At BlogOnX in May 2018 the fabulous Grace Hall from Eats Amazing ran a session related to Pinterest for Bloggers. The feedback from the session was incredible and Grace has kindly put together some useful information for you all in a two part Pinterest Blog Series. For part 2 of this series head over to this post.
How to use Pinterest for bloggers – Part 1
This post is first in a series about Pinterest, and in it I’ll be discussing how Pinterest can drive traffic to your blog, how to set up and audit your Pinterest profile, how to get more followers on Pinterest, how to find the best keywords for Pinterest SEO, where to use them on Pinterest and where to use them on your blog. I’ll be following up with lots more information about using Pinterest in future blog posts as well so do watch this space for more.
When you own a blog, you tend to pour your heart and soul into it. Whether you are writing about your daily life, passionately fighting for a cause, serving up mouth watering recipes, sharing creative crafts, reviewing the latest must have items or helping people to save money, there’s one thing that every blogger wants and needs, and that is an audience.
But how do you find your readers? My favourite place to start is Pinterest!
Pinterest has 200 million monthly active users, so it can be a fantastic source of traffic for your blog. Whatever your niche, among 200 million people, there will be people looking for exactly the kind of content that you are creating!
There have been a lot of changes on Pinterest recently and there are more changes to come, but thankfully Pinterest have been incredibly transparent about the changes they are making and have given some great advice on what they consider to be the best practices for bloggers when using Pinterest. I’ve been doing my best to keep track of everything Pinterest has been saying over the last few weeks to ensure that I’m bringing you the most up to date advice straight from the horse’s mouth.
Firstly, here are some of the most important things you need to know about Pinterest:
You don’t need a lot of followers to generate great blog traffic
You can now see this in action this on your Pinterest profile by checking the new monthly viewers figure. Keeping an eye on this figure is a great way to measure how you are doing and it can be a great ‘social proof’ figure to share with PRs too. If you look at a variety of Pinterest accounts, you’ll see that this figure doesn’t necessarily correlate with number of followers – I’ve seen accounts with over a million followers but a lower monthly viewers figure than accounts with around 2,000 followers! (if you’re wondering where your followers number has gone, it’s still available, just hiding under the followers tab on your profile)
Pinterest is primarily a search engine – SEO matters!
This is the single most important piece of advice I can give to bloggers wanting to improve Pinterest reach and blog traffic – understand that SEO is king on Pinterest and do everything you can to ensure that your pins are fully optimised (more on that below). Pinterest users are primarily finding content through search, which is why follower numbers are not nearly as important as you might expect.
Pinterest is all about the long game
It takes time and commitment to build traffic from Pinterest and you won’t usually see results straight away, but as you add new pinnable content to your blog and update old content it has a cumulative effect bringing you more and more traffic.
This really applies to seasonal traffic too, for example you may find that seasonal posts you pinned in the run-up to last Christmas didn’t really perform well on Pinterest, but as the festive season rolls around again those posts can really take off and then continue to bring you seasonal traffic year after year.
Where can people find your content on Pinterest?
So when a potential reader goes to Pinterest, where are they going to find your content? There are quite a few places where your content can appear:
- In the smart feed – this is the default feed that you see when you go to the Pinterest home page
- In the brand new following feed – for users who are already following you
- In search results
- In hashtag feeds – these can be found by either searching for a hashtag or by clicking on existing hashtags when you see them on pins
- As recommended pins (under every pin there’s a ‘more like this’ section showing similar pins recommended by Pinterest)
- In the Explore / Trending tab – if a pin is doing really well it may show up here
Setting up or auditing your Pinterest Profile
Whether you are a new Pinterest user or have been using it for years, it’s worth checking and refreshing your profile regularly. Getting your profile right is really important as it forms the basis of SEO for all of your pins.
Here are my top tips for setting up your Pinterest profile. If you’re already a Pinterest user, you can also use this list to audit your profile and check that everything is in order.
- Choose your options for the brand new header area – you can choose from latest pins, recent activity from your blog or pins from a board of your choice. It is entirely down to personal choice which you choose.
- Make sure your photo or logo works when it’s small because it will appear on your pins all over the site.
- For your profile name, include your blog / brand name AND a short keyword phrase describing your niche if possible. This can help your profile to show up in search results.
- Include plenty of keywords in your profile description as this will help your pins and your profile to appear in search.
- Make sure you add your website URL & verify it (instructions to do this here).
- Sign up for a business account so that you can get access to analytics.
Note: Pinterest have said that they are reintroducing recommended users, and to be eligible for recommendation you must have a business account and have claimed your website so it’s quite important to do both of these things!
