So, social media optimization. We’ve been talking about it a lot. This Monday will be no different, but next week will be the last week of the series. This week we’ll be talking about Pinterest, which we’ve looked at in an optimization sense before. But before, we wrote about how to optimize your website for Pinterest. Now we’re showing you how to optimize Pinterest for search engines and audiences.
I’m going to go about this post differently than I did the rest of our social media optimization series, and I hope you don’t mind! In the past, I’ve given a list of general optimization tips. But I realized that with some networks, such as Pinterest, that may not be the best way to look at it. So here’s what we’ll do:
Let’s take individual looks at each of the site’s elements…
- Your Pinterest profile as a whole
- Individual Pinterest boards
- Individual pins – from the actual image to the description, and more
…and see what we can do to make sure each element is as optimized as you can get it while still being easy to consume (i.e. not keyword stuffing). Some things, like using keywords and using links, should be practiced in all areas of your Pinterest page.
But now, let’s get specific:
Optimizing your Pinterest profile as a whole
Your profile is what appears when you go to http://www.pinterest.com/ followed by your username. It shows your profile picture, bio, and all of your boards. Want it optimized? Make sure to:
- Set it up as a business account. This will give you access to certain tools that personal accounts don’t get.
- Verify your website. This will let pinners know that they’ve found the official account for your brand, and will also give you access to analytics, which will be super helpful!
- Make sure your username makes it clear who you are and that your profile description uses keywords to describe who you are and what you do. URLs in this section won’t be clickable, but adding one can sometimes be helpful anyway. You only have 160 characters for this, so use them wisely.
- By going into your settings, you can connect your account to a Twitter account and Facebook profile or page. This will add links to them on your profile, as well.
- Rearrange your boards so that the best and most popular ones are towards the top, where the eye is naturally drawn to first.
- Choose board covers that appropriately represent the type of content that can be found on the board. You can even create customized board covers.
Optimizing Pinterest boards
Boards are the locations to which you post pins. They’re basically groups of pins that usually have something in common and are displayed together on a URL that looks like http://www.pinterest.com/USERNAME/BOARDNAME. You can have up to 100 boards per account and there’s no limit to the number of pins per board. It’s recommended that you:
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- Utilize long-tail keywords. While individual pins aren’t indexed by search engines, boards are. Lots of boards get really specific, so using a descriptive board name is an awesome opportunity for your profile to get indexed for that topic. Users can also search for boards matching their search terms, so this will help you attract more pinners to the board.
- Keep titles short and go into further detail in the board description. Once again, use keywords in the description. Board descriptions can be up to 500 characters, so you have room to go into more detail.
- Links won’t be clickable, but they can be helpful. For example, on our “Office Pranks” board, we include a link to our YouTube channel where we post videos of our own office pranks.
- Even though you can pin a thousand images to a board, don’t. Users will never scroll down enough to see them all. Once you get to 200 or 300, you probably want to make your board more specific and move some images elsewhere.
Optimizing individual pins
Now, on to pins, what really make up the Pinterest community. Although they’re not indexed by external search engines, pinners can search on Pinterest, so you still want them to be optimized and put-together well. Do this by:
- Pay attention to your file names when you’re uploading pins directly from your computer, and alt text when pinning from a website. Using keywords instead of something like “IMG002164″ will make it easier to find in search.
- Always make sure the pin is linked to a URL. Even if you upload your pin instead of pinning from a website, in the “Edit pin” settings, you can add a link to drive traffic.
- Keep descriptions short and sweet. Even though you have 500 characters, people don’t go to Pinterest to read. Dan Zarrella found that the best descriptions are around 200 characters.
- Incorporate hashtags for your most important keywords.
- Include links in your description to make it easier for other pinners to click through. In addition to linking the actual image to the URL it came from, you can also use a clickable link in the description. I can’t find concrete stats supporting this, but have noticed higher click-through rates on our own pins after starting to use this tactic.
What other tips are part of your own Pinterest strategy? Share your optimization advice in the comments!