Pinterest makes for a powerful marketing tool, and optimizing your Pinterest for SEO will help attract the right audience—visitors ready to buy whatever it is you’re selling.
What is Pinterest SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Pinterest is all about setting up your business Pinterest page to attract comments, shares, and follows from your ideal audience.
It helps to think of Pinterest as a self-contained search engine, one that pulls up vibrant images with keyword-rich descriptions of blogs, infographics, videos, and products. And just like any other search engine, Pinterest’s primary mission is to deliver quality content to its users.
Sure, they make money through advertising, but their business model only works if users can regularly discover pins they actually want to see—whether that happens through active search or from the predictive magic of the algorithm.
How to optimize your pins for search
Like traditional SEO for webpages, integrating keywords into your content is essential. Pinterest SEO, however, goes a step further. As a visual medium, optimizing SEO for Pinterest involves things like proper image formatting, sparking engagement from your target market, and enabling Pinterest’s special features like the “Save” button and “Rich Pins.”
The following Pinterest SEO tips will teach you about all of this and more, so you can use Pinterest as the powerful marketing tool that is it. Let’s dive in!
Tip #1: Set yourself up for success
If you already have a business account and a verified site, you can skip ahead to Tip #2. If not? These two things are an absolute must if you want to take advantage of everything Pinterest has to offer.
Step 1: Set up a business Pinterest account
A business Pinterest account is absolutely free, and it gives you access to Pinterest analytics so you can gain valuable insights into user behavior. It also enables you to use Rich Pins and other Pinterest features you’ll learn all about below. For now, just trust us when we say that a business account is where it’s at.
Setting up your business account is easy and free. Just follow these instructions and you’re good to go.
Already using a personal account? No problem. Pinterest also provides step-by-step instructions on how to convert your personal account to a business account.
Step 2: Claim your business website on Pinterest
The next step is to claim your business on Pinterest. This officially lets Pinterest know that the business you claim to represent is actually your own. This step consists of verifying that you own a specific domain, and it requires you to add a link of code to your website.
It’s all very straightforward. Just follow these instructions for claiming your website on Pinterest and you’ll have access to all the perks that come with a business account.
Step 3: Write your company description
You have 500 characters to describe what you do and the value you bring to your customers, so make that space count! Check out profiles of brands similar to yours for inspiration, and write something that really captures your essence, like Rolex did here.
Tip #2: Create and pin quality, engagement-worth content
Any discussion about SEO, whether on Pinterest, your website, or any other platform, must begin with quality content. There’s simply no way around it.
The truth is, search engine algorithms have gotten really smart at figuring out what people want to see. That’s why you can no longer just pack a website with a bunch of useless, poorly-written content, scattering in as many keywords as possible and hoping to rank. That might work if you build a time machine and go back to 1995, but today you need to produce something of real value.
Well, the same is true for Pinterest. If you’re not starting with solid content, you’re not going to get very far because people won’t engage your pins. In other words, they won’t comment on it, share it, or save it. And they certainly won’t feel inspired to follow you! Most importantly, Pinterest’s algorithm will know you’re producing boring content, so it will be difficult or impossible to organically attract the kind of audience you’re trying to reach.
What kind of content is good for Pinterest?
Pinterest isn’t just about pretty pictures. Yes, it all starts with imagery, but those images often link to a variety of content, including:
Just be sure to create an engaging image for each piece of content using software like Canva to create eye-catching pins. And while Pinterest only allows you to re-pin the same post four times each month, you can link to the same piece of content (a blog post, for instance) as many times as you’d like, assuming you use different visuals. In other words, Pinterest wants to see different pins, but those pins can link to the same, high-performing content.
Of course, your audience won’t want to see you pin the same blog post 100 times with different images, so we recommend creating 3-6 unique pins for each piece of content.
Tip #3: Use guided search to get an idea of what users want to see
Before diving into formal keyword research, you can get a sense of what Pinterest users are searching for by simply logging into your Pinterest account and entering search terms related to your business into the search bar.
Let’s say, for instance, you have an online store that sells specialty bedding. You’ve got a nice little niche in that market, and you want to get a sense of what Pinterest users are looking for in terms of related products. You can start by entering “bed sheets” into the Pinterest search bar, and just like with Google, it will start populating your search based on what other users are entering.
