In recent years, Pinterest has been dominating the search optimization discussion; where website owners, dropshippers, and bloggers once put all of their focus on Google –today they are distributing that focus into Pinterest as well.

Not too long ago, Pinterest was just a source of exciting visual content for women and DIY enthusiasts. As of late, Pinterest has become a powerful marketing tool for businesses to help them grow their website traffic and revenue. If you’re looking to drive more traffic to your website in less time than it takes to get out of the “Google sandbox”, Pinterest is the platform that can help you.

Pinterest by the Numbers

Pinterest has over 200 million active users per month and out of that 200 million, 87% have purchased a product because of it while 93% use it to plan future purchases. Active Pinterest users also earn 9% more than non-users. With Pinterest, you can market your products and services directly to consumers who are capable and ready to buy.

Pinterest is also the second best social media referrer next to Facebook and unlike other marketing methods, it’s very easy to use. Anyone with a computer and some design know-how can learn how to use it and dominate the platform.

Pinterest has shown great potential for brands, site owners, and marketers. If used properly, Pinterest can deliver massive traffic to your site. As a blogger, I know all too well how hard it is to get traffic to our website. With Pinterest, you get more eyes on your content from a highly-targeted market without spending a dime. Yes, it takes time but the challenge can be quite addicting.

Pinterest Basics

If you want to become a power pinner yourself, you have to start with the basics first. This extensive Pinterest guide is here to help you and by the time you finish reading this, you will have learned how to:

– Use the right keywords for your bio, board covers, and descriptions
– Convert your Pinterest account into a business account
– Create board topics relevant to your site/brand
– Join relevant, highly followed group boards
– Create viral-worthy pins
– Increase your pins’ visibility
– Make money out of your pins
– Analyze the performance of your pins
– Automate the posting of your pins
– Make your website/blog Pinterest-friendly

Let’s get started shall we?

This guide will be divided into eight parts:

Part 1 – Using the Right Keywords
Part 2 – Setting up a Pinterest Account
Part 3 – Boards, Boards, and More Boards!
Part 4 – Engaging on Pinterest the “Smart Way”
Part 5 – Optimizing Your Pins and Making Them Viral Worthy
Part 6 – Checking Your Analytics
Part 7 – Optimizing your Website for Pinterest
Part 8 – Tools to Make your Life Easier

Part 1 – Using the Right Keywords

Perform Keyword Research

Before setting up your Pinterest account, you need to understand the importance of using keywords throughout your profile. Pinterest works just like a search engine except it delivers visual results. These results are ranked by Pinterest’ algorithms based on a number of factors such as the descriptions, board title, hashtags, number of likes and repins, etc. To make it easy for these bots to find you, you need to perform keyword research and add in those relevant keywords across your Pinterest account including your username, descriptions, board titles, pin titles, image text, and hashtags.

The good news is that Pinterest requires a less complicated keyword research. It only takes a few steps to find out the best keywords to use. First, go to the Pinterest search bar and type in the terms your target audience are likely to use when searching for you. Take note of the terms that automatically populate underneath the search bar as they often indicate high search volumes.

Hit enter. Now you’ll see more related search results located between the search bar and the results. These are some of the most popular terms user type in that are related to your original query. In the example below, it shows that the most popular terms used next to “paleo recipes” are:

– Paleo recipes dinner
– Paleo recipes easy
– Paleo recipes breakfast
– Paleo recipes crockpot
…and so on.

You can get clues from these related search terms and use them on your own content.

Apply Your Keywords Everywhere on your Account

Once you already have your list of keywords, you can now begin to implement them within your account. Your most important keywords should be on your Account Name and About You Description. Here’s an example of how it looks like:

The keyword “paleo” is in the Account Name and the description. This helps Pinterest to know that the page is all about paleo. You want to do the same for your profile making sure that it succinctly describes what your site/brand is all about. Do the same for your board titles, pin titles, and descriptions too. Let’s go back to our paleo example and see how they optimized these elements.

The Paleo Foundation is smart in taking every chance to mention the keyword “paleo” in Pinterest. Since they’re all about paleo, they can branch out to other areas of the topic such as breakfast ideas, desserts, snacks and sauces. You’ll learn how to do the same in the later part of this guide.

Part 2 – Setting up a Pinterest Account

Now that you know the importance of using the right keywords, it is time to set up your Pinterest account. The following steps should be done when setting up your Pinterest account.

Sign up and Fill Out your Bio

The user name is a unique ID that appears on your Pinterest URL. The best user name to have on your account is your site/brand’s name because people will be able to find you easily. The account name is the name that appears on your Pinterest page. Like this:

You can take this opportunity to add the most important keyword as part of your account name. This gives users a good idea of what your Pinterest account is all about.

