Did you know that Pinterest works VERY differently than any other social media platform? That’s because it’s not even really social media! It’s a SEARCH ENGINE!
Like all search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) Pinterest relies on keywords and keyword phrases to match users with what they are looking for.
Easy enough when you are a casual Pinterest user, just type what you want in the search bar and go! But what about when you are using Pinterest as a business or blogger and YOU are the one putting the content up? How does SEO work for you to get the right eyes on your content?
Well, there are 8 CRITICAL PLACES you should be strategically using keywords related to your niche and content.
1) Board Titles
2) Pin Titles
3) Board Descriptions
4) Pin Descriptions
6) Sub-board Titles
7) Profile Name
8) Profile Bio
Let’s take a look at each one in depth.
1. BOARD TITLES
When you want to create a new collection of pins (AKA board), your board titles tell Pinterest a LOT about what kind of content they should expect to find on that board.
When a user searches for something, let’s say Valentine’s Day Treats, the user can choose to filter the search results by BOARD TITLE – making the keywords you use in your board title EXTRA important and powerful!
When you go to create a new board, title it with your audience and ideal viewer in mind. What content are you planning to put on this board? What term is your audience likely to search for to find this type of content?
There are likely several similar terms you could use: Valentine’s Day Desserts, Valentine’s Day Sweets, Valentine’s Day Party Snacks, etc.
You can do a little research and look these terms up in the Pinterest search bar. See what kind of content shows up and if your planned content fits well with those results.
Also, you can check out trends.pinterest.com to compare 2-4 similar terms and see which one might be more popular!
Whatever you do, DON’T use Board titles like V-Day Goodies or I love Baking or Nom Nom Cookies!
LONG STORY SHORT: You want your board titles to be a 2-5 word search term (I prefer 3 or 4) that users are likely to search for!
2. PIN TITLES
Pin Titles are a relatively new feature still.
Often when you create a pin from a URL (or input a URL manually), The Pin Title will auto-fill.
But you do not HAVE to use the words that auto-fill based on the metadata.
Regardless of whether you use the auto-fill or manually input a pin title, you should use a keyword phrase that is representative of the rephrase content topic. This phrase can be “sentence like” as in “13 Ways to Use Coconut Oil”, or you can start the pin title with a shorter keyword phrase like “Wardrobe Essentials” and then use your blog of Business name and/or other “subtitle” keywords.
I.E. Wardrobe Essentials: Lightweight Sweaters – Next Level Wardrobe (we do this when we’re pinning IG content for @nextlevelwardrobe) ;)
Whatever you do, remember to use keywords people are likely to search for!
Pro Tip: Use “Title Case”!!!
3. BOARD DESCRIPTIONS
I bet you have boards on Pinterest that don’t have a board description.
It’s okay, a lot of people miss putting descriptions up for their boards. BUT it’s a missed SEO opportunity!
Board descriptions help further define your board’s content. And they help Pinterest associate additional keyword phrases with your boards.
Remember how I said there are likely several similar search friendly phrases you could use to title your board? We picked the most popular or the one that people would most likely search for, to use as the Board Title, but we don’t have to “throw away” those other search terms!
Put them in your Board Description!
You can either write your descriptions in sentence structure (which is more aesthetically pleasing), or you can just list out the additional keyword phrases – or you can do both and write a short sentence followed by a list of keywords.
Regardless, don’t leave this spot blank. Even just 3-5 keyword phrases is better than nothing!
4. PIN DESCRIPTIONS
Pin descriptions aren’t as prominent as they used to be. Pinterest keeps changing how descriptions are viewed.
As of now, descriptions are hidden under a “more information about this pin” button, which is only visible when you click the pin for a closeup.
Does that mean pin descriptions aren’t important?
Now, I have a gut feeling that descriptions MAY go away completely. I am envisioning a world where you use keyword TAGS on pins rather than typing freeform descriptions.
I could be WAY off base, this is just speculation, but given how descriptions have been continually buried, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
At least for now, pin descriptions are still important and you should definitely be writing 2-3 sentences with keywords in them for each pin you create OF YOUR OWN CONTENT.
Don’t waste time writing or re-writing pin descriptions on OTHER people’s pins! If you run into a pin that has no description or has a poor quality description, just skip pinning that particular pin (unless you REALLY LOVE the pin and just NEED it on your board).
