If I see one more “Pinterest expert” telling bloggers and business owners to delete their pins with zero repins, I am gonna go nuts.
I went to Pinterest HQ a few months ago for a workshop, and throughout it, the Community Manager kept saying “don’t delete your pins, don’t delete your pins”. I told her that I’d read multiple that you SHOULD delete your pins— and long-story-short, she said it’s DON’T! So… listen up to hear why.
How this silly rumor started
If I had to guess, I’d say that someone assumed that Pinterest determines pin relevancy by number of repins, and then “tested” it, and saw an increase in repins and engagement.
Then, this person told others to do the same, and now, people are “convinced”.
That’s a little bit annoying, because it’s not true. Chances are, this person also started to do other things that helped increase their repin rate, like only pinning vertical pins, writing keyword-rich descriptions, etc.
The truth about Pinterest’s algorithm
First off, Pinterest doesn’t determine pin relevancy based on the “quality” of what the pinner pins. They don’t care if you have 9,000 pins that have no repins. Pinterest determines relevancy of a pin on an individual user basis. So, when someone searches for something in Pinterest, this is why the results they get will be a bit different from what another user searching the same term will see.
Deleting pins also doesn’t “help to make sure” you’ll show up in your followers’ home feeds. All of your pins will appear in your followers’ home feeds, however, whether or not they will actually get to see them depends on how many other profiles they follow, how many pins those profiles are pinning, and so on.
Those “picked for you” pins that show up in your home feed are also determined on an individual user basis, and deleting your pins with no repins won’t help your pins appear more for “picked for you” pins.
All of the above depends on a number of factors, not all of which Pinterest have revealed, but I can confirm that signals like clicks, repins, enlarging a pin, etc. all factor into this.
Pinterest HQ’s take on deleting pins
“Don’t delete your pins”, simple as that. There are two reasons for this— one being what I’ve already discussed above— it won’t help you get ahead of the algorithm.
The second reason is that pins that are “dead” when they are first pinned (aka, have zero likes or repins) can come to life months or years later. If just one person pins your dead pin after it appears in Pinterest search, it could go viral, sending thousands of new visitors to your site.
Do you REALLY wanna mess with that?
Why you saw an increase in engagement when you started deleting pins
I hate this, but I’m going to admit that there once was a time when I fell for the “delete your pins with no repins” trap. I did some deleting, and slowly started to see an increase in those little red notifications. But, it was false. Looking back, the reason I probably started to see an increase is because in the same blog post that told me to delete pins, I also read some stuff that was actually correct and valuable, like, only repinning vertical pins, and getting Rich Pins set up.
But just a couple of months later, I was told by the Pinterest gods that deleting pins was a waste, and I was finally SET FREE!
Cool. So, if there’s one thing you should get out of this, it’s that you’re wasting your very valuable time deleting your pins. Got it? Great. I’m glad I could save you hours of your life— or rather, why don’t you take the time you would have spent deleting pins and create some kick-ass Pinterest-optimized graphics for your blog posts? The return on that time invest is, like, a BILLION times higher.
There are quite a few other myths that the Pinterest HQ girls said were FALSE— head to this blog post and I’ll tell you which ones you should stop listening to.