This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see our Disclosure page.
Wow, you guys. Pinterest has been busy lately! They’ve been rolling out changes left and right. If you’re a blogger, you’ve probably been feeling like you’re on a rollercoaster of traffics dips and highs. And you might be more than a little confused about what you’re supposed to be doing. In this post, I’ll dish out some Pinterest tips to help you understand what’s been going on and how to use it to drive more traffic to your blog.
SO MUCH INFORMATION has been floating around lately about what’s changed with Pinterest. Webinars, Facebook, and Pinterest itself have been doling out pieces of the puzzle and juicy Pinterest tips for us. Overall, the changes Pinterest has been making are designed to give the user a better experience. Once you understand the how’s and why’s behind these changes, you can adapt your strategy and leverage them to increase engagement and traffic.
Here are the top Pinterest tips I’ve gathered in my quest to understand how these changes can help increase traffic and benefit your audience by providing a better user experience.
Pinterest Tips for Bloggers
Pinterest Tips for Fresh New Content
This is isn’t really a new concept but Pinterest has confirmed that fresh and new content gets prioritized higher than older content that’s been repinned a bunch of times. We’ll get more into that later but it’s important to remember that a pin created from your blog post is viewed by Pinterest as a new pin, even if you’ve pinned it before.
What was surprising to me was Pinterest’s definition of new content.
Yes, a new pin for a brand new blog post ranks highly. But a new pin with a new image for an old blog post counts as new too. Or a new pin created directly from your blog for an old post that you’ve given a new description and keywords. As far as Pinterest tips go, this one is really important because it shows us what Pinterest is looking for from content creators like bloggers and social media marketers.
What This Means for You
Don’t get me wrong. This does not mean you should focus more on creating new pins for existing posts and let your content slide!
It’s still important to continue creating new content that your audience wants to see. That also helps with SEO as Google likes to see new content on your blog.
One important Pinterest tip is that if you’re creating a new pin from your blog for an old post, you should be giving it a new description and keywords. This helps Pinterest know that’s it’s new and different from what’s been pinned before.
Part of creating an engaged audience is giving them what they want and need. At the end of the day, our audience is what should drive our content strategy, not how Pinterest ranks our pins, or Google ranks our page. If you’re writing good stuff, the SEO and traffic will follow.
First 5 Pins
The first 5 pins you pin in a day are prioritized. This was mind-blowing for a lot of people and also raised a ton of questions. According to Pinterest, the beginning of the day is midnight UTC.
So what the heck is UTC? UTC stands for Coordinated Universal Time (Yeah, I know that’s technically CUT but just roll with it). The world’s clocks and time are regulated according to this standard. The whole explanation involves a lot of science-speak but basically, it’s a time standard based on the Earth’s movement around the sun.
How this works for your followers is that when they look at their Following tab, they will see your 5 pins, then the five pins from the next person they follow, and the next 5 from the next person and so on. If they engage, those pins will get prioritized to be more widely distributed in search and Smartfeed.
What This Means for You
There are 2 really important takeaways here. First of all, you better make sure those first five pins are YOUR pins that link to content on your blog, not third-party content. Second, it’s so important that those first pins are well-keyworded and pinned to relevant boards.
Why? Because the information from the first board a pin is saved to travels with the pin as it gets repinned. So if you have a pin about the keto diet and you pin it to a board about saving money, Pinterest doesn’t really know what it’s about. And if Pinterest doesn’t know what it’s about, it’s less likely to show up in search or the Smartfeed. The right keywords in a pin’s description and also keywords in a board’s description help Pinterest out by giving plenty of information about what the content is about.
It’s also important to note here that if your followers aren’t engaged at midnight UTC your time, but they are later, say 10 pm, you’re better off waiting to pin until closer to 10.
This confused a lot of people. The thought was that you needed to schedule all five of your pins right at midnight UTC (for me that’s 7 pm). If your followers are highly active at that time, then yes but don’t pin them all at once or it will look spammy. Instead, space them out starting at 7. If they’re active at 10 pm, wait until 10 pm to start pinning those.
Scheduling tools like Tailwind’s Smart Schedule are extremely helpful in determining when your audience is most engaged. If you’re not using Tailwind but would like to try it, you’ll $15 FREE by clicking my link here.
Word on the street is that Pinterest has already phased this out. So the first five pins rule was short-lived.
