Pinterest SEO in 2020: Research, SEO Tips and Cases

Pinterest SEO in 2020: Research, SEO Tips and Cases

During the previous year, the number of Pinterest users increased by 26% amounting to 335 million people. In the USA, Pinterest is in third place in audience volume following Facebook and Instagram. Understanding the algorithms, operating principles, and peculiarities of this platform will enable effective SEO for Pinterest, as well as the ability to utilize this platform for promotion.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social service in the form of photo hosting where users post images in thematic albums. The founders of the platform claim that this is the place to look for inspiration, creativity, and exchanging of ideas. Accounts of users contain pages that are called boards, while attached images, photos, and videos are pins.

A user of photo hosting, called a Pinner, can create a profile for personal use or register a business account. The first one, just like Facebook, is a personal profile, while a business account makes it possible to actively promote your site.

In the profile of a business account, it is necessary to indicate the site to which users will be redirected, provide information to users on the business, products, etc. Users of business accounts have access to the utilization of Rich Pins, the Pinterest Analytics service, and other benefits.

When a user clicks a pin, they are redirected to the provided website, making Pinterest one of the best platforms to attract traffic to the site. In a nutshell, it is a Visual Search Engine that makes Pinterest profitably stand out from the other social media types regarding SEO.

Pinterest: Statistics, Target Audience, and Dynamics

In 2019, Pinterest demonstrated the dynamic growth of certain indices. Today, it is among the top-3 social networks in the USA together with Facebook and Instagram.

  • According to the quarterly Pinterest report presented in February of 2020, within 12 months, the number of monthly active users of the network in the world has increased by 70 million and reached 355 million. Half of Pinners visit the platform at least once per week.

Pinterest report

  • The number of active Pinterest users in the world within the period from the 1st quarter of 2016 until the 4th quarter of 2019:

  • The USA accounts for 88 million Pinners, which is 8% more than the indices of the previous year. The network revenue in the USA has increased by 36% and reached $350 million within the last quarter of 2019.
  • According to the results of analytic research carried out by Comscore in 2019, women make up two-third of Pinterest users. The platform’s audience in the USA amounts to 43% of all the users of the Internet. Among Pinners, there will be 8 out of 10 mothers who are decision-makers in the choice and acquisition of goods and services.

  • Distribution of Pinterest users in the world in April 2020:

  • According to the Pew Research data, the majority of adult Pinterest users have secondary and higher education, their annual income rate is on average 75 000+ USD. 28% of them use Pinterest regularly. Among this audience, the platform occupies fourth place after YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

SEO for Pinterest: Algorithm, Peculiarities, and Ranking Factors

Every month, there are around 2 billion search requests from users on Pinterest. The most popular topics in the network are cooking, DIY, fashion and style, makeup and cosmetics, home design, decor. About 97% of pins have no brand. That is why this platform is an optimum space to attract the attention of the audience to your product, its presentation, and promotion. This aspect is important to take into consideration while planning Pinterest marketing and SEO strategy. Direct and contextual ads are not yet widely spread on Pinterest. That is why the platform can be effectively used for a non-commercial traffic attraction.

Like any other search engine, it uses its in-house ranking Pinterest algorithm and has rules and restrictions. Pinterest is a visual search tool and the Pinterest image search is based on the technology of optical character recognition (OCR).

In the Pinterest Engineering Blog, the method of pin assessment is described. The search engine analyzes an image itself, as well as the text, accompanying it and applied above the image.

For the search engine, the signal is an annotation, i.e., a brief description (from 1 to 6 words) of what is depicted in the image. Matching textual and visual information, the search engine analyzes how relevant it is.

Among ranking factors, it is necessary to distinguish the following elements:

  1. Name and description of a pin, name of the site, and URL.
  2. Correspondence of the pin content to the topic and keywords.
  3. Correspondence of the text integrated into the image to its visual component.
  4. Pinterest boards’ descriptions and names.
  5. The relevance of the pin to the board subject.
  6. Relevant description of the site or webpage to which the link redirects.

The principle of the Pinterest search engine combines methods of search engines on social networks. That is why the pins’ search results are customized. Pinterest is permanently checking and analyzing data from a user’s Home Feed for the last 3 months (subscriptions, pages, likes, etc.), and based on this, it decides which content to offer. In the meantime, a user can set Home Feed on their own.

