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The Pinterest SEO Checklist: 5 Essential Items to Maximize Your Organic Visibility

Find out the five essential items to maximize your organic visibility. Article written by Adam Bullock of MKG Media Group. pinterest-seo-checklist-5-essential-items-maximize-organic-visibility

Big thank you to Adam Bullock, Content Strategy Expert at  MKG Media Group, for this wonderful article. Read on to get your SEO Pinterest checklist.

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Chances are you’ve taken the plunge into the beautiful visual world that is Pinterest. You’re not alone – (roughly) 69,999,999 other people have. Pinterest has shifted from “that one social network with boards” to a creative way to engage fans for brands and companies. As the world has shifted more towards visual media (just see recent interface updates from Twitter and Facebook), it only plays into Pinterest’s core strength of being highly visual.

It seems as if Pinterest is popping up more frequently in search result pages, which means it’s an incredible opportunity to capture another result for your company’s highly valued keyword! If you already own a highly coveted organic result, a Pinterest result only boosts your presence on a SERP. And if you’re having trouble having your website rank for a keyword, optimizing a Pinterest account or board can be just the ticket to breaking onto that first page!

So how do you optimize a Pinterest account for organic rankings?

Read on for the Pinterest SEO Checklist – five essential items to maximize your organic visibility (and, if you’re lucky, a bonus item or two!).

1) Board Name

It’s easy to create a wacky board name. Or a punny board name. But your board name is essentially a title tag. It’s that important! The keyword you’re looking to rank for needs to be in the title of the board and it needs to be at the beginning of the title.

Looking for a quick SEO win?

Find a long-tail keyword with not much competition and shoot for it.

Let’s say you own a boat company. And your boat company specializes in boat repair. Find a long-tail keyword with some traffic and go get that traffic!

Affordable Boat Repair: Fixing One Hull of a Problem

I like puns.

2) Board Description

If the board name is essentially a title tag, the board description is, you guessed it, essentially a description tag. It needs to be full of keyword-rich copy. Also, this bit of text will show up as the “flavor” text in the results on a SERP page, so include some kind of call to action. A good description using the board example above:

Pictures of our projects: affordable boat repair has never looked so good! McGill’s Boat Repair: we’ll repair your boat and get it back on the water in no time! Seas the day!

I have a pun problem.

3) Verify Your Website

Verifying your website with Pinterest gives you a little check mark next to your name in search results by pinner.

How to SEO Your Pinterest Account by Adam Bullock

This helps stand-out in search results,and it adds an extra layer of trust.

In addition, it gives you access to Pinterest Analytics. This gives you killer information like which pins of yours are getting the most repins (aka your model of which all future pins should be using), which pins are providing the most clicks (the next model all future pins should be using) and more.

Google Analytics is essential for your website. Pinterest Analytics is essential for your Pinterest account.

4) Use Keywords for Image Alt Tags

SEO professionals know that alt tags for images are prime spots for keywords. SEO professionals who know how Pinterest work PREACH about keywords for alt tags, and here’s why:

When somebody pins that page, Pinterest automatically places the alt tag as a pin’s description.

This is further linking your website with a specific keyword, which is a good thing!

5) Perform Pinterest Category Research

Like keyword research for SEO, you should be performing Pinterest category research. And not just category research, I like to start typing in keywords to see what Pinterest is going to suggest to its users to search.

Using the Search Box on Pinterest can help you find keywords

Because, when it comes down to it, you should be adding relevant pins and boards where Pinterest is funneling searchers.

And there you have it! Five essential items for maxi-

But Wait There's More

Bonus! 6) 200 Words is a Pin Description’s Sweet Spot

Dan Zarrella, social media scientist, performed analysis on 11,000 different pins and found that 200 characters is a sweet spot for pin descriptions. His post is one you should not miss!

Bonus! 7) Always Link Back to Your Site Whenever Possible

Before any SEO pros remind me that Pinterest is nofollow, yes, I understand that. But that doesn’t mean you should use link shorteners like bit.ly or owl.ly! Always link back to your site. Link shorteners can sometimes look spammy and nobody wants that. With a clean URL structure to a legitimate website, your links will get clicks and Google will like that. Always link back to your site whenever you can.

