New Kid on the Social Media Block – How to Generate Brand Awareness and Valuable Links using Pinterest

December 13th, 2011 by Alison Zeringue

As an admittedly addicted Pinterest user, I’d like to clear up a few things about the relatively young social media site and its potential use for marketing and SEO linkbuilding.Definition of Pinterest With Pinterest quickly rising in popularity, I’m constantly hearing it referred to as a social bookmarking tool for sharing images.  Pinterest is in fact a social bookmarking tool, but it is not only about the images. The site allows users to “pin” or save links to external sites in an organized way, with few limits to what type of site or image can be pinned.  Users can save anything from a favorite blog post to products they love, from recipes to tutorials. Each and every pin not only pulls in an image, but also a do-follow link back to the source site! Can you smell the SEO potential yet? The brilliance of Pinterest is that it combines some of the most compelling features of social media in general: visually stimulating content and the opportunity to share your ideas, interests and inspiration. Upon signing up, users are provided with fully customizable “pin boards” and can easily find friends to follow using the Facebook and Twitter connected features.
I escape to Pinterest to avoid all the drama and bad grammar on Facebook.
As a marketing tool, Pinterest has great potential for small retail businesses that may have a hard time competing in search results. For example, a local boutique clothing store may find it incredibly difficult to outrank Macy’s and Saks in the SERPs for a keyword like “New Orleans shopping.” When users find something they like (usually pinned by someone they follow and are influenced by), chances are they will, at the very least, click the source link. Everyday I’m introduced to new brands and products on Pinterest, and more than once I’ve used what my friends are pinning as inspiration for making purchases. There are currently few brands using Pinterest, but with its popularity and the site’s high (and still growing) domain authority, all signs are pointing to increased use by brands and businesses in the near future.

A few tips for putting Pinterest to work for your brand:Pin It Button

  • Add the “Pin It” button to your product pages or blog posts. It’s easy to do and you can add the button along with your other social media sharing buttons.
  • Create a Pinterest account for the brand itself and reach out to “visual influencers” on Pinterest for help getting your images re-pinned. Pinterest allows any user to follow any other user without requiring a follow-back. You may also tag other users in your pins, comment on pins and re-pin (the Pinterest version of a retweet) others’ content.
  • Create boards beyond your own products and brand, but relevant to your location and industry.
  • Utilize the description fields when creating Pins by adding keywords and geo-modifiers. Not only is this SEO 101, but Pinterest addicts often use the search feature to find relevant pins.
  • Keep pinning!  The search results and Pin feeds change up-to-the-minute, much like the Twitter feed and Facebook Ticker. Maintain a steady flow of Pins to ensure your products are staying top-of-mind.

For SEO linkbuilding purposes, the benefits of Pinterest are pretty self-evident. Some basic info on Pinterest links:

  • Each and every Pin links back to the original source site or the file location (depending on where it was originally pinned from). Unless you’re purposely optimizing for image seach, a product page or site link is probably better.

    Pin Link Locations

    Standard pins provide links to the source site in two locations.

  • A Pin provides do-follow links in multiple places. The image itself acts as a link in addition to the “From:” link in the top right-hand-corner.
  • A pin comes with embed code for syndication to other sites like Facebook and Twitter, helping to develop backlinks to the Pin itself.
  • Pins are editable! You can edit your own Pins with updated URLs or reach out to Pinners who may have pinned your images from an unfavorable source site. Pins are easy to edit and the new URL you provide does not need to host the image, though I don’t recommend you use a link without the original image.
  • Because of the visual nature of Pinterest, it is a great way to promote infographics. Make sure they are Pinned to appropriate boards and contain relevant descriptions to ensure they are shared.
  • You can even add a Pin It button to your company’s blog pages by using the WordPress plug-in.

Thanks to the intuitive nature of Pinterest’s interface, I think the best way to get going is to request an invite and just dive in. Remember, sign-up is currently via invitation-only, so ask a friend to invite you or request one from the site (it doesn’t take long). Let me know what you think about these tips in the comments, and if my screenshots piqued your interest, follow me on Pinterest!