Pinterest is not just the network of profiles and a search system but also a huge database of images created by users. Pinterest reverse image search is a useful option that makes it possible to find the source of an image. To get to the sources of a post, it is necessary to right-click a pin and copy the URL. Then, with the help of Google images search service, it is possible to find an image.

The function of the Pinterest reverse image search can be considered in the context of SEO tools. When a user finds a nice, quality image, they may want to get access to it. Searching by Pinterest image will direct them to the site where the original has been posted. If an image is unique, the site will be positioned at the top of the SERP:

Pin in an account:

Copying of URL:

Search by Image on Google:

SERP Result:

The site of the searched image on the site:

Peculiar features of Pinterest include seasonal interest and influence of viral pins. This considerably influences traffic. During popular vacation times, as expected, the popularity of accounts, boards, and pins related to traveling increases dramatically. During holiday times, ratings of correspondent thematic pins and boards for DIY and cooking pages increase.

Posting a viral pin may lead to an abrupt bounce of traffic, however, this usually has a short-term effect. That being said, if you have other quality content, it is possible to use a viral pin to attract the attention of users, part of which may become subscribers or permanent visitors.

The quality of an image plays a significant role in search results. Pinterest recommends using vertical images with a 2:3 ratio and the resolution of 1000х1500 pixels. Upstretched pins can be cut in search results, while other formats are worse in the ranking.

Like on Google, original and unique images are ranked better, that is why it is better not to use stock photos often. One of the ways to make stock photos more attractive for Pinterest is to process them in graphic editor, for instance.  

If a pin presents a product, it has to be well visible and occupy the major part of an image. Pinterest also recommends using text on the image as this attracts the attention of users. The text should be concise taking into account a small screen of a cell phone (85% of Pinterest users sign up with their mobile devices).

If you carry out campaigns in different countries, it is necessary to post separate pins with text in different languages.

What, When, and Cost?

Pinterest representatives do not provide precise recommendations on how often and how many pins should be posted per day. The limit of pins per 24 hours is 50.

As the representative of Tailwind Kevin Lorenz states, the most popular and successful accounts post around 15-25 pins per day. This is the golden mean that makes it possible to maintain a high frequency of posts without attracting the attention of the anti-spam filters of the system.

To stay off the spam list or hurt your activity, no more than 10 boards should be used for 1 pin.

The freshness of content is one of the main criteria based on which Pinterest places new pins in top positions of search results. Kevin Lorenz explains that Pinterest conceives an image that has not been published before as a fresh pin.

One of the Pinterest best practices is the creation of original and relevant pins, which will immediately highlight your pin among the majority of others within the related topic. In the meanwhile, change of description and insignificant alterations of an image like background, or changing the position of the signature won’t be conceived by the service as fresh content.

Duplicate pins, your own or posted by other users, can be utilized to add quality and relevant content to an account. But these posts won’t have value for the search engine. That is why it is better to post less frequently and to spend more time on the creation of fresh original pins: changing the perspective and background of an image, show objects at different angles, etc. 

For example, such pins within one topic and style will be conceived as fresh:

Pinterest Search Optimization

One of the key ranking factors of Pinterest, like on Google, is the reputation of an account that majorly depends on the reaction of followers on the pins.

Research of the Curalate company has proven that:

  1. Pins with several dominating colors get 3.5 times more repins than images with one dominating color.
  2. By 20 times more, users like and repin images of a medium brightness in comparison to dark images. Too light pins are repinned 8 times fewer than images with well-balanced light. Pictures with 30% of background are repinned more often than other percentages.
  3. Brand images with faces are repinned less by 23%.
  4. Images with the prevailing red color get more repins than pictures in light-blue and blue tones. Red, orange, and brown colors make images almost two times more attractive.

For the users of business accounts, there is a free option available– rich pins. They make it possible to post more detailed information on a pin, which can be seen by a user with an image expansion. On the grid, rich pins’ names are bolded.

Rich Pins update the information from the site to which they are linked. If there are changes on the webpage, they will be depicted on the pin. There are four types of rich pins: app, product, article, and recipe. 