If I end up being right about the whole tag thing, you can consider me a psychic ;)
Now… hashtags on Pinterest are a constant back and forth… first they didn’t want you to use them, then they did, and now sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t…
As wonky and wishy-washy as Pinterest has been on the use of hashtags, until they definitely say hashtags are no more, I still advise you to use 3-5 hashtags on each pin.
Here’s the thing about hashtags on Pinterest though:
- Hashtags are clickable ONLY on pins. Not in board descriptions, not in bios, JUST in pin descriptions.
- A hashtag search, or clicking on a hashtag, brings up a COMPLETELY different feed/results than typing in the same exact keyword phrase, sans hashtag would. The hashtag feed is CHRONOLOGICAL. The regular search results feed is not.
- Hashtags on Pinterest SHOULD be keyword phrases just like any other search term, but without spaces and with the # in front. like #pinteresttips
- You should not “design” or use “cutesy” hashtags on Pitnerest. #ilovepinterest would be a no go.
- ALWAYS prioritize a good description with target keyword phrases over hashtags. I recommend using 2-4 hashtags as long as you have enough character space to do so.
- Hashtags are only needed on NEW pins, at the time that you first add that pin. Going back to edit old pins to add hashtags is useless.
Hashtags ARE a critical place to includes SEO, but they are not AS critical as the first 4 locations we’ve already covered.
IF in the future, Pinterest does away with the hashtag feature again, then by all means do not use them. Until then, you’ve been advised.
UPDATE December 2020: Hashtags are no longer clickable. You can still search using a hashtag, but they are widely unused and considered obsolete.
6. SUB-BOARD TITLES
How many of you use sub-boards on Pinterest?
They aren’t always necessary, but I do recommend using them in certain situations:
A) when your main blog or biz board need category sections.
For instance, if you’re a lifestyle blogger you might have sub boards on your main blog board for “food” “family” “travel” etc. to reflect what topics you write about and be able to organize that board accordingly
Or you might be a jewelry seller, so on your main products board you might have sections for “bracelets”, “necklaces”, and “rings”.
Of course you can ALWAYS have separate boards for these too, sub boards just help add some organization and bring attention to certain sub-topics of a main topic, that viewers may not easily be able to see or find when looking at the board as a whole.
B) for very large boards with hundreds of pins
Similar concept… but say you have a very large wedding inspiration board, you could have sub boards for “wedding decor”, “wedding cakes”, “wedding signs”, etc.
Again, you could also make separate boards for these.
So how does SEO fit with sub-boards? Well, just like main boards you should give sub-boards a title that is a search-friendly, 2-5 word phrase.
While sub-boards don’t show up in filtered search results (you can’t filter your search results by sub-board title, but you can filter them by board title), the title of your sub-boards is still a spot the Pinterest algorithm looks to determine what your main board is all about.
Sub-board titles are obviously only important if you actually USE sub-boards. You do NOT need to go making all these sub-boards JUST for the sake of SEO.
7. YOUR PROFILE NAME
This might surprise you but the profile name you use on Pinterest actually matters!
This is a critical optimization place that people often miss!
Because you can filter search results by “pinner”, your profile name carries SEO weight!
For instance, if someone where to search for “life coach” in the Pinterest search bar, then click the filter button to filter by pinner, they could then find all the users that have “life coach” in their profile name!
- If you do business under YOUR OWN NAME, you should definitely add a keyword phrase after your name that tells people what you do. I.e Life Coach, or Social Media Manager or Virtual Assistant.
- If you do business under a BUSINESS or BRAND name, you should use THAT as your profile name, NOT your own first name. And you could/should still add a keyword phrase after if you have enough character space.
8. YOUR BIO
Your profile bio is yet another commonly missed place on Pinterest that you should be using keyword phrases.
While this area isn’t searchable, like your profile name is, it still helps to tell Pinterest what your account focuses on.
Since, you know, as a business owner and/or blogger, you SHOULD be pinning about things related to your niche and audience. ( I.E If you’re pinning recipes and you’re not a food blogger, nutritionist, or health coach, STOP IT! )
Check your bio and make sure you’ve included at least ONE long tail keyword phrase (that’s a 3 or 4 word phrase that relates to your niche or “what it is that you do”).
Now that you know where the key locations are for you oh-so-important keywords and keyword phrases – go do a quick audit of your Pinterest account and see if you need to do some work in the SEO department.
Need more help or clarification? Or maybe just another set of eyes on your account to spot where you may have improvement needs? Schedule A Consult! Contact