Pinterest SEO Strategy in 2017

July 10, 2017

Interested in learning more about the best Pinterest SEO practices in 2017?

Pinterest is updating their algorithm all the time, with a rather large update happening in the beginning part of 2017, so in this post I want to share with you the best Pinterest SEO tips and techniques that you can use to stay relevant as we move forward in the future.

As a dedicated social media site, Pinterest continues to grow in popularity every year and regardless of the niche that you’re in, it’s very likely that you can use it to drive traffic to your website or blog.

The thing about Pinterest is that it’s not just a social media site, if you look at it more as an image search engine then you’ll be better off when it comes to taking advantage of the traffic that you can get from it as well as optimizing your own pins and profile for searches.

Every month, more than two billion searches are done on Pinterest by people looking for images on just about every topic that you could think of.

You might be thinking that you’re only going to be able to make it on Pinterest if you’re a mommy blogger, food blogger, travel blogger, or you have a site about DIY or fashion.

Not surprisingly, this isn’t the case at all, and Pinterest actually is one of the top sources of referral traffic for websites from every industry online.

Not only is taking advantage of Pinterest traffic beneficial for your website or blog in the long run, but it’s also important when it comes to building your brand, improving your online presence, and you can even use it for driving sales to your ecommerce platform.

Pinterest users notoriously convert when it comes to online purchases, whether you’re selling a physical or digital product, a lot more than traffic from other sources like Facebook or Instagram.

This means that if you’re hoping to sell something online, it’s a good idea for you to spend time focusing on capitalizing on all of the traffic coming from Pinterest that you can get while being able to interact with your potential customers on a more personal basis.

Using Pinterest and taking advantage of the traffic it can bring to your website can also help you develop your brand and promote your content to a wider range of people, that otherwise never would have been exposed to you.

Even now in 2017 there are a lot of people that overlook Pinterest, aren’t using it effectively to interact with their audience, or simply aren’t using it at all.

You definitely don’t want to be that person that is letting all of that sweet Pinterest traffic go to waste, so today I want to show you how to start implementing Pinterest SEO and properly optimizing your pins for people searching for more information, inspiration, or anything else on the platform.

Pinterest SEO for Beginners

The Smart Feed Algorithm

Before looking at all of the different SEO techniques and tactics that you can implement, it’s important to start with the actual algorithm that Pinterest uses when it comes to displaying pins for individual users.

It’s known as the “Smart Feed”, and it was most recently updated at the beginning of 2017, with a lot of people complaining that it was now harder to get pins noticed and build traction, even with a solid Pinterest strategy.

I didn’t find that to be the case, but here’s a quick primer on the smart feed algorithm:

Rather than just showing you random, unrelated images in your feed, Pinterest wants you to be able to explore content that you’re actually interested in.

They want you to explore the different images, search phrases, and websites that you come across when you’re using Pinterest, and most importantly they want you to keep coming back and spending time on the platform.

The way it is now, the pins that you see are ranked by a few different factors that Pinterest uses, so the different pins that come up in your feed are ranked to be the best options for your interests and Pinterest search habits.

In the past, you would be shown the newest pins, but now the algorithm focuses on quality as well as user engagement rather than showing you new pins all the time.

When it comes to the content that you see on your feed, there are three different areas of the platform where new pins are pulled from.

The algorithm takes information from your repins, any of the related pins, and any pins that it determines you might be interested in.

Once the algorithm is able to come up with a general idea of the type of content that you want displayed on your feed, it then applies 4 main factors that allow its to determine the specific pins that are going to show up.

These factors are:

  • Domain Quality (DQ)
  • Pin Quality (PQ)
  • Pinner Quality (PPQ)
  • Relevance (R)

Keeping these different factors in mind is going to go a long way when you’re starting to optimize your different pins and this is going to help you drive a lot more traffic using Pinterest, gain more followers, and have your pins show up in a wider range of user feeds.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the different factors and how you can get each of them to work in your favor.

Pinterest Ranking Factors

Increasing Your Domain Quality on Pinterest

The Pinterest algorithm is able to follow image links through to the websites that they’re from, and then ranks them based on their own internal quality ranking factors.

It can determine which pins from your website are the most popular, and if you are pinning on a regular basis with lots of user interaction, then the algorithm is going to view your website as a source of high quality and reputable content.

However, as a beginner blogger or someone just getting started with Pinterest, you might not have the best domain quality just yet.

Here are some things that you can do to improve your domain quality ranking and get into Pinterest’s good books, so to speak.

Convert Your Account to a Business Account

The first thing you want to do is convert your Pinterest account into a business account.

