A relative newcomer on the social media scene, Pinterest has captured the imaginations of millions of users to become one of the fastest-growing networks around. Savvy site owners can translate this popularity into a boost for their page rankings.
Social media has become a driving force in SEO; and as Google continues to make tweaks to its search algorithms, its importance increases. In a continuing bid to filter out “black hat” webspam, Google’s changes increasingly emphasise engagement and interaction as indicators of a page’s quality.
Pinterest offers a powerful social media tool to raise your site’s profile and improve your standing in the all-important search engine stakes. As well as providing a searchable profile that you can link to your own site, Pinterest can help you reap the benefits of Google’s increasing focus on local content. At the time of writing, Pinterest is driving more traffic towards users’ sites than Google+.
Is Pinterest Right For You?
Before delving into the world of Pinterest, you should consider whether it’s a good fit for your site’s target audience. Although Pinterest is incredibly popular and growing at an amazing rate, its demographic is still surprisingly narrow. According to statistics from AppData and comScore, Pinterest’s growth has been driven largely by women. PC Magazine reported in early 2012 that 97 per cent of Pinterest’s Facebook fans were female; although examination of the userbase itself reveals a more modest gender split of approximately 32 per cent male to 68 per cent female, it’s clear that Pinterest is of more interest to women than men. Around half of Pinterest users have children and the majority of users are in the 25 to 34 age bracket. In short, Pinterest will be of most use to your company if your target market is young and female.
The first step in spinning Pinterest into search engine gold is to ensure that your profile is public and searchable. Pinterest allows users to place a link in their profiles; crucially, these links are not tagged with “NOFOLLOW” (unlike, say, links on Flickr profiles). This means that they are still being followed by search spiders that crawl Pinterest, allowing your site to glean a little of Pinterest’s high ranking. Ideally, the link in your profile should be to an internal page in your site rather than the main page.
The Pinterest “Pin it” Button
By installing social media plugins on your site you can increase user interaction. Add the Pinterest “Pin it” button to your site enables your visitors to pin your images to their own boards; each pin translates into an instant backlink to a page on your site, adding a boost to your search ranking. Encourage your visitors to pin your images by including captions or notes.
If your images are a particularly good fit for Pinterest, it’s likely that some of them will already have been pinned. Depending on the poster, they may or may not be correctly attributed. It’s worth taking a little time to look around and see if any of your images have been added to Pinterest without a backlink or other information that could lead back to your site. If they have, contact the poster with a polite request that they add some attribution. Some people will oblige; even if they don’t, be courteous and don’t attempt to pressurize them. This will only generate bad feeling and could result in you losing your Pinterest membership.
Your Pinterest Board
Creating and maintaining your own Pinterest board requires a certain amount of effort but can bring rich rewards in terms of SEO. An effective Pinterest board should not consist solely of your own content; you’ll need to search down and add images from outside your site to create the richness and breadth that will encourage social participation.
When selecting keywords for your images, make sure that they are relevant to your site. Consider the search terms that you want to optimize for and keep these in mind when you’re choosing or tagging images.
When you’re posting images that you don’t personally own, take the time to find out who owns the rights to them. Intellectual property owners may take a dim view of your using their pictures to publicize your site, especially for commercial purposes.
Picturing Your Business
If your core business is not exactly photogenic or is hard to represent visually, you’ll need to be a little creative. Pinterest users probably won’t want to repost images of the interior of a hardware store; however, they will almost certainly be interested in shots of a handsome home interior that happens to have been decorated using the products you sell. You can also use Pinterest to distribute coupons or special offers.
When selecting keywords, don’t neglect those all-important local place names. Google’s Venice update put local results front and center in search engine rankings. Local information is especially important if you have a bricks-and-mortar establishment that you want people to visit. As well as images directly relating to your store or your products and services, take pictures of local landmarks and other points of interest, as well as connecting with boards that have local interest.
- Include a link to an internal page on your site in your Pinterest profile.
- Add the Pinterest “Pin It” button to your site.
- Create a rich and varied Pinterest board for your company.
- Ensure that your images are tagged with relevant keywords.