E023 Pinterest SEO & Pin Cohesion
On today’s episode, Annette is chatting through Pinterest SEO for pin cohesion. She’ll cover Pinterest keywording, which is an important part of the process. This was introduced in our article Where to Put Keywords (be sure to give it a quick read!), but we’ll be diving deeper today to evaluate keywords and identify your SEO.
If you’ve ever wondered about Pin Cohesion and what is it, you can read the detailed version on Pinterest’s Engineering blog (hosted on medium.com). This article discusses Pinterest’s system of how it looks at pins and what it does to determine how cohesive those pins are to the content on the website.
This is really interesting for a couple of reasons:
This is the basic raw data Pinterest uses to catalog a pin (which is really important stuff!)
There has been a rash of stolen images on Pinterest (when someone takes an image, usually something popular, and directs it to a new URL), and this seems to be Pinterest’s response to mitigate the problem. These stolen pins will be less effective, which means we could see a decrease in this problem.
There are 4 major parts of pin cohesion: text cohesion, image cohesion, image to text cohesion, and blending classifiers. The first time a pin appears on Pinterest, Pinterest has to do something with it to know what it is and how to use it.
Pinterest looks at the text of the pin—any actual words on the pin, including those in the metadata, description, and rich pin. It compares these words to the html on the landing page (Pinterest scans the landing page and pulls info from the text body, title, and page description). Pinterest wants the text to match, and if it doesn’t, that identifies the pin as being bad.
You want to be sure that the text you’re using on your pins matches the text on your website! This is where rich pins are very powerful. They will automatically match a lot of text for you without extra effort.
Pinterest will scan for visual similarity—cohesion between the image(s) on the pin and the images on the website. It’s not hard for Pinterest to figure out if the pin image(s) can be found on the website. If you hide your images or exclude your images from your landing website, it could possibly count against you. However, if your pin has a collage and at least some of those images are on your site, then Pinterest will recognize that.
Image to Text Cohesion:
Pinterest creates visual classifiers from the pin and compares them to the text on the landing website. It crawls the website for the terms it labeled the images with. It’s easy to enough to make a pin’s image match a website’s images (same goes for text), but Pinterest is looking to make sure the images match the text. If the terms don’t exist, Pinterest will see the pin as lacking.
These three cohesion valuations are taken into account (this is called blending classifiers) and Pinterest will determine a total classification of cohesion to determine if the pin is valuable enough to share. In the article, it says, “This signal powers search, recommendations, and home feed surfaces as a ranking signal to improve content quality on Pinterest, and drive off-site traffic.” In plain language, that means it feeds impressions.
It’s important to note that none of this tells us how user pinning, comments, etc. come into play with a pin’s SEO, but we know those play a part. Pins pinned by users do better and pins with comments do better, but in true algorithm style, it isn’t clear which is the chicken and which is the egg.
Pinterest and Website Keywords
Keywords are words that are key to what your pin and website content are all about. Extremely longtail keyword terms are less effective on Pinterest than they are on Google. Pinterest catalogs in broader terms most of the time, so super specific keywords won’t be as beneficial.
Find your keywords, place them in your pin descriptions, boards descriptions, titles, and posts.
One place to look for this isn’t well-known, but it’s a great tip to take advantage of—Pinterest categories. You can even dig deeper to find sub-categories. When you explore these categories and sub-categories, you can easily find keywords that are quickly ranked and very popular.
Another place to look for helpful keyword information is in the advertising platform. If you create a promoted pin, you’ll fill out a lot of information to target your ad. One of the ways to target your ad is in the keywords. There is a keyword searching option inside the platform. This is not the same level as moz.com or semrush.com, but it is a helpful tool to generate ideas of what people are actually searching for within Pinterest. Not only that, but it will bring up other search terms that relate to your keyword that people are looking for.
The other helpful thing Pinterest offers within the advertising platform is an average number of monthly searches on any given keyword. This gives you a better idea of the popularity of different keywords and what people are actually searching for. If no one is searching for the keyword you chose, then you can get a clear picture of how to change your strategy! This may also give you great suggestions for keywords terms that you may have otherwise overlooked.
You don’t have to actually run an ad to get keywords from Pinterest. It’s about halfway through the ad creation process, so you can start a “dummy ad” that you never actually promote in order to use it for your pins and website content.
Pro Tip: Remember that Pinterest doesn’t like longtail keywords. BUT if you add a longtail keyword you may get some suggestions that don’t show up in the guided search but still get a lot of searches per month.
A final thought: use your logic. If a keyword suggestion doesn’t match your content (i.e. it’s suggesting Christmas in the keyword and your content is not Christmas-related), don’t use it just because it shows up as a suggestion.
Keyword Placement Recap
In the post on your website: URL, title, body text
On Pinterest: board name, rich pin info, board description, and pin description
Images: in your text overlay (turns our Pinterest is scanning those words and identifying them to help catalog your pins)
Sometimes you tell Pinterest over and over what a keyword should be, but due to how pinners interact with your pin, it might get cataloged in an unexpected way. How do you know how Pinterest has cataloged your pin? There’s a simple trick! Check out this video for the simple method. Please note that this isn’t a guarantee, it’s simply extra information that can help you find additional keywords to use.
Pull a pin and enter that pin’s URL into a browser that Pinterest is NOT logged into. Ideally, a browser that you’ve never used Pinterest in, or clear your cache and remove any possible cookies. When you enter that pin’s URL, you’ll see a page that isn’t shown to Pinterest users, it’s only shown to people who have not yet signed up. Below the pin you’ll see a guided search box with different terms. Those are the terms that Pinterest has cataloged those pins for.
For example, a pin for Universal Studios in Orlando will eventually be cataloged (by Pinterest) for Disney. This is because a lot of people who plan vacations on Pinterest won’t have a separate board for each element of their trip—everything for that trip is going onto one board. This means people are pinning Universal and Disney to the same board, which also means Pinterest wants to show users all sorts of content that will appeal to them, hence the unexpected cataloging.
This not only helps us understand which keywords to use, but also how to pivot our content to better serve our readers.
Pro Tip: Use this same system for finding out your pin is cataloged for finding out how a PROFILE is cataloged! Use a non-logged in browser to search a profile and Pinterest will show you that account’s lead boards.
This is a lot of information to digest, but it’s all really about user experience. The ultimate goal is to make pinning really easy for pinners, but one of the things a lot of websites don’t check is “How does a pinner pin my content from their phone?” So many times website owners will spend a lot of time, money, and effort to add share options and buttons, but then they never check what it looks like on their phone.
Pro Tip: If you haven’t checked your own website on mobile in the last month, then go check it out right now and see if you can easily pin content.
E023: Pinterest SEO for Pin Cohesion
1:50 Peculiar Pin | Agamograph
5:15 Pin Cohesion
13:21 Cataloging Keywords
18:45 Text Cohesion
21:30 Image Cohesion
23:58 Image to Text Cohesion
30:00 Pinning on Mobile