This is required if you’re going to be sharing content from your blog or website, and it’s the first step you want to take when it comes to increasing domain quality.

If you don’t want to convert your account, it’s going to be a much harder uphill battle for you to gain traction on Pinterest, and it’s very likely that the platform will never take you as seriously as they would your competition that has converted their accounts already.

Verify Your Website

After you convert your account you want to go ahead and add your website to your profile.

Once you’ve added it, make sure to verify your website or blog.

This goes to show Pinterest that you’re actually a real person instead of just some random that isn’t interested in verification and following their requirements.

Enable Rich Pins

Now you want to go ahead and enable rich pins.

It might sound a bit tricky and technical, but having rich pins enabled is important because they add a bunch of extra information to your pins that the algorithm gets from your blog or website.

It also helps your pins to stand apart from non-enriched pins, and in the long run this can drive a significant amount of additional traffic.

One more interesting feature is that Pinterest automatically updates the rich pin information whenever you decide to update your content, so you never have to worry about losing any information through your pins.

Focus on High-Quality Content

Of course, you should always be focusing on creating high-quality blog content, and the same goes for the images that you’re pinning.

You want to take the time to design images that Pinterest users are going to like and interact with (repin, favorite, share).

At the beginning, don’t worry too much if your pins aren’t getting too much interaction, because as you progress or you will get better and better at designing pins and finding the right images to work with.

Increasing Your Pin Quality

Like I just mentioned, you want to be focused on uploading high quality content with the best designed pins that you can come up with.

The pin quality factor that the Pinterest algorithm uses is based on how popular your pins are when it comes to overall engagement levels.

Basically, if your pin is getting a lot of re-pins, social shares, or if people are clicking through to your website, Pinterest is going to view this as a high-quality pin.

There are a few things that you can do to improve the pin quality of the pins that you’re uploading.

These include things like:

Writing Engaging Blog Post Titles

Coming up with an engaging, interesting, and compelling blog post headline is going to help get you re-pins and clicks through to your blog or website.

This is in contrast to something uninspiring and boring that people aren’t going to want to interact or engage with.

Make sure to come up with great blog post titles for all of your posts so that you’re able to take advantage of higher engagement and more interaction from your audience.

Design Awesome Graphics

It doesn’t matter if you have the best content online with an amazing headline if nobody is clicking or re-pinning your pins.

In this case, you need to focus on creating incredible pins that take advantage of inspiring graphics so that people are actually interested in visiting your site and re-pinning your images.

Don’t worry about it at first, it’s very likely that your pins are going to be absolutely horrible, but once you get some practice you’ll definitely be able to start uploading amazing graphics.

Here are some helpful tips on creating great pins:

  • Use the proper Pinterest image dimensions when you’re uploading pins (taller images instead of wider ones)
  • Start off with a high-quality, brightly colored image as a base
  • Add text to your images and include a CTA
  • Depending on your niche, create pins that use more than just one image

These are just a few helpful tips that you can use for creating good Pinterest pins.

Keep an Eye on Your Group Boards

Right after you get started with Pinterest, you want to start joining group boards right away.

Maya over at MayaMaceka.com has an awesome collection of group boards you can join – be sure to check out her freebies here for the list of groups!

These boards help to get your pins in front of a wider audience and they’re a great tool in growing your own Pinterest account as well as getting more traffic from the platform.

Make sure to keep an eye on the pins that you are posting to these boards and check to see whether or not the group members are interacting with everything that you post (repins, likes, etc).

If your pins are getting low engagement insert in groups, you might want to consider it deleting these pins or just leaving the group if it’s not a good fit for your niche/type of content that you’re posting.

Share/Like Exchanges

I’ve seen on plenty of Facebook groups that there are a lot of share exchanges and like exchanges when it comes to Pinterest accounts and specific pins.

The problem is, depending on what you’re promoting this might not be something that you should participate in.

The benefits to participating in these exchanges include the fact that your pins are going to get more engagement and look better on Pinterest, and there is also going to be an increased reach with how many people that you’re able to interact with on the platform.

The problem with these exchanges is that your pins might be getting pinned to unrelated boards and you could see a dip in your pinner quality ranking if you’re re-pinning other people’s pins that have nothing to do with your own niche/interests.

It also takes a lot of time to participate in these exchanges, time that could be spent better off elsewhere.

Personally, I don’t spend too much time in these Pinterest exchanges or pin share groups, and I recommend that you try to focus on pinning naturally to avoid any problems with the algorithm.

On the other hand, if you’re able to interact with people in these Facebook groups in the same niche as you that are going to be engaging with and sharing relevant content to yours, then I can’t see any problems with doing that.