If you want to take your Pinterest account to the next level, go ahead and apply for a business account. If you already have an existing Pinterest account, you can have it converted into a business account. Once you do, you’ll have access to important tools such as analytics and ads.

Once you have signed up, it’s time to create a unique bio description. It should briefly describe what your website/brand is all about. The character limit for the description is only 160 so make each word count.

Your Profile Avatar

Your profile avatar is another important element in your profile. You can use your brand logo as your profile photo, but if not, a high-resolution photo of yourself will do. Personal brands do best with a personal photo because it makes you appear more relatable. Make sure your profile photo stands out. You want yours to be noticed among other Pinterest users. Avoid the same mistake others are doing which is to use a dry, low-res photo. This is your chance to catch people’s attention so make it worth it by using a bright, high-quality image of yourself.

Verify Your Website

It is important to confirm the website that is linked to your Pinterest account. It only takes a few minutes to do and will increase your legitimacy in Pinterest’s eyes. You also want to make your account visible to search engines so be sure to turn off your Search Privacy under Account Settings.

Part 3 – Boards, Boards, and More Boards!

You can organize different groups of content and sort them by topic using boards. Followers have the option to follow a specific board or all of the boards on your account. To get started with boards, follow these steps.

Create your Own Boards

It’s time to brainstorm for topics for your boards. You need to come up with topics related to your niche. For example, if your blog is about the paleo lifestyle, you can create separate boards about paleo recipes, paleo for gut health, exercises for paleo dieters, paleo products, etc. As long as the topic is relevant to your niche, you can create a board about it. Don’t forget to use important keywords when you can.

Let’s take a look at an actual Pinterest account solely dedicated to paleo. Notice how their boards are rich with search terms that people actually use when searching for paleo food ideas. Other boards names may not be keyword-rich but they are still relevant enough to be included in this account’s boards.

Try to have a mix of broad and hyper-specific board topics. This casts a wide-enough net for many users to find you while still remaining searchable by those who know exactly what they are looking for. You can go outside your niche a little bit but don’t overdo it. You want to dominate Pinterest for topics that your site/blog specializes in.

You also want to create a board that’s purely dedicated to your own pins so followers can easily find your content in one place. Make sure this is the very first board on your profile. As for the rest of your boards, they should be organized from the most relevant to the least relevant.

When creating names for your boards, be straightforward. This is not the time to use cutesy or clever titles. You need to use terms that people are actually using when searching on Pinterest. (See part 1)

You can also customize your board covers to give your profile a more cohesive look. It makes an impression on users so it’s worthwhile to design a unique, eye-catching cover for your boards.

When creating customized board covers, make sure that the background images are cohesive and the text is eye-catching. Keep the image sizes of the board covers at 833×833 so it’s perfectly visible from the outside of your board.

Can I Be a Part of Group Boards

Of course you can! Group boards are the life and blood of any Pinterest traffic growing strategy. They are shared boards that collaborators can contribute to. By posting on group boards, you’re giving more exposure to your pins which in turn increases your site traffic. You can create your own group board or join other people’s group board. You can also do a quick search on Pinterest to find group boards.

Choose the “Boards” results and to see the list of group boards that best fit your query. You can also use a tool like PinGroupie which lets you search for group boards in your niche. Personally, I like to find group boards through Pingroupie because it shows me all the important information I need to see in one spreadsheet. If you want to find more group boards, you can also check out the most popular pinners in your niche, see what group boards they’re a part of and join those.

Choosing Group Boards to Join

A good group board to join is one that has a big following. More followers means more exposure. Don’t bother joining group boards with less followers than you do. The point is to get more traffic to your site. There’s no point doing that in a group that has less exposure than yours.

I like to join group boards that have a higher following than me. For example, if I have 500 followers, I’ll only send an invite request to group boards that have a follower count of 1,000 and above. If I already have 1,000 followers, I’ll join those with 3,000 followers and above, and so on.

Once I find the group boards I want to join, I’ll send the group board creator a request. To find out who the creator of a group board is, click on the collaborator’s button found on the right side of the page. The moderator of the group will be listed on top with the label ‘Creator’.

Before sending them a message, be sure to check the instructions in the group (if there’s any). Some creators are very particular about how they want to be contacted. If there’s none, just go directly to their Pinterest profile and send them a message with a request to join their group board. You can send them a quick note like this:

Hi! I'm John from “Name of blog”. I would love to be a part of your group board “name of group board” and share some of my stuff. My Pinterest username: “your username”. If you prefer to invite me via email, this is my email address: “your email address”. I hope you will consider. Thank you so much!

There are many group boards on Pinterest and there’s only so many requests for invitations you can send so be sure to pick group boards wisely. If you send too many message requests, you will be blocked from sending and you will have to wait for a few days before you can begin sending messages again.

