How to Do SEO For Pinterest


SEO isn’t an reserve of Google. 

It might be the most popular search engine (at least at the time of writing this), but it’s competing against other noteworthy search engines, especially Bing and Yahoo.

Enters a new player in this game – Pinterest!

Pinterest is a search engine. It has all the hallmarks of a search engine – and yes, people are using it to scour the internet for information.

According to Pinterest, “Pinterest users follow more than 70 million boards and save an average of nearly 200 items a month.”

Pinterest is huge, one of the fastest-growing social networks. 

It’s also a great source of traffic for many websites and blogs.

So, let’s talk about Pinterest SEO – how to optimize your website or blog for this new form of search engine.

How Pinterest SEO Works

SEO stands for search engine optimization. In a nutshell, this is how you optimize your website to rank better for relevant keywords in giant search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

This process includes several essential steps:

  • Researching potential keywords to target on your website or blog
  • Writing high-quality and relevant content
  • Optimizing your website for search engines (including internal linking, site structure, etc.)

Pinterest SEO is the process that governs how this new social network ranks and indexes websites. 

Like other search engines, some factors influence how well a particular web page will rank on Pinterest.

Before we delve into these factors, here is a brief explanation of how Pinterest works.

How Pinterest Works: The Basics

Pinterest is a social network very much like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. 

Just as you have your profile on Facebook and post updates on Twitter, Pinterest lets users create boards and populate them with images and links relating to the underlying topic.

The main difference between Pinterest and other mainstream networks is the way people interact with content. On Facebook, for example, users leave comments and “likes” on posts.

However, when you pin something on Pinterest, a user can only do one thing – repin it. In fact, that’s the name of the game on Pinterest – to pin items to boards.

Pinterest is not about posting content or recording status updates. It’s all about sharing what you find on other sites.

Pinterest is the ultimate curation tool, a social network that promotes content discovery and sharing useful links and images – like a sophisticated version of Delicious or Reddit.

For many website owners, Pinterest has become a new source of traffic – sometimes an unexpected one.  With Google focusing more on its own social network, Google+ (and its +1 button), Pinterest is emerging as an alternative traffic source.

No wonder a lot of publishers are pinning images from their sites on Pinterest!  The added bonus is that when users repin these images, the owners of the website or blog get exposed to a new group of people who could potentially become regular visitors.

Pinterest SEO: An Overview

Like other search engines, Pinterest uses various factors to rank web pages and decide which ones appear first in their search results.  This includes link popularity, page authority, keyword usage (both on-page and off-page), social signals from other websites/social networks, and content relevance.

This post will focus more on the off-site factors that affect Pinterest’s ranking — mainly link building and social sharing. 

Why is Pinterest Considered a Search Engine?

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest does not have an index of links. In other words, it’s not really a search engine.  You can’t run a Google-like query on Pinterest to get relevant results from its database.  But even with this, it helps to think of it as a search engine rather than a social network.

Why?  Because Pinterest search results are primarily based on the links, you find and click while browsing around.  

“The best stuff doesn’t always rank number one. It’s the links you click on Pinterest that determine what pins appear in your feed.” [ Source] – Toby Jenkins of Inspiring Interns

So, although it is not a search engine per se, it does behave like one, especially if you plan to attract traffic.  If Pinterest is the primary source of traffic for your website or blog, it helps to treat it as a search engine.

The Difference Between Google SEO and Pinterest SEO

Unlike Google, Pinterest does not use an algorithm that ranks web pages based on their quality or popularity.  Pinterest uses an entirely different ranking model, which is said to be similar to that of Facebook. 

In theory, it should be easier for website owners who have been doing content marketing and social media promotion — the same factors that help boost your search engine rankings in Google — to rank on Pinterest and see similar results.

But before you jump up and start pinning your content like crazy, there is something you need to know:  

Pinterest users are said to be much more active than Twitter or Facebook users.  That means they’re likely to notice things like spammy links, excessive self-promotion, and blatant abuse of the sharing features.  If you want to build links on Pinterest without being flagged as a spammer, there are some additional things you need to factor in.