Increasing Pinner Quality

The Pinner Quality ranking factor is based on how the Pinterest algorithm looks at you as an individual user when it comes to the content that you’re uploading and interacting with on the platform.

The algorithm decides whether or not you are uploading high quality content that’s relevant to your interests as well as content that other people enjoy engaging with.

Basically, to get a better idea of your pinner quality you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do your pins get a lot of likes, click throughs, and re-pins?
  • Is the content that you’re pinning coming from high-quality sources?
  • Are you pinning on a regular basis?
  • Do you spend a lot of time on Pinterest as an active user?

Hopefully you answered yes to all of these questions, and if not, you are some things that you can do to improve your pinner quality ranking:

Spend Time on Pinterest Regularly

One of the best ways to get seen as a high quality pinner is to spend a lot of time on the platform with a lot of activity during the day.

For most of us, this is impossible because of things like work and other responsibilities, but thankfully there are some great tools out there that you can use to keep your account active.

I like to use Pinterest scheduler tools to make sure that my boards and my own page is getting updated throughout the day.

The tools I recommend are:

These allow you to regularly pin new images or re-pin other pins without doing it manually, so you look like more of an active user rather than someone that just uses the platform sporadically.

Personally, I recommend going with Tailwind because it comes packed with helpful features as well as an analytics dashboard that you can use to see which boards you’re in have the best total engagement, and which of your pins are the most popular among users.

Pin Popular Content

Along with pinning your own pins, you should also be pinning other popular pins related to your niche and interests.

You can do this by searching for specific keywords on Pinterest and just pinning the top results that show up.

Alternatively, there are a few other ways that you can find pins that are already wildly popular:

Get More Repins

To get more repins you want to make sure that you’re actively pinning other people’s content and making an effort to interact with your audience across all mediums.

When you’re active on Pinterest (whether manually or with schedule tools) it’s going to be a lot easier for you to get higher levels of engagement, and this is going to result in more repins in the long run.

As long as you’re uploading quality content and pinning regularly to your own boards and a variety of different group words, then you’re going to get plenty of repins and engagement.

Adding Your Keywords to Pinterest

So far I’ve basically gone over how to improve your own standing on Pinterest, as an individual user and website owner or blogger to come across as more of an authority and high quality pinner.

Everything that I’ve discussed so far, however, still isn’t enough to drive tons of traffic, and there are still a few more things that you need to do to take advantage of Pinterest SEO.

The next topic I want to talk about is relevance, and in this case you want to show to Pinterest that your account and the content that you’re pinning is relevant to a specific topic/niche.

As I mentioned above, Pinterest on its own is basically an image search engine, and the way search engines work is by using keywords and search phrases to present you with related and relevant results.

It works the same on Pinterest, and it’s important to use keywords in your pins to give the search algorithms a better idea of what your content and pins are all about.

Think about it – your domain quality, your pin quality, and your individual quality as a pinner reveals to Pinterest the overall importance of your pins.

It’s the keywords you use that reveal what your pins and content are actually about.

Here’s how to use keywords properly on Pinterest:

Start With Keyword Research

longtail pinterest keywords

The first thing you want to do is start to find relevant keywords that people are actually searching for on Pinterest.

To do this, head to the search box and type in some search phrases to see what gets automatically suggested.

All of the suggestions are keywords that people are actually searching for, so make note of these or write them down in Evernote or Google Docs so you can keep track of them.

A set of suggested keywords is also going to show up under the search bar after you’ve done your search, and these should help provide you with more ideas and inspiration for keywords that you can use.

suggested keywords to use

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to see the exact amount of searches that people are doing for specific keywords on Pinterest, but the basic search function is all you need and should provide you with plenty of keywords and related search phrases you can use.

This step alone is going to help set you apart from most pinners, many of which don’t even bother with doing any keyword research at all and simply hope for the best when it comes to traffic, repins, etc.

With all these keywords you need somewhere to put them, right?

Let’s move forward onto the next step to see what you can do with the keywords you’ve collected so far.

Pinterest Profile SEO

optimizing your profile on pinterest

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to search engine optimize your Pinterest profile.

There are three different areas on your profile that you can add keywords and more efficiently optimized for searches.

You can optimize your username, your business name, and you can also include some keywords in your bio.

Your username is the URL of your Pinterest page, and most people are just going to include their own name or blog name in this part.

While you will see a tiny SEO boost for using a keyboard here, it might not blend well with your branding or you might not like how it looks, so it’s up to you to decide whether you want to use a name here or a keyword.

