Pinterest Optimization for SEO Machos
"Pinterest Optimization for SEO Machos" is a guest post by Adrienne of Pongra. I have added some ugly remarks about male SEO practicioners in the post and made the headline a bit more controversial plus improved the readability a tiny bit.
Pinterest, as I’m sure you’re aware, is a social bookmarking site based around compelling imagery. Though the links on Pinterest are nofollowed, for websites and blogs catering to specific photogenic tastes, the links can still be especially valuable for driving in visitors.
In addition, as social signals become increasingly important in search engine results, the value of being represented on Pinterest and sites like it is bound to increase. Moreover
results from Pinterest are already showing up in image searches, so now is a good time to stake out some territory.
Pinterest can be intimidating though, especially if you start out the wrong way or if you don’t understand it like especially many men in the SEO industry do. These techniques should get you started using Pinterest correctly and in the most optimized way possible!
Make sure your account is being indexed
By default, your pins are set to be indexed by search engines, but if you’ve poked around in your settings and changed a few things, you’ll want to start by making sure that Search Privacy is set to off. This is very important!
Choose board titles and themes wisely
From the moment you create a board, you should be thinking SEO. Try to use a keyword or two without making the name and description too long. Don’t be afraid to get specific. For example, instead of just having one board for every recipe under the sun, you can have a board for cakes and cookies, a board for gluten-free options, and a board for vegetarian meals. Ultimately, a vegetarian will be more likely to follow a board that caters specifically to their tastes than follow one that is just titled “Delicious Food.”
Use keywords in the description…
You’ve probably seen people keyword stuffing on Pinterest – Tad talked about that in an earlier post about mistakes people make on Pinterest, posting a screenshot of a pin labeled “france,france,france,france” – and unfortunately, this continues to rank well in search results despite being an eyesore. Hopefully soon Pinterest will improve their search algorithm, but until then you might as well take advantage of it. Remember all that decade-old SEO talk of keyword density? It’s back!
… keep it short and meaningful though
That said, don’t leave an obnoxiously long description on your pin, such as a full blog post. Since the repin button is at the top of the image, you do not benefit from making viewers scroll past it to read your description. (And there’s always the chance that you’ll see duplicate content issues if you paste a whole post there.) Instead, write a short 1-2 sentence description with a call to action to encourage pinners to click and read more.
Use high-quality images
It should go without saying that if you want your pins to be popular on a site devoted to compelling imagery, you should be pinning high-quality photographs (or illustrations, etc.). More than anything else it is the image itself causing people to share your pin, so invest the time and money to put great imagery on your website.
Practice good image optimization practices
On your website, you should already be following image SEO best practices. In case you aren’t, you’d better start now, because it will follow your images to Pinterest. Be sure to give your images meaningful file names instead of strings of letters and numbers. Describe your images in the alt tag. Including a caption is also pretty important for bloggers – if a visitor pins your image with the Pinterest bookmarklet, the default description will be the image caption.
Link up your other social profiles, but don’t spam people
Pinterest allows you to connect your account with your Facebook and Twitter, which is great for you because it links to them from your Pinterest profile page. You can also choose to tweet your pins or share them on Facebook. While an individual might find this feature useful, companies should probably steer away from it unless you’re only doing a small amount of pinning, as your other accounts can quickly become inundated.
On that note, also be careful about how much you pin and repin at once. If you fill up others’ Pinterest homepage as far as the eye can see, they might be annoyed and unfollow you.
When you are deciding what images to pin, consider carefully the page that they will lead back to – which is now a landing page! Be sure you are treating it that way. If the viewer doesn’t find what they are looking for, they will lose interest and return to Pinterest.
Predetermine the description of the pin
When visitors choose to pin something from your site to Pinterest, they are given the option to describe it. Instead of leaving it up to the user, if you use WordPress you can nudge them in the right direction with a plugin like Pin It On Pinterest.
This plugin allows you to select an image and a description for that particular post, and when the visitor pins from that page, they are given this predetermined description. While they could change it, many people are lazy and will leave the description as-is.
Restrict the pin it button to permalinked pages
Whatever plugin or pin it button option you choose, it is best to keep the pin it sharing button on specific posts, not on the main page of your site or on category pages. Anywhere where there is a changing feed means that a user might inadvertently pin an image that will be pushed off that page eventually – and someone who bothered to follow the image to your site isn’t likely to stick around if they can’t find what they are looking for.
Of course, you can’t stop people from pinning the pages you don’t want them to if they use the bookmarklet, but you can do your best to not add to the problem!
These common sense improvements and tactics are not really hard to implement or practice so even men and SEOs who usually don't get Pinterest can adapt. Even SEO machos can pin! Don't you think?
Adrienne is a blogger for Pongra and an internet marketer at WebpageFX, an SEO company in central Pennsylvania. When she’s not blogging, you might find her practicing French, whipping up some recipes she found on Pinterest, or writing some snail mail.
* Creative Commons image by Kim and Chantelle Gribbon