One of the best Pinterest tips is regarding deleting pins. There has been an ongoing debate within the Pinterest community about whether or not you should be deleting underperforming pins. There are passionate supporters on both sides of the discussion and both have valid points.
But Pinterest has publicly stated that no, you should not ever delete a pin.
At one time, it was believed that if you had a bad pin on one of your boards, it was going to bring your overall ranking within Pinterest down.
What This Means for You
Nope, this is not true! Pinterest says that as long as you have other pins on the board that have high engagement that one pin won’t impact you.
And just because a pin isn’t getting a ton of engagement today doesn’t mean it won’t get some love at some point down the road.
Use your Pinterest Analytics to find what types of content your audience engages with. Focus on creating content around what your audience likes instead of deleting pins that don’t get much action.
What About the 80/20 Rule?
The 80/20 rule was another topic of debate in the Pinterest community. It was commonly believed that you should stick to an 80/20 ratio when pinning content – 80% third-party content and 20% of your own.
Again, Pinterest debunked this myth. Pinterest has stated that there is no penalty for only pinning your own content. Pinterest likes engaged, consistent pinners. They’d much rather see someone pinning 10 pins a day than someone pinning 70 pins in one sitting.
What This Means for You
If you have enough content to consistently pin quality content every day, then, by all means, pin your own stuff! Remember, fresh and new content gets prioritized. And that can mean new pins for old blog posts, not just pins for brand new posts.
I typically create 5-7 pins for every new blog post I publish. Those are pins with different images, text, colors, and descriptions. By using scheduling tools, I can schedule all those pins to go to different boards at different times, over the course of a few days or weeks. You don’t want to spam your followers’ feed with 6 different variations of the same pin in one day. And most group boards have rules against this too.
By doing that, I have a consistent source of new pins going out every day to separate boards. Each pin generated by BoardBooster or Tailwind is treated as a brand new pin, not a repin, so in Pinterest’s eyes I’m consistently pinning new stuff.
If you don’t have enough content to pin every day, then yes, you should pin other people’s content to fill any gaps. But always put your own content first! Especially after midnight UTC.
Pinning From Your Blog Instead of Repinning
This was an eye-opener for me and one of the best Pinterest tips I found. Pinterest says that you should NOT be repinning your content from your own boards. Instead, if you want to introduce a new pin for an old blog post, you should pin directly from your blog. Or use the Create Pin feature and upload directly to Pinterest.
This goes back to the fresh, new content idea. But it’s also a way to measure engagement. If a follower repins something from one of your boards, Pinterest knows there’s value in the pin. It’s more likely to show up in search and the Smartfeed.
What This Means for You
If you repin your content from one of your boards, Pinterest does not count that as a repin. So there’s no value in doing it.
This is where scheduling tools are lifesavers. If you’re manually pinning, you’d have to create a new pin from your blog for every personal board and group board you want to pin it to. That’s time-consuming! Not to mention hard to manage because you don’t want to pin the same pin a bunch of times in a row. So then you’d have to periodically do it throughout the day. Every day. Yikes.
If you’re using Tailwind you can use the browser button to schedule to multiple boards and choose the days you want to pin it. With Boardbooster, it’s a little different since you have to have a source board that it pulls your pins from. Instead of scheduling it from your blog, you would save it to your source board and BoardBooster picks it up from there.
One exception to the “don’t repin your own content” rule is when you’re repinning from someone who already repinned it. Your Activity tab shows all the recent repins of your content. If you click any of those pins, you will be taken to the pin they saved on their board, not your original pin from your board. If you then repin their pin to a board of yours, technically you’re not repinning your own content since it didn’t come from your board. It’s always better to repin to a personal board so you don’t risk pissing off any of your group boards with a bunch of duplicate pins.
Pinterest Tips for SEO – Descriptions, Keywords, and Hashtags
Here’s another topic that’s seen a lot of discussions lately. We’ve always known that keywords and descriptions, both pin and board, are super important. It helps people find your content and it helps Pinterest understand what your content is about so it can distribute it better.
What’s new (sort of) are hashtags. Late last year, Pinterest brought back hashtags that you can add to the description of your pin. They now work the same way as they do on other social media platforms. Users can search for a specific hashtag and view all pins with that in the description. This is one more way to describe what your pin is all about and give it a greater chance of being seen.