Product Rich Pins show the name of the site, product, and price.

Article Rich Pins are primarily used for blogs and sites. They are attached to the image SEO title and SEO description from the webpage.

Recipe Rich Pins provide the main information of the recipe: ingredients, cooking time, and type of the meal (diet, vegetarian, etc.).

The formation of an account reputation is influenced by its content and page structure. Popular and successful accounts are distinguished by quality content, attractive visual components, and convenient navigation. An account with a big audience has a clear structure in which a user can easily find what they need and follow the link to the site to get full information.

Menu of account boards:

Thematic board:

If the content is not structured and placed chaotically, the board looks neglected and won’t interest visitors. If you declare a certain topic of a page, it is better to stick to the chosen direction while creating content, otherwise, it will look irrelevant.

The quality of the board structure influences where the content will be positioned in the search result. When you arrange a board, it is necessary to pay attention to the following aspects:

  1. Pinterest board descriptions. While describing the board, it is necessary to take the topic into account, as well as what you would like to show to your audience. Mention categories and keywords. 
  2. Structure an account. The most interesting boards should be placed in the foreground. When you are working on a business account, it is possible to place the main boards on the top of the profile where they can be immediately noticed by users.
  3. Place the most attractive pins in the foreground as they increase the chance that a user will click on an image and will visit the site.
  4. Create mutual boards together with partners and popular accounts. This contributes to attracting the audience and will help increase the volume of clicks.
  5. Archive old boards. Fresh content is important for ranking. That being said, outdated boards are valuable due to subscribers. When you are rearranging your account, it is better not to delete outdated boards. Those who are interested in them will be able to find archives by URL.
  6. Create draft boards. This will help in planning content, developing page structure, and Pinterest strategy elaboration.

On Pinterest, there is no option to move Pinterest boards to another account. However, it is possible to move all pins from one board to another within one account, as well as between profiles. Then, the original board will be deleted and all of the subscriptions will vanish with it. That is why when you create an account on Pinterest to promote a site, it is so crucial to thoroughly plan its structure.

Pinterest SEO Tips: Tools and Methods

As opposed to Google, the Pinterest search tool does not provide instructions and recommendations for Pinterest SEO promotion. Having studied the peculiarities of this network and cases, it is possible to distinguish key Pinterest SEO tips that include:                                                              

  • Optimization of a profile and its boards. While creating content, it is necessary to use the most searched keywords on Pinterest, selecting them according to the niche, pin, and board subject. With the Pinterest keyword tool, it is possible to use a built-in Pinterest search requesting words from your niche. Just like on Google, a visual search tool will give hints on the most popular requests. It is also possible to select Pinterest keywords with SEO tools.
  • Create clickable and attractive pins. To do so, it is necessary to check Pinterest recommendations that contain information on criteria for the creation of quality pins.
  • Use the viral potential of the network and try to accompany every post with a quality image.
  • Plan the time and frequency of pin publication. To plan the work with content, you can use tool for social networks. Such program makes possible to set the number, frequency, and timing of your pins’ posting taking into account the time when your audience is active.
  • Use Rich Pins with relevant text descriptions that are attractive and interesting to users, making them click on a pin and get redirected to your site.
  • According to ex-Pinterest Head of Product Marketing Sarah Hoople Shere, the time of pin posting has no meaning. But some experts point out that the first five pins published within the day are the most effective. That is why it is recommended to plan publications taking into account when your audience is the most active.

  • Respect regularity and sequence of publications. According to Sarah Shere, it is better to post 5 pins every day instead of making 15 publications twice per week. If 5 pins get posted in a row, the Pinterest algorithm will start analyzing another account and will return to the first publication only after some time.
  • In a pin’s description, use hashtags. Pinterest recommends adding no more than 20 hashtags to one pin. Tagging on Pinterest is irrelevant. That is why the practice of adding popular tags to attract the audience won’t succeed here. It can even be assessed as a violation and lead to a ban.
  • Regularly post fresh pins and the actual content that is important for ranking, like on Google. For pages of the site, landing pages, new posts, etc., it is better to make several pins. This will facilitate the task of finding ideas for fresh pins that are important for ranking.
  • Pay attention to analytics. Pinterest provides an analytic tool for the owners of business accounts. With this tool, it is possible to keep track of the statistics of clicks and visits, account dynamics, etc. Using this tool, it is possible to change your Pinterest strategy results in due time.