Once the creator approves your request, you’ll be able to begin posting pins on that group board. Most people are not always on Pinterest all day so there’s a chance that your request might be ignored. Send them a quick follow up message and if your request still gets rejected, don’t worry. There are still thousands of other groups that you can join.

What About Secret Boards?

Secret boards are for your own eyes only. Power pinners usually fill out their secret boards with pins that they like and schedule them for later.

Part 4 – Optimizing Your Pins and Making Them Viral Worthy

Your pins are very important because they lead people to your site. If your pin is ugly, no one is going to want to click it which means no traffic for you. If it has a beautiful design with a compelling title and informative description, there’s a chance people will click on it. Follow these basic steps first before you move towards creating viral-worthy pins.

Apply for Rich Pins

Rich pins contain extra information that are extracted from your site. This provides deeper context of what your pin is all about. By having rich pins, you are helping Pinterest to assign your post in the right category, whether it’s an article, movie, product, place, or recipe. Before applying for rich pins, make sure to update your site’s pages and posts with the right meta tags. Here’s how you can distinguish a rich pin from one that isn’t.

About Affiliate Links and Promoted Pins

If you want to earn some money through Pinterest, you can add affiliate links to your pins. Be strategic and only insert links to products that are actually useful to your followers. To add an affiliate link on your pin, you just have to fill in the website field with the affiliate link.

Pinterest also gives you the option to do display ads. Their Promoted Pins feature lets you display your posts in front of the right people so you can get more traffic and engagement. Make sure to do keyword research so that your ad is shown to the right people.

Now let’s talk about making your pins go viral…

What makes a pin go viral? While there are no hard-fast rules to making it, there are best practices to follow for increasing your chances of getting viral.

Keep All Images Vertical

Any image size is acceptable on Pinterest but they favor vertical pins more. Make sure your pins are vertical. You can start with these dimensions: 700 pixels wide and 1000 pixels tall. You can make it taller if you like. Just not too tall because Pinterest cuts off a pin after a certain point.

High Visual Appeal

The most important thing to do in Pinterest is to consistently post beautiful visual, viral-worthy content. Pinterest, after all, is a visual platform. You want your pin to be the first thing that catch the user’s eye when they scroll on their feed.

Here are some insights from Curalate which tell you what pins are most likely to attract users. They sampled 500,000 images and found out that:

  • Images with multiple dominant colors get repinned more than images with a single dominant color
  • Images that are too light or too dark don’t get repinned as much as medium light images do
  • Red, orange, and brown images get repinned more than blue images
  • Images that are 50% saturated get more repinned than images that are 100 saturated or totally desaturated
  • Images with more than 40% whitespace are less likely to get repinned
  • Pins without faces get more repins than those that have faces

If you belong to a visually-rich niche like travel or food, take this opportunity to grab existing photos from your blog and use them as your background image. If you don’t have a collection of pin-worthy photos just yet, there are millions of free commercially licensed photos out there on the internet that you can use for pins. You can refer to this article on our site which lists the best stock photo websites to get beautiful, affordable, pin-worthy images.

Craft attention-grabbing and informative titles and descriptions

You want the text on your image to be short but attention-grabbing. Think like a magazine editor and ask yourself, “Will this headline catch the attention of the user?” Your pin description should also contain brief information of what the pin is all about. The sweet spot for Pinterest is between 150-300 words.

Create your own branding

I’m not only talking about adding a brand logo and URL to your pins. If possible, you should also make it so your pins follow a consistent design. As you browse through Pinterest and observe the different colors and designs catch your eye, be sure to emulate those and see which one gets the most engagement. Once you’ve gotten into the hang of designing really beautiful images, you should stick to that design. That way, when people see it, they will automatically know it’s yours!

Part 5 – Engaging on Pinterest the “Smart Way”

To help maximize your time on Pinterest, here are advanced tips for engaging on the platform.

Pin Consistently

Pinning consistently is a very important part of growing your audience. It lets Pinterest know that you are an active user which increases your chances of ranking higher and getting seen by more people. Instead of pinning ten times in a row, you want to space out your pins throughout the day. This allows for a wider audience to view your pins because not all users will be on Pinterest around the same time of the day. When checking your analytics later, take note of the times that your audiences are most engaged and do your best to pin more frequently during those hours. To help you save time, there are several automation tools you can use to schedule your pins to post at specific times.

Now, you shouldn’t only be pinning yourself. You want to give your followers a variety of content so you should also pin other people’s content. Make sure to only repin useful, relevant content with beautiful, high-resolution photos. Also, don’t follow for the sake of getting followed back. You want to follow topics and boards that are actually relevant to your niche. Avoid topics that don’t relate to your site/brand. This makes it easy to find related stuff on your feed that you can repin.

Be Careful with Infographics

If you’re trying to increase your traffic, you may want to avoid posting infographics. Infographics are great; they’re packed with information but they’re not good for growing traffic. An infographic already has all the information a user needs so there’s no reason for them to visit your site to know more about it. If you’re goal is to increase site’s traffic, stick to headline pins.