Pinterest SEO Tips (and Why You Need Them)

Pinterest’s popularity has grown exponentially over the last few months. If you have a website or blog that focuses on visuals, it’s all too important to make sure you are optimizing it for Pinterest. Here are some nifty tips and tricks to help you improve your rankings:

  • Use descriptive alt tags for images: These will be the main source of text for people who browse through your boards. Since they have no actual link, images alone are not enough to affect Pinterest SEO.
  • Use a descriptive title for each pin to entice your readers to click on it:  Add links inside the description if you want visitors to find more content about that topic from within the social media network. Be sure to include relevant keywords in the description.
  • Use relevant and natural descriptions: At the same time, include links just in case your viewers want to find out more about a particular topic. Don’t make your Pinterest descriptions look like a blog post or article. Instead, try to keep them short and sweet!
  • Use hashtags to describe the images you pin: Hashtags can be used to describe the content of your pins, entice other users to click on a particular image, and search for related images.
  • Add as much relevant information to each pin: tags, descriptions, or captions. The more you add, the more people are likely to find your content.
  • When repinning content, be sure not to use the default “repin” link provided in Pinterest’s share box.  Go back to the original post and add your own comment/link for interested users to click on.
  • Beware of sensitive material that might trigger a violation report from other pinners. Avoid sharing anything raunchy, grotesque, gory, violent, disturbing, or spammy.
  • Be patient! Pinterest SEO relies on your ability to build and maintain a steady stream of relevant, exciting, and engaging pins.  Be careful not to start spamming users with repetitive content or links because you were excited about the initial traffic. 
  • As always, think like a user: For your Pinterest marketing campaign to be successful, you need to treat it as a social media platform first and a search engine second.

What Type of Content Can You Post on Pinterest?

Pinterest is not a blogging platform or an article directory. It functions more like a collection of all things beautiful — from stunning landscapes to sumptuous desserts. As such, the content you post should be visually appealing and creative.

So, what type of content should you be posting on Pinterest?

  • Photos and videos you’ve taken or found that are relevant to your niche;
  • Original blog posts, articles, or infographics you’ve created around a particular topic;
  • Something as simple as a quote or photography that appeals to Pinterest users.

The key is to try and make your content or images unique. If your followers notice a lot of overlap with what other people are pinning, most likely, they won’t click on your stuff.

Pinterest SEO Tools to Help You Get the Most Out of Pinterest

  • Description Generator:  This is a simple tool that will help you generate descriptions for your pins. Paste in a link, and it will automatically add tags or keywords to the description so that users can easily find what they’re looking for.


  • Pinterest Helper: This is a handy tool that shows you different boards from outside websites and people you don’t follow on Pinterest so that you can easily find related content to pin and build your follower base.


  • Pinterest Keyword Tool: This tool will allow you to discover the best keywords so that your content can be appropriately optimized for search engine results.


  • Keyword Eye: This tool uses the Google Suggest API to help you find relevant, popular keywords for your Pinterest board or group.


  • Pin Analyzer Tool: This is a simple tool that allows you to copy and paste up to 30 URLs into its search box to find out which URLs have been repinned or shared on Pinterest.
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  • URL2Pin:  This enables you to pin an entire RSS feed, as well as grab 1000+ related pins instantly from the site.


  • PinUp:  This tool allows you to create Pinterest-related content using your own photos. It is an easy way to generate new pins and boards without spending hours searching for relevant images or ideas. 


  •  UnPin: This tool automatically disables repins and the “like this” button on your pins to prevent people from pinning your content if it doesn’t fit into Pinterest’s terms of service.


  • Tailwind App (Pinterest scheduling):  If you want to be a successful Pinterest marketer, you will need to schedule your pins ahead of time to be consistently published. Tailwind is designed for people who organize their content far in advance. It’s to Pinterest what Hootsuite is to Facebook and Twitter.


  •  Pin It Button:  If you want to make your content easy to pin, then you can add a Pin It button. People can click on this button and immediately pin the image or content in a single step. This is great for marketers who want their pins to be easy to share on Pinterest, as well as an image or link that you want your readers to be able to pin.


