From the BlogSubscribe Now

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.

—-

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.

Best Ways to Use Hashtags on Pinterest

Best Ways to Use Hashtags With Pinterest

There are always hot topics about Pinterest that people want to know about. They want to know how to get their pins to show up in Pinterest search results or how to drive more web traffic to their blog. There’s no doubt that one of the most controversial topics that I have come across Pinterest marketing is the use of hashtags.

What is a Hashtag?

Let’s start off with what a hashtag is. A hashtag is simply this -> #. You’ll see these across a variety of different social networks like Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and occasionally on Facebook as well. When Pinterest first came out in 2010 there was a lot of confusion about hashtags and how they were being used in Pinterest.

Many marketers assumed that by inserting # in their description that their pins would automatically pop up in search results for Pinterest, similar to the way that Twitter’s search works. But this was not the case, and soon a war on how to effectively use them ensued.

As the years have gone by, more and more brands are starting to use hashtags the smart way. Here are seven tips for using hashtags on Pinterest.

Hashtags Lead to Search Results for that Keyword

When you put a # in your pin’s description it will become bolded in the pin’s description when people are viewing them on the desktop version of Pinterest. This allows people to click on the # which leads to search results for Pins that may or may not contain that hashtag.

Usually the results that are shown are a mish mash of pins that contain the words used in the hashtag. I typed in #GardeningTips onto the desktop version of Pinterest and here were some of the results that were shown.

Hashtags on Pinterest - 7 Tips You Need to Know

Notice that some of the results show #GardeningTips, but other pins contain Gardening tips, some have Gardening-tips, and some of the don’t even have the keywords in them.

Not all Hashtags will be Indexed

Just because you put a hashtag in a pin’s description doesn’t automatically mean that it will show up in search results for that hashtag. Pinterest operates very different from Twitter.

To find out how keywords and hashtags are indexed within Pinterest search results, read my article 4 Tips to Make Your Pins more Searchable on Pinterest.

Hashtags May Lead People Away from Your Pin

A major con of having a hashtag on Pinterest is that it does lead people to search results for the keyword associated with that hashtag. Let’s say that I see your pin about gardening tips, I find the pin has the hashtag #gardeningtips and I click on it.

That click then leads me to search results for that #. And since not all hashtags are indexed, the person that clicked on your hashtag has now been taken away from your pin and now is browsing someone else’s pin.

This can be extremely troublesome when someone has click to enlarge a pin, and is seconds away from clicking on it again to be redirected to your website, only to be intrigued by the hashtag and clicks on it to disappear to a whole new set of results.

Hashtags Are Clickable on Mobile Apps

You may read some older articles about Pinterest that mention how hashtags aren’t clickable on Pinterest apps. But from my understanding in 2015, this all changed.

Hashtags are clickable on iOS and Android devices when a person does a close up of a pin and scroll’s down to the pin description area.

Don’t Overuse Hashtags

You’ll still see this practice occur where there are pins that use dozens of hashtags in their descriptions. While this may be a popular practice on Instagram to get more followers, it can be annoying for users of Pinterest and poor etiquette.

Pinterest has officially come out saying that if you do put too many hashtags in your pin description it could actually demote the pin’s search ranking.  (Thanks to Kelly Lieberman from #PinChat for sharing that article.)

Create a Unique Hashtag For Your Business

If you do want to use a hashtag for your business ensure that it’s a unique one. Try to avoid using common search terms that thousands of other pinners have used. This way when you create you own unique hashtag, and people do click on it, it will lead back to search results that are about your blog posts or products.

To help promote my upcoming book Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis, I’ll be using the #Pintalysis in pin descriptions that are being used to promote that book since Pintalysis is a unique word.

Don’t Use Hashtags in Board and Account Descriptions

You’ll see some Pinterest boards have hashtags in their pin descriptions. Hashtags in Pinterest board descriptions are not helpful because people rarely search for boards by using hashtags in front of them.

And having them in your board descriptions and are detrimental to Google search results.

Best Ways to Use Hashtags with Pinterest by Vincent Ng of MCGNmarketing.com


Avoid using hashtags in your Pinterest board and account descriptions.

Boards on Pinterest can rank very well on Google, but they have to have keywords that people are searching for with the search engine. When was the last time you decided to type into Google #YourSearchTerm? I would imagine close to never.

Leave out the hashtags in your business name and board names and descriptions to help them rank higher in Google search results for terms you want to be searched for.

As an interesting side note, if you enjoy using Pinterest a lot for your personal use, and there’s a particular board that you enjoy pinning to, then consider putting the # in front of the board name. This might be #Favourite Board. Since Pinterest shows boards to pin to in an alphabetical order, board names that have the # in front of their name generally show up at the top of the list before the rest.

Use a Branded Hashtag with Your Promoted Pins

Advertising on Pinterest is here, and if you’re planning on using Promoted Pins for your business one of the no-no’s of advertising with Pinterest is that they don’t allow more than one hashtag in the pin description.

I’m not suggesting it’s necessary, but I understand that sometimes you want to use a hashtag to have a cohesive social media strategy.

And if you do decide you want to use a hashtag in your pin description it should be branded, no generic hashtags such as #travel or #love. Most likely Pinterest is not going to approve of these pins.

Have you been using hashtags in creative ways with Pinterest? Leave a comment and share with other members of the community.

3 Tips to Search Optimize Your Boards Within Pinterest

Want your boards to be found within Pinterest's search results? Here are three tips that will help your boards rank higher.

In a previous blog post I discussed how to make your pins more searchable within Pinterest, and how important it was to have them found. Pins being found in search is vital because any time you type a search term into Pinterest’s search box, it automatically shows results of pins. However, Pinterest is encouraging people not only to discover pins, but boards as well.

As of this weekend, Pinterest rolled out a new feature known as “Follow Boards.” I first saw this featured rolled out about a week ago for only a few hours, and then it disappeared, and now it’s back. Huzzah! BUT it’s still not available to all users, and is slowly being rolled out.

With this new feature, Pinterest now recommends boards that you should follow. It also displays different categories. When you click on them, you’ll find a series of boards that you can follow.

Another feature that has started to slowly roll out, is the search function on the top left hand side of the picture.

