Do you have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest?
2020 hasn’t been kind to Pinterest users and Pinterest has been changing its algorithm faster than we change clothes, so it’s become an unstable source of traffic for bloggers all around the world.
I want to be clear that this post focuses on Pinterest for bloggers specifically.
Sadly what strategies were working 5 years ago, don’t work anymore.
If your traffic has slumped thanks to Pinterest, then you will find this post useful because here’s what I’m going to cover:
- How Pinterest makes its money and the major algorithm changes Pinterest has made
- Which Pinterest metrics actually matter and how you can find them
- What strategies are working and not working right now
- What to do if your pins are not gaining traction
- How you can spend minimum time on Pinterest and still get the same blog traffic
- What you need to be paying attention to with Pinterest
This post includes all my Pinterest research from the past 6+ months. So, it may be pretty heavy and overwhelming. Bookmark this post to come back to it.
Use the table of contents below to skip to the sections you want.
This post includes affiliate links to products I truly (from the bottom of my heart) recommend, meaning at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small percentage which I will use to pamper my poor pups.
A little back story
I started my Pinterest account for Stray Curls in 2016. I didn’t pay much attention to it and used it as a Personal Account. After I started using it for my blog, I grew the account to 2K followers within 3 months.
I have been following the same strategies for nearly 4 years and grew the account to 14K+ followers till now.
I started using Tailwind in 2017 and I still have a Tailwind subscription. I describe how I use Tailwind in this post.
However, this year, my Pinterest traffic dipped.
Pinterest brings me a quarter of my overall traffic so, I had to do something about it.
Using Tailwind wasn’t giving me the results I had hoped for. So, I stopped using Tailwind and have been manual pinning for a while.
I needed to speed up my success and I wanted a better understanding of manual pinning, so I purchased Carly’s Pinteresting Strategies eCourse.
It is by far the best Pinterest eCourse I have ever purchased or come across. It has been updated in 2020 to include the latest strategies that are working right now.
And the best part is, she only discusses manual pinning and focuses on Pinterest for bloggers. So, you don’t even need to purchase Tailwind to get value from the eCourse.
She gets around 100K page views a month from Pinterest alone and her pins are strictly in the Mommy/Parenting niche. So, yes. This eCourse can work for bloggers in any niche.
I highly recommend this eCourse for beginner, intermediate and advanced bloggers, because even after being on Pinterest for 4 years, there were a lot of things I didn’t know but learned from this eCourse.
Before I discuss the algorithm changes and in-depth strategies that work for me, I need you to understand how Pinterest makes its money.
How does Pinterest make its profits?
Pinterest makes money via Promoted pins/ads.
Now, most people use Pinterest as a Search Engine to save ideas. But every pin usually leads to a person’s website. Which means that people are moving away from the platform once they find an interesting pin.
This is really bad for Pinterest because now you’re not seeing their promoted pins. And they’re marketing to a blank wall.
In October 2018, Pinterest generated around $756 million in revenue but posted a net loss of $63 million. You can read more about this, here.
A net loss of $63 million is obviously bad. Which resulted in…
Major Pinterest Algorithm changes in 2020
Pinterest has made many, many changes to their algorithm in 2020. Why though?
This could be the reason,
In June 2017, Pinterest raised $150 million from a group of existing investors. You can read more info on Pinterest’s finances here.
They need to pay back their investors, which means they need to increase their profit margins.
What does this mean for us?
They may continue to make more algorithm changes and we will have to keep up.
And although I cannot cover every single update they’ve made, I want to discuss a few that have major repercussions to our pinning strategies.
1. Group boards don’t matter like they used to
A long time ago in Bethlehem, Group Boards were killing it.
If you joined even 5-10 group boards, you could pin your pins to these boards and get a whole lot of traffic because your pins would be shown to all the people following that particular group board.
This was how Pinners grew their followers and it was quite surreal how fast we all grew during those years.
But Pinterest has stopped valuing group boards like before. So, even if you pin your pin to 10-20 group boards now, there’s a good chance that you may see only a minute amount of traffic.
How do you fix this?
Leave poor-performing Group boards.
The best way to find this out? Go to your Pinterest Analytics > Top Boards. And check out the boards that get the least number of clicks and impressions.
Keep a tab on the boards that are towards the end. And check the same a month later. If those same boards are doing poorly, you can leave them permanently or delete them if they’re your own boards.
Leave Group boards that are not focussed on your niche or Group boards that focus on more than 1 niche. This confuses Pinterest because Pinterest likes consistency and focus.
