You might be aware of Google SEO, but did you know about Pinterest SEO? In this blog post, I’m going to cover the Pinterest algorithm and how to use Pinterest SEO to get massive blog traffic in 2021.
You might be wondering, why should I use Pinterest for traffic? Is Pinterest marketing worth it? Can Pinterest drive traffic to your blog or website? If you’re unsure whether learning Pinterest SEO is worth your time, let me go over why Pinterest needs to be a major part of your blog’s marketing plan.
Pinterest SEO FAQ
What is Pinterest?
Here’s a good way to describe the app, straight from Pinterest themselves.
“Pinterest is a visual discovery engine for finding ideas like recipes, home and style inspiration, and more. When you discover Pins you love, save them to boards to keep your ideas organized and easy to find.”
What is Pinterest SEO?
Think of Pinterest is like a big marketplace full of ads, each one vying for your attention.
Pinterest uses an algorithm to determine which pins to show each user. This is determined based on the user’s previous actions (pin saves, pin clicks, searches).
This algorithm is clearly at play in Pinterest search. While Pinterest search is personalized for each user, pins with good Pinterest SEO show up in search results with higher frequency.
While the Pinterest algorithm might be complicated, it isn’t hard to figure out how the algorithm works.
And if you bother to learn Google SEO, why not learn Pinterest SEO while you’re at it?
How does Pinterest work?
By now, I hope you know that Pinterest is made up of pins (images linked to content). These pins are placed inside of boards (akin to folders).
Users can find your pins a few different ways:
The home feed
This is the best source of free traffic there is. These are pins that Pinterest thinks you may like. It’s why Pinterest calls itself a search and discovery engine.
Since Pinterest is a search engine, Pinterest SEO is becoming a thing now. To show up in Pinterest search results, add keywords on your pin (text overlay) and in your pin description.
When you visit a pin, you’re shown related pins below it. Those pins can be related due to the text in the description or what’s in the image.
What blog niches get traffic on Pinterest?
Pinterest works for any niche that improves someone’s life or is about the dream of a better life.
Here are a few niches that do particularly well on Pinterest:
- making money
- saving money
- home decor
What type of content does well on Pinterest
In my how to pick a niche blog post, I emphasize that a good niche is one that helps improve someone’s life. I say that because it’s not only profitable, but there’s a lot of potential to get traffic from Pinterest.
I describe in my how to write a blog post guide that every article should aim to solve one problem your ideal reader is having.
This is exactly the type of content that Pinterest users want to see. That’s because, as I said earlier, Pinterest is a search engine.
And users on search engines are looking for solutions to their problems.
If you have content that solves a problem, it will do well on Pinterest.
How to monetize Pinterest traffic
I’m all about writing sales-centered content. That’s content that is written for one specific purpose: to make money.
If you are writing about your day or your opinions about something – you’re just wasting your time.
Not only will you not make money on Pinterest, but you also won’t make money anywhere.
So yes, you can monetize Pinterest traffic – if you write sales-centered content.
There are other ways to monetize Pinterest traffic without selling anything.
If you have a fashion, food, travel, or lifestyle blog, you can use Pinterest to get traffic and make money with display ads. These high-traffic low-conversion niches do very well on Pinterest.
When you’re a new blogger, you’re going to be tempted to try and learn everything. You’ll want to be everything to everyone and be everywhere for everyone.
That is the exact opposite of what you should be doing.
Instead of trying to please everyone – find your ideal reader and focus on them only.
Likewise, focus on one traffic source and master it.
When you operate with a laser focus – you’ll be amazed at just how much you can accomplish.
Pinterest SEO tips: Your profile
Let’s get started optimizing your Pinterest for SEO. Let’s start by setting up your Pinterest profile the right way.
To get detailed help getting your account set up, I created a Pinterest guide for bloggers here.
Open a Pinterest for business account
The first step is to get a Pinterest business account.
To convert your personal account to a business account, click here. If you’re going to go this route, set your non-business-related boards to private.
If you want to start with a new account, log out first, then click here.
Setting up your Pinterest account
Fill out your bio
Add a couple of sentences to describe what you pin about, making sure to use keywords so your profile can be found via search.
Claim your domain
To claim your domain, you need to add a bit of code to your blog first. The easiest way to do this is to install the Yoast SEO plugin. It’s one of the WordPress plugins I recommend beginner bloggers install.
