If you’re not currently using Pinterest for bloggers to increase your traffic, you’re really missing a trick.
When I first was a beginner blogger a few years ago, around 70-90% of my traffic came from Pinterest – and this is typical for most bloggers.
It’s perfect for just starting out because you can start getting traffic through the platform straight away.
While building authority is still important, it’s not nearly as crucial (or long) as growing on other search engines like Google.
Pinterest can definitely be really useful for bloggers short-term AND long-term, if you follow the right steps.
Steps that I’m going to go over in detail in this blog post.
How do bloggers use Pinterest?
Pinterest is often treated as a social media platform but it’s far more than that: it’s a visual search engine.
It has a search bar, which I’ll show you how to use yourself later in this post, in which users can search for answers to questions, content about certain phrases and keywords, or purely pretty images.
Pinterest allows users to search for whatever they like, from storage ideas to blogging tips, and provides them with long, vertical images – called ‘pins’ – which you can share (‘repin’) or click on.
Repinning the image will share it to your account for your followers to see and clicking on it will take you to the source of the image or pin.
Pinterest can take a lot of trial and error in order to really rake in major blog traffic. It also takes time and patience to grow your reputation with the algorithm. (Although, thankfully, not as much as Google.)
How do bloggers make money from Pinterest?
Bloggers can use Pinterest to drive traffic to their blogs from very early in their journey.
We do this by creating the long, vertical images mentioned above, a.k.a. pins, and linking these to our blog posts, sales pages, and affiliates.
The pins will contain the headline of the blog post we want to drive traffic to, as well as relevant pictures and eye-catching fonts.
More on how to do all this later.
This gets people to click on and visit our blog posts, sales pages, and affiliate links via our Pinterest account.
Traffic = sales.
I do want to note: when it comes to linking to other pages that aren’t on our blog, such as directly to affiliates, always check Pinterest’s Terms of Service first.
I always recommend linking to an actual blog post about an affiliate product instead of directly to the product itself, just to be on the safe side.
Why do bloggers love Pinterest so much?
Well, regular search engines like Google take months to start ranking you and potentially years to really start pulling in major quality traffic. (I speak from experience.)
Pinterest is a simple way for you to get free, quality traffic from day #1 so that you can start growing your blog and potentially making money as quickly as possible.
While getting hundreds-of-thousands of views from Pinterest may not happen over night, it still makes a massive difference.
Whether you’re a Pinterest beginner or you’ve been in the game for a while, here are some of my key tips on how to rank higher on the unique search engine, and in turn grow your blog traffic.
How to create a new Pinterest account
Before we go any further, you need to make sure you have a Pinterest business account.
Not only does this look more professional but it gives you access to other features, including Pinterest analytics.
In order to sign up for a Pinterest business account from scratch (which I recommend if your existing Pinterest account is just a personal account – you should keep the two separate), either go to Pinterest‘s home page, scroll past the sign-up form, and click ‘Continue as a Business’ OR just go straight to business.pinterest.com.
Then, all you have to do is fill in your details, create your account and pick your five ‘interests’. These will determine what kind of content you’ll see on your feed at first and what you’ll most likely be repinning to get started.
Don’t worry about following other accounts just yet, you can do this later.
(I recommend following the big-hitters in your niche – people whose content you genuinely want to read and share. You want to attract your target audience, so sharing content that’s in the same niche as yours will be helpful to them.)
If you just want to change your personal Pinterest account into a business account, all you need to do is go to your personal profile page, click the three dots in the top right corner, and select ‘Upgrade Now’.
Then all you have to do is fill in your details, such as your website domain name, and click ‘done’.
(While Pinterest’s lay-out may have changed since I first took these screenshots, it shouldn’t be too dissimilar.)
How to use Pinterest for Bloggers
Here’s how I drove traffic to my blog as a beginner blogger.
optimize your Pinterest profile
Now that you have a business account, we need to spruce up that profile of yours.