The business name is your profile name area, and you can actually add a few relevant keywords here rather easily.

I’ve noticed that most people just add their name here, and that’s fine, but there is still some space where you can add more of your keywords.

For example, rather than just having something like “Anne Novakova”, it would be much better if you went with something along the lines of “Anne Novakova | Lifestyle Blogging Tips for Beginners”.

Do you see how I added a few keywords in there?

I recommend doing the same and try to feel as much as you can of the 160 character space for text.

Pinterest Board SEO

optimizing your boards

The next area of your profile that you want to focus on is your boards, and you can actually optimize them so that they can get found in the search results as long as you use the right keyboards.

For keyword placement, make sure to include a keyword in the title as well as the descriptions of the boards.

Try to make the keyboard as relevant as possible, and even try to use one that you have already found people are searching for during your research step up above.

Don’t go too overboard here, you’re better off going with something simple and straightforward that gets the point across so that people know exactly what to expect when they visit one of your boards.

Another tip to keep in mind is that you want to make sure to fill out the description of your boards and try to use as many of the 500 characters that you can.

I recommend coming up with some sentences or a short paragraph, rather than just adding random related keywords here, because this is going to help with SEO as well as overall user experience.

All you need to do is write a brief description of the board and be sure to include any keywords that are going to give your board visitors a better idea of what the board is about.

Pin Description SEO

Once you’re done optimizing your Pinterest boards, you can move forward with optimizing your pins.

It’s basically the same steps for optimizing your pins as you do with the boards – make sure to write a quick description and try to include a relevant keyword.

Keep in mind that the descriptions get cut off after about 50 characters, so try to be engaging here in order to get more people to click on your pins while at the same time trying to use some keywords so that you can get more traffic as well.

Pinterest Image SEO

This is a quick step that you can easily do before you upload a new pin to Pinterest.

For optimal image SEO, simply rename your pin before uploading it to something relevant that people are searching for.

For example, rather than leaving it as “IMG_5858.jpg”, you’d be better off changing it to something relevant that includes your keywords like “beginner-blogging-tips”.

This just takes a few seconds and it’s very likely that this will have an impact on your long-term SEO for Pinterest.

Make Sure Your Blog Posts are SEO-Friendly

One more little thing you can do that might have an impact is to make sure that your blog posts are taking advantage of SEO.

The reason why this is important is because if you’re using rich pins, the keywords that you’re using in your blog posts are going to transfer over to Pinterest.

Pinterest SEO FAQ

Hopefully you have followed along and have begun to implement all of these different SEO tactics and other changes.

You might not notice any change within the first few days, but over the long-term you will definitely benefit from the changes that you make, especially if you follow through with every pin that you upload from now on.

Despite providing such an in-depth guide, I know that many of you will still have some more questions that you want answered, so I want to take the time now to go over some of the questions that I think some of you might have.

Should You Be Using Hashtags On Pinterest?

There is really no reason to use hashtags on Pinterest at all, especially if you are taking advantage of the different SEO tips that I have gone over here today.

The Pinterest search engine doesn’t provide results the same way that other  social media search engines do like on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, so you’re better off avoiding hashtags all together.

Using them might even have a detrimental impact on your Pinterest ranking, so I’d recommend not using hashtags at all.

Should you be Deleting your Pins?

I think it’s a good idea to be deleting any underperforming Pinterest pins that you have discovered.

I know that it can take some time for pins to go viral, so you might be missing out on a future viral pin, but when it comes to the search algorithm I think you’re better off deleting any underperforming pins that you have that aren’t getting any repins, click throughs, or engagement.

Instead of deleting it to completely, you can just upload it and try again with a different description and other SEO factors, and if you find that it is still underperforming then you can delete it for good.

Of course, if you have thousands of your own pins already uploaded then it might be difficult for you to find the most underperforming ones, so I would recommend keeping on top of your engagement levels and analytics right from the start.

If you have anymore questions about optimizing your Pinterest profile for search engine optimization then please feel free to let me know in the comments below or send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Finishing Up

Hopefully this guide has given you a better idea of what you can do when it comes to Pinterest SEO and how you can take advantage of these different tactics and techniques to get more traffic from Pinterest.

It might seem rather daunting at first, but as long as you’re steady with your implementation then you’re bound to see results rather quickly.

There are plenty of people that are driving the bulk of their blog traffic using Pinterest only, so there’s no reason why you can’t do the same for your own blog or website.

I’d love to hear more about your own Pinterest strategy, and feel free to drop a comment down below to share with me what you’re doing to get more repins, drive more traffic, or just how you’re growing your profile.

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