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Oh, Pinterest. If you are in any blogging-related Facebook group, you have surely heard people lamenting about recent drops in traffic coming from Pinterest and all the changes that Pinterest has been making over the past year or so that has made using Pinterest a challenge for bloggers.
It’s true. Pinterest doesn’t drive traffic for me the way it used to but, it still accounts for 34% of the traffic to my website. That’s a lot of traffic.
While SEO should always be a primary focus of your traffic-driving strategy, Pinterest should not be overlooked.
Let’s start with some basics about Pinterest before we dive into optimizing Pinterest for increased traffic.
What is Pinterest?
Despite how many refer to it, Pinterest is not a social media site. It is a search engine.
Each month, there are over 2 billion searches on Pinterest.
People come to Pinterest for more than just searching for the perfect taco dip recipe or home décor DIY project.
Many niches benefit from Pinterest traffic. In fact, it accounts for about 5% of all referral traffic.
And, unlike other traffic strategies, Pinterest is completely free (unless you choose to go the route of promoted pins, which we will focus on in a future post).
By optimizing Pinterest, you can open up the floodgates to a great source of free traffic to your site.
So how do you get this free traffic?
When people visit Pinterest, there are four ways that they can find you and your pins:
Four Ways Using Pinterest Can Help Christian Bloggers to Be Found
- The Following Tab
- The Smart Feed (also called ‘Home Feed’)
The Following Tab
Introduced in March of 2018, the Following Tab will show you content only from those people or accounts that you follow.
Pinterest’s algorithm is in play here (more on that later) but the content is delivered based on how recently the pin has been pinned by the account.
When you pin to Pinterest, a timestamp will be added to the pin (you won’t be able to see it) and pins with the most recent timestamps will be the first ones featured in the following tab of users.
It is important to note that Pinterest has gone on record to state that there is no difference in how the platform views where the content comes from (manually pinned vs. third-party scheduler, like Tailwind)
While people have been mentioning for some time that you can search with Hashtags on Pinterest, they are a relatively new phenomenon on the platform.
Here’s the key, though: The hashtag feed, like the following tab, delivers pins based on the timestamp. Adding hashtags to old pins will not help, at all.
Just add hashtags to pins from here on out to ensure your pins are showing up in hashtag search results.
Hashtag searches can be occur two ways: the Pinterest search bar or by clicking on a hashtag in a pin description.
Accounts can include up to twenty hashtags to a pin description, and hashtags added by content owners are given weighted priority in Pinterest’s algorithm.
Not sure which hashtags to use?
Go to the search bar and enter a hashtag, such as #Christianmarriage. Then click on a few of the pins and see what other hashtags are included in pins.
In this example, other hashtags found include:
The Pinterest Smart Feed (also known as the Home Feed)
When you first open up Pinterest, your Home Page (or Home Feed or Smart Feed) is what you will see.
Pinterest uses their own algorithm to determine what the user will see in this feed.
Since this is a user’s first stop on Pinterest, it is critical real estate.
Pinterest populates the home feed from three areas of the platform:
Accounts and boards the user follows, targeted ads or Promoted Pins and pins that Pinterest determines the user might be interested in based on previous behavior.
Pinterest tries to show you content that you care about. Content that you will engage with.
While freshness is important, quality is king.
How does Pinterest determine quality?
- Related pins
- Pins saved by users you follow
- Your interests (remember when you joined Pinterest and you had to select a few interests? Yep, from there. Does it make you want to go back and add or change your interests?)
Additionally, Pinterest will take into account authority, domain quality, pin quality and the user’s recent Pinterest activity to prioritize content from the three areas of the platform. (More on this in the next section)
They will adjust the results based on what the user engages in.
One important thing to note: The users engagement (what they search for, what they repin and what they click on) tells Pinterest what to display in the Home feed and results are updated in almost real time based on this engagement.
This one is pretty straightforward. When you enter a word or phrase into the Pinterest search bar, Pinterest serves up what they feel are relevant results based on the above and their algorithm.
Pinterest Search Algorithm and How to Influence it for Christian Bloggers
Pinterest’s algorithm, like Google’s seems to change often, but we do know that there are certain factors that are important in how Pinterest delivers results and determines relevance.
- Domain Quality
- Pin Quality
- Pinner Quality
Domain quality is how Pinterest determines the quality of your website.
The look at how popular pins from your website are and if the pins have been good quality over time.
There are a few things you can do to help Pinterest consider your website a quality one.
First, make sure your Pinterest account is a business one and claim your website on Pinterest.
Second, enable rich pins on your account.
This one is incredibly important: increase your pin quality. Pin quality is determined by the engagement level of your pins.
Engagement includes users looking at a close-up of your pins, saving them, adding a comment and, especially clicking through on them to your website. The more each of these happens, the higher quality your pin will be in the eyes of Pinterest’s algorithm.
Interesting point: Pinterest will look at all versions of your pin for the same post when they determine quality.
Tips for Increasing Pin Quality
Write compelling pin titles.
Write pin titles that are click-worthy. For example, which pin would you most likely click on when using Pinterest?
One that said:
Five tips for Christian marriage
Five Practical Tips You Can Use Today To Improve Your Christian Marriage.
