When it comes to marketing on Pinterest, there are two different ways that people can come across your content. It can show up in their feeds while they're browsing, triggered by the user's interest in similar pins or because one of the accounts they followed shared it. The pin can also end up in a user's feed, on the other hand, because the user was searching for something exactly like it.
There's a lot to be said for method number one: you definitely want people sharing and saving your content, because it extends your reach to their followers, and can keep your pin going around and around and around on the platform. This is why the half-life of a pin is around 3.5 months, where it's only 90 minutes for a Facebook post and 24 minutes for a Tweet.
Without the ability to show up in relevant searches, however, it's likely that your pin would struggle to get that mass circulation you want, and it would prevent you from connecting with your target audience who is actively looking for content exactly like yours.
When it comes down to getting results on Pinterest, keywords play a crucial role. In this post, we're going to take a close look at how to identify and add keywords to Pinterest's organic and promoted pins to maximise your reach and your impact on the platform.
Why Keywords Matter On Pinterest
If you write a blog post, you'll optimise it for SEO. When you want new followers and more engagement on Instagram, you make sure to add those high-visibility hashtags to your posts. Just as you're optimising your other online marketing materials for search, you need to do the same for Pinterest by adding keywords to each pin (and ideally your boards and profile, too!) so that you can show up in searches on the platform.
Pinterest, after all, is frequently used to research and make buying decisions, so you want to be showing up in those searches. 90% of weekly users utilise the site to make a buying decision, and 55% are looking specifically for products of services to purchase, so this is a high-intent audience. If you don't show up in the search because your pins don't have the right keywords attached, you'll lose the sale to your competition.
When we say "keywords," all that we really mean are terms that you've researched that you think your audience will be using to search for content like yours, which you place in the text of your pin description.
Why You Need to Conduct Pinterest-Specific Research
As soon as people hear "keyword research," their first thought is typically to flock to generic keyword research that's used for standard search engines like Google.
There's a problem with that, however; users aren't necessarily using Google's search engines and Pinterest's the same way, and it's common to see different keywords have priority in one but not the other.
Part of this is because Pinterest may have a more niche audience (even though that is changing, with demographic lines closing). Still, it's where most people will go to buy products or get ideas for things like wedding services or landscape inspiration. So while this audience may flock to Pinterest to try to find wedding decor, they may not be so fast to search for a lawyer for a prenup on the platform; it's not visual, and it's not necessarily in line with the services you'd expect to research on the site.
A different niche audience and a different platform can yield a different buyer intent and, thus, different buyer behaviors. It's essential to tailor your content (and your keywords!) to the specific audience and platform at hand. This is the best way to find success. And now we'll show you how to do exactly that.
How to Find Strong Keywords on Pinterest
The key to finding strong keywords on Pinterest will be to use the Promoted Pins tool, even when you only want to do basic research for your organic campaigns.
When you're creating Promoted Pins, part of the process involves searching for and selecting keywords that you want to associate with your pin to help it place in relevant searches. At this stage, you can enter in the basic keywords you're thinking of using that relate to your pin. Pinterest will immediately provide with you with suggestions for specific keywords related to what you've searched for, along with insight about each one's monthly search volume.
Pay close attention here, and look at the top keywords with the highest search volume that are most relevant to your pin. Promoted Pins allows you to add all keywords to your campaigns, but you can really only get away with optimising an organic pin for only two or three keywords at the absolute most.
As you're reviewing the list for organic keywords in particular, look for signs of potential high-intent keywords. Typically the more specific the keyword, the better; there will be less competition for getting those spots, and you'll be able to deliver what the user wants right to them. Someone looking for "blue tap shoes" has something more specific in mind than "dance shoes," so you have a better chance at meeting their needs.
It's also a good call to look for versatile keywords. Let's say that you have a wedding venue in Atlanta you want to promote. You could choose "outdoor barn wedding venue in Atlanta" as the keyword, because it might encompass all of the following relevant searches:
- Outdoor barn wedding
- Outdoor barn wedding venue
- Barn wedding venue
- Wedding venue in Atlanta
- Barn wedding venue in Atlanta
- Outdoor wedding venue Atlanta
If you're able to come up with versatile, high-intent keywords that you think your pins can compete for,
write them down and get ready to start adding those keywords to your pins, promoted or otherwise.
