresh instead of repinning even if you can’t claim your website (maybe you’re on Etsy or something similar)?

Even though you can’t claim a website like an Etsy page, make sure it’s listed in your profile as your URL so that when you pin from that site, Pinterest knows it’s your original content and you should save fresh pins rather than Repinning.

Creating Effective Pinterest Images

Pinterest suggests using a square or an image with a 2:3 ratio (600×900). Will longer images be penalized? 00:41:33

2:3 is recommended (600×900 or 735×1102). “If you deviate much from that, you might see less distribution or your Pins might be cut off in certain parts of the Pinterest app. Given that, we recommend sticking to that 2:3 ratio or lower.”

“Previously we truncated Pins, but now sometimes we just don’t show the Pin at all if it is super long. Even if currently our best Pins are super long, realize that these are still rolling out, and things will appear differently in different places.”

For a while we noticed all Pins being cut to squares. Is that something we should plan for? 00:44:20

“No. This may have been a temporary experiment we were running, but for now, we recommend 2:3 as an optimal Pin image ratio.”

Do the old recommendations about Pins without faces, warm colors, etc. working better on Pinterest still hold true? 00:44:50

No one has seen any updated guidance and as they have made Pins for Pinterest, they’ve noticed that has not held true, but it varies by brand and business, so experiment.

Lifestyle images, tasteful branding, and (limited) helpful text on image are still suggested? 00:46:04

Yup! People want to contextualize an image. It might be a great product, but tell me how I would use it or style it. Product Pins can work if they are really beautifully shot and zoomed in and have helpful text overlays and descriptions that do the work of a lifestyle image.

Tasteful branding does not hurt performance. It doesn’t build a huge increase in engagement, but it helps with awareness, particularly as the Pin spreads further from you. “

It can also build trust and credibility from Pinterest to encourage them to act once they click on the Pin.

Avoid logo placement and text overlay in the corners of the Pin, or it will get covered up by the visual search icon. Why is that? 00:49:55

The “lens” button appears in a corner (and it varies as to which one!), so you don’t want your logo to be covered up. “We see brands successfully putting small, tasteful logos in the center top or center bottom of their Pins.”

What kind of text is good on an image? 00:50:56

Great text on an image helps to explain what an image is or contextualizes an image. If the image cannot tell the full story of the Pin. You might use a beautiful image of an Italian villa, for example, but if your Pin is really about 5 places to go with kids, it’s hard to show that without text. “Text overlay helps set expectation for the content you link to.”

For product Pins, try something like, “The one product you need when you have a newborn.” Create context with text.

Effective Pin Descriptions

Any word on what is happening with Pin descriptions – ie., will they continue to be visible in the feed?  00:52:45

Pin descriptions are visible in the feed for almost all users. Pinterest is always experimenting to find just the right amount to show in the feed, but they do know that when users expand descriptions, they appreciate longer, helpful information about the Pin. A strong call to action—like “shop,” “make,” “find more like this,” or “buy”—will encourage people to click through on the Pin as well. Tell them “what lies beyond.”

“Descriptions are not going away.” Make it as long as it needs to be.

What about keyword stuffing Pin descriptions? The description is doing double duty – sharing keywords for search purposes, but it also works to encourage them to click through. “Make it feel like there is a real human behind it to encourage clicks.”

Should we go back and edit the keywords in descriptions of underperforming Pins? Will doing so have any impact on the Pin performance? 01:07:43

No. Create a new Pin with a new, more helpful, keyword-rich description. Don’t bother deleting.

Should I go back and add hashtags to older Pins? 01:09:50

No. Because hashtags are made for distributing fresh Pins! It’s not worth your time.

In Conclusion

Fresh is better, spend your time on what Pinterest is telling us works. Consider your first five Pins, but think more about when your audience is on and engaging. Use best SEO practices and Pin consistently.

We are thrilled that Pinterest has so openly shared with content creators what works and why. Will what you have learned change your Pinning strategy?

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Image of three matches with the text: Pinterest SEO, Best Practices, and Your Burning Questions Answered

 

Alisa Meredith is the Content Marketing Manager at Tailwind. She is slightly obsessed with Pinterest, dogs, cats, and the beach near her home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

This is Pinterest Marketing Gold!!! Right from Pinterest, Learn Why We Need to Stop Deleting Pins Once and For All. Why Every new Pin Needs a Unique Description. Why Scheduling Pins is Just as Good as Manual Pinning (or maybe better). Why Content Creators Should NEVER Repin Their Own Content. Why You Might Not Really Need to Pin Anyone Else’s Content #pinterestmarketing #pinterestmarketingstrategies #tailwind

19 thoughts on “Pinterest SEO, Best Practices, and Your Burning Questions Answered33 min read

  1. I consider myself an advanced user on Pinterest, but this article has left me with great knowledge of how to improve the performance of my pins …

    Something with which I have struggled for years and in my opinion Pinterest is not effective, it is in the theft of original content that leads to fake pages or spam, I think there should be an easier way to report the theft of intellectual property and be really removed or blocked the sites that take advantage of our creations …

    I thank Alisa Meredith and Sarah Hoople for their extensive teachings and their work of evangelization on the subject of SEO and its consequences on Pinterest and Google …

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Candidman!

      I’m so glad it was helpful to you. Many people have expressed their concern over intellectual property theft on Pinterest. It’s not limited to Pinterest by any means! It’s great to hear that Pinterest is taking this very seriously. I’m sure we will hear more about it as things progress.

      Most welcome! ~ Alisa

  2. My gosh this is an epic post!

    Totally sharing this in our blogging FB group.