The search terms that pop up obviously won’t give you quantitative data on search volumes—that’s what the next step is concerned with! Instead, think of this step as the idea generation phase. It’s an opportunity to explore all the possibilities out there.
After all, would you have thought to explore the keyword phrase “bed sheet aesthetic” on your own? Probably not! But it seems like plenty of Pinterest users are searching for it, so now you can dig deeper and find related phrases.
One beautiful thing about Pinterest is that it’s so well structured, with users organizing their content into “boards” that share a theme. Dig deep into those searches, explore competitor boards, and see what bubbles up in your imagination. Find new ideas and run searches on those. If they look like hot topics, you can build content around those new words and target users who are ready to buy.
Tip #4: Keyword research
Now it’s time to take what you’ve learned from poking around guided search and see what Google has to say about it. You can access Google’s free keyword planning tool to find keywords and phrases related to your subject matter. You’ll also be able to see which phrases have a higher search volume and lower competition. Google Trends is also a helpful keyword planning tool.
Even though this is an analysis of Google searches as a whole and not Pinterest searches in particular, it’s valuable information for a couple of reasons. First, Google’s search data is massive, and even if it doesn’t correlate perfectly to what Pinterest users are looking for, it’ll still give you a strong sense of what the market wants to see. Second, Google searches deliver traffic to Pinterest, so you might draw in some external traffic if you provide excellent content.
Obviously, there’s plenty more we could say about SEO keyword research. It’s a vast topic! But the most important thing to keep in mind is to find longtail keywords that have a high search volume and aren’t insanely competitive. In other words, rather than simply focusing on “bed sheets” as a keyword phrase, focusing on “organic bamboo bed sheets” is more niche and might have less competition. Of course, if something is so niche that nobody’s searching for it, it won’t do you any good. It’s all about striking a balance that will deliver quality traffic to your Pinterest page (and ultimately to your website).
Tip #5: Write keyword-rich descriptions for pins and boards
Now that you’ve got some idea of what your target audience wants to see, and what they’re searching for, it’s time to create content that draws them in. And with each piece of content, be sure to add a thorough description that includes those valuable longtail keywords you discovered. Do the same with the boards you create to organize your content.
Now, if you really want to dive into the nitty-gritty of Pinterest search and ranking, Pinterest engineers published this Medium article to show you how Pinterest ranks content through keyword extraction.
Warning: It’s dense and highly technical, but if that’s your jam, it’s worth taking a look.
Tip #6: Feel free to use hashtags
From humble beginnings on Twitter, hashtags have spread to every popular social media site as a way to tag content—and Pinterest is no exception.
In theory, you can add up to 20 different hashtags to every pin description, focusing on keywords or related themes, but you probably don’t want to use more than four in any given post. Too many hashtags is distracting and it can look spammy.
The most important thing is to make sure your hashtags are relevant to the content you’re pinning. If you do that, it certainly won’t hurt your exposure. Some Pinterest users believe it increases views in that initial burst, right after you pin something.
If you’re curious, here’s Pinterest’s official statement regarding hashtags, which they posted the day they announced hashtags would work on Pinterest.
Tip #7: Add the Pinterest tag to your website
The Pinterest tag is a piece of code you add to your website to track traffic that comes from Pinterest and figure out what users do once they get to your site. Do they make a purchase? Sign up for your newsletter? Something else? The Pinterest tag allows you to track that, whether you’re using an organic campaign or paid ads.
While adding the Pinterest tag itself won’t affect your SEO directly, the information you gain from tracking conversions will be extremely enlightening—and it will guide your SEO efforts going forward. By tracking conversions with the Pinterest tag, you can figure out which keywords drive paying customers to your site.
What kind of conversions can you track with the Pinterest tag?
- Page Visit
- Searches on your website
- Add-to-cart actions
- Video views
- And more, including customized tracking of specific events
You can add tags to your standalone website or to websites housed on e-commerce platforms, like Shopify. Visit Pinterest’s full guide to set up the Pixel tag on your website.
Tip #8: Add the Pinterest “Save” button to images on your site
You can drive more traffic to your Pinterest page, gain more followers, and increase exposure by adding the Pinterest “Save” button to images on your site.
For example, if you sell clothing or jewelry, you’ve got a whole host of pin-worthy material on your website. By adding that “Save” button to those images (which you do by adding a piece of HTML code to your site), pinners can save those images to their pins and boards with the click of a button.
