How do I get my Pins to the top of my prospect’s Pinterest feed? That’s the question every brand wants answered.
Pinterest has changed a lot in the last year. The company has made a number of enhancements to create a top notch consumer experience and help users find exactly what they are looking for.
The biggest change was the release of the Pinterest Smart Feed in the Fall of 2014.
Common tactics used in years prior to gain traction aren’t relevant today. Retailers and e-commerce brands who built large followings and healthy referral traffic may have seen organic reach and referral traffic drop off after the release of the Smart Feed.
In this post, we’ll go over how to approach Pinterest for organic growth and what brands who’ve seen their traffic decrease can do to bridge the gap.
The Pinterest Smart Feed
Let’s start with answering what exactly is the Pinterest Smart Feed. The Pinterest Smart Feed is an algorithm that determines which Pins to show to a user and when. Previously, Pinterest would show Pins in newest-first order.
The move to the Smart Feed is Pinterest’s way of providing a more relevant, personalized experience to users. There are a number of factors that now go into what Pins are shown to a user.
First, Pins can appear in your feed from 3 main sources:
- Repins from people you follow
- Related Pins or ‘Picked for You’ Pins based on what you repin or search for on Pinterest
- Pins from Interests you follow
The combination of these 3 sources can generate a substantial number of possible Pins to serve to a user at any given time. So how does Pinterest decide which Pins to show and when?
Pinterest used to show the most recently pinned Pins at the top of your feed regardless of the source. However, with the goal of a more personalized, quality experience, they changed the home feed to now show the most relevant new Pins to a user. Relevancy is determined by your activity on the site – what are you searching for, repining, and engaging with.
Another big change is that Pinterest will filter out Pins from users or sources. If someone Pins infrequently, creates a poor quality Pin or Pins from a poor quality source, Pinterest may decide to show the Pin at a later time, or not at all.
How to Create a Valuable Pinterest Experience for Your Prospects
So the big question is how do you get your business’s Pins at the top of the feed and in front of the right users at the right time. Here are the factors the Pinterest algorithm considers:
Pin Quality: Pinterest wants to serve high quality Pins to users. Pins with great images, rich descriptions, and high engagement will receive a boost.
Source Quality: Pins that link to high quality, relevant sites will receive a boost while Pins that link to low-quality, irrelevant, or spam sites get bumped.
Once Pinterest has taken the pool of available Pins that it can serve a user, filters for Pin Quality and Source Quality, the Smart Feed Content Generator will then determine how to display the best available Pins.
The concept behind the Smart Feed Content Generator is that Pinterest wants to rearrange Pins so you see Pins from a variety of sources, rather than show Pins from one account over and over.
Before the change, you may have seen 5 Pins in a row from a single account. This can get boring for a user so now Pinterest will take the best available Pins and intersperse them to create variety for a user.
There’s not much you can do to sway this, as Pinterest wants to make sure Pins from various sources are mixed together.
Things You Can Do to Improve Your Pinterest Strategy
With an understanding of how the Pinterest Smart Feed works, there are a number of things you can do to make your Pins stand out and appear in relevant search results and feeds.
- Think SEO. Pinterest has taken a cue from Google, which means Pinterest SEO is a real thing. Have your SEO hat on when you’re putting together your Pinterest organic strategy together and are looking for growth for your brand or business.
- Use quality images. Users are attracted to high resolution, eye-catching images. Think about what would catch someone’s attention, and make sure images aren’t blurry. More tips here.
- Write content rich descriptions. This is where SEO comes back into play. Your descriptions should be thoughtful, helpful, and relate to your Pin and link. Use keywords, but don’t go overboard.
- Link Pins to quality sources. When you’re curating content for your Boards, you may re-Pin content from other people. This is great! Just be sure to check the site the Pin is driving to. If it’s spam, looks shady, or is a dead page then remove the URL.
- Make sure your Boards have great titles and descriptions. They should be short, descriptive, and to the point.
- Don’t use hashtags! Yep, this is one place where you shouldn’t use hashtags. Pinterest discovery is built around search and Related Pins, and Pinterest doesn’t emphasize hashtags. So avoid hashtags..
- Make sure your website is set up for Pinterest success.
- Install a Pin It button on your website. This gives your website visitors a pathway to promote your brand. Make it as easy as possible for your customers to save their favorite items to their own boards. The more Pins leading back to your site the better!
- Enable Rich Pins. Rich Pins will display relevant product information like price and whether the item is in stock. One of the more helpful features is that anyone who Pins an item from your Rich Pin enabled e-commerce site will get alerts when the price changes or an item comes back in stock. This is a great way to keep your brand top of mind over the long run with people who’ve expressed interest in your product.
- Use Alt tags with content rich descriptions. When someone Pins a product from your page, you’ll want to make sure there’s a default description that will aid in your SEO efforts on Pinterest.
- Pin regularly. Timing when you Pin is less relevant now thanks to the Smart Feed, however you should still Pin regularly to your account to maintain an active status.
What Brands with Existing Pinterest Accounts Can Do to Recover Pinterest Traffic
If your brand has been on Pinterest for years and you’ve generated a large following with great referral traffic, but were impacted by the Smart Feed update there are a number of things you can do to get back in the game.
First, take a look at the above tactics and ensure you’re incorporating them into your current execution plans for Pinterest.
Next, go back and update your older Pins. Depending on the size of your Pinterest account, it may not be feasible to update all Pins. You should, however, go back and update Pins with high engagement rates or the Pins that were the source of high referral traffic. Items to update:
- Write better descriptions
- Remove any hashtags
- Verify the link is still active. If the Pin links to a product that is no longer available, consider revamping the specific product page to make it more Pinterest friendly. For example, “This product is sold out, but Pinners also love these items.” will create a better user experience.
Have you found success with the Pinterest Smart Feed? Think we missed something? We’d love to hear about your wins and strategies. Share your thoughts in the comments below.
If you’ve tried your hand at Pinterest and you’re struggling to get off the ground – leave a comment below or you can reach us here.