Pinterest rolled out a new feature. If you click on your account on the desktop version of Pinterest, you will see a new addition, "Follow Boards." Pinterest now recommends boards to follow, as well as the option to look for boards to follow based on categories and search results. Find out more on how to optimize your boards by visiting

If you would like to see a summary of what that’s all about then feel free to watch the video, but if you enjoy reading, then read on my friend.

Pinterest Wants Users to REALLY use the Search Boards Function

As the new features start to roll out for everyone, the ability to have your boards found for search terms is becoming absolutely critical. Pinterest knows that people are searching for specific pins, but wants to connect people more to boards and encourage users to search for boards.

Pinterest wants to make a big deal of featured boards (no doubt for future monetization) and board searching. It’s actually making the search board function redundant, since there already exists a search box for boards on the top left hand corner of the desktop version.

But Pinterest has also added the search boards box into the new “Follow boards” menu. There’s two different places that a user can use the search box, trying to raise the profile of that particular search option.

I decided to do a search in both those different boxes. As you can see from the photo below, both showed the exact same results. Both are using the same algorithm to determine which boards to show a user for a search term. This is why, if you haven’t, you really need to start search optimizing your boards for Pinterest search results.

The Pinterest search box within the "Follow Boards" feature uses the exact same algorithm as the search box on the top left hand corner of the desktop version of Pinterest. Find out 3 ways to help optimize your boards for search on Pinterest.

3 Ways to Search Optimize your boards for Pinterest search results.

3 Tips to Search Optimize Your Boards

Use Keywords in Your Board’s Name

If you want your board to be found in search results, then it’s best to name them after search terms that people are searching for on Pinterest. If you’re specializing in Linkedin and you want people to search for your board, you probably don’t want to call it, “Linkedin Awesomeness!” Sounds really catchy, BUT, nobody is probably going to search for that term.

What you want to do is name your board a common search term such as, “Linkedin Marketing Strategies.” This is the name of one of the boards that Canada’s #1 Linkedin expert, Melonie Deodaro, has titled, and not surprisingly it ranks number one in Pinterest search results for that keyword for boards.

Notice how Melonie Deodaro names her Pinterest board after a keyword. This was one of the factors that has helped her board rank high for that search result. Find out two other factors that influence Pinterest board search optimization.

It’s always best to name your board after the exact search term you want to be found for, but you can also use broad search terms (terms that have the keywords in them, but don’t match exactly) in your board titles and this can help with the ranking.

If you look at the example with the keyword, Pinterest tutorial in the picture that was used early on, you’ll see that Naturally Curly has their board ranked in the third position, and that’s because the name of their board is Naturally Curly Pinterest Tutorial. They used the keyword in their board’s name.

For Naturally Curly to rank quite high for such a keyword, even though it was not the exact keyword is because of two other factors.

The Number of Followers Matter

The number of followers that a board has matters in the way that a board is ranked search results for specific search terms. The board may not have a lot of pins, like in the case of Naturally Curly, for the search term Pinterest tutorial, but the sheer number of followers the board has makes up for it, with over 4000 followers for that board.

The reasoning behind this is because if Pinterest sees that you have a lot of followers for that board, that it must be a relevant board for that search term, or else if the board wasn’t relevant to people then they wouldn’t have so many followers.

Ensure you have some amazing visual content on your boards, so that you’re able to increase your followers for them.

The Number of Pins Helps in Rankings

The number of pins for each board will also help it rank higher for search terms. As the number of pins increase, as well as your follower count, then you should see a rise in the rankings for those boards for that keyword.

This is why for your Pinterest marketing strategy you should focus on a limited number of boards to start. Don’t go crazy trying to create boards that have NO RELEVANCE to your customers or audience.

If I’m following Marvel Comics on Pinterest, I don’t want to see pins about recipes or foods. I want to see pins that are geared towards the comic geek in me.

Now these are most likely not the only factors involved. So even if you have the most followers, have the exact keyword for your board’s name, and have the most pins, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be ranked number one. I do promise it will help you rank higher over time.

Other potential factors

Make Sure You Follow Users

This is all speculation, and based on my observation but I believe that the number of people you follow will also play a small role. I noticed that a blog about Vancouver has a board titled, “Vancouver”, it has 1200 pins, much more than the other Pinterest boards with the same board name but ranks very low in search results. The account has followers but the user doesn’t follow any user. This lack of following others may be a signal that this user is not engaged with Pinterest or is a spammer. A signal to downgrade their search results.

Group Boards that Have Too Many Members

Group boards with large number of contributors will most likely not show up for search results for boards. There have been a few group boards that have shown up in results, but compared to boards created by individuals it’s a very small number. If you’re looking to get your board ranked for a certain search term, you’re much better off trying to do it as an individual than through a group board.

Do you have any tips or tricks to search optimize boards in Pinterest, I would love to hear about them in the comments.

Pinterest is Doing What Google Can’t Do For Search

This post was originally published on MCNG Marketing’s Medium account.

How Pinterest is becoming a leading search engine on its own, and slowly doing what Google couldn't do in the world of search.

How Pinterest is Becoming a Leading Search Engine

There’s a bit of a quiet revolution going on in the world of search, and I don’t think Google is blind to it. However, I do think that many social media marketers and SEOs may be blind to the search revolution that’s happening.

Pinterest is slowly becoming, nay, already is, a search engine, and that may be it’s primary function in the near future. More and more people are going to Pinterest first to search for keywords, and then heading to Google. Especially female users of Pinterest, who adore Pinterest as their primary social network.

In my opinion, Google has been doing a better job over the years of showing websites related to the intent of a search. What’s lacking though is that it has never truly been strong at giving results to people that assist them in the quality of their daily lives, nor providing actionable inspiration.

People are still shocked when I tell them that Google has something called Recipe View to assist searchers with discovering recipes and creating recipes. Sadly, the reaction is a slight “Oh that’s interesting,” then followed by “I’m probably not going to use it.”

Pinterest has been strong in this regard, that it’s a search engine that can drum up excitement when results are shown. Their search engine is about helping people find new ways of creating a life, whether it’s putting you in a day dream state to go travel, or it’s just small craft you want to try to make.

A good example of this is the following. Type in the words, “garage organizer,” into Google. You’re going to get results with a bunch of products that will help you organize your garage. But it doesn’t give you a strong visual idea of how to get this done.