  1. PinTagging:  If you don’t know what tags are already working for people, PinTagging can help you discover those combinations. This is a great way to uncover content that you can repin and rank well on Pinterest.


  • Board Stats: If you want access to data about your boards, Pin Stats will let you import up to 20 boards on Pinterest to find out how your performance stacks up against your competition. The website shows you the number of followers, most repinned pins, and popular pinners for each board to give you an idea of what makes your posts successful on Pinterest.


  • Pin Board Discover:  Pin Board Discover can give you the ability to explore boards on Pinterest to find out if there are any potential related niches or opportunities for you to work with. This is a great way to find additional boards, people, and groups that might be relevant to your content.


  • Pin Hunter: If you want more data about your pins, Pin Hunter is a great place to visit. The site provides information on the number of repins and likes that your posts receive so that you can see things from an objective standpoint.


  • Pinstamp:  This is an excellent tool for Pinstagram management. After you log in, you will perform tasks like scheduling your posts and optimizing your captions on Instagram.


  • IFTTT:  If you use multiple social media accounts to promote your content, IFTTT is a free service that lets you automate those accounts based on actions or triggers from other services. For example, if someone follows you on Pinterest after pinning one of your images, IFTTT can send them an automatic thank you direct message on Twitter to let them know that you appreciated their pin.


  • PicReel:  If you are looking for an app that allows you to get a quick and free automatic Pinterest image search, there is no better tool than PicReel. You can also choose individual results or add as many related images as you would like.


Why Pinterest SEO?

Pinterest posts tend to last 1600% longer in the feed than Facebook and Twitter.

It’s a top-rated search engine with a unique algorithmic structure.

60% of the users are women, making it the most female-dominated social platform.

It’s one of the fastest-growing social media platforms (70%+ monthly growth rate) 

According to its creators, Pinterest isn’t a social network (like we all know it) but an ever-changing search engine.

How to Optimize Your Pinterest Profile for SEO

Pinterest SEO differs from Google SEO in so many ways. First of all, Google indexes text primarily, while Pinterest, similar to YouTube and Instagram, indexes a whole picture. And the second difference is that Google likes fresh and unique content, while Pinterest pinboards look for shared interests. If you are a business owner looking to increase your sales through Pinterest, you have to think about what people will share on their own boards.

The most important part of Pinterest SEO is the user profile, consisting of 3 parts: 1) Profile, 2) Boards, 3) Pins.

  • Profile – To optimize your profile for Pinterest SEO, you need to do more than fill out your bio and add a profile picture. 

Do your research and find out what kind of boards specific users create. For example, if you are a florist, search for “flower” and look at the pinners’ profiles. What kind of bio do they have? Are there any common themes? Are there any similar-looking thumbnails?

It would be best if you created a custom description for yourself. Be sure to include keywords that relate to your business like “flowers,” “narrative writing,” or something else. Pinterest is one of the best places for blogging, so make an attractive board where you will be sharing your articles with others and attracting new customers.

  1. Boards – The number of boards is another critical factor in Pinterest SEO. You need to figure out what kind of boards to create and how many you should have. If you are a photographer, you will definitely want to make “beautiful places,” “hairstyles for brides,” etc. If your business operates online, then create a “Pinterest must-haves” board where you’ll be featuring your products.
  2. Pins – To optimize your pins for Pinterest SEO, you need to create content that will make people want to repin it–and ask them to do so! Add keyword phrases or hashtags in the first three captions of each of your pins. Also, try using image titles that are more creative than “Product Shot” or “Brand Name.”

With that in mind, here are 12 ways to optimize your Pinterest profile for SEO:

#1 Start with the Basics

Before we get into the most exciting part of Pinterest SEO, let’s get some basics out of the way:

  • Create a Pinterest Business Account (

The first step would be to create a Pinterest business account. If you have a personal account, then it would be best to convert it into a business account. 

Do this to access Pinterest Analytics and Ads Manager. Note that these can’t be accessed with a personal profile. 

  • Choose an SEO-friendly username:

Keep in mind that your username will be included in your profile URL. To optimize this for SEO, you must choose a username containing your most important keyword phrase.

