Before you learn how to use Pinterest to grow your blog, you need to learn a little about html codes, SEO, and keywords. Don’t freak out. I’ll make it as painless as possible.
Part One: Why Pin?
For years I thought the key to growing my blog involved the magic viral post to Facebook. And generating a viral post eluded me. Sure, I had people visiting from Facebook and Twitter, but not that many.
Meanwhile, the popularity of Pinterest quietly grew in the background and I had no idea of its potential. Why? Because I resisted Pinterest.
“I don’t have time to figure out another social media platform,” I told myself. “And I certainly don’t have time to spend hours getting sucked into the Pinterest abyss everyone talks about.”
I don’t mind admitting when I make mistakes. After blogging for five years, I decided I had other things under control and I would tackle Pinterest. First, I checked my stats for the year. I had a paltry 54 Pinterest referrals. Of course, I had only started throwing verticle images up on my posts because someone told me I should.
I didn’t realize by holding out on Pinterest, I had prevented people from finding my posts.Learn how to help Pinterest work for you. Even if you have few followers. #Pinterest #blogger #write28days Click To Tweet
Pinterest is NOT Really a Social Media Thing
Pinterest, unlike Facebook and Twitter, does not fall into the social media category. It acts more like a visual search engine than anything else. If you don’t believe me, do a search for something odd, like ‘Norwegian bunad,’ and see how many Pinterest hits you end up with verses links to traditional pages.
Think of Pinterest as a virtual filing cabinet where you file all the cool ideas you find in virtual magazine articles. Or maybe no one else ever cut out magazine and catalog pages and filed them for later back in the days when people read magazines. Anyway, now you know the purpose of Pinterest.
You don’t have to acquire an enormous Pinterest following in order for your pins to show up on Internet searches, either. Unlike Facebook (who wants you to pay for visibility), if you learn to put the right words in the correct places, your pin has a better chance of showing up on someone’s search engine results.
According to Pinterest, I have about 90K monthly viewers—and only 519 Pinterest followers. In January, Pinterest pins brought 388 visitors to my blog. Those stats look a lot better than my Facebook ones, where I have some 1600 friends and 194 of those people clicked on a social share in January.
But before we learn about correctly filling in the blanks on your Pinterest graphics, we need to review four steps that will help both your SEO and the usefulness of your pins.
1. Learn to Think Like a Search Engine
This all relates back to yesterday’s post on SEO and keywords. In order for people to find your content, you need to help guide the artificial intelligence machines running the search engines. This means you need to keep the keywords (or strings of words) handy when preparing each graphic that goes on a post and make sure you put them in the correct places.
Your first step involves writing a good snippet.
2. Learn to Write Good Snippets
If you use the free Yoast plug-in for self-hosted WordPress (and you should use it, it really helps keep SEO at the forefront as you prepare posts), you’ll see a little box that says “Edit snippet.”
The snippet shows up in the Google searches, so you’ll want to make sure you write a good one. You must include your keyword (or words) in the snippet.
Learn to write like a copy editor. Write a question or a catchy line or two that helps people understand what your post will teach them (or how it will entertain them).
3. Learn to Insert HTML Code
It sounds scary, but it will actually help your post rank better if your keywords show up at the beginning of your post. Click on the “Edit Snippet” button on your insert new block panel. Then start typing. The proper code looks like this: <small>TYPE YOUR SNIPPET HERE.</small>
Easy peasy, right? When you insert this little bit of code around your snippet, it will make those words show up in small, unobtrusive letters at the top of your post—kind of like a preview for your readers. Some readers might not even notice it at all.
When you have the keywords within the first sentence or two of your posts it will help you rank higher. But good writing doesn’t always allow us to use the keywords naturally at the beginning of our posts. This little workaround will help search engines find you.
Rather than torture ourselves (and our readers), learn to add the snippet at the top in an unobtrusive way that helps Google. This keeps you from having to stuff the keywords into the first sentence of your post.
4. Once You Have Your Snippet, Copy it!
This snippet will come in handy as you prepare your graphics to act as search-engine ambassadors. Figure out which hashtags you’ll want to add. The more you use, the more chances you have of someone discovering your pin and post through organic methods.
Proof in the Pudding
In my first full year of blogging at anitaojeda.com, I had a whopping 54 referrals from Pinterest. Once I learned how Pinterest worked, that number has increased steadily. In 2018 I had 1,154 referrals from Pinterest, and in 2019 I had 3008.
Think of Pinterest as a long-game strategy. At any time, people can find the pins you create and share on your boards. Or maybe someone looks for something that includes keywords you’ve hashtagged on your pin’s description. The more you can do to help people find what they look for, the more Pinterest will work for you.
Come back tomorrow for Pinterest, Part II to find out what words need to go where on your graphic’s metadata.
Wondering about metadata? That’s just another way of saying the hidden information about your graphic that search engines look at and social media sources pull from when someone shares your graphic.
I’ve tried to up my Pinterest game, thanks to posts you’ve shared previously. I’m always glad to learn more about the efficient ways to use it so it will be effective. You’ve helped a lot, Anita! I’m pinning this post. 🙂 (But I also need to DO your suggestions! ha)
Thanks for pinning! We learn as a go, eh? I’m always happy to share my knowledge (it must be the teacher in me).
i’ve heard recently that pinterest is a good place to increase my readership. thanks for giving me some concrete ways to do it. i know what i have been doing isn’t the way to do it:(
My Pinterest was way up at Christmas and way back down. I think people who are pin friends will read it or follow you. I have been making cover pages and updating some things, I know I still don’t get it all.
I have really neglected pinterest, I don’t really understand but I am excited to read up more about the topic! Thanks for sharing