Optimizing for Pinterest at @SMX East

Intel’s Director of SEO Laura Ann Mitchell and Community Manager Scott Jaworski (@scott_jaworski) dug deep into Pinterest to see what search best practices they could apply to that visual social media network. After all, Pinterest considers itself a search engine rather than a social platform, so it makes sense to think that what would work on Google might hold value on Pinterest. They’re sharing their findings in the SMX East session “Optimizing Pinterest for Maximum Engagement.”

Scott Jaworski at SMX East
Intel’s Scott Jaworski

Intel wanted to be on Pinterest for a simple but powerful reason: “Our users are on Pinterest, so we had to be there,” Mitchell said.

Fast Facts about Pinterest

  • Pinterest has 100 million active users, as of September 2015.
  • 71 percent of users are women. However, one third of new signups are now male.
  • 27 percent of users access Pinterest daily.
  • 93 percent of pinners shopped online in the past six months, and are 10 percent more likely to make purchases online (Nielsen).

What factors drive visibility on Pinterest?

  • Pinners
  • Pins
  • Amount and types of boards
  • Authority domains

Intel’s Pinterest Study

Intel looked at the top 25 pins per keyword for more than 45,000 keywords submitted to Pinterest. The study included:

  • 110,000+ pins
  • 19,000+ pinners
  • 9,000+ domains
  • 4 million+ repins
  • 15,000+ comments

The Findings

Do pins from pinners with more pins or more followers perform better? YES. (Following back other pinners didn’t matter. Pinning content from many domains didn’t matter. Multiple boards didn’t matter.)

Intel found that 80 percent of pins ranking in the first row come from pinners with more than 1,400 total pins, and that pinners with first row ranking pins have an average of 229,000 followers (36 percent higher than pinners with pins in rows 2–4).

Pins in the first row, in fact, have “dramatically higher repins, likes and comments than pins inn rows 2–4. They have 87 percent more repins, 93 percent more likes and 220 percent more comments. Fifty percent of first row pins were rich pins,” they discovered.

Lastly, Intel found that the Pinterest algorithm appears to be heavily weighted for boards that include exact match keywords.

Recommendations for Pinterest Based on Intel Study

  • Use rich pins.
  • Optimize the source URL.
  • Avoid pinning duplicate content.
  • Align boards with Pinterest categories.
  • Create boards that align with specific events and holidays.
  • Create inspirational boards where that makes sense.

By taking their own advice, Intel has seen a 48 percent increase in average monthly engaged views and a 34 percent increase in average monthly views.

Intel’s Takeaways

  1. Insights from search drive value well beyond the boundaries of the traditional SERP.
  2. A market organization structure that facilitates the sharing of insights across disciplines enables rapid innovation.
  3. Focusing on the user reveals new ways to meet our audience where they are.

Kristi Kellogg is a journalist, news hound, professional copywriter, and social (media) butterfly. Currently, she is a senior SEO content writer for Conde Nast. Her articles appear in newspapers, magazines, across the Internet and in books such as "Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals" and "The Media Relations Guidebook." Formerly, she was the social media editor at Bruce Clay Inc.

See Kristi's author page for links to connect on social media.

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