Are you feeling a little lost with this entire Pinterest Marketing and Algorithms thing?.
Let me guess what’s going on in your head right now, how does Pinterest algorithm work, what is Pinterest exactly, is it a social media, is it a search engine.
How are pins ranked on Pinterest, what about keywords helpings become viral, hey hey, hold your horses?
That’s already too many questions and I totally get you, there is a whole lot you can learn about this widely underestimated traffic source.
I promise to help you understand how the Pinterest algorithm works.
As for Pinterest SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, I regularly publish new expert videos specialized on Pinterest marketing if you’re reading this for the first time let me make a short introduction.
So, I’m a Pinterest marketing expert and blogging educator, I started my blog which has grown into an online business since 2017 and in two years I’m driving over 250,000 monthly page views of free Pinterest traffic to my blog and I’m monetized Pinterest traffic with ads and affiliate product sales on my side plus I sell my own digital products it would be fair to say that I own 90 percent of my income on Pintura to Pinterest traffic because that’s the share of Pinterest traffic to my blogs.
I promise to share with you everything I know about Pinterest algorithm and before I even start talking about it, I want you to understand that even Pinterest engine, the engineers would not be able to tell you all the riddles because search engines use machine learning, meaning the algorithm trains on data provided by users and it improves itself over.
All I can tell you is based on my experience and the information Pinterest representatives shared publicly, so keep in mind that Pinterest will never share all the details as this would open the door for spammers and all kinds of manipulations on the platform at a larger scale.
So when we talk about the Pinterest algorithm, we first need to look at the four different interfaces, each interface shows pins based on its own algorithm so we’re talking about “the smart feed”, it’s also called “home feed” following tab Pinterest keyword search results and hashtag search results.
Now let’s take a look at each of these places as opportunities for marketing on Pinterest and try to understand how they work.
But first let’s talk about the smart feed,I already mentioned that it’s also called home feed,why, because it’s the default view of your Pinterest account so whenever you open Pinterest on your smartphone or on your desktop computer the first thing you see is the smart feed, so it’s everything that you can see on this domain or it could be any other local Pinterest domain.
But Canada and the United Kingdom or any other so you could compare the smart feed with Facebook’s feed because what is shown is based on a combination of your interests, the people and boards you’re following on Pinterest, the pins you saved earlier, your search history on Pinterest and many other factors.
So by taking all these factors into consideration, Pinterest is trying to guess which content you will enjoy the most and for which pins you will come back to the platform again and again.
As of 2019, the smart feed does not show fresh pins first, by fresh I mean the most recent pins.
Pinterest used to show fresh pin first in the early years of the platform, but as I said, it depends on the user’s behavior on the platform.
Now let’s talk about the following tab, this tab was introduced in March 2018 and it shows you only the pins from people you follow on Pinterest, you can find the following tab in the right top corner on desktop next to your profile picture on the app, on the Pinterest app it will be one of the buttons at the bottom of the screen, the pins are shown based on their recency, the newest pins are at the very top of your feed, there is not much to understand about the algorithm of the following tab because newest pins are shown first and there is not much we as marketers can do to improve the performance in this feed, obviously the more followers we have the more clicks we can get from the thread.
If those are real followers and we are not trying to get involved in any follow or automation techniques that are very frequently used on other platforms.
I mean Instagram for the most part, so Pinterest never published any stats about the percentage of users who prefer to use the tab, but it’s enough to know that you have to click on the following tab to see pins from people you follow, otherwise Pinterest will automatically show you the smart feed, the home feed, and the following feed is just a secondary option on Pinterest and I would be very careful trying to inflate the following numbers because they should grow organically, otherwise you might end up having low engagement per follower and this can have a critical effect on the overall quality of your account, why, because Pinterest algorithm first sends each of your new pins to a small part of your followers and gathers information about the engagement, thus you can get saves and click if it does.
