Pinterest and the Social SEO Benefits

pinterestPin­terest… what exactly is it? How is it a won­der for busi­nesses online? Why are people buzz­ing about it? And what does it have to do with SEO?

I’ll be answer­ing all these ques­tions today. And more…

So first, let’s try and under­stand what is all about

Towards Decem­ber 2009, a team of developers com­menced work­ing on the idea of an“image vis­ion board” that would allow social shar­ing of photos.

This concept evolved into mul­ti­me­dia shar­ing and dis­cus­sion engagement.

What ori­gin­ated as a fun-filled idea in Cold Brew Labs (Palo Alto, Cali­for­nia) is set to become a business-friendly mul­ti­me­dia shar­ing plat­form, driv­ing server-blasting streams of traffic to those web­sites that do Pin­terest SEO wisely.

And it’s actu­ally only in it’s Beta atm (invite only — let me know if you need a Pin­terest invite), still evolving!

A couple basics.

# 1 : Inter­ac­tion mode


A Pin­terest user can cur­ate image boards using their accounts. These boards are backed mostly by a com­mon theme which is fol­lowed by those who find it inter­est­ing and engage with it, pulling image col­lec­tions into dis­cus­sions. The dis­cus­sions allow more shar­ing to follow.

# 2 : The “Pin It” feature

This but­ton is used to “pin” your pho­tos, videos, dis­cus­sion scribbles and even mon­et­ary gifts you may ded­ic­ate to people, onto a shar­ing board.

Once a topic starts to spread and becomes per­vas­ive within dif­fer­ent people’s shared dis­cus­sions and media, it can be held in rela­tion to a bunch of dif­fer­ent pins(analogous to “posts”).

This rela­tion allows users to keep their pins stored as a col­lec­tion (a board) on Pinterest.

# 3 : Web­site Accessibility

Like G+ has it’s “+1″ and “badges”, Pin­terest provides web­mas­ters with two buttons:

 “Pin it” Button

Allow­ing vis­it­ors to pin the web­site either as an interest in their Pin­terest accounts OR as a book­mark added to the desktop book­mark bar.

 “Fol­low Me” Button

This is a bit dif­fer­ent from the twit­ter one. Also Pin­terest can be integ­rated with face­book and twit­ter, which most users do at star­tup, the activ­it­ies fol­lowed will relate to the dis­cus­sions a user ini­ti­ates on Pinterest.

If a mar­keter decides to build brand value using videos on the blog that are being fol­lowed by a Pin­terest user, then the nature of Pin­terest SEO is such that this video would start to go viral extremely fast – prob­ably three times as fast than if you were leave it on a mass shar­ing plat­form or simply upload it on a video shar­ing service!

The vir­al­ity occurs over dif­fer­ent pin col­lec­tions on the Pin­terest site, while at the same time gets com­mu­nic­ated to the user’s you­tube and face­book accounts to lever­age extra shar­ing power, if the user allows it.

And this is all because of the “fol­low me” button.

# 4 : Suggestions

Pin­terest will allow you to sug­gest oth­ers what activ­ity, user, col­lec­tion or web­site to fol­low. This again, is more power­ful over the clas­sic sug­ges­tions you get over other networks.

Here, the sug­ges­tions come with an asso­ci­ation of media and interest spe­cific graphic con­tent. Even if it’s an art­icle or dis­cus­sion, it’s bound to lead into a lot of links going to media sources and images.

As a res­ult, the sug­ges­tions get more value and atten­tion from a ser­i­ous Pin­terest user, partly because thier mind is focused on a par­tic­u­lar type of data.

And partly because the users of Pin­terest aren’t there to tweet their every­day activ­ity but to know if there’s any real pin, or board col­lec­tion that would help them advance their interest, know­ledge or brand value.

The sug­ges­tions on Pin­terest are given in the form of “Taste­m­akers”. These are pages appear­ing when you log in that sug­gest other users within your domain of interest/activity to follow.

# 5 : The Pin Feed

Sim­ilar to your stream on G+ and updates or timeline that comes from facebook.The major dif­fer­ence being that here, you fol­low tar­geted activ­ity among common“topic boards”.

You fol­low not people but pin­ners who are giv­ing con­tent you like. So the Pin Feed is heav­ily personalised.

You can­not game the sys­tem very eas­ily. Like other social plat­forms see how much con­tent gets pos­ted and then how much of it gets engaged, here it’s the same way, but a pre-filter of interest applies on everything that flashes on the feed, with regard to the col­lec­tion where thingsg et pinned.

2 things happen:

1) It’s easy for you to do build social trust and profile-to-profile links.You’ll get traffic and con­vert if you know exactly what your con­sumers want.

2) It’s dif­fi­cult to beat oth­ers who are already get­ting interest and response, as there are no search rank­ings but user interest and appeal instead.

But SEO is about get­ting traffic and not beat­ing someone else’s business.

pinterestSo let’s see a couple reas­ons why doing Pin­terest SEO prop­erly will bene­fit your brand:

# 1 : Instant Con­sumer Targeting

Pin­terest is slowly build­ing an impact over external search res­ults that you’re com­pet­ing for on google.