- Set up your slider – you can choose up to 5 boards to include. Pick boards full of attractive pins that show what you are all about as this is the first thing people will see when they arrive at your profile. If you have a blog board, pop it in the first spot, and you could also consider rotating in seasonal boards when relevant – think about what people are likely to be searching for at different times of year.
Once your profile is fully set up, you won’t need to spend any more time on it – just pop back every few months to check that all is looking as it should and to check that your keywords are still relevant to the type of content that you are pinning most regularly.
How to get new followers on Pinterest
Although followers still only represent a small proportion of the people you reach on Pinterest, with the new following feed and with Pinterest explaining the importance of follower engagement (see blog post part 2 for more on this), building a following of engaged users is a bit more important than it used to be.
Here are some suggestions from Pinterest to help you build your followers:
- Pin regularly and consistently, ensuring your pins are good quality (ie leading to the correct source) and relevant to your niche.
- Make sure you’re eligible to be featured by Pinterest (as I mentioned above, to be eligible for recommendation you must have a business account, have claimed (verified) your website and be pinning regularly)
- Add the Pinterest follow button to your blog
- Post on other social media platforms encouraging people to follow you
- Embed pins or boards into your blog posts
- Use a call to action in your blog posts e.g. ‘why not save this post to Pinterest so you can easily find it again’
- To boost engagement, encourage readers to add photos and comments to any of your pins that they’ve tried
How to find the best keywords on Pinterest
I’ve mentioned keywords already and I’ll probably mention them quite a lot more, because keywords are one of the most important ingredients for success on Pinterest!
You may find talk of ‘keywords’, ‘keyword research’ and ‘SEO’ a little daunting, but fear not, Pinterest makes this very easy for you with their smart search.
I’ll use an example that came up during my Pinterest talk at BlogOn last year. There were several bloggers at the talk who blog about money saving, so I started by typing ‘Money’ into the search bar. Try it yourself – you’ll see that after typing just one word, several suggestions appear below the search bar, including ‘money saving tips’ and ‘money saving’. These suggestions aren’t random though, they’re based on what real people are actually searching for on Pinterest. In other words, Pinterest tells you exactly which keywords to use to help your content appear in search!
Don’t stop there though, try clicking on one of the suggested phrases. You’ll see that between the search bar and the resulting pins, there is a line of boxes with more suggestions to help you find what you are looking for. As before, these are based on the most popular searches made by real people on Pinterest, so pick the most relevant and use them as your keywords wherever you can.
If you click on any of the suggested words, you may find that it brings up another row of suggestions, which helps you to drill down to even more detail. Do this to hone your keywords to be as relevant as possible for your pins and blog posts. Use fairly general keywords and keyword for your profile phrases (e.g. ‘money saving tips’), slightly more detailed phrases for boards (e.g. ‘money saving tips for buying a house’) and the most detailed for your individual pins (e.g. ‘money saving tips for buying a house for the first time’).
Where should you use keywords?
Use keywords on Pinterest:
- In your profile name (optional)
- In your profile description
- In your board names (don’t use clever or fancy names for your boards, Pinterest uses them to help understand what your pins are about so call a spade a spade!)
- In your board descriptions
- In board sections if you’re using them (Pinterest confirmed that these also count towards SEO)
- In individual pin descriptions as you pin them
These all send signals to Pinterest telling it what your pin is about.
Use keywords on your website:
- In your blog post title & URL if possible – Pinterest wants people to find what they are expecting when they click on the pin, so use the title to help them check this. (this also applies to images in the post, so if possible, make sure your pin image or very similar images are visible in your blog post)
- In image titles or the alt text of your pin image (I save my pin image file names with a Pinterest friendly title so it’s already there when I upload them)
- In the meta data of the post – use Yoast to help you with this, or add keywords to recipe card descriptions if you have them. This is particularly useful for pulling information through to rich pins.
Remember that other people will be pinning from your site, not just you, so make it as easy as possible for them to pin a keyword-rich pin without having to do anything other than press pin!
Having said that, make sure you don’t just write lists of keywords in your descriptions. Write user-friendly sentences that make sense to real people, but with plenty of keywords scattered through. Example:
‘This grilled asparagus recipe is great for a weeknight dinner but also special enough to be a dinner party side dish’.
Use more general keywords like ‘weeknight dinner’ or ‘summer food’ as well as the specific keyword for the post.
Always keep in mind that your description serves two purposes – it tells Pinterest what pin is about AND it needs to entice readers so it should sound natural and human.
That’s it for Part 1 of my Pinterest series, in Part 2, I’ll be talking about how to use hashtags on Pinterest, what image sizes you should use for your pins (as recommended by Pinterest), how to give your pins the best chance of being seen, what you should pin and when you should pin it.
In the meantime, if you found this post useful, please pin it to Pinterest so you can easily find it again!