Then in your WordPress admin, go to SEO > Social > Pinterest and paste the copied code there.
Set up rich pins
This last part is crucial to improving the click-through rates on your pins. To set up rich pins, on WordPress, go to SEO > Social > Facebook and make sure Open Graph metadata is enabled.
If you followed these steps, you should see a message that says, “Congratulations! Your rich pins are approved and on Pinterest.”
Create niche-specific boards
Okay great, now let’s move on to populating our profile. You’re going to want to create 10-15 boards about topics in your niche.
Don’t create any broad topic boards. Niche down as much as possible. If you have any content on a topic, create a board for it.
So for a fitness blog, for example, I wouldn’t have a fitness board at all. I’d have unique boards for the different types of fitness techniques I write about.
Follow a few top Pinners in your niche
To populate your own home feed, follow several of the top bloggers in your niche. This will give you content to populate your boards with when you don’t have any content of your own.
Doing this will also help you see what the top bloggers in your niche do on Pinterest to succeed. You can learn what pin designs they’re using and what topics they’re pinning about.
Pinterest SEO tips: Pin design
On Google, they look at your content, in part, to determine your ranking. On Pinterest, however, they look at your pin image and your description.
This potential for virality with Pinterest is real. But it won’t happen unless you have a topic and design that takes off.
Even though Pinterest is not social media, people save pins to their public boards that inspire them. And when users start saving your pins with great frequency, Pinterest takes note and may show your pin to a wider audience.
Like with Google SEO, on Pinterest SEO, your journey to creating high-ranking pins starts with keyword research.
Keyword research on Pinterest
Creating a successful pin (or article, or course, or anything) always starts with keyword research.
You can do keyword research right on Pinterest. Use the search feature on Pinterest to discover new keywords to use on your pins.
For example, type in “weight loss” into Pinterest, and you’ll get the most popular keyword searches that include that term.
The top results I got were “weight loss meal plan,” “weight loss motivation,” “weight loss drinks,” and “weight loss before and after.”
And just like that, you have 4 new article ideas that you know are VERY popular topics on Pinterest.
Think of a pin as a magazine cover. The aim is to create an image that would make the user want to both click on your pin and click through to your blog post.
Design your pins using Canva
You can create your pins using Canva using their Pinterest templates.
Creating pins all day will get you some traffic, but it won’t generate the massive traffic we’re seeking.
To truly dominate Pinterest SEO, you must master the art of creating viral pins.
Let me be clear here, I am not a graphic designer. Never have been, never will be.
Yet, I have somehow, someway, managed to create pin designs that have been shared thousands of times on Pinterest. Did I say thousands? I meant hundreds of thousands.
If I can do it, so can you.
Here are some basic principles to keep in mind when you are creating your pin graphics.
The perfect image size for Pinterest is 1000×1500 pixels (source). Don’t get hung up on that number, though. What’s more important is to keep a 2:3 ratio.
Use text overlay
Many bloggers don’t want to cover up a pretty picture with text. But it helps Pinterest figure out what the pin is about since Pinterest can read text on images.
To make your text easily readable, find some white space in the image to add your text. Otherwise, add a box and put your text in the box.
Good design is more about what’s not there rather than what is there.
Many people try too hard and end up messing things up. Simple is better, in my opinion.
I like to choose one main color (in addition to black and white). Since I am not a graphic designer, this lets me not mess it up.
If you want to be brave and play with colors, use this color palette generator from Canva.
Write a catchy headline
I won’t go into the art of writing a headline here, but boring headlines don’t work on Pinterest (or anywhere for that matter).
Make sure your headline game is strong if you want to get any traffic from Pinterest.
Headlines like the one below work because they’re fun, simple, and make a promise:
9 Insanely Simple Ways To Tame Your Wild Dog – Free Checklist Inside!
Add your branding
Brand your images! Add your logo or your URL on your pins. It will help raise brand awareness. Pin enough, and pinners will start to recognize (and click on) your pins.
Create multiple pins per post
I create multiple pin images for each of my blog posts. For some of them, I have up to 10 pins per post.
You don’t have to create a new pin design for every single pin. Just choose a few designs and use those as templates for your other pins.