When I searched for those words on Google, the first three results were from Costco and Home Depot. This would be great if I was looking for products, but my intent was to look more for a how to organize a garage resource.

How Google's search engine shows text and product information results, while Pinterest shows lifestyle results.

But Pinterest…oohhh meee…oh myyy…it’s like a visual orgasm of what an organized garage can look like with pictures that would even make Martha Stewart blush. From that point on users of Pinterest can select which pin they would like to click on to get more information, or to get ideas of how to organize their garage within a few seconds.

This is an example of a Pinterest search that shows lifestyle and inspiration results.

Pinterest is presenting a catalog of potential blog posts and resources about how to organize a garage.

Recipes, DIY, and Activities

I honestly can’t think of a better place to go where I can find recipes that show the final product, DIY hairstyles, and activities I can do with my niece, and do so rather efficiently, all in organized and visual manner.

While text based searches are great, and have their relevance, they seem a little underwhelming to the senses. The majority of us would rather have a picture that is worth a thousand words that we can process easily within a few seconds, then to process a thousand words and take minutes to process the same idea.

This is why I think Pinterest poses a serious threat to Google in many ways. It provides a lot of digestible information, in a very fast manner. It is the search engine for lifestyle seekers, and a big reason why it should be part of any retail or hospitality business’ social media strategy.

With over 70 million users contributing visual content, the amount of resources available to be searched on Pinterest is just going to get bigger.

Will Google ever be able to do what Pinterest does for search? In my honest opinion, probably not.

Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture Next to Search Results

Want to improve your #SEO? Then you definitely need to add Google authorship to your blog or website. Find out how, and see up to 35% spike in your websites traffic.

Ever search for results on Google and found faces next to them on the left hand side? This is no random coincidence. Those photos are placed next to those results because they’re the authors of the content. When an author is credited and linked to a specific blog post, or website content, then their picture shows up beside it.

Google Authorship looks like this in the results pages. I decided to use my friend, Vancouver marketer, Kelvin KC Claveria, as an example.

Google Authorship Example using KC Claveria, a Vancouver Marketer.

What are the Benefits of Having Google Authorship?

Google Authorship Establishes Trust:

Since we are such visual creatures (look how big Pinterest has grown), any time we see a face in the middle of a sea of text, we’re most likely going to look at the photo first and not the text. Throughout human history, we’ve always had a subconscious trust when seeing a human face. Placing a human face on products and brochures have been known to increase the purchase intent for a service or product, compared marketing material that don’t use faces.

When we see a photo next to our search results, we often automatically give it credibility. This face next to the website gives it an extra boost in the trust factor.

Helps with Click Through Rates:

The benefit of Google authorship is that it allows search results to stand out and increase click through rates to your particular site compared to one without a Google Authorship photo.

One informal study done by Cyrus Shephard, showed how using the right photo for Google Authorship (which is linked to your Google + account) can increase click through rates for a website by 35%.

And you can easily see why with the example below, if your eyes are scanning, which ones are brought to your attention first?

Google Authorship is vital to ensuring that your click through rates improve, as well as standing out in search results.

It Helps with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Results:

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, was quoted saying this:

““Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

It May Play a Role in AuthorRank

AuthorRank doesn’t exist yet, but there has been a lot of buzz about AuthorRank. The concept is the same as PageRank, in which a webpage is assigned a numerical value for its authority and relevance to users of the Internet. For example the Wall Street Journal has a high page rank compared to my local newspaper the Vancouver Sun, because the Wall Street Journal is seen to have more authority than the Vancouver Sun.

It’s believed that Google AuthorRank will play a role in the future, in the sense that authors that are tied to specific content and have established authority through writing for different sites with high page ranks, or have a lot of social activity, will be a factor in ranking higher for search results. At the time of the writing of this blog post AuthorRank hasn’t been implemented, but this shouldn’t hinder anybody from signing up for using Google Authorship.

How to Implement Your Google Authorship:

Step 1: Verify Your E-mail Address

If you don’t have a Google Plus profile, then you need to set one and up go through all the necessary steps. You can learn how to set up your Google + profile here with a step by step guide by Wordtracker.

The first step to starting your Google Authorship is to ensure that you have a verified e-mail address for the website that you are writing your content on. Mine is vince@mcngmarketing.com.

Ensure that the name you use for your Google Plus account is also the same name for the byline author of the content you create. You don’t want to have the dreaded, by “Anonymous” tag in your content. The name you use should be consistent across all the content you create across the web.

To verify your e-mail, make sure you are logged into your Google Plus account and then visit this site and follow the steps: https://plus.google.com/authorship

Step Two: Add Your Websites to the Contributor Section

When you’re logged into your own account, click on “Home” and then right below it you should see “Profile.” Click on that, and then on the top bar near the left hand side you should see the “About” tab. Click on this. Scroll down to the section titled, “Links.” When you click on it, a pop up will appear. Go to the middle of the “Contributor To” section. This is where you can add custom links and tell Google what websites you write content for.

Contributor for Google Authorship. Ensure that you add the websites that you write for in this section of Google Plus.

What if you don’t have a verified e-mail on the domain?

It’s important to add the websites that you are a contributor to mentioned in Step Two. If you don’t have an e-mail address at that website, then this can easily be solved by using the rel=”author” tag.

If you write a blog post, then ensure somewhere on the blog, or in a designated author box, that you link back to your Google + account. When you do link, you want to include the rel=”author” tag and so your link back to your Google Plus page should like like this.

https://plus.google.com/108571815996159278806?rel=author

The numbers will be your profile ID.

A common practice is to put the link in the author box, so that you don’t always have to do it manually. An example is in the picture below.

Author Page and how you can use it it link to your Google Authorship.

If there are two rel=”author” tags on a page, Google will only take the firs one. I’ve had this problem guest blogging, and since mine is second, my picture won’t show up in the rich snippets of Google.

Also if you are guest blogging for a site, you need to add the specific blog post added to the contribution section. This is probably the best way to guarantee you will receive credit for the work. The downfall is that you can have a very lengthy list if you’ve written a lot of different content.

For more info, or to find another helpful guide to authorship, feel free to visit our friends at MKG Media, their blog post, Google Authorship: A How-To Guide.

