Contrary to popular belief, if you already have some people visiting your website, you actually don’t have to be super active on Pinterest yourself in order for it to drive traffic to your site.
I know, right? MIND BLOWN. This comes STRAIGHT from Pinterest HQ, as you’ll have read in my Pinterest Myths to Stop Following post.
But, your visitors won’t just automatically start pinning— there are some steps you need to take to ensure that your website is optimised for Pinterest and to turn those visitors into people who save your products and articles organically.
So before you start pinning your heart out on your blog or business’s Pinterest account, trying to drive more traffic to your site, FIRST— optimise your site for Pinterest. Here’s how to do it.
Make sure all of your images are high-res
Most likely, you already have images on your website, probably within your blog posts, product pages, etc. In order to optimise those images for Pinterest, make sure they are high-resolution and at least 600 pixels wide, which will ensure that they look bee-yoo-tee-ful when your visitors save them to their pin boards.
Include vertical images on every page
Vertical/portrait images are viewed, repinned and clicked MUCH more than horizontal/landscape images on Pinterest— I think I read a stat somewhere that said FIFTY PERCENT more! The reason for this is that each pin is resized to the same width but can be as tall as you’d like (within reason). So, pins that are tall stand out and are much easier to see than horizontal ones, both in the home feed and on boards.
So, on each page of your website, make sure to include at least one vertical image for visitors to pin— the more vertical images, the better. Regular users (as in, non-Pinterest-professionals) won’t know to pin vertical images over horizontal ones, so if you can, guide them in the right direction by including more verticals over horizontal— or go for no horizontal photos at all!
For blog posts and articles, I recommend creating custom Pinterest-optimised images that include text overlay and your site/brand name, similar to the one I’ve created for this post— scroll back up to see it. For less content-heavy pages, like ones displaying your products, adjust your collection of product images to include lots of beautiful vertical ones.
For more info on how to create beautiful Pins that convert, keep reading— I’ve got a helpful freebie for you!
Some great examples:
Anthropology know that their site visitors will often pin their products to various types of boards, so they include vertical product images specifically for Pinterest— take a look at how it looks in this pin.
Change the alt text of images to Pinterest-friendly text
Did you know that when someone pins an image from you site that Pinterest automatically populates the alt text for the pin’s description? The majority of pinners won’t edit a pin’s description before they pin it to their board, which means you’re missing out on an opportunity to optimise those pins for search.
So, make it easy, and change the alt text to include a Pinterest-friendly description. The description should:
1. Give context to your pin
2. Include relevant keywords
3. Be timeless so that it will be relevant for years to come
4. Help pinners to image what they’ll do with the pin
5. Give the pinner some extra information
If you’re still not sure what you should be writing for those pin descriptions, Pinterest gives some examples for the most popular pin categories:
Recipes: Describe the main ingredients of the dish and how to cook it
Fashion: Include what kind of clothing, the designer or season to wear it
Travel: Tell people the location and the kinds of things you can do there
DIY: Describe what it is, how you make it and what materials people need
Photography: Name the photographer, year, subject or publication
Design: Mention the designer, medium, publication, etc.
Some live examples:
My article on The Abroad Guide on how to calculate the real cost of your study abroad semester has a custom Pinterest-friendly graphic in it— go ahead and click the Pin It button in the top left corner of the image to see how the alt text pulls into the pin description automatically.
This article pin from Elle has a lengthy description that is relatable to a pinner that has coloured their hair, then explains that their usual hair care routine might be damaging it. Finally, the pinner is told what they’ll find if they click through to the article, and how it will improve her life (helping her to keep her hair dye looking dazzling.)
Get rich pins activated
Publishers and online retailers can activate Rich Pins for their site. This means that when someone pins an image from your site, the most important info will automatically appear on the pin, even if the pinner decides to change the description or delete it altogether.
The information that Rich Pins pull through varies between the different types of Rich Pins. For example, for Article Rich Pins, the metadata pulls through, automatically “attaching” the blog post title, publisher, and author to the pin. Recipe Rich Pins include serving times, ingredients needed, and serving info.
There are 6 types of Rich Pins in total, including Article, Recipe, App, Place, Product and Movie. Check out the Pinterest site for an explanation and example of each type of Rich Pin.
Installing Rich Pins on your site will varying in difficulty depending on what type of platform your site is on. If you’re on WordPress self-hosted or Blogger, it’s pretty easy, just follow these instructions. If you’re on another blogging platform, do a quick Google search for a tutorial. If your site is e-commerce-based, it’s probably best to get your developer to set up Rich Pins for you. Just send them to this page to get them started.
PSST– keep reading for some help creating Pins that stand out and convert…
Install the Pin it button
Pinterest offers publishers a nifty little tool call the Pin It button. When it’s installed on your website, it will make a little “Pin It” button pop up on your images. Not only is this little button a great reminder to your site visitors that they should pin this image if they like it, using Pinterest’s button also will help you to be able to analyse what people are pinning from your site the most when you go into your Pinterest analytics.
Get that Pin It button installed ASAP — here’s how to do it, broken down by platform. Be sure to also test that it works on the mobile version of your site.
Tell your readers to Pin It
Want your visitors to do something? Tell them to! If you’ve created a custom graphic with the sole purpose of getting your visitors to start pinning your content, give them a nudge in the right direction by including a bit of text saying something like “Pin this!” or “Pin this to your London board!” They’ll be happy you reminded them, and even better, they’ll be more likely to do it.
Embed boards on your site
You can easily embed your Pinterest boards into your site content, so consider incorporating your boards into related content.
For example, if you write a blog post about what to eat while in Cozumel, embed your “Cozumel Tips” board into your post and tell your readers that they can find more Cozumel tips for their trip within that board. They’ll be pretty likely to click through to your board, and they’ll love that you’ve made their trip research super easy for them!
You can do something similar with product pages. If you’re selling home decor, you can embed a board that contains your newest products, or one that helps them visualise where they’d use that product, perhaps in their kitchen.
It seems like a lot to do, but once you do the above, your site will be optimised for Pinterest— congrats! If you’re offering useful content and beautiful products, you’ll start to see more traffic from Pinterest arriving to your site— success!