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. This is the second post find the first one here.
How to use Pinterest for Bloggers – Part 2
In part 1 of this Pinterest series I talked about how Pinterest can drive traffic to your blog, how to set up or 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. You can read part 1 of Pinterest for Bloggers here.
In this post, part 2, I’m going to talk 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.
How to use Hashtags on Pinterest
For a long time, hashtags on Pinterest were a big fat no go area. Pinterest didn’t recommend them and they didn’t do anything if you used them. That all changed sometime last year when hashtags came back in fashion on Pinterest! Now hashtags are here to stay and they can be very useful, especially for helping you get brand new pins off the ground.
Here’s the latest advice to help you use hashtags on Pinterest:
- You can add up to 20 hashtags to each pin (this is the absolute maximum Pinterest recommends, and is probably too many to be useful to be honest)
- To help you get started, Pinterest can suggest already popular hashtags – when creating a new pin, a drop down list will appear as you start to type them in the description
- The first 4 hashtags that you add to each pin are visible when the pin is viewed in Pinterest feeds, so make sure you put the most important and relevant hashtags first and use a minimum of 4 hashtags per pin when you can
- Concentrate on quality over quantity – keep hashtags as relevant as possible
- Use seasonal and general themes for your hashtags e.g. #summerstyle #healthysnacks #parentingtips
- Use keywords for your hashtags too – see Part 1 of this blog post for my tips for finding the best keywords on Pinterest
- Use hashtags on fresh pins only – don’t waste time adding them to older pins as the point of hashtags is to find and share FRESH content. Hashtag feeds are chronological, which is great for getting new posts out there, but older posts won’t appear if you edit them to add hashtags.
What image size should you use on Pinterest?
Until recently, extra tall pin images were king on Pinterest, as they were eye catching and took up the most space in Pinterest feeds. Pinterest themselves were not a fan however, and they recently reviewed their image recommendations, making a significant change to the way images are appearing in feeds and search results.
Pinterest now recommends a ratio of 2:3 for pin images. This 2:3 ratio is for portrait images, 2 parts wide to 3 parts tall, for example 600 x 900 pixels in size. To give you an idea of what that looks like, the image above uses the 2:3 ratio.
As it stands at the moment, taller pins up to 600 x 1260 pixels are still showing up in full in the feeds (anything taller is being cut off) however Pinterest has categorically said that tall ‘giraffe’ pins will be penalised and appear lower in search results, so anything taller than the 2:3 ratio will not perform as well.
This is such an important development that Pinterest actually recommends that you replace all of your tall pins with 2:3 ratio pin images instead, a mammoth task for many bloggers!
I have to be honest, it sounds most irritating, especially if, like me, you have spent the last year creating tall pins for your back catalogue of blog posts! On the flip side though I have heard bloggers saying that they’ve created new 2:3 pin images for all of their posts and have seen significant growth since, so it does seem to be worth the effort.
Here are some of the pin images that I’ve created for my own blog posts in the new 2:3 format. As you can see, it’s still possible to create a variety of images including collages and images with text in this size.
Other useful recommendations for pin images are to add a small amount of text if the image is not self-explanatory, and that any branding you add to your pin images should be as subtle as possible.
How pins are distributed on Pinterest
So, you’ve got your blog post with the perfect pin image, you’ve researched your keywords and hashtags, you’ve optimised your profile, what happens next?
When you first pin from a new post…
- The brand new pin is shown to your followers first
- Pinterest sees how they react (over the first few days)
- Pinterest distributes pins with good engagement to the smart feed, search results, related pins and recommended pins
Engagement can take several forms, including a user clicking on the pin, clicking through to the blog post, repining the post (including pinning directly from the site), comments and photos on the pin
Comments and photos are considered particularly good engagement. A new feature for pin comments and photos is that these are now rounded up and appear across the site on every copy of a pin.
How can you give your pins the best chance to be seen on Pinterest?
Pin new pins to the most relevant board first – this is very important for SEO as Pinterest carries this information forward with every subsequent pin.
Be the first to pin your new posts – make this part of your blog publishing routine – pin it as soon as you hit publish on a new post.
Make sure your site is verified as Pinterest prioritises pins created by the owner of the website they are pinned from.
