Wondering how to get found on Pinterest?
Then you need to learn Pinterest Search Engine Optimization!
Bet you’ve heard about SEO before, but mostly for Google and search engines, right?
But Pinterest is a visual search engine – which means it operates on its own variety of SEO.
The key to getting found on Pinterest is to understand how to optimize your profile and Pins in key ways.
Disclosure: If you make a purchase from some links in this post, I may earn a referral fee at no cost to you.
There are lots of ways to get found on Pinterest
All these opportunities make it a great place for your content:
- Keyword search.
- Smart feed.
- Following feed.
- Related Pins aka “More like this.”
- Search by #hashtag.
- Click on a hashtag and find more hashtagged Pins.
- Visit Pinterest profiles.
- Use the “Lens” feature for visual search.
- Browse the Explore tab for trending ideas.
The “smart feed” or home page is still the default for users who come to Pinterest to browse. But have you ever stopped to ask if Pinners are actually browsing for random content?
I did, and it was an eye-opener.
Ask your own users! And I’m asking you…
I’d love to know how you use Pinterest for your own personal use. Not as a marketer looking for popular things to repin… just as a normal Pinterest user.
I look forward to tabulating our results and will let you know what I find!
I asked a bunch of Pinterest marketers, and they said…
Please take the poll before reading further, so as to not influence your answer 🙂
Even Pinterest marketers admitted overwhelmingly that they use Pinterest as a search engine for personal use.
179 people answered my poll, and the results looked like this:
- 1st place with 132 votes or 74%: Search for keywords.
- 2nd place with 32 votes or 18%: Use the smart feed.
- 3rd place tied at 7 votes, 4% each: Following feed and Related Pins.
Almost 3/4 prefer to search by keywords. This tells me you’d better be using keywords your ideal audience is looking for. Use them in your:
- Profile name.
- Profile bio.
- Board names.
- And especially in your Pin descriptions!
UPDATE Here are the results from the first 1.5 months of polling on this page:
Let’s face it, most Pinterest users aren’t browsing to kill time. With 3/4 of marketers and 2/3 of my readers preferring keyword search – clearly, you want your Pins to appear in those searches!
How to get found on Pinterest – the basics
While there are lots of ways to get found on Pinterest, you need to understand these three first.
Once you get the hang of these, the others will fall into place.
Home Feed (Smart Feed)
The home feed is what you see first when you arrive on Pinterest, either on desktop or through the app.
This is a mixture of Pins from people you follow, topics Pinterest thinks you might like, and promoted Pins.
It’s controlled by the Smart Feed, which is the name for the algorithm that runs everything. The Smart Feed basically determines who gets to see what!
Ensuring your Pins show up here can be a little tricky – but if you have solid SEO, your chances are much better. Then Pinterest can match your Pins to users who have already shown interest in your topic.
And, since what each Pinner is shown on their home feed will be different, there are plenty of opportunities for your Pins to show up.
This is the place that you should focus on the most to get found on Pinterest.
When you press the search icon in the top right corner, the search bar appears.
Type in the phrase you want to content for, and a whole range of Pins will appear. Here we searched for “email marketing”:
This is where related keyword content will appear. Pinterest has been experimenting with the way this displays, so they don’t always appear the same for all terms on all accounts.
Try switching from desktop to mobile, or vice versa, if you don’t find the results helpful enough.
You can use the drop-down menu at the right of the search box to change search parameters. You can search:
- All Pins
- Your Pins
- Product Pins
Most people will use the ‘All Pins’ option, which is the default. But the others are handy if you want to do some research on what kind of content exists for a keyword.
You can also research accounts (people) and boards with this feature. That also means your account and boards could show up here.
The following feed is filled with Pins only from people you follow.
To access it, you go to your main home feed. There’s an option along the top to switch to the following feed.
This is where having more followers can help to get your Pins seen. Stats show that most Pinners don’t make use of it, though. It kinda depends on your audience.
That’s why getting more Pinterest followers is good, but not as important as with social media platforms like Facebook.
Other spots your Pins can be found
More like this
Any time you click a Pin, you can scroll down a bit and see more Pins that Pinterest thinks are like this one.
Sometimes their results aren’t the best! But more on that in a bit.
This is a good place for your Pins to be found. Someone is already looking for content on your keyword.
Like the home feed, it’s tricky to get your Pins to appear here. Solid SEO is needed.
But it is also a good way to test that your SEO is working. Do the ‘more like this’ Pins make sense for your Pin?
If yes, then Pinterest understands what your Pin is about, and categorized it correctly.
It can take a week or more for Pinterest to get this right, so don’t worry if the related Pins don’t seem very related at first. At first they might be matched by color!