It’s a quality pin, and if it’s relevant to the description, your edit Pinterest will start showing the pin to bigger audiences and when this happens your following grows organically because Pinterest does all the work for you.
Basically, the algorithm finds people interested in the topic or the keywords you add it to the description and it shows your pin to these people in the smart feed or in search results, and so, if the people find your account interesting they will follow.
So to summarize this part about the Pinterest following tab, it’s important to understand that quality of your followers matters a lot more than their quantity on Pinterest, because the follower engagement is critical especially at the early stages, as soon as you publish your pin , you have about a couple of days maybe 24 hours, they don’t say exactly, Pinterest never mentioned ever in any interviews how much time exactly you have to gather this engagement information for your new pins, but it’s called early engagement and they send it to you this pin first to your followers.
I believe that it’s in the first 24 hours and then they decide what to do with this pin, either to hide it from the feed or to show it to more people, and then if your pin is wonderful it gets click-throughs and gets many saves then Pinterest fire Google start finding followers for you automatically and you don’t need to do any following stuff like on other platforms .
Now let’s talk about Pinterest keyword search results it’s another place where you can market your pins and invent risk search results are not the same for all users they are personalized and they’re changed based on which boards and people the user follows.
Also search results on Pinterest change with new updates that happens with Google but on Pinterest it happens more, much more frequently, Pinterest doesn’t announce nor talks about these updates and their frequency in public but if you spend a few years actively working as a Pinterest marketer as I did, you will notice that Pinterest search results changed a lot, usually at the start of each season because Pinterest seems to be rolling out updates at least once in three months.
So what are the things that help your pins rank high in a keyword search? and Pinterest, obviously you need to optimize your pins.
I just need to remind you that you need to think about post SEO title and it has to include the targeted keyword, the post SEO description has to include this keyword, and of course the pin description, also includes hashtags that also ideally need to be with a targeted keyword, and all of this is also related with the board to be saved to, the board that has the same keyword targeted in the board title.
Pinterest takes this very seriously and you probably noticed that the platform is to emphasize some seasonal or trending topics in many ways so updating search results before its season, seems to be a regular practice on Pinterest.
Even if keywords you’re targeting and not seasonal at all and since Pinterest updates search result in about every three months, all types of keywords are affected.
Now I wanted to talk to you about hashtag search.
To see the hashtag search results on Pinterest you just need to type your keyword or search term into the search box on the platform with the hashtag sign before your keyword and a pin will only show up in hashtag search if this pin has the hashtag inside the pin description, and it works as a link to the hashtag search results for that keyword.
So if I click here or on another key hashtag I will see the results for the other hashtag and each pin can have multiple hashtags associated with it.
Pinterest seems to have a love/hate relationship with hashtags in the early years of the platform, hashtags were okay on Pinterest then for a few years, using hashtags could get your account into trouble, hashtags basically we’re considered spammy technique and it all comes to the way that hashtags are used on other platforms.
Pinterest cannot operate properly when hashtags are used the same way as on Twitter or Instagram.
Pinterest has to be relevant to your content because they work as search terms.
Pinterest explains that hashtags unlike other platforms, should not be funny or creative, they have to be on the topic first and foremost.
So for a fashion brand like spring fashion, would work well but look terrible in Pinterest eyes.
Pinterest doesn’t want a relevant hashtag attached to your pins just because they are popular, keep in mind the strategy can still get you in trouble on Pinterest and when hashtags were rolled out in 2017 the search results were not based on relevance of the users interest, they were shown solely based on the freshness of the pins.
Hashtags are shown only for the new pins, so if you repeat pins on Pinterest with a hashtag, it will not show up in the search ,it’s still true for the most part that the pins are shown in this order, the freshest pins first, but I noticed that pins are not exactly always ranked in chronological order.
It will also depend on the user’s behavior on the platform and in the future, I think they will enhance this even more, and maybe we’ll make this hashtag search more similar or closer to a regular keyword search on Pinterest.