What This Means for You
Do your research on the best keywords to include in your pin descriptions and board descriptions. Use the related phrases that are shown under the search bar in Pinterest for more ideas. These are pulled from actual searches that people have done.
We know now that the keywords in the board description of the first board pins are saved to travel with the pin. So don’t save a new blog post pin to your “Best of” board first! Make sure you’re saving it to the most relevant board the very first time, and other relevant boards next. Then you can save it to your “Best Of” board that features all your pins from your blog posts.
The same goes for choosing hashtags. Try to pick hashtags that are relevant and specific. You’re allowed up to 20 hashtags per pin, but honestly, I’d keep it to no more than 5. When you save a pin from within Pinterest, once you type the # you’ll get a list of common hashtags to choose from. This is a good way to find popular hashtags because the number of pins that share the hashtag is displayed too.
Pinterest Tips for Group Boards
Group boards have been getting a bad rap for a while now. Pinterest has said that group boards are a good way to get your pins in front of people, they haven’t said much more.
I’ve seen a theory floating around that Pinterest would like to get rid of group boards. I’ve heard that pins from group boards aren’t prioritized for distribution and don’t show up in a search. That’s not true. I’ve seen pins recently in a search that come from a group board.
In their place, they’d like to see more Pinterest users utilizing tribes. Both Tailwind and BoardBooster have their own versions of tribes. They work pretty much the same. You have to be invited to join. Once you’re in, you upload your pins in an interface outside of Pinterest. You also share other members’ content using the scheduling tools of the platform.
No user who clicks on a pin would ever know that it came from a tribe. Because everything takes place outside of Pinterest, it just looks like a regular repin on someone’s board.
What This Means for You
I think it’s important to evaluate the quality of the group boards you’re on. If there are a lot of spammy pins or pins with content that don’t match your own, you might consider leaving.
Tailwind and Boardbooster both provide stats on your group boards. Check out your repin rates. If you’re not getting many repins, there’s not a lot of point in pinning to it. And if the overall repin rate is low, that can be a signal that people are just dumping pins.
Niche-specific group boards tend to perform better than boards with no specific theme or topic. For one thing, many of the descriptions for those general topic boards don’t contain any keywords. It’s likely your content will just get lost in the shuffle and Pinterest will never know what to do with it. Your only hope is if someone repins it to a relevant board. If you’re not getting repins, it might actually hurt you to have your content on a board like that.
And don’t discount the value of your own personal boards! As long as you’re changing the descriptions and keywords, you can save a pin again to your own boards. You can create more boards that are specific as you want them to be. Those will be the most relevant boards for your pins and the ones you’ll want to pin to first. Personally, I’ve been focusing more on creating new, more specific, personal boards lately. I’ve seen an uptick in traffic.
Manual vs Scheduled Pinning
I saved the best for last! Here’s one of the most sought-after Pinterest tips.
Does scheduling pins hurt you in the eyes of Pinterest? Is manual pinning the best way to show Pinterest that you’re an engaged and consistent pinner?
The answer is….NO! Pinterest has finally said that using a scheduler does not have any negative impact. What they’re looking for is new content and consistent interaction with the platform.
What This Means for You
Since each pin that Tailwind or Boardbooster publishes for you is considered a new pin, this can actually help you! Lord knows it’s a time-saver to be able to set your schedule and walk away.
But schedulers cost money. Tailwind is around $120 a year or $15 a month. Boardbooster has different levels starting at $5.00 a month for 500 pins. $10.00 will get you 1000 pins, $15.00 for 1500 pins and so on.
If you have the time and a decent way to track what you’re pinning, there’s absolutely no harm in manual pinning. Schedulers are more about saving time by automating but the end result is the same. You need to make the best choice for yourself. Don’t let what everyone else says pressure you into a commitment you don’t want.
This was a big old post so if you stuck with it to the end, I hope these Pinterest tips helped answer the burning questions you had about the recent changes. It may have been rough for a while but I think the changes Pinterest has been making will really help bloggers increase traffic to their sites and provide a better user experience for our audiences. It’s always important to remember that Pinterest is constantly testing new things and changing things up. These Pinterest tips may apply today, in 2018, but that doesn’t mean something won’t change in a few months or a few years.
It’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket and rely on one source for your traffic. Pinterest tips about how to market your content are only as good as the platform they’re for. You should also focus on SEO and promote your blog through guest posting and other social media platforms for the greatest chance of success.