9 Easy Ways to Amp Up Your Pinterest Using SEO

Posted by on January 22, 2015

This week’s guest post comes from Marketwave’s client services intern, Ruby Camarillo.

Your business has a Facebook, a Twitter and maybe even a blog, but does it pin? Pinterest is uncharted territory for most businesses mainly because of its large reputation of being the hub for wedding inspiration. While, yes, Pinterest does play host to a lot of wedding inspired content, the site is doing wonders for small and big businesses alike that are utilizing the site to increase sales.

By the numbers, Pinterest users spend more than two times the revenue of Facebook users and represent 17.4 percent of social media revenue for e-commerce sites. You’re right, those figures are crazy! So how can you transform your Pinterest profile to bring you more followers, repins and revenue? The answer lies in search engine optimization (SEO). A good SEO strategy can help boost your pins to the top of Pinterest search results and hopefully, maybe, fingers crossed—go viral.

Keep reading to learn how you can give your Pinterest profile an SEO makeover in nine easy steps.

  1. Make a good first impression: Pinterest has a 15 character limit for usernames, meaning your company name may not fit. Get creative and find a way to incorporate your company and possibly a keyword into the username. For example, if you own a BBQ restaurant in Dallas named Mary Lou’s BBQ Grill, you could make your username “DallasBBQHeaven,” incorporating the keywords Dallas and BBQ, while adding a bit of fun and staying within the 15 character limit. You’ll also want to take advantage of the 200 characters allotted in your about section by adding keywords to bring more traffic to your profile. Lastly, add a link to your site’s homepage and verify your site. Verifying your site will not only render more traffic but also reassure users the content has been hand-pinned by your brand.
  1. Don’t just pin great content; organize your content: Like all social sites, Pinterest is filled with great content and you’ll need to set yourself part. An easy way to do this while boosting your SEO is to find a niche within a general interest, then create a board with an accurate explanation of the board in the board description. For example, if you own a bridal store, break your boards down into wedding themes while incorporating descriptive keywords. A board named “punk rock wedding dresses” will render more traffic than simply “wedding dresses,” and a board with a rich description will render more results than a board without one. Remember, there is no character limit to your board description so include as much about the board as you’d like—just remember to add relevant keywords throughout.
  1. Write about your pins: Just like you should write a board description for each board, you need to write a description for each pin. There is a 500 character limit on pin descriptions so you should be short, sweet and to the point while, as always, incorporating keywords. In a study conducted by HubSpot, the most repinned and commented on items were accompanied by descriptions ranging from 200-310 words. Think of these descriptions as a way to hook the audience into the pin so they want to learn more—similar to the first sentence of a news story.
  1. Rich Pins for the win: If you’re interested in adding more descriptive content to your pins, look into Rich Pins, which allow you to add recipe ingredients, item prices and store links to the “face” of the pin without having the user click through. Rich Pins are a bit more complicated as they require you to plug in and verify a Meta tag onto your website, send the URL to the Pinterest team for verification and then wait up to three weeks before it becomes live. The extra effort is definitely worth it as the pin will have extra information for the reader to view up front and pushes the content further up the search results. As an added bonus, if a pinner removes your description to write their own, the information you provided for the Rich Pin will still be shown below so your pin is never fully altered.
  1. Add widgets: Adding “Pin It” buttons to your webpage will show visitors that your company is active on Pinterest, encourage them to check out your profile and, of course, repin your pins. Be sure to include these widgets to your mobile site or app if applicable. This cross promotion will increase your following and your SEO as Pinterest pushes those with larger followings to the top of their search results.
  1. Link back to your site: Another way to boost your SEO is to link back to your site. Only use the full link as Pinterest has been known to mark shortened links as spam! Frequently check up on your links’ functionality to ensure users are still being directed to the same site, correct page and, of course, not receiving the dreaded 404 error.
  1. Don’t forget to give your photos a SEO makeover: There is a common misconception about vertical images rendering better SEO; this is not true because the search engine cannot read that the image is vertical. Vertical images perform better simply because they look better on Pinterest, making them more likely to be repinned. A search engine can read the file name of your image, so try and rename these to fit the content. Stray away from file names like “image 123” and try a more descriptive file name such as “blue suede shoes.”
  1. Map your links: Last year, Pinterest added mapping capabilities to pins with the help of Foursquare. If your business isn’t already on Foursquare, you will not be able to successfully map your pin, so be sure your location is uploaded and correct on Foursquare beforehand. Mapping pins to not just your exact business location but also the city in which the business resides will also increase your traffic.
  1. Check out your results: Pinterest has web analytics for those with business accounts who have verified their website. You’ll be able to not only see which pins are attracting more users, but gain a deeper understanding of the type of content your audience resonates with—helping you build a better Pinterest strategy.

Have you implemented any of these SEO tips to your Pinterest strategy? And for those who haven’t ventured into the pinning world just quite yet, are you considering it now? Let us know in the comments below!

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