Try to always include at least one relevant keyword in your pin title and on your pin graphic.
Create Stunning Pin Graphics
Your pin titles may be amazing, but if your graphic stinks, very few are going to click on it.
Make sure the background isn’t too busy and that you can easily read the title overlayed on it.
Make sure you are using your keywords on your text overlays and making relevant image choices.
Pinterest’s algorithm can read your text overlay, see your images and make inferences for quality based on those factors.
Use a Variety of Fonts
Using one font is great, but using two or three complementary fonts that highlight the important words in your pin will increase the likelihood of pin engagement.
The Importance of Keywords When Using Pinterest for Christian Bloggers
Keywords are where we turn from catching your user’s eye to catching Pinterest’s algorithm’s “eye”.
Keywords tell Pinterest (and, even users) if a pin is relevant to a search or belongs in the user’s feed.
It tells Pinterest if your pin relates to the user’s previous search history and interest.
If your user searches for “best devotions for women”, they are not going to see pins for “best fly fishing in Canada”.
Research Keywords First
The best place to find keywords to use on Pinterest is….well, using Pinterest.
When you enter a search term in the Pinterest search bar, you will see some autosuggestions below.
These suggestions are based on what other users have searched for regarding a similar key phrase or term.
SEO (read keywords) is all about long and short tail keywords or phrases. You want to be as targeted as possible here.
For example, Christian books will give you tons of books – many irrelevant to what you are actually looking for. Christian books about hospitality, however, will give you just Christian books pertaining to hospitality – a better search result.
SEO and Using Pinterest for Your Christian Blogging Account
This is where we tie up everything above into a nice, neat Pinterest package.
By now, you know a bit about what Pinterest looks for and how they populate home feeds and search.
We’re going to look at a few areas of your Pinterest account and and start using Pinterest to apply what we have learned to each of them.
Optimizing Your Pinterest Profile
Above, we looked at finding relevant keywords in a general sense. Now, you are going to hop over to Pinterest and look for keywords that relate to your website and brand as a whole.
If your website is about Christian parenting, you might find related keywords including:
- Biblical parenting
- Christian parenting books
- Christian parenting tips
Get a decent-sized list of related keyword (perhaps 5-10) and add them to three places in your profile:
- Your username
- Your business name
- Your bio
Your username is part of the URL for your Pinterest profile. You can change your Pinterest username if you wish, but if you don’t want to, you can skip this part.
You can add relevant keywords to your business name, as well. For example: Woman of Noble Character | Proverbs 31 Woman
When you add keywords to your business name, you may show up more search results. For example, with this keyword added to my business name, I am showing up in results when people search for “Proverbs 31 woman”
Next, add your keywords to your bio. You have only 160 character to work with so be concise and don’t “keyword stuff”. Write in a way that Pinterest users can easily see what your site and account is all about.
Try using the elevator pitch format, if you aren’t sure what to write:
“I help __________ to __________ by __________. Call to action (Learn more/Click here/Sign up at [your URL].”
Here’s an example from my account:
Woman of Noble Character helps Christian women live a Proverbs 31 life: faith, marriage, prayer & Bible journaling. Get 5 steps to a Proverbs 31 Life http://bit.ly/2TpInJL
Optimize Your Pinterest Boards
The next important area to optimize for using Pinterest to drive traffic is your boards. For your boards and the pins inside them to be found in a user’s search, be sure to include great and relevant keywords in your board descriptions.
This isn’t the time to get creative. You don’t want to call your board “Bevy of Beautiful Bible Journaling Bits”. Instead, use keywords – what a user is searching for “Bible Journaling Techniques” is more appropriate.
Be sure to include relevant keywords in the board descriptions as well. In the above example, we may use:
Bible journaling techniques for beginners or advanced Bible journalers. Great Bible journaling ideas for creative worship.
Also, make sure to categorize your boards correctly. If you are saving content about Christian hospitality to a board labeled “Christian planners”, you are confusing Pinterest’s algorithm and they will, most likely, ignore it altogether.
Optimize Your Board Sections
Board sections were introduced in 2018 and were intended to allow you to organize your content within a board.
The sections also inform Pinterest about your board and pins and keywords for each board section help them to understand your content better.
Using Pinterest is easy if you think of it like folders within a file cabinet.
Use sections to break up content. Let’s say we have a board called “Christian Books”. We might use sections such as “Christian parenting books”, “Christian marriage books”, “Christian hospitality books”, etc.
Again, use keywords that are relevant to the board and your brand/website.
Optimize Your Pin Descriptions
If course, you always want to optimize your pin descriptions, too. Add relevant keywords to the descriptions so that they show up for people using Pinterest to search.
Unfortunately, most pinners won’t see your description until they click on the pin but the more information they have as to why they need to click on this pin, the more chance you have that they actually will.
Of course, keywords in the description also tell Pinterest what the pin is about and if it should be included in searches.
Using Pinterest and optimizing a Pinterest account specifically for Christian bloggers can be an effective way to increase your traffic coming from Pinterest. #pinterest #christianblogger #faithblogger Click To Tweet
What other tips do you have for optimizing your Pinterest account?
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