You can either make the “Save” button appear by default, or you can make it appear when a user hovers over the top-left quadrant of the picture. If you get a lot of traffic from Pinterest, or your customers show great interest in saving your images to their Pinterest boards, it might make sense to feature the “Save” button outright (i.e., no hovering required).
Tip #9: Use Rich Pins
Rich Pins are essential for e-commerce companies that use Pinterest to display their products because they keep pricing, product description, and other information up-to-date on the platform. In other words, when you change a product’s price on your website, the system will automatically update your Product Rich Pin. That way, Pinterest users won’t follow a link to your store only to find a different price than what they found on the platform.
In addition to Product Rich Pins, you can also enable Article Rich Pins so that blog posts update automatically. Using both will allow you to create unified campaigns that display the latest and greatest information from your website.
It all works by embedding a small strip of HTML code on your website, although you’ll need to apply for Rich Pins before you can start using them.
Tip #10: Use best practices when formatting images for pins
The latest data suggests that 85% of Pinterest traffic comes from mobile devices, and that has some serious implications for what works best in terms of image format. In other words, longer is better, with a 2:3 ratio being ideal, and an optimal pin size of 1,000 pixels by 1,500 pixels.
You’ll also want to use eye-catching colors that pop on the page, that way your amazing content won’t get passed over in a sea of imagery.
Tip #11: Study your analytics
One of the strongest benefits of having a Pinterest business account is that it gives you access to a treasure trove of data. Pinterest analytics will help you identify keywords that attract traffic, lead to conversions, and spark engagement. And that just scratches the surface.
Check out our post about Pinterest analytics to take a closer look at this powerful toolkit.
Tip #13: Consider Pinterest ads
Paid Pinterest ad campaigns can help drive traffic to your page and increase engagement, so it may be worth dipping your toe in the water. After all, since they use a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model like Google Adsense does, you can set a budget and test out paid ads without taking on major risk.
Before you create a Pinterest ad, you’ll first want to identify your goals. Do you want to generate traffic? Gain click-thrus on a blog? Get video views? Win conversions? Pinterest has different ad formats design for specific objectives.
Tip #14: Pin regularly. Pin often.
Consistent pinning is key to Pinterest success. Doing so will create more opportunities for engagement, and the algorithm will reward you by boosting your content in the rankings.
How much should you post? That depends on a number of factors, which is why we wrote a whole blog post about how many pins you should post.
In that post, we recommend 1-5 pins per day if you’re just getting started—but keep in mind that you can (and should) create 3-6 pins for each piece of content. In other words, if you’ve got a blog post called “10 Unforgettable Halloween costumes,” you can create six different images that link to the same content.
This schedule may sound overwhelming, but one way to make things easier on yourself is to use automation software like MeetEdgar. It not only helps you schedule your pins, but it can even help write the content for each post—just be sure to plug in those keywords!
Is Pinterest good for your website’s SEO?
With all this talk about SEO for Pinterest, you may be wondering… is posting to Pinterest good for your website’s SEO? In other words, since Pinterest has high domain authority (meaning they’re “kind of a big deal” on the internet), will those backlinks translate to a higher ranking for your website?
Here’s how this works. There are two types of backlinks in the world: “follow” links and “no-follow” links. Follow links are ones that boost your ranking simply by virtue of the fact that they come from a highly-reputable website. No-follow links, like the ones posted on individual Pinterest pages, won’t directly boost your website’s SEO. The logic behind this is that anyone can post those links from their own account, so it’s not like they’re receiving the blessing from one of those high domain-authority sites.
That said… all incoming traffic is good for your website’s SEO! And Pinterest is a great source of highly relevant traffic, which means that posting quality content on Pinterest can play a role in boosting your website’s SEO.
This brings us back to the core idea that kicked off this list of tips—the best SEO strategy is powerful, engaging content. Search engines are designed with the end-user in mind, so if you produce content they love, you’ll reap the rewards.
Ready to up your Pinterest game? Sign up for our free course.
Our Perfect Pin Plan course is a 5-day email course that will tell you everything you need to know about:
- Setting up your business account on Pinterest
- Optimizing SEO for your pins
- Creating Pinterest images that get noticed
- Boosting engagement on your pins
- Building campaigns that produce results