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Sep 30, 2012

Why Pinterest Works for SEO and How to Screw It Up

Amid the normal litany of online marketing experts decrying that Pinterest’s newfound popularity will be short-lived, it’s probably worth saying at the outset of this post that I don’t think that using Pinterest for SEO is necessarily any more of a panacea than Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is. These are all just tools that can help you build a following and target your audience. With that said, there are some particularly attractive things about Pinterest that make it worth jumping on the bandwagon for.

Pinterest For SEO

Pinterest is a Short-form Medium

This might seem weird, but because most pins on the site are short, bite-sized things, Pinterest visitors stick around longer than on similar sites, like Tumblr. The culture of Pinterest is that of do-it-yourselfers, makers and seekers. Everyone is looking for cool ideas, products and images that they can then curate and share. A site like Facebook is trying to be everything to everyone. Pinterest has distilled itself down to an image sharing and curating platform, much like Twitter has refined itself as a purely short-form medium.

Pins Give you More Control

You don’t just have to settle for anchor text, you actually get to post an image from your site. You have more control over what’s getting shared. You get to highlight images from areas on your site where you want people to go. Sure, you can do similar things on Facebook and Twitter, but the fact that your Pinboards are just a giant visual menu means that there are fewer things to distract somebody, like an article to read. They’re going to click on something, and soon, and if they don’t find another photo that leads where they want, your Pinboard or your site might be the one to hold their attention.

Outreach is Painfully Easy

Reaching out to a high-profile curator is easy on Pinterest, because they don’t have to bother with a whole blog posts; they just re-pin whatever you’re suggesting if they like it. That’s an easy link. As long as you have a compelling image, you’re likely to get them to say yes if you’re nice about it. It takes so little energy to re-pin that it’s ridiculously easy to get connected to established users and the people that follow them.

How to Use Pinterest for SEO

Now that I’ve convinced you, how are you to make use of this simple social media tool to develop traffic? Well, there are definitely a lot of different strategies you could take. Let’s start with some dos and don’ts: 

DO connect with Facebook so that your pins all show up in your timeline. You’ve already spent all that time building up social connections and content on Facebook, and now it’s time for you to maybe spur some of those people to greater activity by funneling them to your Pinterest page. It’s a more visual site that may just help get them on to your site and increase your conversion rate. 

DO optimize every pin. If you’re not commenting on your own pins, filling them with (natural!) keyword-rich text, you’re missing an opportunity. Pinterest is a site for curating collections of images, not just posting them en masse. Remember, quality over quantity. 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a female dominated social space. The gender demographics have started to even out as the audience has grown rapidly. Competing sites like Gentlemint aren’t likely to compete, and their users are probably already on Pinterest, anyway. 

Don’t try to shoehorn your existing comment into a form that will get pinned. Sure, you can slap a ‘Pin It’ button onto every article and photo on your site, but are you actively developing content that makes it conducive to pinning? 

Don’t spam your Pinboard with an unrelated jumble of pictures. Just pinning photos from your own website with links pointing back to it isn’t enough. You need to be actively cultivating your own Pinboards, and commenting on others to get into the conversation and connect with other people. Just like any other social network, you have to be engaged for it to pay off.

Those of you who are already on Pinterest, what are your strategies? Has the service been mediocre at driving traffic, or has it fulfilled your wildest dreams?

Also read: Getting to Third Base with Pinterest – How to Maximise Your Links and Conversions


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