  • Create an Eye-Catching Profile:

Now onto the Pinterest SEO part! Make sure to fill out your bio in full and include keywords relevant to your business or blog. Remember that on Pinterest, the first three lines of your profile are visible in search results.

Fill out the “About You” section and, most importantly, write a short paragraph about yourself.

Use a high-resolution company logo for your profile picture. Ideally, it should be an original photograph of your office, storefront, or products.

Be sure to include a link to your website in the “About You” section. Bear in mind that not all business owners do this, though.

  • Create at Least One Board

Once your profile is up and running, it’s time to create at least one board. Think about what kind of boards other pinners have made and what types of pins they have pinned. For example, if you sell women’s accessories, you might want to create a “Women’s Fashion” board or something similar.

  • Create Boards Targeted to Users

On Pinterest, there are two types of users – regular users and people who own businesses. If you are targeting business owners, then create boards that users can pin relevant articles onto. For example, if you are a fashion blogger, create a board entitled “Blogger Style.” This will encourage other bloggers to repin your pins.

In addition, if you have clients across different parts of the country, then create a board for each state or region. This will make it easier for local businesses to find and follow you.

  • Link Your Pinterest Profile to Your Site

The key to Pinterest SEO is to make sure that your site is linked to your board. This way, when someone visits a pin in their search results and then decides to check out its source, they will automatically be taken to your website. You can even choose to pin some of the same images that you have on your site.

#2 Prepare Your Site or Blog

You can use your website’s data to feed your Pinterest campaign. Here’s how:

  1. Sharing Buttons Place sharing buttons for Pinterest on your site. Most designers use an “icon-only” button because they don’t take up much space and integrates seamlessly with your website’s design. 
  2. Internal Links – Place links to your other blog posts on pins so that users can quickly go back and find out more information about the topic you are pinning. Make sure every post has at least one internal link leading back to another article.
  3. External Links – Use external links to point your users to your other pins. For example, if you have an article on the uses of matcha green tea for weight loss, then add a link at the bottom of the post that says “See More Matcha Green Tea Recipes” or something similar.
  4. Text Links – Add text links in your article’s description that lead back to your Pinterest boards. This is an easy way for you to bring users directly to your Pinterest profile and get more followers in return.
  5. Rich Pins Use this feature to add a small photo with a link on top of a larger image. Note that if you can’t do this, you can use pins to link back to your blog or website instead.
  6. Add the Pinterest Tag –   Pinterest tag is to Pinterest what Facebook Pixel is to Facebook. It is a JavaScript code that can be placed on any website. It allows you to use Pinterest Analytics. With this tag, you will gather important information like visitor’s age groups, the device used, etc. It helps you analyze your audience and target them accordingly.
  7. Verify Your Website Verify your website with Pinterest. Do this to eliminate the “Untrusted Website” warning that appears when you pin from your website. You can do this by adding your website’s SSL certificate.
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#3 Develop a Pinning Strategy

You need a pinning strategy to help you stay consistent with your campaign and track everything. Here’s what to do:

  1.  Pick a theme for the week or month and create boards based on that theme. For example, if you are an interior designer, then choose a different colour scheme for each room in the house – kitchen, living room, dining room, etc.
  2. Pin every day – Your boards need to be updated at least once a week to retain their relevance and avoid looking old and stale.
  3. Keep it fresh – Add new content into your already existing boards. The easiest way to do this is to make follow-up posts on each article you pin.
  4. Create a board for Your Instagram photos – Pin your Instagram posts with relevant hashtags to bring more traffic to your profile and make it easier for people to find you easily on Pinterest. To do this, go into your website’s analytics report and export an Excel file of the URLs that use these tags.
  5. Use Pinterest as your keyword planner – You can use the keywords you come up with in the board descriptions or titles to create Pinterest-specific landing pages and blog post titles.
  6. Create a board for your brand’s logo – Add your logo pin on this board to be available for users when they visit your profile. Be sure to include a link to your profile/website in the description section as well.