It’s excel­lent for solu­tion based mar­ket­ing. Since the sys­tem serves to people’s chan­ging interests, a quick look at their pin col­lec­tions and com­mon­al­it­ies between them will help you identify groups of people who’d be will­ing to visit your site.

# 2 : Local busi­ness Marketing

It’s much easier to spread word about a local event or video mes­sages to the inter­ested crowds of local leads and con­sumers, than it is to battle it out over keywords on you­tube where you’ll still lose a lot of vis­it­ors within the first 10 seconds of your video.

The pin-collections make it easier for people to identify your mar­ket­ing and since pin-collections are topic spe­cific, they can be made loc­a­tion spe­cific by shift­ing the focus of the topic to a location.

# 3 : Appeal and Product Image

This is one point where you must observe cau­tion.

Many busi­nesses would be temp­ted to put images of their entire product line in HD qual­ity on their pro­files so that it appears on as many feeds as possible.

While that would usu­ally get marked as spam, when done cor­rectly, it raises site traffic.

What you ideally want to do is have a port­fo­lio that gets men­tioned whenever a dis­cus­sion or media share raises ques­tions about ser­vices or products you maybe offer­ing. Don’t ham­mer the feed with images from your launch videos.

Instead provide your media as a related solu­tion to people’s prob­lems at places where it’s worth men­tion­ing. If it’s worth, it’ll go viral on its own. No push­ing needed.

This sim­pli­fies social SEO, and also sends high qual­ity links from dis­cus­sions back to your site/blog. The link qual­ity is not because Page Rank flows (as Pin­terest links have become “no fol­low”), but because each link com­ing to your site has had a series of com­ments and pin-ups asso­ci­ated to dif­fer­ent users.These dif­fer­ent users are “valu­able search­ers” too.

# 4 : Infograph­ics as an advantage


Pin­terest will allow you to share a lot of graph­ical media that car­ries inform­a­tion or heav­ily inform­at­ive ser­vice descrip­tions. These descrip­tions get spidered well and indexed!This is triggered towards expand­ing busi­nesses who wish to boost their brand build­ing on a budget.

Use your brand image as a pro­file pic­ture and let the Pin­terest account become your new brand chan­nel. Then, optim­ise your Pin­terest boards around the keywords that your site is optim­ised for! These boards are going to get indexed very quickly.

The use­ful part is — not only do the descrip­tions get indexed, but any dis­cus­sions, video-backlinks or responses sparked by your brand image that appear across other people’s blog posts as high-weight con­tent right in the centre of their feed.

What this means is that any links you place within such weighted con­tent will prove to have excel­lent link bait poten­tial, even though it’s not on your site. The reason – the image is already gen­er­at­ing a good degree of response. You can use it in get­ting links from your part­ners or other import­ant brand web­sites, by offer­ing a mention/link in such infograph­ics related discussions.This bene­fits both sides, as your own busi­ness links will over­crowd the dis­cus­sion, but a related brand being men­tioned will get you good links (from them) outside.

# 5 : Ana­lyt­ics Advantage

Using Pin­terest for Social SEO has the unbeat­able pos­it­ive of offer­ing bet­ter report­ing in Ana­lyt­ics. You will see in your Ana­lyt­ics report, which item of Pin­terest con­tent earned a refer­ral click and you can dir­ectly see that item from your dashboard.

You’ll be able to track people who pro­mote your con­tent, inter­act with them and map out a bet­ter pro­mo­tional strategy with feed­back and ana­lyt­ics stats from them on what kind of con­tent they can pro­mote best!

Okay, so now that we have a fair idea of what is and how it can be a busi­ness bene­fit, let’s see a couple of meth­ods to imple­ment Pin­terest SEO correctly…

The Aim

Your pur­pose is to get people to re-pin your con­tent and post unique ori­ginal interest inspired images or videos of your products on their own.

If you’re run­ning ads through a CPA net­work, it would be advis­able to pull in a couple affil­i­ates to help with the re-pinning. Once ini­ti­ated, it picks up quickly if the descrip­tions given are good with most re-pins.

The Nature of Pin­terest links

Every pin links back to the page where the media was pos­ted within Pin­terest OR to the actual web­site loc­a­tion where it is shown, using “no-follow“linking.

This dif­fer­ence is gov­erned by exactly “how” you did the pinning.

Open­ing the image in a sep­ar­ate win­dow and then using the Pin­terest Book­mark­ing fea­ture will cre­ate a link to that pic­ture loc­a­tion and pin it on your profile.

But, if you pin the blog post where the image was present, then the link­ing stands to bene­fit that blog entry as well as the repu­ta­tion of the blog in general.

Ideally, use the second type of pin­ning to help your website.

The Pin fea­ture and Social SEO

An image pinned will be a no-follow link of it’s own. On the top of the image is a source defin­ing “From” link, which is no-follow again and finally there can be a text link in the pin descrip­tion which would act as an engage­ment boost.

Note: the Image is a pin, but it’s <alt> attrib­ute can­not be modified.

Pins also come with a cus­tom embed code, which oth­ers can use for easy syn­dic­a­tion on their web­sites, cre­at­ing auto­matic back­links to your pin page!