2. Pinterest wants fresh pins
Unfortunately, they were very specific when they say this.
This is what Pinterest has officially said,
Having a few different images for a piece of content can be an effective way to test creative performance. We do not encourage creating an excessive number of Pins for the same idea, or recipe, however. When we talk about fresh content, this really refers to new ideas or pieces of content.
You can read the rest of these Pinterest algorithm updates here.
This basically means you cannot create 30-40 pins per post and schedule all of them at one ago.
I know because I tried. It failed.
They want more fresh content. Not just more pins.
You see, I write only 1-2 blog posts a month because I like to write 3-5K word posts. So, there are only so many times I can pin those Posts to Pinterest.
However, there is a way to balance fresh content and fresh pins. I will discuss this further on in the post.
3. Repinning pins are now almost, entirely useless
Earlier, the strategy was, “Pin 80% your own content and repin 20% 3rd party content.”
Sadly, Pinterest no longer appreciates this. They want us to blow our own horns. Here’s what they’ve said,
Pinterest encourages creators to publish new, original content on a regular basis as the best way to build an audience on Pinterest. We encourage new publishing over saving others’ or your own already-pinned content. Pinners come to our platform to find new ideas and as we continue to update our service, we’ll prioritize new original content published by creators over saves.
They have officially said that they will prioritize new original content published by Creators themselves over saves.
So stop repinning. Stop repinning other’s pins.
As for repinning your own pins, I will describe how you can do this effectively without being marked as spam or having your pin lose its reach further on.
4. Deleting pins has no effect on your Account anymore
At one point in time, it was extremely useful to delete poorly performing pins, because you increased the overall engagement in your account. But Pinterest has officially said that deleting pins no longer has any effect on your Account.
So, stop wasting your time deleting poor pins. Leave them be.
They may pick up later.
Okay, now that I’ve covered the major Pinterest algorithm updates, let’s move onto strategies that are actually working in 2020 and can be followed in 2021 as well.
What Pinterest metrics should you be analysing?
Pinterest monthly viewers is not a metric that you should be fussing about because it does not help you in any way. These impressions/monthly viewers also include the impressions from the third party pins that you are pinning to your profile.
This is a pure vanity metric.
What actually matters is your blog traffic – the link clicks. Because that is what actually helps your blog to grow.
Where can you find these?
In Google Analytics, head on over to Acquisition > Social > Network referrals. Adjust the date to see how much traffic Pinterest is bringing you monthly.
This is the main metric you should care about.
Apart from this, you should also pay attention to the Pin metrics (link clicks, not saves) and boards that are working for you. Carly’s course Pinteresting Strategies (use the code PINNING5 to get a $5 discount)explains in detail which metrics you need to keep tracking and how often you need to do this.
Pinterest for Bloggers: Pinterest strategies that currently work in 2020 and 2021
Before I get into the main strategies that work for me, you have to make sure that you have all the basics covered as a Blogger so that your account has the potential to grow.
- Your Bio should include keywords, and a link to a content upgrade so that you build your email list.
- You need to have a business account because you’ll get access to Pinterest analytics.
- You have to claim your website and your other social media.
- Enable rich pins.
Okay, let’s dive in.
1. You have to be extremely focussed in your niche
Meaning if you are a Food Blogger, all your boards should be related to food. If you are a DIY blogger, all your boards should be related to crafts and DIY.
Get my drift?
As a person who focuses on both drawing and blogging, this became quite a challenge for me.
You cannot have multiple boards in different niches and expect to grow fast. That particular ship has sailed.
Delete any board that doesn’t fit in your niche. It will help Pinterest understand what your business is about. If you can’t delete it, hide the board by making it a secret board.
Or edit the boards so that it merges with your niche.
For instance, since I blog about blogging and online business, I created a board called “Online Business” and I have pins related to drawing, illustrated and freelancing in that board.
So although it’s not related to blogging, it still comes under the Online Business umbrella because it involves freelancing and making money online.
Your board names should be relevant to your niche. Edit your board description to include keywords related to what the board is about. After deleting irrelevant boards, I noticed my pins started performing better.
2. Be consistent
I only pin 2 new pins a day to my account. If I have more pins to spare, then I pin 3. On Saturdays, I try to pin 5.
Gone are the days when I used to pin 30-50 pins per day. Now you run the risk of being marked as Spam (which Pinterest is handing out like hot cakes)
But, that’s it. I don’t repin the pins to multiple boards and I don’t pin to group boards that much. This has made a huge difference.