If you need to test out to see if it works then visit Google’s rich snippet testing tool to see if what you’ve implemented now works.

How to Search Engine Optimize Your Pinterest Page

SEO for Pinterest I’ve noticed that Pinterest isn’t just dominating the social media scene, but it’s starting to dominate quite a few of Google’s search engine results.

Many brands and online marketers are missing the opportunity to rank high for long-tail keywords through the use of Pinterest.

What are long tail keywords? I’m going borrow the definition of a long tail keyword from an article from Search Engine Watch:

Essentially, long-tail keywords are less popular keywords because they have less search volume and less competition to rank for. Consider the following two examples: “home remedies for bed bugs” or “how to get rid of depression.” These are each considered long-tail keywords as compared to trying to rank for the much more competitive search terms “bed bugs” or “depression”.

Why would you want to use Pinterest to rank higher for keywords?

Some long tail keywords may have low competition but your website may be new and find it hard to compete for them still. The good news is that you can piggy back off of Pinterest since it is a strong domain authority site.

A strong domain authority allows for pages to show up higher on search results for relevant searches. This gives your business more visibility and higher chances of people clicking on your Pinterest. If you have some great visual content on that particular board, then it will help drive web traffic to your business website or e-commerce site.

How do you exactly use Pinterest to rank higher for the keywords you want? Here are three tactics for marketers that want to get their Pinterest page, and boards, to rank higher in search engine results.

1) Name Your Boards with Long Tail Keywords

If there’s a long tail keyword that you would like to rank well for in Google, consider naming your board with that particular keyword without sacrificing the brand.

For example the keyword, funny advertisements, has an estimated global search on Google of about 2,900 times a month for that exact term. When I type in that keyword on Google, there is only one Pinterest board specifically titled as “Funny Advertisements” that shows up on the first page of results. At the time of this writing, it was the only Pinterest board that uses that exact keyword, which is why it ranked so high. There was no competition from other pinners.

The exact url of that board looks like this:

pinterest.com/appltncre8ve/funny-advertisements

With the board containing the keyword and also having low competition, that specific Pinterest board is on the first page of Google. When I searched for it, it was ranked number 6 in the first page of results. And yes that’s my article on 17 Funny Advertisements that’s ranked number 4.

PinterestSEO

Pinterest allows you to create up to 350 boards, though I don’t recommend you maxing the number of boards for the sake of SEO. I would suggest no more than 20 to start off since it can be time consuming to manage all. This allows you to compete in Google for 20 + additional keywords that may be harder for your own website to compete with.

2) Ensure Your Board Descriptions are Keyword Rich

One of the biggest pet peeves I have about brands that use Pinterest is their sheer laziness to fill in the description of their Pinterest boards.

This is one of the Pinterset boards from Starbucks titled, “Real Food.” From an SEO perspective, titling the board Real Food isn’t the best since most people are not searching up the term for real food. However, the name of the board needs to be aligned with a company’s brand, and it’s understandable they titled it Real Food.

What’s an absolutely travesty is that the description of the board is left blank. This can easily be corrected when you click on the edit button on the board, and to fill out the description with keywords. To help with their search engine optimization, Starbucks could have stated in the description:

“Delicious Starbucks pastries, sandwiches, and food that we love. Our board also contains some of our favourite foods and pastries that we would love to try and eat.”

Starbucks Pinterest

This would have helped their Pinterest board be found for keywords such as Starbucks pastries, Starbucks sandwiches, and Starbucks foods on Google and other search engines.

Starbucks isn’t the only one that’s guilty of this, many social media blogs tout how great Whole Foods is using their Pinterest page, which they are when it comes to posting visual content, but when I clicked on four random boards of theirs, not one single one of them had their descriptions filled in.

Always fill in the descriptions of your Pinterest boards with keywords that your business wants to rank for.

3)Put Keywords Into Pin Descriptions

This technique most likely isn’t going to get you anywhere close to the first page of Google results for keywords, though it is possible depending on the search term, but it is still an excellent practice as it can help your Pinterest boards show up on the second and third page of Google search results for keywords.

Ensure that keywords that you want to rank for are in the pin’s description, as Google search engines do crawl the descriptions of pins, and takes it into consideration for search results. The website that shows up in the search engines for those pin descriptions will not lead directly to that specific pin’s address, instead it will be list the Pinterest Board’s url on which the pin is located.

A specific pin’s url will look like this:
http://pinterest.com/pin/246290673344396313/

And a board address looks like this:
http://pinterest.com/mcngmarketing/pinterest-tips/

Here’s an example of how this works. I typed into Google the following words, “Funny pins on Pinterest.”

Here are the first six results that showed up for my search:
Pinterest search

The determining factor that the Pinterset board, 1000 repins, showed up on the first page of the results because of a single pin’s description. The actual board name doesn’t contain any of the search words, nor the actual description of the board itself, but because one of the pins had contained the words “Funny” in it, it was able to show up as result number 6 for the search words “Funny pins on Pinterest.”

Funny Pins on Pitnerest

In order to maximize your Pinterest page and boards on Google, ensure that your social media marketing team isn’t taking short cuts. Have the boards titled after long tail keywords that your organization wants to rank well for, as well as ensuring that descriptions are keyword rich.

Do you have any suggestions or tips on how to rank your Pinterest page higher in search engines?

4 Pinterest Tips to Make Your Pins More Searchable on Pinterest

Pinterest Marketing Tip: Can't find your pins on Pinterest? Here's 4 tips to help your pins be more searchable within Pinterest.

Note: This post was updated to include more findings on how to use the Pinterest Search Engine to your business advantage. There will be some more tips added on to the original four that were posted.

Pinterest is amazing, I can honestly spend hours at a time looking at different infographics, advertising boards, and pins. Now with more than 70 million users of the social media, it’s a great social media marketing tool. But with 70 million users pinning dozens of pins to amass more than 30 billion pins, trying to get your pins to show up on Pinterest search results are much harder.

Old school tactics such as constantly pinning again and again for a category used to help drive traffic.  And the Pinterest feed used to be in chronological order but this is no longer the case with the Pinterest smart feed, which “recommends” pins based on what Pinterest believes a user is interested in.

