The Secrets of Pinterest ‘SEO’ for Brands

Opinion: Rich Pins are proven to lead to more user engagement

Optimize that pinning strategy so that content gets discovered, pinned and repinned gmutlu/iStock

Many marketers know search-engine optimization like the back of their hand, but for several, the secrets of Pinterest optimization may be elusive.

I’ve posted about the platform’s power to shepherd shoppers along that discover-to-buy pathway. Now allow me to provide practical, hard-won advice based on our brand customers’ best practices for doing visual content “SEO.”

There are two ways that brand content finds its way to Pinterest: A brand pins it to their board, or a user does so. What’s critical is to optimize that pinning strategy so that content gets discovered, pinned and repinned.

Get rich or die pinning

The first decision any marketer faces when getting Pinterest-ready is: “Do I post Rich Pins or regular Pins?” The answer should always be to go for the rich, but make sure you follow our rules of the road. Rich Pins are designed to make it more likely that users will engage with a brand’s content.

You can use a non-Rich Pin, but it’s important to make sure that you use the right keywords to describe the image being posted. With a rich pin, you link directly to the product page on your website, and the pricing information is automatically posted, helping to close the discover-to-buy loop.

Pinterest has done A/B testing and experiments showing that Rich Pins have higher user engagement. People look at Rich Pins longer, are more likely to interact with them and are more likely to click through to your website.

For additional SEO juice, Pinterest also boosts Rich Pins in its search algorithms because they have a higher value for users in product discovery mode. If, for example, I’m in a discovery mindset and searching for a bomber jacket, I’m more likely to find a Rich Pin than a non-Rich Pin with a jacket.

Enabling Rich Pins is an easy way to provide more information, improve content discovery and create a better experience for Pinterest users. Benefits include:

  • Brand content such as pricing information, headlines and descriptions is pulled from the brand website.
  • Users can add their own descriptions (without removing brand-posted descriptions).
  • Rich Pins are proven to lead to more user engagement.
  • Pinterest favors Rich Pins over non-Rich Pins.

It’s time to get on board

To help categorize the content that is posted, Pinterest uses the board names a brand chooses. Standard categories include home décor, women’s fashion, men’s fashion, hair and beauty, design, travel, food and drink, photography, kids and parenting. You want to avoid falling into the “other” bucket, where there is all sorts of random crap.

If your board name is related to women’s handbags, for instance, it should be quite easy for you to get into the women’s fashion category. Make sure you’re in one of these actively maintained categories so that your content will be found by people who are interested in your product.

If your board name is, for example, “Burberry bags,” that is less likely to happen (as there are many types of “bags”). However, in the example below, you can see that Burberry has been specific yet generic enough that the board names they’ve chosen will be flexible and optimal for the brand over a longer time frame.

The temporal aspect is important when it comes to board strategy. If a board has a history of high engagement, it’s good practice to continue to pin new, high-quality content to that board over time.

Consider having a best-of-the-brand board to aggregate your top performers, such as “Burberry’s Most Popular Women’s Fashion,” where the most popular Pins from boards like “Burberry Women’s Bags” get an extended life and help boost your Pinterest SEO. Any new content pinned to a best-of board receives an extra boost and is shown to more users.

Brands must maintain a delicate balance with their Pinterest strategies: It is important to make as much content as possible discoverable, so you should pin even mediocre content. Meanwhile, try to produce a lot of high-quality content that over time can become a candidate for a best-of-the-brand board.

While the merits of some paid media strategies are well-established, we’ve seen that brands still have a lot to learn about applying SEO insights to inform how they create their Pinterest boards and pins. As you’ve read, it’s pretty simple to get smarter: Marketers simply need to think about how they themselves would navigate and discover content using intuitive, descriptive content tactics and taxonomies.

Johannes Scharlach is director of engineering at visual content performance platform ShareIQ.