Note that to use this strategy, you must have a business account on Pinterest, which allows you to run the ad campaigns. You do not have to have any intention of actually running the campaigns to take advantage of this incredible free resource; just exit out after you've done your research, and you don't need to worry about Promoted Pins at all if you choose not to run them.
How to Add Keywords on Pinterest: Best Practices
You've started to work in your list, courtesy of Pinterest's free, native, built-in resource. Excellent! As you create that list, it's important to know exactly how to optimise your pins for those hard-researched terms. In this section, we're going to look at how to do this for both paid ad campaigns and organic pins to ensure both see maximum search visibility.
Add At Least 25 Keywords to Your Promoted Pins
Promoted Pins is Pinterest's paid ad system, and unlike other search-oriented ad systems, the goal here isn't to focus on a few select keywords to keep things hyper relevant, it's to add as many keywords as possible to your campaign that might be relevant to expand visibility.
Pinterest actually recommends adding a minimum of 25 keywords to each Promoted Pin campaign that you run, which is an enormously large list. That's ok, though, because Pinterest's keywords get specific.
To add the keywords you want to your Promoted Pin campaign, simple click on the specific terms you want to use, and they'll appear on the lefthand side of the keyword list. You can click on it again if you decide to remove it, and you also have the option to "add all results" if you want to speed things up.
While I do recommend using all the relevant keywords on the list, I typically don't recommend opting for the "add all results" choice; you want to comb through each one, because every time you get an irrelevant placement, it's wasted potential. You only want people to see your paid ad if there's a chance they could convert.
For good measure, make sure you're also selecting "interests" in the section above. This will help you have your ad appear when users are browsing, even when they're not searching directly.
Use Them In the Pins Themselves... Even On Promoted Pins
If you want to optimise your organic pins for top-performing keywords, your chance to do this will be in the pin's title and it's description, where you can enter the keyword manually just like you would in a blog post. Here, you'll use the keyword to help establish context and explain what it is that your pin can offer.
It's also a good call to use this practice even on Promoted Pins, because telling the user that your pin matches exactly what they're looking for instead of just relying on the picture is a good choice. You really want to make your pin the obvious choice here.
Let's look at an example. The term "indoor gardening" yields a ton of results, but the pin all the way to the right uses the intended keyword to attract attention with "Indoor gardening ideas" instead of launching into what those ideas are. Treat these pin headlines like a blog post headline; they need to grab attention quickly, or you've lost the click.
Feature A Keyword On the Pin's Image
When you want to draw attention to your pin and highlight its value to onlooking dinners, adding some text overlay to your pin's image is a good choice. It tells them exactly what the pin is about and what they can get from clicking. And you guessed it-- placing a simple keyword in that text overlay can help you get more clicks.
The pin above does this with the keyword "unique school lunch ideas," immediately showing searchers for "school lunch ideas" that they have something new to offer.
Use a Variety of Keywords In Your Descriptions
If you think that you can only choose a single keyword for each organic pin, I've got good news for you: this couldn't be further from the truth. In many cases, you're going to be able to get in a minimum of two keywords, though typically no more than four is a good bet. Between the pin's title and it's description, there's a lot of room to play as long as you can get a little creative.
Let's take a look at another example. The pin below successfully placed three different keywords in a single pin between its title and description: "Master Closet Organisation Ideas," "help to organise your closet," and "Master Closet Organisation tips." Each one of these could be used in a search, so having all of them ready to go in the pin increases the likelihood that this content will appear in more searches.
For best results, put the keyword you think is most likely to convert up front in the title and description, but don't neglect the other keywords in the process! That being said, avoid keyword stuffing-- your pin needs to read naturally, and if it just reads like you're doing nothing but slapping search-friendly phrases together, it can come across as low quality and spammy.
Keyword research for Pinterest is an important part of the marketing process and it will absolutely influence your success on the platform, whether you're using organic marketing, Promoted Pins, or a combination of the two. You can also apply the data you've collected in the process to the rest of your account for good measure, adding keywords to your boards and even your profile description. This will maximise the search visibility of your entire platform in addition to individual pins.