Learning to search optimize your pins for keywords on Pinterest’s search engine will be very vital. And I will try to answer the age old question “Why don’t my pins show up on Pinterest search?”

As marketers, we need to think about how Pinterest works as a search engine, not just a social network.

While this blog post doesn’t have all the answers, it will shed some light as to how to increase your chances of getting them found at the top of search results for specific search terms.

This specific post only discuss about optimizing your pins. I will write another article about search optimizing your board names, and your user profile in the future.

Optimizing your pins will be more important, since this is the default search setting for Pinterest and since it’s blatantly in the middle of the desktop version of Pinterest.

Here are four ways to make your pins more searchable on Pinterest.

How to Get Your Pins to Show Up in Pinterest Search Results

1) Keywords Should be in the Description of Pins

Please don’t be mistaken, I’m not talking about search optimization for Google or Bing, this is just for Pinterest’s search engine when looking for pins with the keyword.

The first thing you need to do to optimize your pins for search is to ensure that you put keywords into your pin’s description. For example, let’s say you want to create pins that are more locally targeted, then you may put in keyword, “Fashion trends in L.A. or fashion trends in New York.”

Pinterest-Tips-for-Search-Optimization-1

It’s important for localized businesses that they put their city in pin’s descriptions. The huge majority of pins that were searched based on a keyword, I believe, are found using this particular method.

What really bugged me was that some of the pins that were searched by keywords never even had one single keyword in the actual description itself, yet it was showing up. This is when I clicked on them and was able to determine that the second factor played a role in which pins showed up in search feeds.

Pinterest Tip for Search Optimization 2 2)The Pin Should Come From a URL with the Keyword In It

What I also noticed when searching for pins was there was a good chunk of pins that didn’t have any of the keywords that I was searching for but still popped up in the searches. For example, when I typed in Pinterest infographic, I would sometimes get social media marketing in the description. Though the number of pins that did show up without the keywords in the description were much lower than those that did.

I know for a fact that Pinterest can’t read text on pictures (but they are able to identify colours and shapes), so I decided to click on where the pictures were hosted. And what I noticed was that the many of the pictures that didn’t have the keywords in the descriptions had keywords in the urls that they were from.

When I clicked on it the pin that had social media marketing as the description, it led to a site that had the key words “Pinterest Infographic” in the url such as. www.examplesite.com/social-media/five-pinterest-infographics-for-CEOS

My speculation is that Pinterest scrapes the url, or the webpage and takes that into consideration into its search algorithm.

Pinterest Tips for Search Optimization 3 3) Keywords Should be in the Name of the Picture/Photo File

What also helped, but I couldn’t find as a strong correlation, was the name of the file contained keywords as well. Based on closer inspection I believe why it helps is because some people will pin the actual url where the file is hosted.

For example if the name of your infographic or pin is whateveryouwant.jpg and it’s hosted on the site www.examplesite.com/uploads/whateveryouwant.jpg then Pinterest probably won’t pay too much attention to it. However, if you if the file name is pinterest-infographic.jpg and your pin is directly taken from www.examplesite.com/uploads/pinterest-infographic.jpg then this will help in the search results of the actual Pinterest search feed.

This is really just an extension of the second point that was made.

4)The Number of Recent Re Pinterst Tips for Search Optimization 4 pins and Repins Matter

I typed in a bunch of random keywords and noticed that many of the pins that showed up for heavy used keywords such as, red velvet cupcake and cotton candy were quite interesting. It was hard to find pins that showed up on search that had not been repinned at least once.

For strongly competitive words, the number of recent repins that a pin gets can help shoot it straight to the top, but once the number of repins has cooled down, it’s mostly likely going to move much lower in the search results or completely disappear.

One of the clients I worked with operated a hair styling blog.I was able to help them rank for a specific keyword that received 92,000 monthly searches. The pin hovers at spot number 1 and 2, and has received over 3300 repins within 2 and half months, and it’s still going, and it seems to be staying at the top, however I believe it’s not just the number of repins, it’s also who is repinning that content.

As an experiment I bought repins for some of my pins to see if they would help in the search results, while they do impact search, it wasn’t as strong as I expected. I believe that the reason is because Pinterest can detect whether these repins are coming from genuine active users, after all they are processing trillions of data sets.

 

More Tips On Getting Your Pins Found

Use Exact Word Matching:

I’ve also noticed that the exact keyword match plays a role in how your pins show up. If you want to be found for the words, Christmas tree skirts, it’s best to make sure that those words are together, instead of using the description, skirts for Christmas trees.

This doesn’t eliminate your pin from the original search term, Christmas tree skirts, it just makes it less likely that it’s going to be one of the pins showing up for that particular search term if you don’t use exact phrasing.

What I was also able to find based on a small sample of searches was that keywords that contained plural words showed the same search results for the singular version on search. For example, if you go and type in the word Pinterest Strategy, you will see the same results as Pinterest Strategies. This is quite different from Google search engines, that take in such small nuances.

I would suggest that you mix up your description keywords to have words that are plural as well as singular to maximize your potential of being found in Pinterest’s search engine.

If you use a # in between the words, I believe it doesn’t interfere with how it’s read by the internal search engine.

Short Descriptions Are More Likely to Show Up:

This is going to be a tough call, pins with descriptions of about 300 characters long tend to be repinned more often according a to an infographic by Dan Zarella.

However, based on my research, there seems to be a correlation between pins that had less than 100 characters that tended to dominate popular search words. A good example is the search word recipe, one of the most used words in pin descriptions, and yet when the word is searched on Pinterest, the descriptions remain relatively short for almost all the pins. Considering how many popular pins that have the word recipe in in it, you would think that more pins with longer descriptions would show, but that’s not the case.

Google has an algorithm that calculates keyword density, which is the number of times a word is found in a post divided by the number of words written in total. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a ranking measure for Pinterest, where they take keyword density as a measurement. However, keyword stuffing doesn’t work, so repeating the word recipe three times in your description isn’t going to help you rank better for those specific words, it will only help you rank better if a person purposely types in the word recipe three times in the search box.

I’m speculating this is to make it easier for mobile users when they are searching for pins, since long descriptions can be an eyestrain on a smart phone.

What about Alt Tags and Titles of the Pins?