Optimising your Pinterest profile and pins is one of the most important parts when it comes to growing your blog and getting major traffic.
This post will give you an overview of what you need to do in the beginning but if you want to really get into Pinterest SEO, you should check out Create and Go’s Pinterest course – Pinterest Traffic Avalanche.
I took it a few months into my blogging journey and really wish I had snapped it up sooner, as it could have saved me a serious amount of stress and confusion.
Remember, Pinterest isn’t just a social media platform, it’s a visual search engine, so keyword optimisation (the use of keywords in order to rank in Pinterest’s algorithm and get your pins seen) is a must.
First, change your profile picture to something at least semi-professional. Even if it is a selfie, make sure it’s high quality, the lighting’s good and you’re not using any Snapchat filters.
You’re a business, remember?
It’s fine to have fun when building your blog but first impressions can be annoyingly important.
To change your profile picture, click on your mini-profile picture in the top right corner and select ‘Settings’. This is where you can edit your Pinterest business profile from the back end at any time.
Go to ‘Profile’ and scroll down to ‘Change Picture’ and upload your new profile picture.
(You may want to quickly check that your ‘Account Basics’, such as your language etc, are all correct.)
You then want to optimize your profile.
First, your business name.
Here, I put the actual name of my business – Seeking Serotonin – and then use the small amount of additional space to throw in a big keyword or phrase that I want to rank for that’s relevant to my niche.
This space used to allow you to write much more (seriously, I used to have about three key phrases there) but recently Pinterest shortened it to just 30 characters, so you may have to be more concise than you’d like. Booooooooo.
If you log into your Pinterest account on your phone, sometimes you can add more characters there as well, for some reason.
You then need to type a short, snappy, personable bio that also contains keywords, which is harder than it looks.
In order to figure out what keywords to use, type your niche or sub-niche into the search bar. A load of suggestions will drop down – THESE are the keywords you should use because these are the most-searched keywords and phrases.
Try to get a couple of these into your bio BUT avoid keyword stuffing or just listing phrases. It’s not a good look since you can’t really get your personality across when you’re just spouting off keywords.
How to claim your website on Pinterest
Claiming your website is a quick but crucial step in creating your Pinterest business profile.
It allows Pinterest to make sure that your website is legit and also means that your URL is displayed underneath your pins, making it easier for readers to find.
You can claim your website via the Yoast SEO app or through your website’s HTML, which is the method I personally used but… *stares off into the distance*… don’t recommend.
Download the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress (it’s free and also comes in handy for SEO in general).
First, go to Settings > Claim Website. Type your website URL into the little box and click ‘Claim Website’.
Pinterest will then give you a meta tag, which you need to highlight and copy.
Go to your WordPress account and log in. You should now be looking at your dashboard. If you’ve not already downloaded the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, do it now and activate the plugin.
Along the left sidebar, hover over ‘SEO’ and select ‘Social’.
Click on the Pinterest tab and paste the meta tag that Pinterest gave you where it says ‘Pinterest Confirmation’. Then hit ‘Save changes’.
While you’re here, fill in all your other social media URLs on the Account tab.
Head back over to your Pinterest window and click ‘Finish’.
Aaaaand you’re done!
How to enable Rich Pins
Enabling Rich Pins on your Pinterest business profile allows your pins to stand out from the crowd by showing important information about your post underneath them.
Although having Rich Pins enabled probably isn’t as effective as it used to be as everyone has it enabled now (seriously, I just spent 10 minutes scrolling through Pinterest in order to find you an example of what having Rich Pins enabled looks like versus having it disabled and EVERYONE had it enabled), this is still a useful little step to take just in case.
Once again, to enable Rich Pins you can either get all complicated by editing your website’s HTML, OR you can use our buddy Yoast again (10/10 would recommend).
To enable Rich Pins through Yoast SEO, open up your WordPress account and go SEO > Social > Facebook.