Pinterest SEO Checklist

Board Name with Keyword in Title
Keyword-Rich Board Description
Website is Verified
Your Website has Keywords for All Image Alt-Tags
You’ve Performed Pinterest Category Research
Your Pins have 200-Word Descriptions
Links to Your Site are Everywhere and Not Shortened

To recap: Pinterest is an awesome social network. It gives organizations a unique platform to engage and connect with their audience, especially with the right Pinterest strategy for business in place. In order to maximize the organic visibility at the same time, make sure each box is checked from the above Pinterest SEO Checklist.

AdamAdam Bullock is the Content Strategy Expert for MKG Media Group, a nimble digital ad agency out of San Francisco, California. When he’s not helping MKG clients amplify their awesomeness, he’s on Twitter at @OriginalAdMan rambling about Vancouver Canucks hockey or marketing.

How Businesses Can Use Guided Search On Pinterest

How Businesses can Use Guided Search on Pinterest by Vincent Ng of MCNGmarketing.com

It seems like there isn’t a month that doesn’t go by where Pinterest doesn’t add a new feature, or tests out one. So after taking a vacation in Paris and Barcelona, and returning a week and half later, I wasn’t surprised to hear that there was a major update with Pinterest.

As a side note, I would like to happily announce that the main reason I was in Paris was to propose to the love of my life. I am now engaged to an amazing woman who I plan to spend the rest of my life with…but back to business.

After returning from my trip, I had a chat with Cynthia Sanchez from Oh So Pinteresting , and she informed me that Pinterest introduced a new search feature known as Guided Search, which is currently available on mobile to English users to start, but will be rolled out to desktop users and will most likely rolled out in other languages as well.

Guided Search On Pinterest - What this Means for Your Business

What is Guided Search on Pinterest?

Guided Search is a search function on Pinterest that offers additional recommendations that may or may not be related to a search term. These additional recommendations are based on popular and associated terms with the search term you typed in the Pinterest search box.

For example, on my Android smartphone I decided to type in the city, Vancouver. Other terms that were popular and associated with Vancouver on Pinterest, showed up. Search terms such as Canucks, Island, BC, Stanley Park, Cafe, Restaurant and so many more showed up.

How to make the Most of Guided Search on Pinterest by Vincent Ng of MCNGMarketing.com #Pintalysis

Another search term that was recommended that were associated with Vancouver was wedding. All you need to do is tap on the search term tile, and then Pinerest begins to load new pin results based on those combined search terms.

What I enjoy about using Guided Search is that it gives me more options for different types of searches, and offers a spontaneity factor when it comes to search. Adding that extra “unknown” factor can actually make search, dare I say, fun.

What will be interest to see is how the terms will change over time. As more Pinterest users jump aboard, the search terms provided by Guided Search will change as well. And of course, depending on the country and language Pinterest is being used in, Guided Search will bring back different results.

In the past I’ve called Pinterest the, “Accidental Discovery Engine” because users are discovering new ideas and pins by accident all the time. With Guided Search, accidental discoveries are going to be even more prevalent.

Pinterest is the Accidental Discovery Engine

I never thought of Pinterest as a search engine per se, but more as a lifestyle and discovery tool. I’ve written about 5 reasons why Pinterest is better than Google and why.

One of the main benefits that Pinterest has over Google is Pinterest’s ability to act as an accidental discovery search engine. When you go to Google, you’re going their with a specific intent, most likely to gain knowledge or collect knowledge to make an informed decision.

But with Pinterest, people discover pins and are presented a visual feast with a site that now has 30 billion pins, and growing by the billions each and every month.

You can type in the word pancakes in Pinterest search box and you get hundreds of pins about pancakes. You may have been so enamoured with the results that you may have forget what you were secretly, and unknowingly looking for.

But Guided Search suggests to us “what we don’t know” so that we do become aware of what we may want.

When I searched up pancakes, Guided Search suggested the words buttermilk, and fluffy. I love buttermilk pancakes, and love fluffy and light pancakes. But I didn’t know that that’s what I was looking for until Pinterest suggested the search term to me.

I landed on that suggestion and pins about fluffy pancakes by accident, simply by typing the word pancakes in Guided Search. And to me this was a GREAT accident. And the terms that are not relevant to me, such as healthy pancakes, well…I don’t click on them.

This means that more and more business pins are going to be discovered serendipitously. And since Guided search allows for more specific terms, this means that it’s going to be a more specific audience that’s interested in those pins. Guided Search is working hard on helping your business find the right customers, you just have to ensure you’re taking steps to do the same.