Based on my research and clicking on dozens of pins, it didn’t seem that the alt, or the title played a dominant role in showing up in the search results, but this would need more research and bigger sample size. I would imagine this isn’t of much interest because Pinterest isn’t interested in being a search engine like Google or Bing.

I still highly encourage you to properly label these pictures with a correct and detailed tag for your images. The reason for this is because when someone does use Pinterest’s official pin bookmarklet then the description automatically becomes what the alt tag is, however if you use a pin it button like the one I have on my site that’s from Addthis, they take the title tag from that particular page or blog post.

And it’s good for SEO on the Google and Bing search engines. This is why it’s important to ensure that you have an integrated optimization strategy.

Colours and Shapes Play a Role

In the last half year of 2013 I started finding more and more results that had less and less to do with texts. Instead I will see the EXACT same keyword search but from a different user. What’s interesting to note is that the description will not have any of the keywords, nor will it have a url with a keyword in it.

I’m speculating that Pinterest is using the data of certain keywords to be associated with certain shapes, colours and even specific photos. Like my friend Jack, from Call2Pin stated, Pinterest has been very good at detecting pins of porn. (Jack works in the lingerie wholesale business and has done extensive testing with Pinterest about visual recognition.)

To further support this statement,Pinterest acquired VisualGraph, further supporting that they may be moving towards being a visual search engine.

Keep in mind that this is all speculation based on observation. It would be interesting to see what other marketers and search engine optimizers think. I highly encourage you to do your own tests and see if you notice any patterns.

So if you’ve been asking the question, “Why are my pins not showing up in Pinterest search results?”

Now remember, the Pinterest search engine is always changing, but learning how it works can be the difference from a pin receiving 10 repins and a dozen visitors to 1000 repins and receiving hundreds of visits to the website, for more tips on how you can improve your Pinterest marketing, make sure you sign up for my newsletter.

5 Tips to Improve your SEO beyond Keywords

SEO Link Building You know about keywords, and how important they are for getting your website found. Now you’re ready to take the next step and learn more about the world of search engine optimization. If you’re relatively new to SEO, there are a few things that you can do to help boost your website’s rankings beyond writing keywords in your content.

This article is designed for beginners, but it’s also a good refresher for intermediate level search engine optimizers.

1) Create Internal Links

When you start your website or blog I would suggest focusing on creating great content for your blog. However, the trouble with a new blog is that you don’t have a lot older content that you can refer to. But once you have written some more posts or create more content you want to start linking to those specific urls that the content resides on. This is known as internal link building, and doesn’t just apply to posts, but can be done to link to product pages, landing pages, and so forth.

Internal linking is helpful because you pass on link juice to those other pages. Imagine link juice as vote of confidence. Every time you link to your own article, this is considered a vote of confidence according to the search engines. Right now I’m passing on some link juice to this article about driving web traffic to a hotel website.

You don’t want to go overboard with this technique as it will ruin the reader’s experience. Think strategically about what pages or articles you want to rank well for and strategically think how other pages can link to them.

2)Use the Right Anchor Text

Strong Chains When you link to your own articles or to other websites, usually these links are highlighted in a different colour from the rest of the text. The following term, Vancouver Digital Marketing Agency, the highlighted part is known as anchor text.

Anchor texts are useful because it gives search engines another piece of information of what the directed webpage is about beyond the actual written text itself.
Let’s say you wrote an article about using Pinterest for marketing, if you want to rank well for search words Pinterest for marketing, then you want to create anchor text that says those keywords, and not using words such as social media marketing or the common deadly anchor text of, “click here.”

You should not abuse the use of exact match anchor text with the title of your article or for keywords you want to rank high for, or else you may be punished by Google. Especially if the anchor text is taken out of context and isn’t even remotely related to the rest of the article.

Don’t go rushing and linking 200 of your internal articles using the exact same anchor text such as Pinterest for marketing for all of them. You might want to switch it up and use more organic anchor texts such as, marketing using Pinterest, Pinterest is designed for marketing, or Pinterest for business marketing.

If Google believes you’re manipulating the system, then it will find a way to punish your website. This is what happened a lot of them during 2012 during the Panda and Penguin updates. It’s not quite over yet, there have been some major ones, and reportedly that Friday March 15th, there may be another Penguin change to Google.

This is why if you ever get a chance to write for another blogger or business magazine, you want to choose your words carefully. Instead of saying click here, you may say read this article about “How to Generate Leads with Linkedin.”

3) Develop Relationships with Other Bloggers and Businesses

You’ll often hear the term link building and its extreme importance in the world of search engine optimization. Link building is the process of having legitimate websites link back to your website. The reason I say legitimate is because Google has punished many sites that have used manipulative ways to gain links such as through link buying, or linking to low quality sites that add no content value to readers, link networks, or through content farms (such as e zine articles).

When you’re able to develop relationships with other bloggers you’re able to propose writing an article on their blog, known as guest posting. Depending on the guidelines of the blogger, you may be able to put a link in the article back to your website with a specific anchor text.

When that website links back to you this is considered a vote of confidence to Google, and helps you rank higher for search results. The more credible and visited a website is, such as the Wall Street Journal or Tech Crunch, the higher the vote of confidence to the search engines. The “credibility” of a site is often know as page rank.

Another factor is also the number of websites that you get a link from. If you get one from both Tech Crunch and Wall Street Journal, that’s the same as two thumbs way up that your site or blog is credible.

4) Label Your Pictures Properly

One of the important things you can do to improve your search engine results is to title and label your pictures appropriately. Instead of saying DSC_145 or something weird like that, rename them so that it says PinterestMarketing.jpg. (I’m guilty of practicing this poor labeling at times).

For my site, I labelled a picture “Using Iphone” and so I get some traffic for an article about Foursquare from those that are searching Google for an image related to that.

Don’t rename the picture to something that isn’t relevant. If you want to rank well for the word, clown for hire, in Google, don’t rename your cat pictures in your blog to that. That doesn’t make sense , and Google may punish you over time.

There’s something known as Alt text, this is alternative text that will show up when the picture fails to load. Fill this information with the keyword that the picture represents and this will help Google be able to understand more about what that picture and the content is about.

