The Simplified Guide to Pinterest SEO
You might have heard a thousand times that Pinterest is not exactly a social media platform, and that it's a visual search engine. In other platforms like Instagram, we talk about using the right hashtags to maximize our reach, but in Pinterest, we talk more about 'SEO' and 'keywords'.
If the word 'SEO' makes you want to go hide under a blanket, stay with me. We're going to break it down into digestible chunks with examples.
As you've heard it, Pinterest is a visual search engine. It's Google in visual format. The search box you see at the top of your Pinterest page is one of the most used features on Pinterest. When you first log in to Pinterest, do you usually scroll through the endless home feed or go straight to the search box to find what you came to look for? For most people, it's the latter. Moreover, what you see on your home feed is a collection of top pins selected by Pinterest based on your interests and previous search results. This is why you need to optimize your profile, boards and pins with the right keywords.
WHERE TO PUT THE RIGHT KEYWORDS
Your Profile Name and Description
Your profile name and description is the first thing your audience sees when they discover you. If you’re a solopreneur/ blogger or run a small team, your profile name should include your name and what you do.
Your profile description should contain nouns and adjectives that your target audience is looking for. For example, if you're a Squarespace web designer for female business owners, your profile description might contain words like "Squarespace", "beautiful/ stunning websites", "female business owners".
Here's a great example of an optimized Pinterest profile:
Your Board Title, Category and Description
When you look at the name of your boards, are they generic, or do they specifically describe the type of content the board is housing? Let’s say you’re a piano teacher who’s creating resources for fellow piano teachers, and you have boards that houses business tips written for piano teachers, which of titles below do you think will turn up in Pinterest search when your audience looks for Pinterest boards with business tips specifically for piano teachers?
“Business Tips” vs “Business Tips for Piano Teachers”
When I search for "Business Tips for Piano Teachers", this is what came out. You don't see any generic board names appear in this search.
The Board Category is the general category your board belongs to. Unless you’re in a popular Pinterest niche like fashion, food and drink, home decor etc., you may not find the exact category for the type of board you’re creating. Please don’t leave it blank or you’ll be missing out on the opportunity to rank in a search. If you can’t think of any relevant category, don’t sweat. Pick the most logical category and move on.
If you’re a blogger and have boards related to social media, email marketing or webinars, the most logical category would be “Technology”. If you have a board called Branding Design, it would fit better in the “Design” category.
I have seen many Pinterest boards with no board descriptions. Eek! Board descriptions not only tell viewers what kind of pins they can expect on your board, but also help your board come up in Pinterest search when someone looks for boards containing a particular keyword.
Board descriptions don’t need to be long but they should contain keywords related to the Pins you’ll be saving. One of the things Pinterest looks at is whether your board title/ description and pin descriptions match. Your pins and boards have a higher chance of ranking if you save the right pins that match your board title and description.
What should your board descriptions then contain? Your board description is basically an expanded version of your board name, complete with specific keywords your audience is searching for.
Let’s say you have a board called “Web Design Inspiration”. Your target market is female entrepreneurs. The types of pins you’ll be saving on this board would be “pretty website examples, branding style boards, mood boards, color palettes etc.”. Think of what your audience will enter in the Pinterest search bar to look for these pins. Here’s what I got:
If your pin image were your book cover, think of pin description as the summary which you can usually find at the back of the book. How would you describe your pin so that people will be compelled to click? And what keywords would you use so that your pin shows up in the Pinterest search engine when someone looks for that topic?
Pinterest allows up to 500 characters in the pin description. While you don’t need to fully use up the 500 characters, a relatively long, descriptive pin description works better than a single line which just repeats the title of the blog post. And most importantly, DO NOT keyword stuff. They simply look spammy and deter people from clicking your pins.
Use descriptive words that would entice people to click or re-pin. By that, I do not mean click baits, but rather, a more detailed description that expands the title of your pin.
For example, if you wrote a productivity tip article for work-at-home moms, instead of merely stating “productivity tips for work-at-home moms”, say something like “How to be productive and get things done as a work-at-home mom. In this post, I share time management hacks and routines you can adapt in your busy life to be more productive without stressing yourself out.”
TO HASHTAG OR NOT TO HASTAG
Using hashtags in Pinterest used to be a topic that got mixed views. But as of September 2017, hashtags became official on Pinterest. Pinterest ranks pins with hashtags according to chronological order, so newer pins have a higher chance of getting seen. The way hashtags are used on Pinterest is slightly different from how they’re used on Instagram. Here’s how to find hashtags for your niche - look at the keywords that come out in the search bar. Use them as hashtags at the end of your pin descriptions. If someone looks for pins using those hashtags, your pins have a higher chance of getting shown in the results.
Don’t go overboard with hashtags though. Limit to 3-6 hashtags per pin, and add them to the end of your pin description. Nothing looks more spammy than seeing a pin with a long string of hashtags.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT KEYWORDS
Now we know where to place the keywords, but how do you know you're using the keywords your audience is searching for? Here are some areas where you can find keyword ideas:
Pinterest Search Bar: when you type something in the search bar, more suggested keywords come up.
Top Profiles: Look at the keywords the top profiles in your niche are using in their profiles, boards and pins.
Top Pins: Look at the pin description used in the top pins that come out when you search using a particular keyword.
Now over to you! Apply these tips and you’re on your way to better-ranking pins. If you want to hand-off your Pinterest SEO to a professional, I’d love to help you with a Pinterest makeover. Check out my Pinterest services here.