Every month 250 million people search for information and products on Pinterest. As a creator, your goal is to get pins in front of the biggest, most targeted audience you can reach. In order to do that, you need to understand just HOW and WHERE Pinterest shows content to its users. There are five different search features that provide unique opportunities for your Pinterest marketing.
Let’s look at each one and see tips for optimizing your pins for all five.
1. The Smart Feed (or “Home Feed”)
This is the one you’re probably most familiar with. Whenever a Pinterest user logs into their account, the suggested pins that pop up on the Home page is the Smart Feed.
As a content creator, the question becomes, “How do I get my content on my target audience’s Smart Feed?” The answer lies in understanding what the Smart Feed is.
Your Smart Feed is a result of the content you regularly search for, the kinds of boards you keep, your interests (based on your Pinterest user behavior), and who you follow. If you want to be on your audience’s Smart Feed, your content needs to fulfill one or more of those criteria.
The benefit and unique challenge to the Pinterest Smart Feed from a creator point of view is that it changes rapidly. The first login to Pinterest for the day is going to display pins that Pinterest believes will get the user to engage more with the platform. It’s going to place the highest quality pins, related promoted pins, and pins that most closely align with recent Pinterest search history on the first page.
As you use Pinterest, your Smart Feed will update in real time based on whatever you’re doing at the time. If you’re searching for healthy dessert recipes, the algorithm will take notice and adjust accordingly. Because people go onto Pinterest for different reasons each time they login, getting your content in front of them is a bit like hitting a moving target.
Let’s examine some strategies for optimizing your chances of getting on the Smart Feed.
Quick Tips For Getting On People’s Smart Feed
1. Make sure Pinterest profile has high domain authority. What does that mean exactly? It means having a business account, claiming your website in your profile settings, and enabling rich pins on your website. Not sure how to do that? I can set up your Business profile for you.
2. Create engaging content. The more shares, repins, and clicks your content gets, the greater the chance it winds up on your customer’s Smart Feed.
3. Optimize your pins for Pinterest SEO. You need to be very strategic when choosing the visuals, title, and text to use in your pin description. Constantly think about your pins from your customer’s perspective. What question does your customer have that your pin will answer? How can you get people to click your pin to find the answer to their question? Keywords play a critical role in any Pinterest marketing strategy. Make sure you are incorporating them strategically in your pins, profile, and board titles and descriptions.
Here’s an example of a high-performing pin from my personal blog that I imagine shows up on a quite a few Smart Feeds.
There a few things worth noting about this pin:
- It is visually appealing. The text is simple, clear, and easy-to-read. Users know exactly what they are getting when they click on this pin.
- My domain authority is high. I have rich pins enabled, a professional business profile, and my website is claimed on my settings page.
- Strong engagement. In less than a month, this pin has gotten quite a few eyeballs on it, as well as saves and clicks.
- Keywords. Keywords. Keywords. It may not be obvious, but every single word in the title and description was carefully chosen based on keyword searches I did on Pinterest and Google. I know from my research that people go on Pinterest wanting to know how to give up alcohol and learn the benefits of sobriety. Not only will you find those keywords in my pin description, pin, and title, but you will ALSO find them in the meta description for the pin on my website, which you can see underneath the title.
Similar to the Smart Feed is another very commonly used Pinterest search feature: The Search Feed.
2. The Search Feed
The Search Feed is exactly what it sounds like: the search bar, like on Google, where users type in what they’re looking for. Again, your job as a content creator is to think like your audience. When they go onto Pinterest, what information are they looking for and how does your content answer their questions for them?
For this reason, all the SEO strategies I mentioned for the Smart Feed apply equally to the Search Feed. Here’s where the Search Feed offers additional opportunities.
The Pinterest Search Feed is predictive. It not only shows you the best results for whatever search term or inquiry you put into the search bar, but it also provides you “guided search questions” to help dive deeper into your chosen topic. Here are two ways it does this.
In the example above, I’ve searched for “achieving goals.” Beneath that, Pinterest has generated additional, more narrow search results that I can click into to get more tailored content recommendations. Your job as a creator is to understand what commonly used search phrases are used within specific topics and optimize your pins for them.
If I were creating a new pin on achieving goals, based on these results, I could use any of the following long-tail keywords:
- Achieving goals inspiration
- Tips for achieving goals
- Exercises to achieve goals
- Achieving exercise goals
- How successful people achieve goals
There are is so much content potential here and if your niche deals with goals, you’ve got precious insight into what kind of topics you can provide answers to for your audience.