5) Webmaster Tools

One of the essential tools you need to improve your SEO is Webmaster tools. I would recommend starting that you sign up with Google Webmaster tools and find out if there are any 404’s. (This is known as links that don’t go anywhere, here’s an example of a 404 by Tech Crunch).

Tech Crunch 404

Though Google says it doesn’t affect search results, it’s more about good housekeeping. As you start to have more websites, it’s important to keep track of broken links.

However let’s say that you wanted to pass on link juice to a specific article on your website, if that link leads to a broken link, then the link juice is wasted, which could technically go to another site. Especially if that site has been getting a lot of traffic and has high page rank.

Those are some ways to be able to take the next step after writing keywords in your article, if you’re looking for a great resource on SEO for beginners, I highly recommend reading SEO Moz’s guide. Rand Fiskin, the team, and the community at SEO Moz, do a wonderful job and is an excellent source for SEO news.

Photo Courtesy of Ward

How to Use Pinterest for Marketing Your Business

Unicef Pinterest

Pinterest Isn’t For Every Business

I would like to state that Pinterest is not going to be an effective marketing tool for every business. However, I do encourage businesses to use Pinterest to help with their brand awareness, and depending on the specific industry, it can drive web traffic to your business site to help generate leads.

Did you know that Pinterest drives more referral traffic than other social networking sites, with the exception of Twitter?

How to Use Pinterest for Marketing Your Business

Show off Your Best Work

If you’re in an industry that requires the use of visuals such as graphic design, web design, interior decorating, photography, event planning, or fashion (the possibilities are endless), then Pinterest will definitely be a great social media tool for you. Here’s an example of my Pinterest “Contact Us” board.

Show off your best work, because this will encourage others to repin and capture the attention of potential leads (similar to reposting or retweeing). Pinterest is your visual portfolio that you can to show the world.

Also imagine Pinterest as an online shopping catalog where you rely mostly on photos.What kind of products do you want to show off? How are they being laid out for maximum efficiency to be able to turn browsers into shoppers to your website?

Have Your Pictures Link Back to Your Website

In order to make the most of your pictures, you want to ensure that pictures are attached to a specific url where the picture is being shown for that page.

To drive more leads to your website, you may have a landing page linked to the picture of an e-book that you’re offering for free, and this way it can help populate your e-mail list.

Or if you’re finding that your Linkedin has been great for marketing and lead generation, then start a board that is a “contact us”, and Pin Your Picture and label it underneath clearly that it goes back to your Linkedin profile.

There are two ways to get photos onto Pinterest.

The first method requires you to add pins through a specific url. Let’s say I use my fear based marketing article url.
http://www.mcngmarketing.com/fear-based-marketing-is-it-a-matter-of-life-or-death/#.UQmVOmet21c

Add a Pin

Once this url gets pasted into the entry, Pinterest will recognize all the pictures in that urfl (with the main exception being Flash based pictures) and will allow you to choose which of those photos you wish to pin.

For that blog post, since I have 3 pictures that I thought would make excellent visual content, I pinned all three pictures.

And now when people click on the pictures, they will be redirected to the original blog post.

Uploading photos can be done the same way. You can edit them so that they are linked back to the specific url that they are on. I find this way a little more time consuming since you have to upload an actual picture file, and then go back to the edit section to have them linked to the specific url.

Uploaded photos don’t have to be linked back to the site, but I would assume businesses would want to in order to get more web traffic.

Label your Pins and Boards with Keywords

I highly suggest you caption all your pins and label your boards with keywords that your potential customers may be searching for. This is search engine optimization for Pinterest. The bonus is that your boards can also be SEO’ed for Google as well.

The url created for your board will say www.pinterest.com/username/name-of-board. The end part, name-of-board, will have some influence in the search engine results (SERP).

If people are looking for the newest fashion trends and want to optimize for New York fashion, then you should name one of your boards “Newest Fashion trends in New York” or to have a caption for a pin that says “Latest Jimmy Choo shoes released at New York Fashion show.”

Or if you’re looking to aim for local keywords, then you may have one of the board’s name be “Wedding dresses available in Vancouver”, and have those words in some of the captioning in pictures as well. Just like the way people started searching for information using Twitter, they will do that with Pinterest.

Also, Pinterest doesn’t recognize hashtags within their search, so if you want to label certain pins with those hashtags, don’t, put keywords in with the captioning instead to make it more easier to read. Pinterest is not Twitter or Google Plus. Don’t # it to death.

Engage with Others

Pinterest is a visual cocktail party. There’s so much that’s going on that it can be hard to decide where you want to start. Like Twitter you can search for terms like your city to potentially see who other pinners are and to actively engage with them or to search for them by keywords.

Repininning and Liking are two ways of engaging these members, but the best way is to leave comments about their pins as this is much more noticeable to the pinner as well as to those that may come across the picture. It’s the equivalent of the Like vs Comment on Facebook.

It may take some time, but follow and engage people you really like, and forget about the number of followers you have for now. The number of followers will increase as the type of content that is produced is relevant to the type of audience you want to build.

Find out what’s Working

This is a really cool tip that I learned from Beth Hayden about Pinterest, if you want to find out who’s been pinning your stuff from your website then type in the following into your web broswer search.

www.pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite (for your website, don’t add the www , example mine would be www.pinterest.com/source/mcngmarketing.com , to find out what’s being repinned

You can also use this to find out what’s popular among your competitor’s website to find out how you may differentiate some aspects of your Pinterest from them.

Start Your Business Account

Pinterest recently announced the launch of business accounts, the look and feel won’t be much different from personal users. The plus side of registering for your business account is that you’ll have resources, such as case studies, badges and widgets that will make it much easier to promote your Pinterest account.

To register for account visit http://business.pinterest.com/

There’s no doubt that there are going to be some exciting changes happening with Pinterest in the future and it will no doubt be a growing network that will help drive new leads to your business. This is one social network you don’t want to be left behind.

For more information on how to use Pinterest for your business, contact us.

How Hotels can Increase their Web Traffic

Shangri-La Hotel Downtown Vancouver Large hotel chains such as Starwood, Shangri-La and Fairmonts have large marketing budgets and have dedicated web teams to help them remain competitive across the world, but how does an independent hotel or motel in a city increase their web traffic and compete with the large chains. I’m going to go into detail on how hotels with smaller marketing budgets can attract more customers to their hotel website.