Pinterest Best Practices: Cases and Examples of Successful Promotion on Pinterest

Leanne Wong and Rich Pins

An example of an account promotion that increases traffic is shared by Leanne Wong, a blogger and SEO-specialist from Singapore. In two years, she has increased her number of views by 459%

Statistics of visits as of June – July 2018:

Statistics as of February 2020:

The first step was to transfer from a regular to a business account. This is a free option that is available for all users of the network. If you create an account with the intention to further promote it, it is better to choose a business option at the beginning. 

According to Leanne Wong, the use of Rich Pins has increased traffic by almost three times. When pins start to collect more clicks, saves and repins become more frequent. Leanne Wong compares Rich Pins with Google Rich Snippets. To check how Rich Pins work, it is necessary to use the service Rich Pins Validator provided by Pinterest. 

Also, it is necessary to confirm your site so that users can follow it from a pin. This activates access to analytics. In an account profile, mention only one site that will be linked to Pinterest. 

One of the main reasons for traffic growth is the optimization of the profile with the use of keywords and quality content. No less attention should be paid to the quality of an image. Leanne Wong recommends using vertical images with a resolution of 735х1102 pixels.

To join niche and theme communities, the blogger has to have been participating in a dozen thematic forums for a week. After this, she has identified the platforms to choose from.

Before joining a new community, it is important to learn all of the rules and instructions described in the group. For successful cooperation and communication with participants, outreach skills will come in handy.

Among interesting cases, it is worth considering the promotion of new products from famous brands. In the year 2018, Estee Lauder released a new perfume. The target of their promo-campaign on Pinterest was to attract the attention of a younger audience. For this, the company has developed a full-featured stage-by-stage Pinterest marketing strategy. At first, a large-format video-ad was launched on Pinterest to attract attention to the brand and product.

Estee Lauder Promo-Campaign

Pin of the Estee Lauder Promo-Campaign on Pinterest:

At the second stage, Estee Lauder cooperated with the company SoPost  for targeted work with an audience that has already been aware of the new product from Pinterest. As a result of the Estee Lauder campaign, the level of audience involvement increased by 12% and the number of clicks (CTR) on sites of online retailers had increased twice. 

Springlane Promo-Campaign

An illustrative case of the German manufacturer of household appliances Springlane:

  1. 45% of the site traffic is generated from its Pinterest audience.
  2. The time spent on the site has increased by 69%.
  3. 50% of purchases in its online-shop is made by the audience who has come from Pinterest.

For the brand’s promo-campaign, the interest of Pinterest users in cooking recipes was used. The Springlane account includes video and photo pins made with the image of dishes and the process of cooking. Attractive images lead to the company site page where recipes are provided, as well as cooking techniques, life hacks, etc.

In recipes, there are also recommendations on how to use Springlane appliances, while on the site, there is an online shop which is often visited by users. The creation of the culinary blog with quality content has made it possible to keep the audience’s interest leading to the increase of organic traffic and the growth of online sales. 

Springlane Account:

Pinned with the recipe on the board in the Springlane account on Pinterest that redirected to the site page with the recipe: 

One of the advantages of the Pinterest network is the high involvement of the audience. Most Pinners regularly visit the platform searching for new ideas, DIY, relaxing, traveling, style advice, makeup, hairstyles, recipes, and more.

According to various statistical data, anywhere from 50 to 70% of Pinners make a decision on making purchases as a result of an information search on Pinterest. These facts make the platform an ideal place for the presentation of one’s own brand, products, and services. 

Dynamics of Pinterest development allow for forecasting that the number of users in the USA and world will grow. That is why it is worth paying attention to the commercial potential of the platform and include this resource in your marketing and SEO strategy.

About author
Leyla is a journalist with more than 15 years of experience. She also worked at marketing - PR and advertising (about 7 years). She was so interested in IT, especially SEO. Now Leyla is deep in SEO, this sphere inspires her for new issues and researches.