#4 Set Traffic Goals

Pinterest SEO is a long game.  You will not see results instantly. It may take six months or more before you start seeing considerable amounts of traffic from Pinterest. So be sure to set realistic goals.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Set goals for each month – First, identify your short-term goal and set a realistic target for it. For instance, if you have determined that you want to get more followers through Pinterest in the next six months, you can set your monthly goal to 10 followers, and so on. The next thing you want to do is set goals for the next six months and so forth.
  2. Create a strategy – If you are setting goals for the upcoming year, then develop a detailed plan of how you will be achieving these results and with what resources.
  3. Break down your goals – Then, break up these big goals into smaller ones to make it easier to execute them.
  4. Set actionable milestones – Plan how you will achieve these goals (strategies) and create milestones for each goal. For instance, if you want to reach 500 followers by the end of the year, break down this goal into smaller milestones like getting five followers in January, 25 in February, etc.

#5 Create Content That People Will Want to Pin and Share

You need to create content that people are likely to share on Pinterest. This can be done by creating eye-catching images.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Use a catchy title – This is a critical aspect of your Pinterest marketing efforts because this will be the first thing people see when they browse through your content on Pinterest. So, it needs to capture their attention and make them want to follow your board or pin an image from it.
  2. Use eye-catching images – Images can help you create an emotional connection with your audience and thus increase the likelihood of them repinning your content on Pinterest. Always include a caption alongside every image you share on Pinterest to add more context to it and avoid confusion.
  3. Use relevant hashtags – To make your content findable through Pinterest, use relevant hashtags as discussed by the community. Have a separate board for the most popular topics so that you can stay in touch with trends and come up with interesting ideas for how you will represent them visually.
  4. Add links – Include links to other content on your blog or website in the description section of each pin. You can also add links to downloadable resources if you have any relevant ones.
  5. Include all important information in your pin description – Be sure to include a full description of your image as well as a link with any downloadable resource that you are sharing in the description section of each pin. This will ensure that people can find all relevant information if they visit your profile but don’t click on the images.

#6 Use Hashtags Effectively

Pinterest is a highly visual social network. Meaning, you have to engage users through visually appealing content to be successful with Pinterest SEO. One of the most effective ways to do this is by using relevant hashtags for your pinned content. When users see a hashtag in a pin, they can click on it to find other images that have been tagged with the same keyword or phrase.

#7 Avoid Re-pinning Other People’s Content

The purpose of Pinterest marketing is to provide new content that is relevant to your audience. Therefore, it is not a good idea to repin content that has already been shared on Pinterest or any other social media network. Repinning too much content from other sites will also hurt your credibility as a content creator because you draw unnecessary attention to the fact that you are simply trying to popularise content that other people have already shared.

#8 Use Analytics and Tracking Tools

Several analytics tools can be used to analyze the impact of your Pinterest marketing efforts. These include:

  1. Alexa – This tool allows you to determine how many users your site has attracted from the different locations on a map. 
  2. Google Analytics – This is the most widely used web analytics tool on the internet. You can use it to track various metrics, including the number of people who visit your website from Pinterest and how they arrive at your site from this particular social network, etc.
  3. Delicious Analytics – If you use Delicious to bookmark websites, you can also use this analytics tool to determine how many people have bookmarked your content on the social bookmarking site from Pinterest.

#9 Conduct Keyword Research

Pinterest SEO requires that you choose the right set of keywords for every board that you create. While it is possible to do this manually, a quicker and more effective option would be to use an automated keyword research tool such as Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest.

#10 Get Involved in the Pinterest Community

One of the best ways to increase the visibility of your content on Pinterest is by actively participating in the community. Here are some ideas that can help you stay engaged with others and improve your visibility as a brand on this social network:

  1. Follow other users – Use the follow button at the top of any page to find relevant boards and follow people interested in similar topics.
  2. Join group boards – Pinterest allows you to join group boards created by people who have yet to follow you. You should use this feature to get involved with relevant groups and increase your chances of being repinned by other network members. Here is a list of board groups that you can find on Pinterest.
  3. Join the discussion – You should also try to get involved in discussions on relevant boards by adding your comments to existing pins and repinning pins that you feel are useful to the topic being discussed.
  4. Provide value through exclusive content – If you want to stand out on Pinterest, provide value to your audience by sharing exclusive content not available elsewhere.


About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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