Pinterest has been the most-talked about social network for the past 18 months. Thanks to its growing and highly engaged user base, Pinterest attracted over 70 million users in June 2013 and is fast becoming a social media powerhouse.
I firmly believe that done right, Pinterest can help any small business increase brand awareness, build a loyal following and drive traffic to their website or blog.
But did you know that you can also use Pinterest for SEO i.e. Search Engine Optimization?
By using the correct keywords and applying SEO-friendly strategies Pinterest can help your website rank significantly better in the search engines and drive targeted traffic to your website.
Targeted traffic can lead to more blog subscribers, more customers and ultimately more sales for your business.
Studies show that Pinterest users purchase more often and in greater quantities than any other social network.
So attracting targeted Pinterest traffic to your site should be a top priority.
Here are 12 powerful yet simple Pinterest tips to help you improve your SEO today.
#1 Optimize Your Profile
Like other social networks, certain areas of your Pinterest page such as your username and your About section get picked up by search engines.
For your username, go with your brand name if it’s available otherwise use your top keywords. The About section is your chance to succinctly state who you are and what you do.
Optimize this 200-character space with keywords to boost your visibility in search results. Utilize the same description and keywords across your other social media profiles for consistency.
#2 Maximize Social Signals
Social signals have become a buzzword in recent years but as explained by Peter Visser, a social signal is a link from someone’s social media profile to your website or blog.
If you click the Like, Retweet or Pin It button next to this blog post it becomes a social signal.
Besides providing you with social proof, Google increasingly rewards sites for social signals. This means that the more social engagement you get, the better it is for your SEO.
Connect your other social media profiles (Facebook and Twitter) to your Pinterest account by adding the links to your About section and regularly cross-share your pins. Pin videos from YouTube or Vimeo and don’t forget high-traffic sites like Google+, LinkedIn and Slideshare.
This interconnectivity helps you reach a broader audience and can boost your social signals.
#3 Create More Backlinks
Backlinks are links that lead people back to your website. They are invaluable for SEO because search engines take them into account when measuring relevancy.
Having lots of quality backlinks can dramatically increase your online visibility and reputation.
But did you know that Pinterest can help you create more backlins for SEO?
Each time a pin is pinned and repinned on Pinterest it creates a backlink to the source page. The more a pin gets shared, the more backlinks are created.
This is why you must start creating more of your own original pins.
Upload them to Pinterest, add the links into the URL box and on the caption itself and strategically link them back to your blog posts, landing pages, product catalogues and so on.
Just don’t go overboard. Pinterest is a social network so remember to share other people’s content as well as your own.
#4 Build Focused Boards
Whilst it’s great to have a pin go viral, your boards actually carry more weight when it comes to search engine optimization.
Your boards are the main way to increase your followers on Pinterest because they are the first thing that browsers see on your page.
It’s also easier to get people to follow specific boards rather than your whole account. Create boards that are very specific; Vegetarian Meals, Fish Dishes, Chicken Tonight are all better than Recipes.
Here are some more pointers:
- Create catchy, short board titles with the most common keywords used by your audience. Keep board titles under 28 characters so they are fully visible.
- Add keyword-centric board descriptions for search purposes and to let followers know what the board is about. Although Pinterest allows 500 characters, aim for 200-300.
- Make the best image the board cover to encourage browsers to follow that board.
#5 Organize Your Rows
In publishing, people often use the phrase above the fold. This refers to the top half of a folded newspaper where the most important news stories can be found.
This phrase has slipped into web usage to mean the most prominent area of your website that visitors see without having to scroll down. Eye tracking research shows that this is prime real estate on your website and also your Pinterest page.
Many pinners won’t bother to scroll down and will only consider your top two rows when deciding to follow you.
You must position your best, most on-brand content here to increase followers, encourage click-throughs to your site and boost your SEO with Pinterest.
#6 Insert Board Categories
At the time of writing Pinterest has 37 categories ranging from Art to Women’s Fashion. These categories help pinners search and find your boards on Pinterest and work in a similar way to blog categories.
On a blog, focused keyword-based categories help you organize your posts, boost search engine visibility and enhance the user experience.
Pinterest users search content in much the same way.
That’s why you should organize your boards into the best matching categories for your brand or business.
You can view all the Pinterest board categories by clicking the bar symbol next to the Pinterest search feature at the top left of your page. To add or change a board category, click on the Edit feature for the board and select the best option.
Pinterest’s categories aren’t exhaustive – there is currently nothing representing “Business” – so just go for the closest match according to your niche or industry like Education or Tech.
#7 Pin Fresh Content
The easiest way to pin on Pinterest is by repinning other people’s content. This is good for sociability and building up content on your boards.
But try to go beyond Pinterest and seek out new, interesting content that will delight your audience.
This takes more effort than recycling images but will pay dividends in positioning you as a valuable resource and attracting more followers to your page and in time, your website.
#8 Keyword-Rich Captions
Even though Pinterest allows you 500 characters to describe each pin, the caption area is greatly underutilized. Most pinners just place a period or full stop there to get around Pinterest’s rules.
Using keyword-rich descriptions and hasthtags can help you rank better in Pinterest search as well as improve SEO in general.
As a high authority site in its own right, Pinterest can actually help you achieve SEO improvements for specific keywords. Don’t overdo your descriptions though.
This graph shows, the ideal Pinterest caption length is between 100-200 characters.
#9 Optimize Your Images
It’s all too easy to save your photos or images using the default file name that your camera generates or the first thing that pops into your head. But you mustn’t do this!
Search engines not only index web pages but they also crawl images. Get into the habit of saving images correctly using descriptive, keyword-rich file names and your business name.
This little-known strategy can provide huge SEO benefits on image-based sites like Pinterest. Whatever you save that image as will be the default image name.
So pick a name that best describes that image, use product names if applicable, add your keywords and insert your business name.
#10 Verify Your Page
Pinterest rolled out verification last year to help users confirm that they are the rightful owner of the website on their Pinterest profile.
When you verify your site, you get a prominent and clickable link for your domain name in your profile. This draws attention to your URL and can increase referral traffic to your website and boost SEO rankings.
Verifying your account also allows you to access Pinterest’s new web analytics tool so you can track your pins and engagement.
#11 Make Yourself Visible
This is probably the single biggest mistake new Pinterest users make and can put paid to all your Pinterest marketing.
In the Pinterest settings there is an option to hide your boards from the search engines. Make sure this button is turned off (gray) in order to help search engines and prospects find you.
#12 Add Your Location
As Pinterest grows and its demographics extend beyond its core base of early-adopting females, local search results are becoming increasingly important.
This is particularly useful for local businesses like dentists, realtors, hair salons but even a service-based business or consultancy that wants to focus on a particular city, region or state can benefit from this strategy.
Capitalize on this now by adding your nearest city to your profile and build a board featuring the sites, attractions, history and culture of your location. Not only will this forge your connection to a certain area but it will also help local prospects find you.
These are my top 12 Pinterest tips for SEO. They can greatly improve your search engine rankings by driving targeted traffic to your website, attracting new followers and prospects to your business and enhancing your overall engagement on Pinterest.
Are any of these SEO strategies new to you? Have you implemented any of these Pinterest tips already? Please comment and share below.