It used to be that I would utilize Bing for any searches that didn’t require a lot of heavy lifting from an engine standpoint.Things like recipes, gardening tips, DIY stuff, would be at the forefront of my Bing queries because I knew I didn’t care that much about the result and it earned me some Bing Rewards in the process.
But with the introduction of Pinterest I have found myself using Bing less and Pinterest search more, which got me thinking a bit about how other users are using Pinterest and how it may be changing the way people search on the internet.
As Jordan Kasteler recently pointed out in his Search Engine Land article, Pinterest is not the SEO silver bullet, so let’s just stop it already. As it is it’s not even a social network that can be compared to the likes of Facebook or Twitter because the user behavior is completely different.
People aren’t joining Pinterest to socialize or catch up with old friends. They’re joining to discover new things and bookmark things that inspire and interest them. More and more people are turning to Pinterest to do things they once used a search engine like Google or Bing for, myself included.
As I mentioned previously, I’ve begun utilizing Pinterest more like a search engine for some of the lighter searching I do on the internet. These searches have resulted in a number of delicious meals and some really cool ideas. But on the other side of the screen there are a number of websites and brands that have gained some Facebook Likes, newsletter subscriptions, website traffic and a handful of potential future purchases in the process.
In fact during a recent workshop Firm Media CEO Christopher Suchanek explained this exact phenomenon when he told the story of how as a new user exploring Pinterest he did a search for men’s dress shoes that ultimately helped him find a pair he liked and later purchased via Pinterest because he was unable to fulfill the purchase in a local shoe store.
For the first time I think we have finally come upon a social network that is the perfect hybrid of search and social and actually has some buying power behind it. While, Twitter and Facebook can increase brand awareness and eventually generate revenue in the long run, I think that Pinterest is the first social network with true buying potential.
A person could search on Pinterest or view a friend’s pin on Pinterest and turn around and buy instantly. This is a behaviour that is fairly unique to Pinterest as we don’t see this sort of instant purchasing power as frequent on sites like Facebook or Twitter. But how do you leverage Pinterest to benefit from some of this buying power?
6 Ways to Optimize for Pinterest Search
Pin It to Win It – If you’re not already utilizing the Pin It button on product pages or feature pages, add it. This will help increase the visibility of your products or services on Pinterest and make it easier for people who like your product to share it on their boards.
Optimize Your Profile – Completing your entire profile can help make finding your business and its products or services easier. Your name can help in brand searches, your location can help for location searches and your description can help fuel traffic for relevant keywords to your profile.
Optimize Your Boards – A lot of Boards I come across have meaningless titles that don’t really serve a purpose to anyone but their creator. Be sure to create meaningful keyword rich titles for your boards and categorize them accordingly to help increase their visibility in Pinterest search.
Optimize Your Pins – Strong descriptions, prices, and the like can help with clickthroughs, but the number of times a keyword is used appears to help as well. Don’t be spamy, but be aware that the use (or overuse) of a word seems to help with search prominence in Pinterest. You’ve got a 500 character limit, you might as well use what you can.
Remember Basic Image Optimization – Whether coming from your site or via an upload be sure to use traditional image optimization practices to help you along. It’s clear that in many instance where pin descriptions and boards are not relevant Pinterest is using other data to fill in the blanks.
Add Value to the Community – This will help give you and your brand some street cred. Do your part to comment, repin, and engage your audience the same way you would on other social networks. Remember, even if your stuff looks pretty and shows up in searches people need to know you are legit and they can trust you. Pinterest is already doing its part to battle spam, don’t contribute to it.
The potential for Pinterest to grow as a place people turn to as a means of finding things is growing. Though it may seem dominated by certain niches, people are searching pinterest for everything from recipes and crafts to apparel and gadgets.
While search engines are still playing a dominant role in the search space, a website like Pinterest definitely shares a role in fulfilling queries for users on the internet and the sooner you or your brand get involved the sooner you can reap the benefits.