Pinterest's Home Feed is gone and has been replaced with the new Pinterest Smart Feed. What does this mean for Pinterest users? It means that Pinterest users now see pins in the order of best pins first (read higher ranking pins) rather than newest pins first. Instead of seeing pins in chronological order from pinners you follow, Pinterest has introduced algorithms and filters to present pins to you based on three factors:
1. The highest quality pins from people you follow
2. Related pins based on what you pin
3. Interests you're following
So in the past, if you had a large following on Pinterest, your pins would automatically be seen by many people. That's no longer the case. Now, even if you have a lot of Pinterest followers, if your pin isn't highly ranked, fewer people will see it. The Pinterest game has changed significantly because you can no longer count solely on followers and pin quantity to deliver traffic to your blog or website.
As a result, people are more likely to discover your pins from a search on Pinterest, rather than strictly from pins in their feed. The new Smart Feed works more like a search engine and that means you will have to use some search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to create high quality pins that will be seen on Pinterest.
1. What makes a high quality pin?
A pin needs to have both good content and high engagement to be considered a high quality pin by Pinterest. A high quality pin must have valuable content and high quality images that people are drawn to and want to pin. A high quality pin also needs to have a compelling pin description that makes people want to click through to find out more. Once you have great content, you need to help Pinterest see all that great content in your pin. This is where some simple SEO techniques will help Pinterest recognize your pin as a high quality pin in order to rank it higher and to share it as a related pin.
These SEO techniques are things you're probably already doing to optimize for Google. (If not, you should start!)
- Save your images with descriptive key words. The file names for your images need to include words that Pinterest can read and use in a search algorithm. When you take a picture of something like chocolate chip cookies, the camera often saves the picture as a number like this: IMG_0152. This is not a file name that will help in a search. Instead save the image as "chocolate chip cookies" before uploading the image to your blog. Descriptive key words in image file names will help Pinterest find your pin.
- Use alt tags. After you save your image with descriptive key words and upload that image to your blog, use an alternate tag (alt tag) to help the search even more. Adding alt tags is easy to do and a quick Google search will come up with many helpful tutorials on how to do it.
- Use key words in your pin description. Pinterest will look for key words in image file names and alt tags, and it will also look for keywords in pin descriptions. Something like "YUM!" won't give any useful information in a search and your pin is less likely to be seen. Include those same keywords in a pin's description, but also include compelling text that encourages a user to engage with the pin by liking, repinning, commenting, or clicking through.
2. What is a related pin?
Related pins will appear in your feed from people you follow as well as people you don't follow. Related pins are based on your interests and what you pin. If you pin a pair of earrings, Pinterest will show you related pins for other earrings and jewelry that you might also like. What you look at outside of Pinterest affects your feed too. If you go to a site that has the "Pin It" button or a Pinterest widget (which most sites now have) Pinterest can use info about that visit to customize your experience back on Pinterest. You can stop your online browsing from influencing your feed by turning off this feature in your Pinterest account settings under "Personalization." I also seemed to be able to get rid of related pins in my feed by clearing my search history also found in the Pinterest accounts settings.
Good SEO practices, relevant keywords, and detailed pin descriptions will help Pinterest find your pins and match them to similar pins. When your pins are matched and used as related pins by Pinterest, that means more exposure for your pins!
3. Interests you follow
The pins you see in your feed are no longer dependent on who you follow. This means that following someone no longer means you will see all of their pins; you will only see their pins that are performing well (ranking high). What you see in your Pinterest feed is now based on high ranked pins as well as your interests. Things you pin, boards you follow, and searches you make all have an influence in what you see on Pinterest. Your interests now have an big impact on what shows up in your feed.
Things you can do now:
- Start using SEO techniques (mentioned above) for all your images. Consider going back and optimizing some of your most popular images and posts from the past to ensure that Pinterest's new filters will rank your pins highly.
- Write compelling, targeted pin descriptions with keywords but be careful not to over use keywords. Keyword-stuffed descriptions are off-putting to people and may be ranked lower by Pinterest.
- Maintain organized Pinterest boards. Since Pinterest in now very interest oriented, make sure you have outstanding boards geared toward those interests. Make your Pinterest boards and board titles clear and to the point.
- Make sure pins (including things you repin) have correct links and link back to high quality content. Pins with spammy and irrelevant links are ranked lower. This includes pins that have dead links or expired pages.
- Use hashtags sparingly. Too many hashtags (Pinterest hasn't specified how many) in a pin description may negatively impact a pin's ranking.
- If you want to stop your online browsing from influencing your feed, go into your Pinterest account settings under "Personalization" to turn off this feature. You can also clear your Pinterest search history.
Get more valuable Pinterest info here!
Pinterest Smart Feed: Formulating a Comprehensive Strategy
A Whole New Ballgame
9 ways to drive traffic with pinterest search
Building a smarter home feed
Oh So Pinteresting Podcast
Personalization and data from other websites