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Pinterest’s content distribution works off how much engagement a pin gets after it appears in your followers’ feed. If it does well then the content is shared through search results and recommendations. You can learn more about Pinterest Smart Feed here. It’s important that your content is relevant to your followers because they decide if your content is worth spreading, but it’s also important to follow universal SEO practices to make sure your content is relevant to other users who might find it interesting or helpful.

There are several features to keep in mind for Pinterest SEO.

Use Keywords in Descriptions, Tags, and Board Titles

The best place to put keywords is in your pin descriptions. Think about what your audience will search for on Pinterest and use those keywords and key phrases in your descriptions. A good example of a keyword-filled description is: “This chocolate fondue recipe is a must for your next chocolate-themed celebration and will become any chocolate dessert lover’s favorite.” Strong descriptions include keywords related to a specific topic as well as broader search terms. Take care to avoid forcing keywords because you want your descriptions to sound natural and appealing.

To give you an idea of the keywords that pinners are searching, you can do a quick search within Pinterest by typing the keyword in the search bar and see what words Pinterest recommends. If you click on one of the suggested terms you can find related keywords and themes to use in your content and pin descriptions. Make sure your pin description matches your blog post title. Users want to open the article related to the pin image and they don’t want to be surprised or disappointed by the content. The content of the pin should match that of the landing page or blog article.

Keywords can also go in your profile, board titles, and board descriptions. Make sure that anyone looking for your pins and boards has no problem finding you. Pinterest also supports hashtags and when users search by hashtags the pins appear in reverse chronological order. You can add up to 20 hashtags to a pin description. Focus on general themes people may search for. If you’re unsure about adding hashtags in the description, keep in mind users search using hashtags as well as click on hashtags within pin descriptions.

Keep Content Fresh and Measure Pin Engagement

All new pins, whether from a new article or an old one, are considered new content. You want to keep content new and fresh for your followers. It doesn’t matter if you use a scheduling tool or pin natively on Pinterest; all the content is treated the same. When looking at what makes a larger impact, pinning directly from your website, or repining, there isn’t a difference in pin engagement between the two. They both alert the algorithm that the pin has value to those looking for topics related to your pin. Direct pins and repins show up in searches and in recommendations on the home feed.

Analytics can help determine what pins are seeing the most engagement. To view these statistics, you’ll have to create a business account. Make adjustments if you find that some pins aren’t getting as much attention or aren’t as relevant to your audience’s interests. To increase exposure to your website, you’ll want to claim your website and embed the code to your website. You can also enable rich pins, which are pins that have extra information and context directly on the pin.

A common question when pinning content is what to do with pins that aren’t performing as expected. Some businesses may ask if they should delete these underperforming pins but the answer is actually no. Pins with a low number of repins won’t hurt the distribution of your other pins. Pins that don’t do well initially may gain attention, later on, so don’t spend the time deleting underperforming pins.

Ways to Draw More Followers

Followers only make up a small portion of the people you reach on Pinterest. On your business account, you can view the number of followers you have and the total reach you have. Most of your pins’ distribution happens with people who discover your content through searches but don’t actually follow you.

The Following Tab allows users to see pins from people and accounts they follow, and content creators can concentrate on creating content that their followers will be more engaged with. Pins that have high engagement are distributed to more people, so in the long run building relationships and having highly engaged followers is more important than the number of followers that rarely engage.

However, to build your followers Pinterest is adding features that will recommend you to other pinners who might like your content. To improve your odds of being recommended, you should create a business account, claim your website, pin regularly, have keyword filled descriptions, and have an optimized profile. You can also draw followers to your account by having a Pinterest follow button on your website, advertise to followers on other channels that you’re active on Pinterest, create or join Pinterest boards, and follow your competitor’s followers.

Create Effective Content and Images

Pinterest is a visual search engine and its format is based around images and pictures. You want to make sure users can easily conceptualize the pin. Including lifestyle images and limited text that hints at the content can be helpful for users. Tasteful branding, like a small logo or URL and on-brand colors, adds brand awareness to your pin, and it makes sure that over time as your pin is distributed your brand isn’t lost. As for the image size, the best picture ratio is 2:3 or 600×900 pixels. Anything taller will get cut off in the app and may get lower distribution. Square images also work, but vertical pins get more space in the feed.

Pinterest Can Help Local Businesses Grow

Local businesses may worry that Pinterest cannot work for them, but their content can be seen and spread on Pinterest. Small businesses, no matter where they’re located, should be able to reach pinners in their area. Local businesses should focus on hashtags and pin descriptions that use keywords and geographical terms that their audience will be searching for. These terms can also be used in profile names and descriptions.

It’s not too late to join Pinterest and see how it can help your business reach a wider audience and gain new followers. Pinterest has made several new updates to the platform that will provide more resources for businesses and help enhance their use of Pinterest.