What happened to Pinterest SEO traffic?
Until April 2018, it used to be that when someone went on Google to search ideas, recipes, tutorials, and images, you’d see Pinterest Explore landing pages in the search results. An Explore page on Pinterest is a category hub page which shows thousands of relevant Pins, and had adequate SEO when it comes to keyword-rich titles, descriptions, URLs, and image information.
So if you searched for party ideas, you’d see something like this in the Top 3 of Google:
Best 25+ Party ideas on Pinterest | Party ideas, theme parties, decor ideas
According to SEO data provider, Ahrefs, tells us that all Explore pages (not all of Pinterest) in Oct 2017 pulled in a total of 100 million+ visitors from SEO, from 37 million different keyword variations.
From late 2016 to April 2018, Pinterest saw anywhere between 50M-100M+ visitors per month on their Explore pages.
In the first week of April, a Google tweak led to a nosedive, and the Explore page traffic hit 0 within just weeks.
So what happened: Did Pinterest get hit with a Google penalty?
No, not really. Google decided it made more sense to direct search traffic for keywords about ideas, tutorials, and images to land on individual user’s Pinterest boards instead of the Explore pages.
According to Ahrefs, Pinterest still pulls in 300 million or so clicks each month from SEO. Who knows, in Q4, they might even peak at 400 mill.
Who cares: why should bloggers care about this?
With this change, Pinterest power users become, or at least have the chance to become, even more powerful.
This means that for the 60K+ monthly searches for ‘birthday party ideas’, Pinterest boards all of a sudden have the chance to compete for and take over this top spot. For most of these keywords, Pinterest still has a top 1-5 ranking. That’s where the magic happens, that’s where in 2019, Pinterest will get 4 billion clicks from.
So, how does Google determine which Pinterest board to rank? After all, there must be 100s, maybe thousands, of individually compiled boards on the subject of birthday parties. Did this power user do anything special to get theirs to rank? Does she even know it’s on page 1 for this major keyword? Is she permanently going to claim this listing?
Most bloggers, maybe all, use Pinterest to get traffic to their pins or their blog, they don’t worry about how Pinterest gets traffic. That’s Pinterest’s job.
Google’s job is to filter through all of the birthday Boards, and rank the best one or 2 boards which contain rich and relevant content. Specifically, boards with more Pins, and boards with lots of keyword-relevant Pins. Finally, the last and equally important factor: linking. Google assesses which boards receive the best internal links within Pinterest.com, and the best links from other blogs and sites.
Chances are this particular board ranks because:
- it has a solid 327 pins,
- over 71.5k followers,
- a keyword-rich board title, description, URL,
- all of the top pins are actual birthday ideas,
- good backlinks from Pinterest and other sites
So the question I have for you, all the birthday party experts out there…what’s stopping you from doing the same?
You’re already a Pinterest power user.
Your blog has a respectable amount of SEO authority.
You may even already have a Pinterest board on birthdays with lots of pins, and lots of followers.
What’s stopping you from taking a few easy, extra steps to try to get your board to rank?
Can’t hurt to try! One (or two for many keywords) Pinterest board URL almost always appears at the top of page 1 for highly popular but highly competitive keywords you otherwise have virtually no shot of ranking for.
So do this:
- Go rename your board based on some popular keywords like Birthday Party Ideas 2019, Kids Birthday Party Ideas, Birthday Party Themes, etc.
- Leave the URL as it is, changing this could potentially backfire.
- Add a nice keyword-rich, but accurate and sensible, description.
- Re-arrange ideas so that the first 50 or so Pins are highly relevant to you, or to the keywords you’re targeting.
Next, let’s leverage your blog to boost link juice to your board, but in a strategic and relevant way. How?
If you’re Pinning dozens of birthday ideas, you probably have a bunch of blog posts on it under “birthday party” as your WordPress Categories, Sub-categories or Tags.
Don’t make the mistake of linking to your board from every single page on your blog, you just want to link from the ones that are primarily about birthdays.
Next, create links using one of two methods:
Pinterest Board Widget method
- Go here, and build a Pinterest widget to showcase your board.
- Enter your board URL, and follow the embed instructions.
- Go to Appearance > Widgets.
- Add the HTML widget to your Primary Sidebar, and paste in the code from the widget builder.
- Alternatively, you can add the Text widget, and type in some text, and hyperlink that to the Board.
- Now, click the Visibility button, which allows you to set conditional logic, and only show this board where it makes sense.
- Click Show > Category or Tag > Birthday Party
- If you have multiple tags and categories that might have more birthday ideas, click the + button, and add those too.
- Optionally, you can even add a sentence with a link contextually within some of your top birthday articles for even more juice, or repeat the above steps on other blogs you might own.
Now, go to any 1 or 5 of your birthday posts, and check to make sure the Pinterest box or your custom text shows up in the sidebar, with a clear link to the Pinterest board.
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If you do this correctly, it’ll look like this:
Check out my Pinterest board for 100s of Easter craft ideas.