You can see below how Pinterest surfaced related Pins to go with my Pin about Pinterest boards.
Many top Pinners say Pinterest hashtags help your Pins surface in search.
When clicked, they return a chronological feed of Pins that feature the hashtag.
Pinterest has enabled and disabled them over the years, but it’s worth including them for the times they do work. Plus, it’s a job done then!
Shown below, a search for #hashtagtips.
How to optimize your Pinterest profile
Okay, let’s get into the meaty stuff – how to excel at Pinterest search engine optimization.
There are two categories of jobs here. Some are one-time things, or things that you only change occasionally.
Others are ongoing jobs that happen all the time. We’ll start with the one-time and infrequent jobs.
Have a business account
When you open a Pinterest account, it’s a personal account.
Plus, with a business account, you get a load of handy extra features such as analytics and Rich Pins.
All you need to do is:
- Log into your personal account
- Click the drop-down in the top right corner for the menu
- Click ‘add a free business account’ then click ‘get started’
- Add the information and click next
- Tell Pinterest what type of business you are and if you are interested in ads (doesn’t matter either way)
- Click ‘x’ to head to your Pin profile or explore one of the options
Account name and bio
Your Pinterest display name can be your own name, if that’s your business name. If not, use your business name.
You can also add a keyword phrase or two beside your name, so pick the most important one. You have to choose carefully because Pinterest limits the number of characters you can use here.
Tip: Some Pinners have found they can enter a longer display name on mobile, so try that if you’re stuck.
Your bio is where you can tell people a little more about what you do. Get a few more important keywords in here so your account shows up if someone searches for ‘people’ and your main terms.
You can even include a link to a freebie, but it won’t be clickable, so use a shortened URL that Pinners can copy and paste or type into another browser tab.
As you start to make Pinterest boards for your account, always have SEO in mind.
Board names should be keyword based and ideally 2-4 words long.
While it might seem fun to call boards clever things or plays on words, keep the names simple and to the point.
If your board is about marketing on Facebook, call it Facebook Marketing Tips or Facebook Marketing for Business.
Every board has the option for a few things.
A board cover photo is one. You can upload an image for this purpose, or choose a Pin from the board that represents the content.
The category is a good one to fill in. There isn’t a huge choice, but find something near to your board topic.
For example, blogging topics could come under either Technology or Education. Or, there is the Other category if you really can’t commit to something else.
A newish feature is the dates. This is optional, but if you want to add something like the date of Halloween for a Halloween board, you could.
Collaborators is where you can add people to make the board into a Pinterest group board.
There’s also the option to keep the board secret so it won’t show on your profile. Use this for off-topic boards for your own personal use.
Board descriptions aren’t as important for Pinterest SEO optimization as board names, but still matter.
They should feature keywords relating to the main keyword in the board name. Use sentence form rather than lists of keywords.
Don’t worry about adding hashtags as they won’t be clickable here, so there’s no advantage.
How to search engine optimize your Pins
The other big part of optimizing for SEO on Pinterest is with every Pin that you add. This is the ongoing part of the job that you’ll constantly learn and refine.
There are four main elements to consider with search engine optimization of your Pins.
Titles are relatively new, but are a compulsory part of a Pin.
If you enter your URL, the Pin title will pull from your blog post. But it doesn’t have to be that. You can change this to anything you want.
When creating multiple Pins for one web page, it’s helpful to try different keyword variations in their titles.
Carly Campbell says the title under the Pin is the #1 most wasted space on Pinterest! I highly recommend her inexpensive resource to help you write click-worthy titles.
…can you use that line under the Pin to push them over the edge towards a click?
And then she shows how you can.
Always make sure your title is relevant to your content, though. Don’t go down the clickbait route and make false claims!
You can use up to 100 characters, but only the first 40-50 will show in the feed. Keep the most important terms here.
The other important element is the description. Descriptions should feature 2-3 keyword variations and be in sentence form.
Don’t just list keywords as this won’t help. Pinterest has warned against this type of keyword stuffing, so even if you hear others saying it works for them at the moment, I’d be wary that it’ll be penalized down the road.
Think of the description as a mini sales pitch, telling people why they should click to your post. Make it readable and enticing.
Add a call to action such as ‘check out the full post’ or ‘read more on these tips here’ to prompt people to go to your site.
If you have Rich Pins, sometimes your meta description will show as the top description on the Pin. This seems to be at the whim of Pinterest – on the example above, both descriptions are the custom-written one. And sometimes, only the top one shows!
Since Pinterest is always changing how it displays things, it can be worth making the two different to get more keywords in.
If you have seasonal content, be sure to include holiday keywords. Get your free holiday keyword cheat sheet from Pinning Perfect.