How to Make the Most of Guided Search for Your Business

The good news is that I believe the core Pinterest search algorithm hasn’t changed. This means using the right keywords in your pin descriptions, as well as the url of where an pin originates from matters.

It’s important to put in multiple keywords or search terms that you want your pins to be found for. If you’re trying to promote your pancake recipe site, you may want to add words like fluffy, healthy, and recipe along with the word pancake in a pin description to maximize exposure.

The key is to use the terms that have popped up with the main search term in Guided Search.

Here’s a great article written by Alisa Meredith about how to use keyword rich descriptions in pin descriptions to help maximize your search results with Guided Search.

Go Backwards, Not Just Forwards With Guided Search Terms

Let’s say you type in the search term, wedding, on Guided Search, notice what other words come up. When I typed in wedding in search results for my Android smartphone, it recommended search terms like dresses, ideas, hairstyles and more.

If you’re looking to get more exposure for your pins, I would suggest you reverse your keyword search.

For example, dresses, is one of the word tiles that shows up for the term wedding. I suggest that you wipe out the term wedding, and do a new search for the word, dresses. When I did this I noticed the search tile, “to wear to a wedding,” came up.

How to make the most of Guided Search on Pinterest by Vincent Ng of MCNGMarketing.com

For me this is actually quite fascinating, especially if I ran a wedding dress business. Since my core business would be wedding dresses, I would start a board that would help cross promote a local business that sells dresses to wear at weddings.

And in return, I would ask the business owners who does sell dresses for weddings to promote my wedding dresses on their Pinterest account. This way both businesses cross promote each other, without the need to compete in the same target audience.

The word casual is also another word that’s associated with dresses. So I may create pin descriptions that would have the words, casual dresses to wear at a wedding.

But it’s important to realize that keywords play only a part, not the whole picture (pun intended), and so it’s important not to just stuff keywords in pin descriptions. It will only go so far.

You’ll often find pins in search results that don’t have the keywords in them. This is because multiple search factors can play a role, such as the number of repins.

Local Businesses Need to Take Advantage of Guided Search

What’s been quite fascinating is that in the past, Pinterest often rolled out new features on the desktop version of Pinterest first, but this new feature was rolled out to mobile.

To me this is quite a shift in the way that Pinterest is thinking. Considering that 75% of daily usage on Pinterest comes from native apps, it may making the search function available on mobile first because it’s trying to make Pinterest incredibly appealing on a local level, similar to the way that Yelp is.

While Place Pins have been a big shift in helping promote local neighbourhoods and businesses, but it’s still far off. If I type in the search term cookies, and searched based on Place Boards, it doesn’t give me results of cookie places that are in my city. This is because it returns board results, and at this time there’s no way to get search results of just place pins.

When I typed in Vancouver in Gudided Search, words such as Aquarium, Cafe, What to Do, Stanley Park, and so much more came up. And what’s really interesting is that the results are visual results of pins, so this allows me to see pictures of the Vancouver Aquarium or Stanley Park.

Now are tourists, and locals going to start using Pinterest for local search the way they would use Yelp, or another other directory. I don’t know, I think at this time it’s a long shot. But what’s scary is that Pinterest’s mobile search may move into that field.

When Pinterest first started, nobody in their right mind would have thought that Pinterest would pose even the smallest threat to Google and other search engines. And yet, you can’t deny that it’s nibbling away at Google.

Pinterest’s mobile could do the same against Yelp. People search for Vancouver restaurants on Pinterest, and see the beautiful pictures. Click on the pin that leads to a blog post about the restaurant, find out it’s a good review and then eat there.

A more likely scenario would be that they may like the pictures they see on Pinterest and then go to Yelp to do more research about it. In this case Pinterest acts as supplementary information provider.

But with Guided Search, it may, because I haven’t tested this out, add supplemental search terms that are related to local businesses. If I type in Vancouver Restaurants, it may provide me with search terms like Chinese, Brazillian, Steak, and so much more.

This is why it’s important that if you have a local businesses to start putting in the name of your city in those descriptions. If you’re a restaurant in Chicago, you’ve got to put the word Chicago in there. After all, you never know if it’s going to be tourist, a local, or even somebody from a far away city that’s going to be bookmarking that pin on Pinterest.

If it seems like a stretch that this might happen, just remember how four years ago, it seemed like a stretch that Pinterest would be perceived as a potential competitor of Google.

What are you thoughts about Guided Search? What do you like or dislike about the new feature?