Make sure ‘Add Open Graph meta data’ is enabled.
Next, go to Pinterest’s Pin Validator and paste in an URL to one of your posts (not your homepage).
Click the giant ‘Validate’ button (same, girl).
Pinterest will then let you know that your URL has been validated.
You then need to click ‘Apply now’, and then ‘Apply now’ again on the pop up with HTML tags.
Pinterest will let you know whether you’ve successfully enabled rich pins. This can take a few days, although they got back to me in a few hours, so don’t stress.
How to make optimized personal boards
Now we can actually get to the fun part of Pinterest: creating your boards and pinning to them.
As of 2020, I’d recommend only creating no more than 5-10 of your own boards right off the bat (increasing to maybe 15-20 gradually) so that if anyone does visit your profile early on, they know what you’re about, but you don’t get flagged as spam.
To figure out which boards to create, think back to those keywords in your niche that dropped down from the search bar earlier.
Create a new board by simply viewing your profile, clicking ‘Boards’ and then ‘Create Board’ on the left.
Name the board after one of the keywords or phrases you saw earlier (it’s usually easier to open up another Pinterest tab just so you can toggle between making boards and keyword searches).
You don’t need to try to be too clever with board names. I know you want your personality to shine through, but calling your boards obscure names isn’t going to help them rank on Pinterest, which is the main aim here if you want people to see your posts.
Just make the main keyword the board title.
To edit further, you can find your new boards in the ‘saved’ section of your profile.
All you need to do is hover over the board and click the pencil icon.
Here, you need to write a keyword rich description.
Don’t just write a list of keywords, try to form actual sentences while fitting in two or three relevant keywords and phrases.
Once you’ve created boards using the keywords from the search bar, try hitting enter and finding even more keywords along the top.
Then, try variations of your relevant keywords.
Once you’ve typed up a keyword rich description, make sure to select a category (not ‘other’), and click ‘Save’.
How to create pins for Pinterest
The reason why we’re all here is to promote our own work – this is the crucial step in your blogging journey that you really have to accept if you want to see serious traffic to your blog.
Don’t feel guilty about pushing your own work if it helps your target audience!
After the Big Algorithm Update of 2020, Pinterest have put more of an emphasis on sharing unique, fresh, quality content, which is great because it a) cracks down on spam and b) means you spend less time making and sharing hundreds of pins every week.
Before the algorithm update, we were encouraged to share around 80% other people’s pins and 20% our own.
Over time, we were advised to tilt this ratio more in favour of sharing our own work.
However, now, you’re fully expected to purely share and pin your own fresh, quality content, which is perfect when using Pinterest for bloggers as you can focus on your own work.
To pin your own content to Pinterest first you need to make pins.
I personally use Canva to make my pins to this day as it’s totally free and really simple to use.
This is the part where most people tell you to make a ‘beautiful’ pin. I see that phrase everywhere. And if I was just writing this blog post about a Seeking Serotonin pin, I would probably say the same.
But… pins don’t always have to be pretty or ‘beautiful’ to get clicks.
Most of my viral pins have been my least favourite!
You just have to be clever.
Trial and error also plays a HUGE role in going viral on Pinterest.
Do some research.
Search your niche on Pinterest and see what the top pins look like.
Check out what the big hitters in your niche are doing. Then, model your style of pins on what you know does well.
Obviously, don’t copy them, that’s not cool, but just spot the basic elements that their most popular pins possess.
Don’t worry too much about branding in the beginning. You’ll develop your own style over time. All you need to do at the start in order to protect yourself is include your logo or blog name.
Other factors to consider when making pins:
- Pins should be 600 x 900 or have a 2:3 ratio
- Keywords made bold, highlighted, or extra clear in some way
- Warm colours tend to be more inviting but this does depend on niche
- Include a call-to-action or arrow to show where people have to click – I don’t always do this but I should
- If you’ve used a busy background image, put a block of white behind your text and play around with the transparency
- Pick a background image relevant to your keyword, topic or niche
- If you’re going to make more than one pin for each blog post, make sure the image and main keyword are different
How to use Pinterest SEO with pins
Keyword usage is one of the most important parts of growing your traffic through Pinterest.