Pinterest has had a weird relationship with hashtags.
For a long time, they didn’t work and weren’t recommended.
Then Pinterest reintroduced them to create a chronological feed of Pins with the hashtag when clicked.
Occasionally, they don’t work at all!
But it’s worth adding some to each description. Pop them in at the end, after your main description.
Aim for 2-5 and mix specific with general ones. You can use a branded one if you like.
Which boards should you Pin to?
When you have your title, description, and Pins ready, there’s one last thing to think about.
What board to Save it to!
Pinterest best practices currently recommend Saving to the most relevant, keyworded board first. This sends the algorithm helpful signals so your Pin will be shown to the most interested audience.
Go with either the most relevant board, or a top performer if you like. You can experiment with trying both of these to see which gets the best results.
You can also Save your Pin to more than one board. Tailwind’s Smart Guide recommends no more than 10 boards, but this isn’t a rule, just guidance.
Space out the Pins going to different boards, so your feed isn’t full of the same Pin repeatedly. Tailwind interval pinning helps you do this quickly and easily.
When Pinning to the first board, consider Pinning related content around the same time. This is called board co-occurrence.
Saving your Pin with related Pins can help Pinterest understand what it’s about. This works with the title and description of the board too.
How to use your website to boost Pinterest SEO
The final step in optimizing your Pinterest SEO doesn’t take place on Pinterest. It takes place on your website.
There are a few things you need to do to make it easy for website visitors to Pin your stuff.
This boosts SEO and helps get those Pins in front of more people.
Pinterest optimized image
Every blog post, landing page, product, or other public page of your website should have a Pinterest optimized image.
That means something that is 2:3 ratio. A good example of this is 1000×1500 pixels.
Use Pinterest image sizes and best practices to make eye-catching Pins that people will stop scrolling to check out.
Ensure each image has a Pinterest description
Having the image is one thing, but you need it to be Pinned with that keyword-rich description you created.
There are a couple of ways to do this. One is with a little bit of code, the other is with a plugin.
If you go down the code version, you just need to add data-pin-description=”this is where your pin description goes” after the image code ends with />.
Just make sure your description is in the middle of the quote marks!
You do this on the HTML or Text option with WordPress, not the visual. In Gutenberg, use the three-dot menu to ‘edit as HTML’ for the image to add the code. See below:
The easiest way to add a Pin description is with a plugin.
In addition to including your Pin description, you can even add and hide extra Pin images, so your load time isn’t slowed by multiple images on the page. But when someone goes to Pin, the extra images will appear – with your descriptions!
There are two main ones:
- Tasty Pins
- Grow by Mediavine (formerly named Social Pug), shown below.
CTA to get people to Pin
One of the easiest ways to get people to Pin is just to ask them.
Above or below your Pin image, a simple CTA (call to action) that says something like ‘Pin for later’ can work well.
“Save” button on hover
The Pin It extension comes from Pinterest. It means a Pinterest branded button appears when someone hovers over an image.
Now, don’t be confused: Pinterest has encouraged the use of the word ‘Save’ instead of ‘Pin,’ but this hasn’t really caught on. People still say “Pin it.”
This button is another way to prompt people to Pin (aka Save) your images.
Social sharing buttons
Social sharing buttons offer a range of sharing options in addition to Pinterest.
Grow offers basic ones on their free plan. Other examples include Sumo and Social Warfare.
These buttons can appear at the side of posts or the top. You’ll see mine at the top and bottom of the content, and they look like this:
Share buttons should be easy to spot, and the site owner should be able to pick which networks are shown.
Select the ones you find most beneficial for your niche. Choose 3-5 and have them appear in a couple of places on the page:
- Above content.
- Floating to the side.
- Below content.
This gets your readers helping spread your content to their followers!
Could your Pinterest presence benefit from a review of the basics?
In my free e-course, you’ll learn how to:
- Set up your account for success
- Connect with influencers
- Get repins and followers
- Make eye-catching images
Easily, and for free!
Get ONE simple action step each day. Join now!
Optimizing to get found on Pinterest
Pinterest search engine optimization is an ongoing job.
Some tasks only need doing once or occasionally.
Others need attention every time you Pin.
Whatever the case, by ensuring you have a solid system in place, you increase the chance of every Pin being successful.
Combined with solid Pinning practices, you can start to build your account. Then traffic will start to flow!
And don’t forget that Pinners love holidays! In the fourth quarter of the year, they flock to Pinterest for holiday inspiration. Be ready!
Be sure the Save this post to Pinterest and come back for more tips when you’re ready.
Let us know in a comment if you still have questions about Pinterest Search Engine Optimization.