    Thanks for the interview and follow up. You guys ROCK!

    1. I’m so glad it was helpful to you, Kelan!! And thank you for sharing. 🙂 ~ Alisa

  3. RE: Should I go back and add keywords, change description, add hashtags to old Pins?
    No. Do not spend your time editing old Pins. Pin fresh Pins.

    I would like to offer an alternative view of this. You stated that pinning through Tailwind is considered a “fresh” pin, regardless of whether it’s uploaded to Tailwind from your site or from a Pinterest board, such as your Blog board. So, if, as I do for my client, you pin to Tailwind from a Pinterest Blog board, then it makes sense to edit those pins and add hashtags so you don’t have to remember to add them when you schedule them into Tailwind.

    On the other hand, it’s advantageous to occasionally change the keyword description a bit as you add to the Tailwind scheduler to see if that might generate more engagement. This is the beauty of using Tailwind–it gives you this kind of flexibility! (Yes, this is a shameless plug for Tailwind, which I love!)

    1. Barbara, shameless Tailwind plugs are always welcome. 😉

      Oh for sure, those are fresh Pins and you should edit them as you schedule. But if you edit the original and then schedule a Pin from Tailwind using that Pin whose description just changed, now you don’t have unique descriptions!

      Thanks for being a friend. ~ Alisa

  4. I was expecting this to be a run-of-the-mill article that won’t have much substance in it.

    Man, was I wrong. It has so much valuable information!

    Virtually all my questions about Pinterest have been addressed and answered in this Q&A.

    A must-read for all Pinterest marketers.

    Thanks for the doing the interview.

  5. I appreciate the heads-up on reading time. For such a significant investment of time, especially on posts having anything to do with technology and social media, I went looking for the publishing date. So I scrolled to the comments for clues, and found the publishing date at the end of the post. I’d like to suggest that it would be more reader-friendly to place the author and publishing date at the top near the title. Thank you.

    1. I agree, Anne! I have passed on that suggestion. Especially for something this timely, it would be helpful. Thanks for pointing it out.

  6. Thank you very much for this outstanding interview. The questions were very thorough overall, and there were lots of awesome tips you can’t find anywhere.

    However, there are some points that still baffle me, if you mind helping me and others figure them out:

    1) Time of day: In the video, she says that the time of day you pin does NOT matter. She says that you will SEE people interact on your pins at certain times, but that’s all. What I take from this, although I could be mistaken, is that pinning when your audience is active is useless. Your point on this suggests otherwise, so I would like to know what other insights lead you to believe pinning when your audience is active is better, when she clearly seemed to state otherwise?

    2) Pins with tailwind are not treated as a “repin”, but as “fresh content”. She did not say that in the video, so how do you know this? This would suggest that repinning with tailwind would be better than repinning manually, but what leads you to believe this?

    3) There’s an obvious contradiction between these two tips: ” Rather, Pin your first five (most impactful) Pins when your audience is most likely to be on Pinterest and engaging” and “how do you determine whose first five Pins will be seen by their followers first? 01:14:13
    It’s literally chronological at that point – whoever Pinned first. If it’s roughly the same time, it may alternate one Pin from one, then one from the other, and so on.”

    The contradiction is that (according to what has been said off camera, which we cannot check again to understand, unfortunately) we should pin when our audience is most active, BUT whoever pinned first will appear first in the following tab. So in reality, what if someone pins the first five 1 hour before you, even if your audience is not active at that time? There’s a real contradiction here.

    Thank you very much for this interview again, and hopefully, for your insights on this.

    1. Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the interview.

      1) Sarah’s comments about the time of day not mattering is in relation to the question people always ask – “What’s the best time to post on xxx network?” There is no one best way. Pin when you audience is on and engaging.

      2) We know that Pins sent from Tailwind are not Repins because we built Tailwind. Their API does not allow partner tools to “Repin,” only to save.

      3) I understand the confusion here. If you Pin at 2pm (even if that is after midnight UTC for you), but your audience is not on until 6pm, they would have to scroll through four hours of Pins in the follower tab to get to you. Keep in mind that this is ONLY for the follower tab, so don’t get too wrapped up in it.

  7. Really informative information about new changes to Pinterest. Learn lots of new things. I’m going to implement the new first 5 pins strategy. Thanks for the detailed information.

  8. Thank you for this well thought out informative interview. Love the time stamps that were added for each question. I thought most of the questions were well answered.

    “Save to the most relevant board first – why? 00:20:20,” is the only one that perplexed me in relation to being told that we shouldn’t repin our own content.

    It says:

    “So let’s say you have a Pin that’s a Thanksgiving-themed craft project and you’ve saved it to a board called “Crafts” and then to a board called “Everything Thanksgiving.” The Pin will have all the keyword data from its description but also from the Crafts board it was saved to first.”

    If you save a pin to one board than do a fresh pin to another board than how is the second (fresh) pin, that is recommended as a best practice, going to carry the information from the first board if it is a fresh pin?

    To me this actually is saying that when you pin to a board then repin to another board that the 2nd pin will carry more information than the original pin. this would in theory tell me that the more a pin is repinned to other boards the more information it will carry. as it is continually repinned. If this is so, why would I not want to repin my images over pinning fresh ones?

    1. You’re welcome, Suzanne!

      It’s important to realize that Pinterest aggregates Pin data. Meaning, that they know if 10 Pins go to the same website page. So, whether it is Repinned or someone saves it fresh, the data from the first place it was Pinned goes with it. Which is why you should Pin it to your most relevant board first.

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