Take the keyword that you’ve based your blog post around and include it in the following places:
- Pin image
- Pin description – also include similar keywords relevant to your topic here
Pin your pins to your most relevant personal board.
If you have a personal board title that fits perfectly with your keyword or IS your keyword – AWESOME.
For actually posting and/or scheduling your pins, I would recommend using Tailwind – a scheduling app that Pinterest approves of and won’t get you banned.
I have a post on how to use Tailwind for Pinterest, if this sounds like something that would help you.
What are ‘monthly unique viewers’ on Pinterest?
The number of monthly unique viewers you get on Pinterest is basically the number of people’s screens your pins have appeared on.
It’s as simple as that.
Not the amount of people that have seen YOUR personal pins from YOUR website – you know, the ones that actually matter and lead people back to your blog posts – but EVERY pin you share.
This means that if you share popular pins from other people to start off with (which is recommended), as well as your own, the amount of people seeing your pins is going to be pretty high.
What this number does is demonstrate your reach on the platform, which, to be fair, can be quite interesting. Plus, if your reach spans millions of Pinterest users, the chances are, your traffic IS growing. But the two aren’t necessarily connected.
Do your monthly unique viewers affect your traffic?
While some bloggers do claim that an increase in their Pinterest reach has correlated with an increase in their blog traffic – which makes sense – I’ve personally found that there’s no correlation. I’ve had a high number of unique views on Pinterest while my blog traffic – the traffic that actually matters – has tanked and vice versa.
I’m not saying that my Pinterest views negatively affect my blog traffic. Not at all! I’m saying that it’s a vanity metric and not a stat you should focus on. For example, in the beginning, I was getting over 200k viewers on Pinterest but >100 pageviews to this blog.
Now, I will say, that obviously, as your reach on Pinterest grows, as will your blog traffic.
While the two aren’t necessarily directly linked, growth is growth and the longer you’re on Pinterest, the higher in the algorithm you’ll rank because the higher Pinterest will rate your site and content.
In turn, your traffic SHOULD rise.
How did I use Pinterest for bloggers to increase blog traffic?
While there is a wealth of free information out there on Pinterest for bloggers, the best way to get straight to the valuable parts and make progress quickly is by investing in a Pinterest course.
And boy did I take my fair share of Pinterest courses.
By far the best one that I took was Pinterest Traffic Avalanche by Create and Go.
Using the clear steps in this course, I went from 0 – 1000+ pageviews on my blog within months.
This meant I was able to monetise it pretty quickly.
99% (literally) of this traffic was from Pinterest.
Therefore, it shows that when you get the basics right and follow the steps good things DO happen.
The key to growing your blog traffic through Pinterest is, like Google, moving higher up the algorithm so that more people see your pin and click through to your content.
Create and Go’s course shows you precisely how to do this quickly in management, bitesize chunks.
Figure out your own Pinterest strategy and develop
Once you have been pinning your pins to them for a couple of weeks, you can analyse them and see if they’re working out for you.
This is another one of the many reasons to get Tailwind because the app analyses them for you.
Tailwind also has this feature called ‘Pin Inspector’, which tells you how your own pins are doing, what people are clicking on, and ultimately what content helps your audience the most.
As a blogger using Pinterest, you really learn as you go along.
Over time, you’ll begin to develop your own strategy, which you can tailor and switch up as and when you feel you need it.
Pinterest, and blogging in general, is all about trial and error, particularly at the beginning, so don’t be discouraged if you’re not getting 100,000 hits a week right off the bat.
Pinterest can give your traffic an immediate boost but you still need to work your way up the ladder.
As I’ve already said: just keep writing and posting your own, fresh, quality content and the pageviews will come.