I can crank out a pin in under 5 minutes since I just have to edit the text and swap out the image.
Pinterest SEO tips: Your account
Pinterest SEO isn’t just about the pin image and description. There’s one other factor that impacts your SEO ranking: it’s your account.
Accounts that regularly publish high-performing pins will be rewarded.
To get traffic from Pinterest, follow their best practices and consistently create and share highly engaging pins.
Pinterest isn’t the enemy. In fact, they love content creators. Without us, they would have no content.
So don’t think of Pinterest marketing as a way to outsmart Pinterest. Learn their rules and play within them. Remember, they want to send you traffic.
Consistency helps build Pinterest traffic
Pin good content consistently, and Pinterest will reward you with exposure.
Pinners who post every day are rewarded over pinners who mass-post infrequently. Don’t take it from me, it’s what Pinterest said.
Publishing 5 pins per day is much better than dumping 70 in one day and disappearing.
While 5 pins per day is not a lot, it’s a huge time-suck to spend a few hours on this daily.
This is where the Tailwind scheduler for Pinterest can really help you maintain a consistent pinning schedule. They help you schedule your content at peak times to maximize engagement.
Automate your pins to maintain consistency
Marketing is just part of running a successful online business. For me, it’s 80% of… everything.
If you include writing content (which is part of content marketing), then it really is 95% of my time.
Luckily I’m able to drastically cut down on the time I spend on Pinterest marketing by automating most of it.
By using Tailwind for Pinterest, I’ve been able to automate my entire Pinterest marketing workload.
Tailwind makes it easy to schedule pins to the boards I choose to be posted at the most optimal times (during peak hours).
Then there’s Tailwind Smartloop which recycles my best-performing pins right back onto Pinterest. Awesomeness!
Good pin engagement
If you want to appear on the home feed, you need to create quality pins that receive engagement.
By engagement, I mean it receives closeups, saves, and clicks at a good ratio to the impressions it receives.
Imagine that each pin has a “pin quality score.”
If a pin has received 800 impressions but only has 5 closeups, 1 save, and 0 clicks, that is NOT a high-quality pin and would have a low pin quality score.
On the other hand, a pin that has received 800 impressions, has 40 closeups, 15 saves, and 15 clicks is more likely to be considered a high-quality pin and be rewarded with more exposure.
Get engagement from your blog post
Your blog visitors can help increase your engagement score too.
To boost your pins’ engagement, have your blog visitors help the cause by asking them to save your pin.
At the end of every blog post, you should always have a call to action.
If you want more engagement on Pinterest, your call to action can be “pin this blog post on Pinterest.” It’s how I close most of my blog posts, including this one.
To add share icons to your blog posts and choose a custom pin image, use the Social Warfare plugin for WordPress.
Selectively join collaborative group boards
In order to get your pins seen by the most amount of people, you need to join Pinterest group boards.
A group board is a board where multiple collaborators can post to.
When you find a popular board in your niche with other contributors, you can message the board’s owner to ask them if you can join.
The owner of the board is the first profile displayed.
By pinning your content onto popular group boards, your content can be seen by users who don’t follow you.
You can find group boards via Pinterest Search, of course. Enter a keyword search phrase that relates to your niche and search in board names.
Note: Use group boards wisely. Only join group boards within your niche, are actively monitored, and don’t have too many contributors.
Afterward, routinely go into your Tailwind analytics to see how well your group boards are performing. If your pins are not receiving engagement, leave those boards.
Explode your Pinterest traffic with Communities
I’ve saved the best for last. Tailwind Communities are a great way to get your pins distributed on Pinterest.
A community is a group of users who actively share each other’s content on Pinterest.
The rules of the Communities are usually the same: for every pin you add to the community, share one from someone else.
This is a good way to find great content to share with your audience. But more importantly, Communities is the perfect way for a new blogger to get their content shared by a power pinner with a huge following.
Wrapping it up
When you post something to typical social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), your post is visible to only a fraction of your followers – and for a short amount of time.
The average lifespan of a social media post could be mere hours – tops!
But on Pinterest?
Your pins last forever.
And as for reach, even non-followers can see your posts!
Pinterest is a search engine, and the more you add, the more chances you have of being shown in the search results or the home feed.
That about does it for now, thanks for reading!
Until next time,