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Elena Ruchko

3 Techniques for Keyword Optimization on Pinterest

Elena Ruchko
3 Techniques for Keyword Optimization on Pinterest

Online users are more selective than ever. Their preferences have quickly shifted toward rich, visual content, and Pinterest has since become very powerful. E-commerce vendors frequently mention Pinterest as a valuable tool for gaining additional quality traffic and outperforming competitors.

In essence, Pinterest is a search engine, just like Google. Pinterest users search with keywords; and one of the criteria that Pinterest uses to filter search results is the content (keywords) that describe pins. Therefore, pins should be optimized for popular search queries. What’s more, Pinterest can improve your organic rankings in Google search results. All in all, Pinterest is a great platform for gaining exposure and for promotion.

Right now, Pinterest’s ranking mechanism is far from understood. With the introduction of Guided Search and VisualGraph, Pinterest has gone from a kind of search engine to a content-discovery tool. However, through testing and experimentation, several keyword optimization techniques have been discovered, and they have been proved to impact Pinterest and Google search results. So, let’s have a closer look at them.

3 Ways to Do Keyword Optimization on Pinterest

1. Image Name

Pin descriptions are the first thing you should consider. Treat them as a title of a web page. Pinterest weights information provided in pin descriptions, just as Google weights web page titles.

In order for your content to place in the first row of Pinterest search results, optimize your pins’ descriptions with popular and relevant keywords. Put such keywords earlier in the text, because, as practice shows, it will improve your pins’ rankings. For the images from your website that you would like pinned, pay attention to alternative descriptions. By default, Pinterest pulls image alt text and uses it as the description of a pin. So, it is important to write something meaningful in there and mention your keywords.

But how do you choose the right keywords, you might ask? There are several great sources for keywords ideas.

  • Pinterest Autocomplete: This is a feature I love and find very useful. When you hit the Pinterest search button, the engine automatically suggests common word combinations. If you follow these hints, you will get long-tail keywords in the end.
  • Pinterest Guided Search: This feature of Pinterest is designed to categorize results and help users filter through to the right content. Why not use these filters as an additional source of promising keywords?
  • Pinterest Analytics: You can also get some food for thought with the data Pinterest provides with its analytical tool. If you analyze your profile’s performance by the number of impressions, you will be able to see the pins that have been shown the most in search results over a certain period. One of the reasons such pins may have found success could have been because they had trending keywords in their descriptions.

2. Board Name

The most powerful feature of Pinterest boards is they can appear in Google search results. So, this is an awesome opportunity to gather traffic for long-tail keywords.

Your board has a good shot at ranking high for Google in two cases: 1. When a long-tail keyword contains the word “Pinterest” (for example, “B2B marketing tips on Pinterest”), or if it is a niche-specific keyword that covers a narrow topic.

Head over to Google’s Keyword Planner and find a promising long-tail keyword you would like to be ranked, and check to see if there are Pinterest boards already being ranked for this keyword in Google search results. If not, take your chances and create a board.

Of course, creating a board is not sufficient. For best results, your board should be relevant to your profile, contain great content and be regularly updated. Importantly, don’t undervalue your board’s description. Mentioning some keywords might help your rankings, at least on Pinterest.

3. Pinterest Profile

A carefully completed Pinterest profile is the foundation of good performance for your pins and boards. First off, verify your domain link in your Pinterest profile. Verified accounts get more exposure in Pinterest search results. Also, the link to your website is a dofollow one, which means more authoritative link juice for your site.

The next step is to optimize the description on your profile and give special attention to your profile name. Note that, on Pinterest, people can search with keywords for pins, boards and pinners’ profiles. That is why, if you want your profile to be found for a particular keyword, you should check if it is possible to naturally append it to your brand name.

With all that said, it is worth noting that, apart from keywords, a lot of other factors come into play when Pinterest evaluates content. For instance, time lags can have a serious impact on your ability to be seen. In most cases, images receive the greatest amount of user engagement within an hour of being pinned. Users’ Pinterest accounts also have a lot of influence. Pinterest customizes its experience for individuals based on their preferences, pinned content and board topics. Similarly, a company’s Pinterest profile can, to some extent, be a defining factor.

VisualGraph is a game changer in some respect. The most powerful feature of VisualGraph is that it can recognize image content and show images that are not keyword-optimized in search results, but the content of which best fits the user’s query.


First, beyond Google, content is also king. The quality, uniqueness and relevancy of images are as important as their descriptions. Second, testing and analyzing your own pins’ performance is crucial because Pinterest is still evolving. The platform doesn’t disclose a lot of information about how it ranks images, so your own experience matters a lot.

What has your experience been using Pinterest for your brand or business? Let me know!

Elena Ruchko is an international marketing manager at Promodo. She is Google Analytics-certified and a very enthusiastic online marketer with experience in SEO, content marketing and social media.

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