Making the Most of Pinterest – Part 1: Keywords

Note: Various relevant and related articles are linked to from within the text below. However, for those who prefer to read through uninterrupted, a complete linked list is provided at the end.

This, the first of two articles relative to using Pinterest to the best advantage, looks into Keywords. The second Making the Most of Pinterest – Part 2: Hashtags considers the use of hashtags within Pinterest.

Most social media users will be aware of Pinterest even if they do not have their own account. For the few who may not have encountered it before, the topic of what Pinterest is and how it may be of use for authors has been previously discussed in Pinterest for Authors. This article is aimed at helping those who do utilise the site to gain more from it.

First thing to note, Pinterest is not a per se social media site. It does not require, or really encourage, interactive discussions, though means for users to do so exist, as outlined in the earlier for authors article. Nevertheless, many people use Pinterest to find products, and information, they are interested in. To facilitate this desire the same principles which pertain to other social media accounts, as well as to general discovery, also apply. Primarily keywords and search engine optimisation. Further information about these may be found in the relevant articles (follow the links here or below to read) and will therefore not be repeated here.

The aspect of keywords, in relation to Pinterest, will now be considered.


Though they have always been valid, keywords are increasingly important, especially with rising volumes of activity and consistent changes to algorithms, etc. Bearing in mind Pinterest is essentially seen as an image sharing service, some may question whether keywords have a place within it. This is perhaps where a change of mindset is appropriate. Many professional social media advisers suggest Pinterest should now be seen and utilised as a search and discovery engine. This may have been brought about by the fact businesses now recognise the site’s power and use it accordingly. In addition, the continuing and increasing popularity of the site is probably due to a vast majority in society having steadily become more visually orientated.

There are three primary areas where the use of keywords should be considered: Board Name; Pin Title; Pin Description. They may be placed in each of these but with care.

Board Name

Boards are a way to organise and categorise images (pins). Each board has its own name that should, to be most effective, consist of a short topic overview. For example: A board named African Travel would comprise images related to the topic. Naturally, such a description is very broad and in itself may not be the most useful. Users therefore have the option to create a collection of boards to account for different aspects. There could be a board for ‘African Cities’. Another for, ‘African Savanna’. How about, ‘African Beaches’. There is no end to the possibilities. The aim should be to provide users with easily accessible and discoverable information. In these examples ‘African’ is the principle keyword. Thereafter secondary keywords would be the various combinations. (Remember keywords may be more than a single word. They may comprise, and often do, a combination of related words or a relevant phrase.)

Pin Title

This is Pinterest’s own description of a pin: ‘Pins are bookmarks that people use to save ideas they love on Pinterest. Pins can be images, videos or products. ‘ In the majority pins tend to be standalone images that relate to something the account holder wishes to share or sell. For example, someone wishing to sell ladies Italian shoes will probably post a photograph of a pair of luxury shoes. However, on its own such a pin is unlikely to draw the attention the user would like. This is where the pin’s title comes into its own. To be effective as possible, the title should comprise an eye catching, attention grabbing, concise, unique as possible, caption e.g. Blue Leather Italian Moda Shoes. Those looking for such a pair will have entered something similar in the search bar and therefore will hopefully have the pin displayed in the returning results. Conciseness is crucial because anything too long may not fit into the designated space. The title is NOT the place to add extra details or explanations, those are the prerogative of the pin description as outlined below.

Optical Character Recognition: Whilst discussing pins, it is worth mentioning this additional capacity. Beside reading the words in a title and description, Pinterest is also able to read text included in the image itself and utilise it as part of its SEO and keyword search function.

URLs/Links: When a pin is intended to link to a blog post, web page, or similar, best practice is for the image to be the same as that used in the corresponding post or page. If it is not, users may become confused thinking they have reached the wrong destination. In may also create a poor reputation for the person or organisation posting the pin. Users should note, in order to ensure there is no abuse, Pinterest will not accept shortened urls.

Pin Description

This is where a user may add more detail and information about the pin, its content, and what it is they wish to share or achieve. In the above example of shoes, attention may be focused on any unique element e.g. specialised stitching, hand finished enhancements, region of origin, etc. Important: Primary highlights should be included in the first thirty (30) characters as those are likely to be the ones to appear with the initial pin display. It is necessary to click on the pin to expand it to see the remainder of the text.

There are some other aspects those posting pins are advised to consider:

  • It is best if the description text does not repeat that in the title;
  • It is wise to avoid using the term ‘Click’. (As mentioned this is not a social media site per se. Any url (link) attached to a pin will be displayed allowing users to choose for themselves whether to click it or not. This goes against normal advice but is apparently something relative to Pinterest.);
  • If there are objects in the pin (image), advice is to name them. (Avoids any possible confusion regarding what the pin is about or its intended purpose.)

Ranking: Consistency, or as Pinterest refers to it, cohesion, is vital. To achieve the best possible exposure and to facilitate Pinterest’s algorithm, especially when linking to a blog post or similar, users should ensure the same keywords are utilised in the pin description as are in the post or page. In addition the same, or a very similar, image should be pinned. It should also be born in mind, Pinterest is not a here-today-gone-tomorrow site. Pins remain viable throughout and it may take time for the pins to get noticed. However, when they do it may lead to more sustained attention.

Finding Keywords

Naturally, a keyword should relate to the topic depicted, implied, or referred to, in the pin. Consequently, there are usually some obvious ones. To test these without leaving the Pinterest environment a user may enter the word or phrase within the search bar and observe which boards and pins are displayed. Beside confirming, or not, the validity of the word or phrase, users may also glean additional possibilities by delving into the displayed boards and pins as well as considering the options shown in the resulting dropdown list.

Search Functionality

When searching a word or phrase entered in the search bar, Pinterest will comb through all areas: board title; pin title; pin description; looking for a match. An exact match is not required: the system will examine word combinations looking for at least one matching word. For example: if someone is looking for the latest lipstick and has entered ‘lipstick’ in the search bar the system will pick up on the word in a phrase such as ‘Get your free trial lipstick.’


Within online activity keywords play an important part, particularly for those who wish to gain attention for a product or service. Pinterest is no different.

It is essential, to avoid the possibility of accounts being blocked or deleted, and not to earn a bad reputation, only relevant keywords are added in appropriate areas. Users must also resist any temptation to stuff titles and descriptions with irrelevant keywords simply in an effort to gain what will be unwarranted attention. It will be noticed.

When linking to a post or page, maintaining some consistency in description and image will help avoid possible confusion and loss of interest.

Though Pinterest is not a social media site per se it is a popular one. Beside the general entertainment gained from viewing great images it now appears many utilise the site to discover new products and interests. It is therefore worth authors and entrepreneurs time to consider it as another branch for their sharing, publicity, and marketing. Irrespective of their aim all users should keep in mind the entertainment value of Pinterest.

Disclaimer: Other than being a general user, neither T. R. Robinson Publications nor T. R. Robinson have any affiliation with Pinterest. Nor do either receive any renumeration for referring to the site.

Related Articles

Making the Most of Pinterest – Part 2: Keywords

Pinterest for Authors
SEO – Keywords
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

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