1) Start Blogging About Your City to Increase Web Traffic

Most guests that stay at a hotel are either their for business or pleasure. Either way, all of your guests are probably very curious to know what’s going on in your city. While there are several travel guides like Frommers and Lonely Planet, this doesn’t mean that you can’t start a blog that informs potential guests about why your city is such a wonderful place visit.

Spend about once a week to create new blog topics of interest to your guests. If you’re not sure what would be of interest to them, ask existing guests what would have helped them prepare for their trip before they leave your hotel.

I’m going to use my hometown, Vancouver, as an example. Here are some potential blog posts that I would suggest for a hotel in Vancouver to write about to increase their web traffic.

1) Top 10 Free Activities to Enjoy in Vancouver
2) The top 5 Concerts that are taking Place in Vancouver in the Summer
3) Top 10 Can’t Miss Restaurants to Eat in Vancouver
4) Fun Family Activities in Vancouver During the Summer
5) What to See in Vancouver in One Weekend
6) The Best Ways to Get Over Jet Lag
7) Top 10 Places to Get A Suit Made Last Minute in Vancouver
8) Top 10 Honeymoon Places to Visit in Vancouver
9) Seattle and Vancouver? What’s the Difference for Tourists?

The important part of starting a blog is to think like an actual hotel guest. Chances are your website already has some great information about rooms, rates, about the spa, and availability. But what’s the next thing that most guests’ want to know? They want to know what there is to do.

By continuously updating your website on a regular basis to adjust to the seasons, you can attract new customers from out of town that are looking for information that you are providing. These people would be considered warm leads in booking a hotel with you.

Consistently blogging helps with search engine optimization (SEO). Google search engine loves fresh content. They love it when writers contribute great content. And by contributing on a regular basis, you can compete with much larger hotels.

3) Target Niche Keywords to Rank Well for Google

Targeting words such as “Vancouver Hotels” and expecting to be on top for that search word in three months is nearly impossible, at least it is if you don’t use black hat SEO. Especially if you have to go against the big boys like Expedia and Travelocity who spend millions of dollars to stay on top of rankings. It’s more important to use your website’s blog posts and copywrite to focus on keywords (aka search words or phrases) that will help you increase your web traffic.

If I had a hotel in Vancouver and I happen to be near Rogers Arena where the Vancouver Canucks Play, I might aim for the keywords, “hotel near Rogers Arena.” Other examples might be, “Hotel on Robson Street”, or “Dog Friendly Hotel in Vancouver”, or “Kid-Friendly Hotel in Vancouver”, or “Lesbian Friendly hotel.” The goal is to look for words that have low competition that you can rank well for quickly, instead of spending 2 or 3 years to rank well for like the phrase “hotels in Vancouver.”

It takes time and patience to research niche keywords, but by aiming at niche keywords that your competitor is most likely not going to aim for, you’re able to reach that target market, and as you start ranking well for those niche keywords, you will start ranking better for the more competitive terms like “hotels in Vancouver.”

4) Ensure Your Pictures are Titled Properly for Search Engine Optimization

If you’re running a hotel, chances are that there are potential customers that want to see what your hotel looks like. And yes, they’re probably going to go to sites like Trip Advisor to see, but there will be a few people who are going to Google for Images of your hotel. This is where you can drive more traffic to your website. Pictures that are clicked on in Google Image search pop up and then when closed lead to the site that the picture is on. This means a picture on a hotel website that says, “pool” is going to get lost in a sea of other photos that are titled pool. However, if you labelled your hotel “Shangri-La Pool in Vancouver” Then when people Google Shangri-La Vancouver under Images, the pool will show up.

This goes for bedrooms. Instead of giving a picture the title King Suite, title it King Suite at Burrard Inn. In order to do this properly, ensure that your photos are renamed before you upload them. Instead of having the photos named, DSC13532.jpg.

5) Provide an E- zine to your Newsletter Subscribers

I would highly suggest creating an e-book that highlights in detail about the wonderful activities that go on in your city, and update it every year. Travel books are popular. There’s no second guessing that, but why should travel books get all the attention. Why shouldn’t you create an e-book that people will start to get to know and download it from your site in exchange for subscribing to your newsletter.

Since many of your guests are booking flights months in advance, they probably are curious to know what’s happening in Vancouver at around the time that they arrive. Being able to provide them a seasonal guide of what’s happening will make their life much easier in terms of planning their trip. You can also use the e-zine and have some space to highlight advertisements about hotels and amenities. Also provide advertising space for your partners in the tourism industry.

Since the e-zine is free, don’t be surprised if you see it slowly spread over the Internet in the most random places. Having people view the e zine, and mentioning your hotel will definitely get a few searches online. Providing potential guests with valuable information makes them comfortable and your hotel look like an expert about the city.

6) Hold Contests for Local and Out of Towners to Build Links

Part of driving more traffic to your website, and being able to rank well within search engines is through link building. Here’s the short and sweet of what link building is, it’s when other sites links to your site. Just like right now I’m linking to Shangri-La in Vancouver downtown. When you have high quality authoritative sites linking to your website, this is an indication to Google that this site must be important.

You can have ten random websites link to your hotel website, but one link from the Huffington Post or the Globe and Mail is worth more. There are creative ways to get there, but for a small hotel a good way to link build is to look for travel bloggers, or local bloggers to work with and offer contests. Offer a free one night stay at your hotel. Ensure that when your contest is being held with bloggers that they have a link connecting to your site.

If you are in Vancouver, then you may want to pair up with a Seattle lifestyle blogger for the contest to get more out of town guests. Do you research carefully as not all bloggers are created equal. Notice how often they blog, how long they have been blogging for, and what other giveaways they have done in the past.

While it may seem like a tremendous effort, driving traffic to your website is a commitment that pays off. Once you have amazing content on your website, it stays there and will continue to drive traffic to your site. Surprisingly it’s not the new content that will drive most of your traffic, it’s the older content that will. And since most hotels go on for years and years, you can guarantee that if you do what was mentioned above, you’ll see a wonderful payoff for your hard work.

For more information on how to create a great online marketing strategy for your hotel feel free to contact MCNG Marketing.
Photo courtesy of Shangri-La Vancouver Hotel.