Did you know that Pinterest is a search engine- not social media?
Pinterest is adding more social media aspects, like the new Pinterest Stories, but at its core, it’s a search and discovery platform, which means that people go to Pinterest to find things. People don’t scroll on Pinterest like on Instagram and Facebook to catch up on friends and get the latest news; they come to Pinterest when they want inspiration or to find answers, similar to Google. Which is why I specialize in both Pinterest and SEO!
So since Pinterest is a search engine, keywords are an important piece to have your content rank well on Pinterest and get more traffic! (And using keywords can actually help your pins rank well in Google). This post covers what you need to know about Pinterest keywords, how to use them, and how to do Pinterest keyword research.
What are Pinterest keywords?
Keywords are just the words or phrases people type into Google or Pinterest when they’re searching for something. Really broad keywords like “photography” are going to be hard to rank for, and long-tail keywords like “family photoshoot ideas” are going to be a lot easier to rank for and attract people who are searching for your services or products.
So keywords are important for Pinterest to tell the platform what your content is about so they know to put it in the search results when someone types in that keyword.
Before we go into keyword research, I recommend doing some market research to make sure you’re writing and pinning content that is going to help you connect with your ideal audience specifically. You can ask what type of content they are interested in or what questions you can answer, and I recommend checking out your data in Google Analytics and Google Search Console to see what content is working the best for you already.
After getting information from and about your audience, think about the types of phrases they would be searching for and then get started with keyword research!
How to do Pinterest keyword research
There are tons of tools to do keyword research for Google, but there isn’t a great way to do it for Pinterest yet.
They did recently come out with a tool called Pinterest Trends that will show you how popular a phrase is throughout the year, but it has very little data so far and it can only be used in a few countries so far. It doesn’t even have data for “Pinterest tips” yet! So if your industry is on Pinterest Trends, you can try using it, but if not, I would check back every few months and to see if it has collected more data.
To use Pinterest Trends, type in a phrase that you want to get information for. If they don’t have information for the exact keyword, try getting a little creative with the phrasing and see if you get more data. When you do find a keyword with information, they’ll show you a graph with the seasonal trends, which will help you plan ahead on your content. You’ll also see “Related terms” under the graph for more ideas for content.
If Pinterest Trends doesn’t have data for your industry yet, you need to get a little creative. I recommend doing searches on Pinterest because it will autopopulate and tell you what similar searches people have done, and you can see what the competition is like (but you can’t see what the monthly search volume is). If there are several big accounts at the top of your search feed, that is an indicator that it’s a competitive term and you probably need to niche down even more. You can also use the suggestion bar at the top to get more ideas for keywords.
SEO keyword research tools
If you want to make sure that your pins can rank well in Google and bring you even more traffic, I would do some keyword research in Google Images. It’s the same concept as searching in Pinterest, and you can see how competitive the keywords are on Google, too.
If you want to get even more serious, you can use a keyword research tool to see what the monthly search volume for keywords are! I use Keysearch, and it’s a great tool to get your feet wet with keyword research (and you can obviously use it for keyword research for your website content to get your site ranking higher in Google, too).
If you really want to get into keyword research, read my post Tips for Keyword Research: Where to Find Keywords to Rank For for even more information!
How to use Pinterest keywords
So you found keywords to use for Pinterest- now what? There are a few different places I recommend using keywords, but one thing I want to note first is to make sure you use your keywords naturally! Don’t write a pin description that says something like “Read my bread recipe. Bread recipes. Homemade bread. Homemade bread recipe. Whole wheat bread. Baking whole wheat bread.”
That’s call keyword spamming and it could confuse Pinterest about the purpose of the pin and just look really spammy to users. If I click on a pin that has that description, it could deter me from clicking to the website because it looks like a robot wrote it. Plus, it’s not giving me information about the recipe.
Instead, if the description says “If you want to bake some bread this weekend, check out my homemade whole wheat bread recipe! It’s an easy bread recipe to start with because it only requires 6 ingredients and takes 30 minutes to rise,” I’m getting much more valuable information about what the recipe is about and I know it’s easy to make. So when you’re using your keywords, work them into sentences naturally and don’t just list out 20 keywords!
Ok, now let’s go over where to put your keywords on Pinterest!
Most people using Pinterest are searching for pins, but there are some people searching for boards and profiles on a specific topic (and profiles and boards can rank well in Google, too). Pinterest lets you search for pins, boards, and people, so when someone searches for the services and content you have in boards or people, you want to make sure you’re showing up at the top.
For your profile, include your title or what you do along with your business name, and give details about who you serve in your description (links do not hyperlink in the profile description, so just focus on describing your business and content). This will give potential followers an idea of what your account is about and who the content is for, and you can rank for the keywords that you use in Pinterest and Google.
Boards help you break down the content you pin into different sections. So if someone wants to learn more about a specific topic or follow a board on that topic for updates or future content, they can search for boards on that topic and hopefully find yours!
I have boards like “SEO Tips for Small Businesses” and “Content Strategy & Planning Tips for Businesses” to let potential followers know exactly the type of content I pin and help people find my content when they search for it. If I just named boards “SEO” and “Content,” it isn’t clear what the content will be about, and since they’re very general, they likely won’t attract people to follow me or check out what I’ve pinned (and they are definitely too broad to rank well in Google).
Make sure you have a descriptive board title, and make sure you’re filling in the board description with a few sentences, too. This will give Pinterest more information to understand your boards and the pins that you’re pinning there, too.
Make sure you’re using keywords in your pin title and pin description- without being spammy like the example I used above. You can also use the same pin design to pin it a few times and test out some different keywords if you want to see which keywords perform the best for you.
With your pin title, keep it to a few words or a short phrase that is clear and to the point, like “Easy Homemade Whole Wheat Bread Recipe.” The description can be longer, and I recommend using a few sentences to describe what someone will find when the click to your website and using keywords naturally to help your pin rank.
So that is Pinterest keywords in a nutshell! It can be a lot of information to process at first, but it will be easier to find keywords and use them when you get the hang of it. If Pinterest is just getting too time consuming for you, send me a message and we can chat about my Pinterest management services!