Pro Tip: Use Backly to Piggyback on Popular Viral Content

Backly can add additional value to any pinned link you share, and it’s ideal when sharing already viral content that is or isn’t your own.

With Backly you can create a call-to-action that points to your own website, on content that is performing well on Pinterest.

In order to leverage Backly with your Pinterest account, simply go to the Backly dashboard and create a link for your viral content as well as a call to action for that link.

Next, download the pin from that viral content and save it.

Then, create a new pin using the Backly link you just created as the pin’s link.

Also create your own description for that link. Once done, pin it!

This is how it looks like on the site now after performing the steps above.

Part 6 – Checking Your Analytics

Pinterest Analytics lets you see how your pins and boards are doing. You can also link your Pinterest account to your site’s Google Analytics so you know how much traffic you are getting from Pinterest and which pins are bringing the most traffic.

As you’re starting out, you won’t know what type of content your audience responds well to so don’t be afraid to experiment. Different types of users will have different interests. Try different designs, fonts, colors, images, and headline copy. Find out what works with the help of analytics and repeat it. Most importantly, aim to keep getting better at it. The great thing about Pinterest is that there’s always something new to learn every day. Pinterest is a long game. If you dedicate your time building your following and reach on Pinterest, it’s won’t be long before you start enjoying the same perks as the best power pinners do!

Part 7 – Optimizing your Website for Pinterest

It’s very important to optimize your site before linking it to your Pinterest. If you already have them linked together, don’t worry. You can still optimize your website for Pinterest by performing a few tweaks. Here are the steps to take to help make your site more Pinterest-friendly.

Add A Pin It Button

This makes it easy for your site visitors to pin images from your site. You can use this jQuery Pin tool from WordPress for installing the Pin It button. Once it’s installed, it should show up as something like this when you hover your mouse pointer over an image. You have the option to customize the Pin It button design to reflect your site’s aesthetics.

Embed A Pinterest Board

Embed your most important Pinterest boards on your site. This allows both Pinterest and non-Pinterest users who visit your site to easily view your boards and follow you.

Part 8 – Tools to Make your Life Easier

The good news is that there are tools out there that make managing your account much easier. In this section, we will discuss the various tools you can use so your life on Pinterest easier.

Pinterest Browser Button

Pinterest has a button that you can install on your browser so you can pin images from directly from the web to your boards. With this tool, you don’t need to open your Pinterest account every time you save pin from the web.

Cost: Free

Tailwind is a tool specially designed for Pinterest users. Since they are one of Pinterest’s marketing partners, you can be assured that the tool has features designed to make Pinterest management easier.

You get to choose the time slots you wish to have your pins posted and upload pins by bulk. Need inspiration for your next content? Tailwind lets you discover trending content across the platform. You can also track your account’s performance based on traffic, likes, repins, comments, boards, and followers.

Tailwind also has a cool feature which tracks the Virality Score of a pin. This indicates the repin rate for each board so you recognize which boards can potentially give your pins the most engagement. When you use Tailwind, you will need to also install their browser extension which lets you schedule pins from the web.

Cost: Free trial of up to 100 pins. Upgrade starts at $9.99 per month for one account

BoardBooster makes posting easier as it lets you schedule campaigns ahead of time. Pick boards that you to want to pin to and BoardBooster will create a secret board that has all the pins you stored in it ready for publishing. BoardBooster also has a looping feature which lets you repin old pins to the same board while avoiding duplicate issues.

BoardBooster also has reports that provide insight on the best times to post on your account and boards that have the best repin rate

Cost: Free for the first 100 pins. Upgrade costs $5 for 500 pins.

Phew! That was quite a lot to take in wasn’t it? Well, that’s what it takes to become the best in Pinterest. The steps may overwhelm you but only because we have delved into the smallest details. They do affect your performance on Pinterest so it’s important that you pay attention to it.

I have created a quick Pinterest checklist that you can use to check whether you have followed the most important rules to using the platform.

  • Performed keyword research
  • Sign up for Pinterest
  • Converted account to business account
  • Verified the website linked to Pinterest account
  • Uploaded profile avatar
  • Created relevant boards
  • Created custom board covers
  • Joined relevant group boards
  • Applied for rich pins
  • Considered affiliate links and promoted pins
  • Created pins that are:
    • Vertical
    • Highly appealing
    • Attention-grabbing headline
    • Branded
  • Pinned consistently
  • Keywords inserted in the:
    • Bio
    • Boards
    • Pin titles
    • Pin descriptions
    • Hashtags
  • Checked analytics
  • Optimized website for Pinterest by:
    • Adding a Pin It button
    • Embedding a Pinterest board
  • Used automation tools to schedule pins

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