Always pin fresh pins directly from your site instead of repining older pins
When possible, use a different description each time you pin a previously pinned post
Include a call to action in pin descriptions – examples: click for recipe / instructions / more information
Understand you audience – use Pinterest analytics (and google analytics) to find your top performing pins and boards, then pin more of the same kind of content and create more of the same. If you give your audience what they want, they are much more likely to engage with it.
Always use keywords in your pins and follow best SEO practices for Pinterest with ideal image sizes, hashtags, keywords in your profile and board names etc (see part 1 of this blog post for more information about keywords and Pinterest SEO)
Create plenty of fresh content – Pinterest are prioritising new content, especially in hashtag feeds and the new following feed. The freshest content is obviously a new blog post, but any new pin images you create to add to older posts will also be classed as fresher content too.
How often should you be pinning?
Pinterest says that there is no such thing as too many pins, however they value consistency over volume. This means that it’s best to spread your pins across the week as much as possible, so don’t batch pin. Rather than pinning 70 pins in one or two batches each week, 10 pins a day would be much better.
This may sound daunting, but you can use a scheduler to help you spread them out over the week. Pinterest has confirmed that there is absolutely no extra advantage to live pinning as they don’t penalise pins pinned through a scheduler. Personally I use Tailwind to schedule my pins, it saves so much time and makes life a lot easier!
As there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for the best number of pins you should share each day, you’ll need to experiment to see what works for you. Start with a small, realistic number of pins then add extra into your schedule once you’ve got yourself into a routine.
If you do find yourself doing most of your pinning through a scheduler, try to remember to log on regularly to Pinterest so that you stay in touch with using it as your followers do. On this note, it’s worth having a play with the mobile app too, as so much Pinterest traffic comes from mobile users. I was quite surprised to discover recently that 75% of my Pinterest traffic now comes from mobile users with only 12% from desktop users (the remainder from tablet)
What’s all the fuss about your first 5 pins?
You may have heard some talk and confusion in blogging groups about Pinterest prioritising your first 5 pins each day. Thankfully Pinterest have clarified what that is all about!
From the start of each day (midnight UTC (1am BST) is the start of the Pinterest day), Pinterest shows around 5 pins from each pinner in rotation. Pins are shown chronologically so the first 5 posts that you pin each day are the most likely to be seen. The more you pin in one day, the less likely it is that your later pins will be seen, as many followers won’t scroll down far enough in their feed to see them all.
It’s particularly important to keep this in mind for the new follower feed so you don’t spam your followers with too many pins in one day. It’s also a good idea to make sure your first 5 pins come from your own blog (a scheduler comes in handy for this) and that you don’t keep sharing the same pins over and over each day, as this will likely bore your followers and lead to far less engagement.
What should you pin?
Start by pinning any new content from your blog. Remember to pin any new posts to the most relevant board first, then schedule it to your blog board (if you have one), to other relevant boards and to relevant group boards.
Next you should focus on pinning any seasonal content. This could be content that is specific to holidays like Christmas or Easter, or relevant to the time of year. You can start pinning seasonal ‘holiday’ content up to 3 months in advance of the holiday itself.
As well as new and seasonal content, it’s a good idea to regularly pin your most popular older and evergreen content. It’s worth looking over older posts to see if they can be updated with fresh photos or a new pin image before pinning.
Should you pin other people’s content?
Pinterest recommends that you always focus on pinning your own content first, then fill any gaps in your schedule with other people’s content. This is because Pinterest prioritises content from your website for distribution (if your site is verified).
You may have heard recommendations for pinning a specific ratio (for example 80:20) of yours and other bloggers content, but Pinterest has firmly confirmed that there is NO magic ratio, you can pin nothing but your own content if you like and you won’t be penalised for it!
The one thing Pinterest did say re pinning other people’s content is that whatever you do pin, it should be similar to or complement your own content – you should keep your followers in mind when pinning.
So in other words, pinning other people’s pins isn’t essential – Pinterest wants you to concentrate as much as possible on creating and pinning your own awesome content!
Despite that, there’s a lot to be said for being a nice person, a good community member and supporting others as you would like to be supported, and I for one will continue to pin content from other bloggers whenever I can.
That’s it for Part 2 of my Pinterest series, I’ll be back soon with another post about scheduling pins through Tailwind and how to choose which pins to schedule! Don’t forget to pop back and read Part 1 of this series if you missed it too.
In the meantime, if you found this post useful, please pin it to Pinterest so you can easily find it again!