Pinterest can be a great tool to help you grow your online business, but only if you understand how it works.
I’ve been using Pinterest for my own sites for over four years and have worked as a Pinterest Manager for clients for nearly two years.
I’ve seen first hand across multiple niches, how different actions can yield different results.
In this post, I’m going to share with you 11 Pinterest secrets that will help you better understand the platform so you can use it to your advantage to hit your goals.
1. Pinterest Has Goals Too
Pinterest is designed to provide its users with content. Which means they need content creators like you.
Pinterest’s goal is to help its users find inspiration and ideas from the content that you create which means Pinterest wants you to succeed.
The Pinterest algorithm is not out to get you, you just need to better understand it so that your content can reach its full potential.
Keeping that in mind, here are some things you may not know about using Pinterest.
2. A new Pin is Based Off the Image or URL, Not the Description
A common strategy is to create multiple pins per article to share on pinterest. Part of this has to do with the fact that you never know what will work best. By creating multiple pins you’re able to test out different ones.
For a long time, we didn’t know what Pinterest considered to be a “new pin”, it was thought that perhaps just updating a description was good enough.
However, we have since learned that what constitutes a new pin is based on the image and the URL.
Meaning if a bunch of pins have the same URL they need to look different in order to be considered “new”. So for each blog post, if you’re going to create multiple pins they need to look different, a simple color change may not be enough.
3. Your Board Categories Matter
There’s a lot of talk about group boards versus personal boards and I’ll talk more about it below…
However, on your personal boards there’s a lot you can control and do to optimize them for the Pinterest algorithm. One of the ways you can do this is by selecting a category for your board.
A lot of people if they don’t see a category that matches, will just leave it blank or select a random category, this isn’t a good strategy.
Pinterest has said that when it comes to choosing a category, it is better to be broad than wrong.
Always choose the category that is broad enough to encompass your topic and don’t miss the Opportunity to optimize your board with a board category.
4. Giraffe Pins Can Get Cut Off On Mobile
Giraffe pins are pins that are super tall or long. While the recommended size of pins on Pinterest is a 2 by 3 ratio, lots of pinners use giraffe pins.
Pinterest has said repeatedly that they want to 2:3 ratios, and have followed up with this by making giraffe pins get cut off, particularly when a pinner is using the mobile app.
That being said, it doesn’t mean that giraffe pins are bad. Some of my most successful pins have been giraffe pins before Pinterest came out against them. And I know lots of bloggers still do well with giraffe pins.
So it is really going to be up to you if you want to use giraffe pins, they could work really well for you…
However, it’s important to realize that in time that may no longer be the case. And it could cause your Pinterest account to take a hit in the future.
5. You Can Make Your Group Boards Super Easy to Join
As I mentioned earlier there is a lot of talk on the benefit of group boards versus personal boards.
Group boards were originally designed to allow users to collaborate with each other. For example, something along the lines of planning a birthday party together.
What actually happened is that content creators started using group boards as ways to help promote each other’s work.
Because of the original purpose of group boards, it’s believed that they actually aren’t as useful in helping your content do well on Pinterest.
However, I think the fact that Pinterest has made group boards even easier to use for content creators means they still value them to a certain extent.
Group boards originally were a pain to join. Typically you had to use part of the description to give instructions on how to join. Alternatively, people would just message you on Pinterest. It was rather tedious for both the board owner and those applying to the group board.
Now, Pinterest has made it easy by allowing board honors just select a setting on their group board so that those wanting to join can simply click a button to request access. The video below shows you how you can do that at the 4-minute mark:
As far as if group boards are good, I think some are but certainly not all of them.
They’re definitely spammy boards out there and you’re gonna want to take a hard look at what group words you actually pin to and are a part of. You may want to consider archiving group boards that aren’t producing well for you.
6. Hashtags Not Only Help Users Find Content but Also Help Pinterest Better Understand the Content
When hashtags first came out, it wasn’t really clear if they would stick around and if they were a strategy that everyone should implement.
Now, hashtags have been around quite a while and they are super important in helping to optimize your pins.
Hashtags are not only a tool that helps users to find content but they help the Pinterest algorithm in determining what your pin is about. Which is why you want to be very selective about the hashtags you use, keeping in mind the keywords you’d like your pin to rank for.
