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Don’t Just Pin Images, Optimize For Pinterest Search With Purpose

Don’t Just Pin Images, Optimize For Pinterest Search With Purpose

If you’re a retailer and want to boost traffic and conversions, an image SEO strategy using Pinterest can provide great results fairly quickly. Pinterest activity will not only increase your referral traffic, it can help you connect with your customers and prospects in a mutually beneficial way.

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the age of images in search, as so aptly put in AdAge Digital’s recent article, In Age of Pinterest, Instagram, Marketers Need an Image strategy.

Pinterest, currently hot after two years on the Web, has over 11 million registered users, 9 million of which are monthly active Facebook-connected users.

It’s the only social networking site with a predominantly female audience. With over 100 million unique monthly visits (MOVs) in February, Pinterest is one of the fastest growing sites on the Web.

Experian Hitwise put Pinterest among the top 30 websites in the U.S. A recent referral traffic report by Shareaholic states, “Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined.”

Pinterest works for retailers because it gives them the ability to share merchandise with the power of visual imagery. Additionally, a presence on Pinterest gives retailers the ability to listen and learn what consumers want, while engaging with consumers across other social platforms like Facebook and Twitter (reached through Pinterest’s platform).

Pinterest Drives Retail Sales

Rapid adoption of Pinterest is fueled by reports that its users are highly likely to purchase items from the social network.

  • PriceGrabber reports 21 percent of respondents have purchased items found on Pinterest boards.
  • A Bizrate Insights survey, based on 3,741 online shoppers in March, reported over 1 in 4 shoppers purchased an item directly from image-sharing sites such as Pinterest by clicking an image viewed. Additionally, 37 percent of consumers saw items they wanted but did not buy.

Pinterest Demographics

A large percentage of Pinterest users are women. Google DoubleClick Ad Planner shows Pinterest with an 80 percent female vs. 20 percent male demographic, primarily in the 25-44 age group. Men, however, have started using the site, with sports teams creating Pinterest boards for their male audience. President Obama also pins on Pinterest.

Pinterest Provides A Targeted Audience

Retailers can use information from Experian Hitwise and Google Ad Planner to see exactly who makes up their user base on Pinterest and what products might do well. Women are the core audience, which is good for retailers. Research shows that women make the online purchasing decisions for roughly 75 percent of American households, making Pinterest a good way to reach this highly coveted demographic.

Rise Of Images In Search

Since search became more social, images have played an increasingly important role. The attractive content on Pinterest, and continuing user interest in visuals, may be reasons behind Pinterest’s sudden rise.

The visual aspect is what separates Pinterest from other social networking sites as it allows users to share visual concepts (a picture is worth a thousand words). Visuals remain in the mind’s eye; whereas, text content in tweets and updates can be forgotten tomorrow.

Marketing Your Retail Business

Pinterest is an ideal digital medium for retailers catering to the 25 to 44 demographic. However, the site also has many active users beyond that demographic. Ecommerce websites offering fashion, accessories, food, home decor and other visually-appealing products can use Pinterest as an extension of their site, driving links and displaying products with the use of photos with very little text.

It’s easy for any business to request an account on Pinterest, and many are providing inspiration and product ideas for their customers already. Below are some examples of small and big businesses increasing traffic and business through Pinterest pin boards.

  • Lindsay Hopkins of TheDessertSpot blog began pinning in February. “After starting Pinterest, I experienced a 64 percent increase in monthly unique visitors within the first 60-days. While it’s premature to draw conclusions from stats over a short period of time, the traffic on my blog has definitely increased as a result of my Pinterest activity,” said Hopkins. “It helps me connect with my target demographic and people with similar interests,” she added. As an amateur photographer, Hopkins said she gets more pins with better quality photos and when pinning from afternoon to evening.


The Gap has many different boards on Pinterest, including the GapFit, which markets its new line of athletic apparel. Users interested in learning more about a product can click through the image to a product page for information and ordering. Note The Gap’s board includes links and images providing relevant information and resources on fitness and health motivation in addition to its products. This helps consumers connect and presents the company as more of a resource than just an advertiser.


Surya, a rug and home décor company that sells through Macy’s and other retailers, launched 24 boards on Pinterest the week of April 19. It didn’t take long before the company had 148 followers on Pinterest, with one board gaining 270 followers as of the morning of April 26.


For more ideas on how merchants are using Pinterest, check out these boards : American Eagle, Etsy, Gilt Groupe, ideeli, Lowe’s and Nordstrom. 

Optimizing & Testing Your Pin Boards

To optimize your images, see the infographic by Pinnable Business shared on Mashable. It illustrates the important optimization areas for your images. From file name to description length, it’s important to craft and optimize. And don’t forget to test, measure, and track your efforts for fine tuning.

Optimizing For Pinterest Search

Pinterest users search the site to find the pins they are interested in. Following are a few tips to help optimize for Pinterest Search, making your boards more visible.

  • Pin It Button: Place the pin it button on your product pages to help increase visibility and sharing on Pinterest directly from your site.
  • Your Profile: Optimize by completing your entire profile, which makes your business and products/services more findable. Your name and location help in brand and location searches, while your description helps fuel traffic for relevant keywords to your profile.
  • Your Boards: Optimize your boards by creating meaningful, keyword rich titles. Categorize correctly to help increase visibility in Pinterest search.
  • Your Pins: Optimize your pins with strong descriptions, prices and keyword use. With a 500 character limit, you can use keywords several times, which helps with search prominence in Pinterest. However, don’t overdo it and make sure keyword use is relevant.
  • Image Optimization: Use traditional image optimization techniques whether the image comes from your site or via an upload. Google Webmaster Central Blog recently posted tips for getting your images indexed.
  • Quality Photographs: The better the quality of your photos, the more pins you’ll get.
  • Video Optimization: Pinterest has a special section just for videos. Currently, only YouTube videos can be embedded. Use traditional video optimization techniques.
  • Pins on Facebook and Twitter: Pinterest integrates with both sites. By including your pins on two of the most popular social networks, they could go viral.
  • Copyright Infringement: Pin only images you own or have a license to, as users and re-pinners can be liable for copyright infringement. Pinterest has a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) policy, which provides a safe harbor, protecting sites from liability as long as they provide the means for copyright holders to report alleged infringement and then remove the infringing content.

In closing, smart retailers will want to get out there and share their company’s products and services while providing relevant information and resources on their Pinterest pinboards. Go ahead: connect with consumers, make your company a resource, drive more traffic and sell more product. Many consumers will see your beautiful pins and share them with their friends, while others will discover your images in the SERPs.