Updated June 25, 2019
How to Keyword on Pinterest
A question I receive often is — how important is it to keyword on Pinterest? The answer — so important! But there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Pinterest is a search and discovery network. Pinners are searching for ideas, dreams, plans, goals, recipes and more. In order to find your content, they need to search for certain terms. We need to make sure your content has those terms so they can find you in a sea of pins.
So here’s the skinny about keywording on Pinterest and the what, why, where and how. Alright, let’s dive in.
What is Pinterest Keywording?
Keywording is a process of adding specific words from your niche allowing Pinterest users to find the content they are searching for. Example, I search “modern farmhouse bathroom lights” I hope that Pinterest will return back all those results. Why? Because I really want to find an exact match to what I’m looking for.
Keywording is a way to help organize content. For example, if I’m a user searching for DIY Floating Shelves, then Pinterest will pull all pins with those words in the pin description. They may pull other relevant content with DIY, Shelves, Floating, etc. Their platform is still evolving so you may get a few items that are not directly related but it’s going to get as close as it can.
Moral of the story? Be specific and strategic with keywords.
Note that Pinterest keywording is very different than Google. At this time there is not keyword tool that will allow you to see the ranking of keywords on Pinterest. You can use the recently released Pinterest Trends tool which could turn into the main keyword tool for Pinterest.
What Keywording is NOT!
It’s not a way to game the system. It’s a way to ensure the right people find your content. That’s where you get qualified leads and people added to your tribe. Let me say this as well, don’t sweep wide here. I’ve heard people say you should maximize for all areas — quotes, food, DIY, Style, Fashion, etc. However, if none of those areas have your target person, do not keyword for them. Be specific and strategic with keywords. If you don’t create content or sell products in the wedding space, don’t have a board for weddings.
Why Keyword on Pinterest?
Let’s say you have a very niche business and you’re looking to target a specific person. You want to make sure a mom, early 20s, 3 kids and does not work outside the home, finds your content about being a stay at home mom. You would add specific keywords to help her find the articles you know will give her the tools to be effective in her daily life.
For me, I want to specifically target people interested in Pinterest marketing and management. Every board, board description and pin description should include those keywords in a natural-sounding way. I’ll explain more about how that looks below.
The other reason to keyword is to help the algorithm on Pinterest know how to categorize your content and share with those that may not follow you but are interested in the topic.
How to Keyword on Pinterest
Use simple words that fit into your niche. I used to say break it into three parts and add personality, but now that Pinterest has dialed back what you see in descriptions, it’s best to be brief and straight to the point. You can use up to 500 characters in your pin description.
Here’s an example:
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“WHAT??? You didn’t use hashtags there!” Hashtags funnel into a chronological hashtag feed. The jury and the data is still out as to whether or not this is effective.
In August of 2017 Pinterest said, hashtags are a go on the platform but we haven’t seen the push to use them since then. You can listen to the video update and hashtag podcast to learn more. Also, listen to this podcast on the best way to use hashtags in your pin descriptions if you want to give them a try.
The end-user is mainly looking at the image. If the image gives them all the information they need, they will look there first. If the image is blank they will look to the description. They don’t need fancy they just need informative.
Where to Keyword on Pinterest
Okay, so the very first place we always optimize images is on your site. When you write a post, speaking specifically to those using WordPress, and you add an image, you will want to put your keywords into the Pinterest description box. Stay away from the alt-text. This is specifically for the visually impaired. See image below for an example.
Note: There are two ways to do this now using the Tasty Pins plugin. If you want to understand more about the Alt Text and Pinterest text listen to this episode about SEO and Pinterest. It will make WAY more sense after listening.
So why do we want to keyword this first? Because when someone pins your pin, this specific description will be pulled up as the description that ‘travels’ with the pin.
For example, you’ve just created this amazing post about DIY Floating Shelves and spent hours on it and you’re so excited to have it rock Pinterest. You release your post and people start pinning it but the alt text says “image o8315”. Whoops! And if you don’t have Rich Pins, then people really can’t tell what it is beside the image. See where I’m going with this?
If you don’t know where to start in updating older posts with the Pinterest description, I suggest you use the search bar to see what keywords come up in relation to your post. You can also use the “More Like This” to see what content is coming up as related to your older pin.
Related –> The complete guide to Pinterest Rich Pins
If you’ve already filled in your Pinterest description, you won’t have to do anything when you pin a pin. However, if you want to upload a pin directly, you will need to add a pin description. Here’s how you do that.
I have a planner landing page for my 2019 Pinterest planner. I have 3 different images that go to that landing page. I would like to pin all of them to my simple pin board. I upload the first image and then I’ll need to add a description to the pin. Once I do that I can add the pin and then edit it to add the URL to my landing page.
This is one of the only times you’ll need to add a pin description. Or you can edit them on existing pins. Note, when you edit it will not automatically update existing pins. It’s one at a time kind of thing. You can also add in the title here with 4-5 words.
Your profile is a great place to add keywords and it’s one that is often overlooked. There are two places you can add the keywords
First, your business name.
I have Simple Pin Media with the keyword Pinterest marketing next to my name.
Next is your profile description. Use this section to let them know how you’re going to serve them with the type of content or niche you are. You can use the same keywords you used in your business name.
Use simple words but consider who your target person is. You are under no obligation here to sweep wide unless of course, your audience is wide (like in the case of a lifestyle blogger). But if you’re more targeted to the DIY home project crowd, be specific in the type of titles you use for your boards. Maybe every board title has DIY in it. Get creative but be consistent.
Key takeaway: the goal in keywording is to target your audience.
This is a place where you will tell the user what you will pin on the board. Be smart about writing complete sentences. You can add several sentences here, but I wouldn’t spend too much time doing that. 2-3 is perfectly acceptable.
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Know Your Pinterest Audience
The goal in keywording is to target your audience. To attract the person you want to see your content. If you’re stuck on which keywords to use, start with a simple list. Or start with who that person is and make a quick story about them and their lifestyle. Then come up with a list of boards to create or update. You can find tips for updating your boards and a quick cheat sheet in my How to Clean up Pinterest boards post.
Once you get your target audience clicking on your pins and over to your website or product page, make sure you are using something like the Milotree app to convert them into Pinterest followers. If they like your content enough to click over from Pinterest, make sure you have a way of helping them stick around!
Need more help?
Grab our FREE Pinterest Keyword Planning Guide, updated for 2022. Learn what types of keywords are trending for different niches and get some ideas for planning out your content or products for the coming months. Totally free! Download here.