Another Pinterest Search Feed feature that you should be aware of is similar to the guided search questions, but has more to do with wherever you left off on your last Pinterest session. I’ll show you what I mean.
This feature is actually a really impressive look at Pinterest’s algorithm at work. As soon as you put your cursor on the search bar, you’re going to get this drop down with:
- Your most recent searches
- Topics suggested for you based on your recent searches, boards, and previous activity
- Trending ideas related to your previous searches and engagement with various content on Pinterest
If you are a content creator, you want this feature to lead users to your content. But how? Again, it goes back to thinking like your customer which means you have to have a solid understanding about who they are and what they look for.
Make sure you are doing keyword searches and strategically utilizing your results. Secondly, get to know your users. Do some market research. Which followers or users frequently repin or click into your content? Go on their profiles.
What are they interested in? What kinds of boards do they create? What kind of content do they save? Find places where your content overlaps with their interests and make sure you’re consistently providing value to them.
3. The Pinterest Following Feed
This is relatively new feature (comparatively speaking), but it has a lot of potential to be very influential among Pinterest users. At the top of your Pinterest page beside the search bar, you’ll notice an option to click on “Following.” This will lead you to the content of people you follow. Here’s how it looks if you haven’t noticed it before.
This feature is going to show you the latest content from the people you follow. As a content creator, you want your profile and content to pop up on your followers’ Following Feeds (say that three times fast).
There is some debate about HOW to do this. Pinterest initially said that this feed is purely chronological (sort of like the Instagram hashtag feed). HOWEVER, they have since tried to walk that back a bit so the thinking is that it is now a combination of chronological and quality.
That means you need to be posting consistently throughout the day AND creating pins and content that Pinterest users are engaging with. If you’re posting pins that get tons of clicks, saves, and repins then you will increase the chance of getting featured on the Following Feed.
Because the vast majority of us do not have time to pin things to Pinterest all day, you’ll want to use a scheduler like Tailwind which happens to be the only Pinterest-approved third-party scheduler out there at the moment. This will ensure that you content is consistently being added to people’s Following Feed because it allows you to space out your posts on autopilot while you get on with your business.
If you’re not using Tailwind, you can start with a free trial and then get plans for as low as $9.99/month. It will honestly change your life (and Pinterest stats). Please note that I am an affiliate for them (every blogger and social media manager is) and if you decide to sign up with Tailwind, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you (so thank you in advance!).
4. The Visual Search Feature
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I had NO IDEA this feature existed until recently. If you are in any sort of visual or product niche, you’re going to want to take note of this one.
Ever bothered to click on that little rounded square thing in the lower right-hand corner? I certainly never did. Here’s what it does.
When you click that little icon, you’ll get visually similar search results for that pin. Pinterest will also give you guided search results to help you find additional, relevant content.
That is HUGE. If you’re promoting brown leather handbags, this lets you know to have a clear, up-close unobstructed image of the product on your pin if you want to show up in the visual feed of your users.
Here’s another huge benefit to having this feature on Pinterest. According to Pinterest, 97% of its search terms are unbranded. That means that people are not typically going onto Pinterest to find a Coach brown leather handbag. They want to see any and all brown leather handbag options. That is a big advantage for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Another cool feature on Pinterest’s Visual Search Feed? For that, we’ll go to the mobile version.
That little camera has a purpose. Let’s say you’re at your friend’s house and they have a fabulous new handbag. You ask her where she got it, but she can’t remember. This feature can help you find the bag. When you click on that little camera icon, you’ll be able to take a picture of whatever item has caught your eye.
The results will look something like this:
The picture you took is squeezed into that tiny circle where the camera icon used to be. Below you will get guided search results in addition to pinned images that closely match what you took a picture of.
As a content creator, understanding this feature should inform your pin design. You want clear, minimal, unobstructed images of your products on Pinterest so that you can be featured in the visual search feature. All of your pins don’t have to be this way, but some should as part of your comprehensive Pinterest strategy.
5. The Hashtag Search Feed
This is the fifth and final search tool on Pinterest. It’s also probably the least used. Similarly to Instagram, if you put a hashtag into the search bar OR click on an active hashtag on a pin description you will receive a chronological listing of all pins with that hashtag.
The problem is that Pinterest users don’t use this feature very often. Hashtags are good for general Pinterest SEO, but you shouldn’t rely on them to drive people to your content the same way you might on Instagram. If that changes, I will be sure to let you know.
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