Even though links are no fol­low, there’s heavy bene­fit from it when it comes to Pin­terest Social SEO.

14 Link build­ing tips for your main blogs and social optim­isa­tion within Pinterest

Here’s what to keep in mind with Pin­terest SEO and link building:

1. There is a pos­sib­il­ity that people are already talk­ing about you but are not link­ing back to your port­fo­lio or web­site. Well, Pin­terest allows you to reclaim any link that you deserve!

2. So you can fast-track your link build­ing by hav­ing people talk about you nat­ur­ally and claim every good link that will help your PR.

3. The link­able image assets on Pin­terest give it the form of an aes­thetic net­work. So identify the aes­thetic con­tent you are cre­at­ing that people may want to share.

4. Identify the top 3 keywords asso­ci­ated with each of your pin-able media,which raise your value within Pinterest.

5. Divide your images into 3 to 4 keyword cat­egor­ies and pick keywords asso­ci­ated with each cat­egory to asso­ci­ate with the aes­thetic images. It’ll make life simpler.

6. Search the Pin­terest net­work and the res­ults will show list­ings that will have tags for your images/media.

7. Identify which of these tags are rel­ev­ant to your busi­ness or launch and segreg­ate them into “act­ive links” and “no link-backs”

8. Make sure you see that the tag was a shar­ing act of inform­a­tion per­tain­ing to you and not a cas­ual act of shar­ing on the part of the pin­ning person.

9. Request a reclaim. Get as many tagged links as you can. They carry the entire weight of any dis­cus­sion hap­pen­ing around them as well, irre­spect­ive of how many unique links were there in the dis­cus­sion. This will get reflec­ted in your click-tracking reports in analytics.

10. Con­tact users dir­ectly if you need to. You can get them to change links dir­ectly, if it’s not a very big hassle and if the num­ber of tags is few.

11. Once you’ve reclaimed most of your idle shares and tags, you can start to offer bene­fits to other busi­nesses that lie within your pin-board. It means they have a ser­vice sim­ilar to yours and are pos­sible affiliates/social media partners.

12. After identi­fy­ing pro­mo­tional part­ners, allow your port­fo­lio descrip­tions to actu­ally link to images for their Pin­terest accounts/product port­fo­lios. Give them a benefit.

13. But also, make sure they give you a pos­it­ive set of links from one of their high PR sites. This means, they get link-value from your port­fo­lios and you get promotion/backlinks from their blogs that are already scor­ing well in search. There are no link loops or leaks of PR as Pin­terest is “no-follow”.

14. Use the dis­cus­sion scribbles to your advant­age. These are sim­ilar to the doc­u­ments you can pro­duce in a G+ hangout, except that they are not live. But exper­i­ments have shown that with Pinterest’s rising PR, these dis­cus­sions can pop-up in organic search, being at least as valu­able as the media descrip­tions themselves.

And the best part is that you can have mul­tiple users spread­ing your word on mul­tiple boards, without any of it being treated as spam, because it’s bound to occur in the course of a nat­ural conversation!

Some Best Practices

Try not to spread mis­in­form­a­tion with your pins, which would include affil­i­ate links. Don’t link to their sales pages, but to their port­fo­lios instead, which do not pass through an affil­i­ate track­ing sys­tem and do not des­per­ately need link-juice.

Let them use ana­lyt­ics to determ­ine how much traffic you sent them, instead of linktrack.

Next, when someone changes an image pin, the re-posts are not affected and their pins remain the same as the ori­ginal content.

So, if you’re plan­ning to lever­age the value cre­ated by your exist­ing pins for some­thing new, this can be both good and bad.

Your best bet is to encour­age people to add new links in the old re-pin descrip­tions point­ing your new pin. And for now, keep it sep­ar­ate from the ori­ginal pin even if the new image is related. Your con­tent remains within Pin­terest and uses its social value, but doesn’t look like you’re ham­mer­ing changes the moments someone mod­i­fies a pin.

Let them fall into the same pin-board until Pin­terest makes modi­fic­a­tions to their re-pin updat­ing code.

And finally…

Make sure that any pins you cre­ated are intriguing and at least gen­er­ate some excite­ment in the user, to make them “want” to engage and spread it. Else, all optim­isa­tion effort and build­ing of social trust will fall flat in a few days.

With that said, it’s time for you to go out in the open and do some Pin­terest SEO for your­self. Remem­ber, it’s still being tested and a lot of new meth­ods of increas­ing your traffic remain in store.

Good­luck and don’t for­get to add me so I can fol­low your Pin­terest Boards

[UPDATE 29÷2÷2012 — In view of all the con­cern over Pin­terest and get­ting sued by own­ers of the images I pos­ted a little help guide on Google Plus for organ­isa­tions that will help ease their cus­tom­ers minds]

note — windows


SEO, social con­tent and sig­nals advoc­ate, closet geek (not fully fledge), writer, speaker, & blogger.

Founder of NOD3x ( — Social Net­work Ana­lysis, know­ledge graph ana­lysis application

Lee can be con­tac­ted by email: here

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