7. Personal Boards are Just as Important if Not More So Than Group Boards
I mentioned the potential value of group boards earlier, but your personal boards, the ones that you have full control over, are just as important if not more so because you really do have control over optimizing it and the board being successful.
You want to make sure you have a personal board that all of your content can go to. As a general rule if it’s a category on your blog, it should be aboard on your Pinterest profile.
Make sure you also take every opportunity to optimize your personal boards to rank in the Pinterest algorithm.
- using a keyword-rich description that’s not just written for an algorithm,
- selecting a board category, and
- a keyword-rich, but simple, board name.
8. Pinterest’s Algorithm Can “Read” Images
When Pinterest examines your pin it’s not just looking at the description and hashtags in order to figure out what the pin is about. It is also looking at the image itself. It has a way to “read” your pin.
So you want to make sure you’re selecting an image that ties into your post topic and text that makes it clear what the post is about.
You’re also going to want to make sure the text is readable. For example, super fancy script fonts can be difficult to read by both people and algorithms.
Related: How to Create Video Pins
9. Alt-text is Not Meant for Pinterest Descriptions
For a long time, many people used the alt text on the images of their blogs as their Pinterest description. However, the alt text is actually designed to help users visually impaired users to understand what the content they can’t see, is about.
This means you should be using a plugin that allows you to put in a separate Pinterest description in addition to the alt text.
Social pug and Tasty Pin are two of the more popular plugins, though they are both paid plugins.
10. Analytics Can Help You Spot Trends
Pinterest updated it’s analytics game at the beginning of 2019. Letting you see which kinds of posts, whether video or image, promoted or organic, are doing well.
It also lets you break out your specific content as opposed to other’s content which you also pin.
Using Pinterest Analytics, you can start to spot trends of what kind of pins work best for your content. Perhaps it is video pins, or maybe it’s an image pin.
May be doing just a little bit of promotion helps append to really take off. Perhaps you’ll notice a specific style of graphic and hashtags that consistently do well for you.
Make sure you’re looking at your Pinterest Analytics regularly to see what Pinterest likes about your content. That way you can continue to benefit by creating more content in that trend
11. Every Niche Has its Own Cyclical Season
Pinterest traffic is fairly seasonal and cyclical. One of my clients is a food blogger and she typically gets the most click-through to her site on weekends. When you think about it it makes sense because that’s when people are meal planning. She also sees a spike in traffic as the holidays approach and a dip once they end.
On the other hand, those in the personal finance niche see a spike in January because of the New Year’s resolutions people set in their goals to do better with money.
They might also see spikes during specific holidays or April, which is financial literacy month, or perhaps going back to school and saving money, depending on where they fall into the personal finance niche.
However, those in the personal finance niche also often see a dip during summer. This also makes sense because oftentimes people are outside on vacation and just not on Pinterest as often.
Each niche will have a different type of season and cyclical aspect to it. Understanding that and knowing what that season looks like can help you to prepare for the ups and downs of traffic from Pinterest.
This means that when you’re comparing your traffic you want to do so, year over year, rather than month by month to see if your profile is growing.
However, Pinterest Analytics only goes back to January 2019. This means you’ll need to dig into your Google Analytics and the referral traffic from Pinterest to see year over your stats.
Bonus Secret: You can view all of your site’s pins by using the “source” URL
Finally, if you’re wanting to look at what your most recent pins are not just from yourself, but from others as well you can do so by looking at source url in pinterest. Here is an example:
Looking at the most recent pins and analyzing the ones that you did not pin can also help you to spot trends and see what’s popular lately.
As you can see, Pinterest is great for content creators and used the right way consistently can help to drive huge success.
By knowing what kind of Pins you can create and that work with your audience you can rinse and repeat to keep your Pinterest going strong. To sum things up:
- Be sure you are making the most of each pin with the description, hashtags, and “readable image”.
- Regularly review your analytics in both Pinterest and Tailwind to see what is working and what isn’t so you can adjust your strategy
- Don’t freak out if traffic dips one month, look back to the annual analytics (use Google Analytics) to see if this is the norm
- Don’t randomly pin, make sure your strategy aligns with your goals
That’s it! I hope learning these Pinterest secrets will help you in utilizing Pinterest as a tool to hit your goals!
What secret surprised you most? I’d love to know, let me know in the comments!