What is Pinterest and How Can It Help my Business? February 17, 2012
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past few months you have probably heard of this up-and-coming new social media site called Pinterest. If you’re female you have known about this image-capturing site for months. If you’re a guy, you may be confused as to the purpose of this site which you may be hearing about for the first time.
The purpose of Pinterest is to “pin” images – and the site has gained huge popularity. TechCrunch reports that it got exclusive stats from ComScore showing that Pinterest had 11.7 million unique monthly visitors in January 2012. That’s up from 7.5 million in December…and a scant 418,000 last May. These stats represent the fastest sustainable growth ever for a standalone site.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is an image bookmarking site. The mission of the Pinterest team is to connect people through their common interests.
Here’s how it works:
1) When someone likes an image on a website they can pin it back to a board they’ve created on the Pinterest site. These boards can be named anything but fall under categories designated by the Pinterest team, like weddings/events, home décor, travel, etc.
2) Individuals can see pins by people whose boards they are following, or by searching through the most popular pins (most repinned), by category, by search term, or by price. If a user has typed in the price of the object in the comment area it will also appear on the top left corner of the image (this only happens when the dollar sign is typed into the comment area. No other money symbol – like € or £ – makes the price appear on the pin).
3) Every image has a comment area, link, and options to like or repin. Viewers can visit the site that housed the original image by clicking on the image or on the URL in the top right corner of the image.
Clearly, Pinterest’s ability to become a leader in referral traffic is already established. SEO professionals have also realized the potential this social site can provide for products or services.
How can I use Pinterest for SEO?
The real question is not how you can use Pinterest, but can you use Pinterest for promotional purposes? Pinterest is a visual, image-sharing site. Therefore, you have to ask yourself: Do I promote websites/services that have visuals that people around the world would be willing to share?
If the answer is no, then maybe Pinterest is not for you. If the answer is yes, then you might be able to get a healthy piece of the link building and referral traffic pie.
The Link Builders hosts a few Pinterest boards for our clients who sell home items, clothing, and fashion accessories. We would not create a Pinterest board for clients offering financial services (debt consolidation, credit repair, etc.) which have very little visual appeal.
When we pin an image from our client’s website onto a board, for example: the Home Décor category, it immediately shows on the Home Décor homepage of Pinterest and anyone can repin it. It also shows up on the homepage of any person’s pin board who is following the board we put the image in. This begins the spread of the image and the potential increase of clicks to the client’s website.
Don’t forget to use appropriate keywords and tags in your comment boxes of all pins so people can easily find your image and repin it!
If you go to the homepage of any Pinterest account you will notice links to Twitter and Facebook under the user’s image. These can be connected to a company Twitter account or Facebook page, so without even actively participating in Pinterest you are already taking advantage of the link building opportunities to other social media sites. In addition to adding a Twitter or Facebook icon you can also add a link to your website around the mix of icons as well.
When creating your Pinterest profile also make sure to:
• Make your profile open to search engines
• Fill your About section with relevant keywords
• Add your website URL in the About section
• Set your location to better attain geo-targeted traffic
Keep in mind that Google is not only indexing Pinterest profiles, but also individual boards. Using keywords throughout your Pinterest profile is a great way to increase SERP visibility.
If you navigate through Pinterest you will see there are opportunities for you to receive ‘do-follow’ backlinks through pinning images and including some form of anchor text on the pin text which is similar to images on Tumblr blogs. The comment area allows anything to be written there including URL’s which is great from an optimization perspective.
Product Search & Link Reclamation:
Instead of pinning your own images you can make sure your own products are being pinned and redirected correctly. Let’s use the previous example of a furniture website. I know the products promoted on my furniture website and I want to make sure any image of those products is referring back to my site.
- Create lists of tags that correspond to your image based on the product name, brand, or function.
- Search those terms. Most likely A LOT of random products will appear because people tag images without really thinking about it. However, you may actually discover your own products in the mix.
- Note which images do not mention your company in the tag/comment area and not linking to your site.
- To correct the challenges listed above you can make a request change to the user who pinned the image. Every user has a message area under the social media icons on their homepage. Simply ask the user if she can change the link of her image. If you do not receive a response try using a social media platform to contact them instead.
Remember, you’re talking to real people who don’t necessarily care where the image links to. They might have linked from a website that has info on where to purchase the item on sale or in conjunction with an incentive instead of your website. Appeal to their good nature and convince them why they should change the pin address to your website.
Note: Those who have repinned the image with the original URL will still link to that URL. You will have to ask everyone who has pinned the image to change the URL which is no different than the strategies than an SEO uses every day when it comes to building relationships and prospecting for link building opportunities.0