Pinterest for SEO: Not a Magic Bullet But
By: Martin Armstrong
Pinterest is quickly becoming a major player in the social
media space. At the end of 2011, Pinterest already had 4
million users. By May of 2012, the number of active
users had more than doubled to a total of 8.3 million.
Pinterest is currently the third most popular social
network, just behind Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest
has superseded Foursquare, LinkedIn and Google + in
traffic volume according to Experian traffic reports
generated in April, 2012.
The logical question posed by social media marketers is “How can I use Pinterest for SEO?” The answer
is a bit complex. Pinterest is definitely a tool appears to have promise for SEO. However, Pinterest is not
an SEO magic bullet.
What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a social network that allows users to create photo categories, or “bulletin boards,” that users
may share with others having similar interests. Users may pin photos into certain categories of interest,
such as travel, photography, cuisine and fashion.
Who Uses Pinterest?
For the first two years of Pinterest’s existence, its user base consisted mainly of females. An analysis of
Pinterest membership from September, 2011 showed that about 3/4 of the social network’s user base
was female. However, as of March, 2012, Pinterest’s user base is gaining popularity with males. The
statistics show that in March, 2012, about 35 percent of Pinterest users were males. The social network
is gradually evening out in terms of gender.
The majority of those who use Pinterest are in the 25 to 34 year age range. This statistic remains static
over the past year. However, the social network is quickly gaining in popularity with those in the 35 to
54 age range. Pinterest is also going global and adding several new languages. Pinterest’s user base is
expected to continue to grow exponentially throughout the rest of 2012.
With Pinterest’s popularity explosion, it is easy to understand why this social network is becoming a
promising medium for social marketing. Several social media marketing bloggers are advising interested
parties to add Pinterest to their readers’ social network marketing strategies.
How Does Pinterest Fare for Social Media Marketing?
As an experiment, Steve Beatty and the SEO team at SearchEngineWatch.com conducted a small,
anecdotal study of the effectiveness of Pinterest for marketing. The team posted two recipes, and
pinned photos of the dishes, on Pinterest. Using a domain with “very little equity” (translation: Zero
inbound links), and created a Pinterest account for the domain. Within one week, the site had generated
about 150 new links. In addition, the site previously showed up for only one keyword query. After the
first week, the site was indexed for 25 keyword queries, though the queries were “long tail keyword”
queries. (Google Webmaster Tools was utilized to discern the results.)
The recipe photos generated very few “pinnings” from other users. However, backlinks to the site
increased dramatically. Beatty mentions that this phenomenon means that the photos began to create a
social buzz on networks such as Google Images, Tumbr and Wordpress blogs, which resulted in greater
visibility for the site.
The Pinterest Verdict?
Beatty provides a summary for the team’s analysis. Beatty concludes that Pinterest will definitely
diversify your site’s backlink profile. Pinterest will generate Google-loving fresh social sharing content,
which will increase your site’s visibility in search results. Pinterest is an easy and straightforward way to
generate new content and social citations for your brand’s site, and there is the potential of fresh, new
content on Pinterest going viral. Beatty firmly recommends that companies invest time and resources to
market their brands on Pinterest.
Another observation brought to the forefront by Beatty and the SearchEngineWatch.com team is that
certain brand types do better on Pinterest. Lifestyle brands, such as Martha Stewart and Whole Foods,
fare quite well on the social network. However, other non-lifestyle brands, such as the Wall Street
Journal, also unexpectedly fare well.
The brand you are promoting does not necessarily need to be a lifestyle brand. However, you do need to
figure out a way to make the brand fun and create image content that users will want to share.
Creativity when marketing a brand is the most effective edge the social media marketer can have when
using Pinterest to promote a product or service.
Though Pinterest probably will not provide an effective avenue for establishing a brand, Pinterest can
assist with generating buzz for the brand and drive traffic to your site. As the Pinterest user base grows,
the full effect of marketing on the social network is yet to be documented, but Pinterest does hold
In short, Beatty, as well as other bloggers, advise marketers to work Pinterest into their social media
marketing strategies. Create an account on Pinterest and conduct your own feasibility study. Pinterest is
definitely a contender and any social media marketing strategy should include the newest social