Before when I used Tailwind to repin a new pin to 10 group boards, I’d see the pin not getting views or clicks.
A few days ago, I pinned a pin to just 1 of my own boards using Pinterest (manually) and within 3 days, I can see the pin slowly taking off.
I used the strategy from Carly’s eCourse. Her Pinteresting Strategies eCourse (use the code PINNING5 to get a $5 discount) delves into which manual pinning method will be suitable for you based on your progress as a blogger.
She also dissects her own Pinterest strategy and she tells you exactly how many pins you should pin per day and when you should move on to more advanced techniques.
If you buy this eCourse and follow her strategies, you can stop worrying about Pinterest and just spend 10-15 minutes a day on it. It’s a huge time-saver.
None of her methods involves Tailwind.
3. Keywords, keywords, keywords
Pinterest uses keywords to tell what your board/pin/niche is about.
Which means, since my niche is about blogging and online business, I’d need to put these keywords in lots of places, like:
- Your bio description in your Profile
- Your board descriptions
- Every single one of your pin descriptions
- Your alt tag in your image (which you upload to your website)
- Your image file name (that you store on your desktop)
- Your website URL (the one you are currently pinning from)
Pinterest can also read text on your pin images now, provided it’s not a script font. Meaning, if I pin an image like this:
Pinterest can read the text and know exactly what the pin is about. If you’re using a legible font like this on your pin, make sure your keyword is big and bold on the pin image as well.
4. Spend time on the damn platform
Forgive my language, but Pinterest wants you to spend time on the platform. It’s rewarding active users because it wants you to see its promoted pins. That’s how they make money, you see.
So, give Pinterest what it wants.
Spend at least 10-15 minutes every day on Pinterest. Pin 2-5 of your pins to Pinterest first. Then go through the home feed and pin 2-3 3rd-party pins to your boards. This is repinning, but its okay if done in moderation.
If you see your own pin in your home feed, it’s okay to pin 2 of those as well.
I keep saying (2-5) because less is more now.
Embrace the concept. Love it. Incorporate it into your daily routine.
At the most, you should be pinning 10-15 pins a day to your profile. You can pin more but you run the risk of being marked at spam. Avoid this risk.
5. Use Google Analytics to see which pins are bringing you the most traffic
Simply hop onto your Google Analytics dashboard and go to Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals.
Then click on Pinterest.
You’ll get the top pages on your Website that are getting views from Pinterest. Click on anyone.
Now you’ll get links, like this:
Copy each link to a new tab and see which pin is bringing you that traffic.
There are 2 things to note here:
- Either the blog post itself is a really viral topic in Pinterest – in which case, create 2-3 pins with the same title but different image and colours and pin it to Pinterest to milk all you can.
- Or the pin is attractive and is doing really well. In this case, change the colour of the fonts and edit the pin slightly in your image to make it a new pin. Pin the new pin to Pinterest.
Here’s how I did it:
I had been doing this for my viral pins but not as frequently as I should have. Now that I know that this particular method works well, I’ve been exploiting this strategy more often.
By following these steps, you have a better chance of going viral and getting more clicks.
If you do this monthly, you will have a good idea of what’s working and what isn’t.
This has helped me get consistent traffic from Pinterest.
6. Unique images actually matter on Pinterest
Pinterest can see your images. And most of my pins that have gone viral do indeed use unique images.
Now another point to note, is that Pinterest can identify your images to a large extent. They have software that read your images.
So, if you’re a parenting blogger and include a photo of a baby in your pin, they can make the connection and tell what your pin is about in addition to your keywords and your description.
However, most of the pins are illustrated. Which kinda sucks, because Pinterest can’t see what my pin is about. So, I knew I had to have a balance of illustrated pins and photo pins to give them a fair chance to rank.
And using free stock photos didn’t help.
Free stock photos are somehow not taken seriously and Pinterest doesn’t allow these pins to gain traction, generally. The pins that had paid stock photos did much better.
I don’t just use these images for pins. I also use these as featured images for my new blog, so it’s definitely worth the money.
If you are making 50-60 pins per month, please try using paid stock photos. They do indeed make a huge difference to your growth on Pinterest.
7. If you combine Pinterest and SEO, you can milk Google for traffic
You may believe that just relying on SEO is enough. In most cases, it is. But Pinterest helps.
The more shares you get on Pinterest, the higher your post will rank on Google. Let me show you what I mean.
This particular pin which I created for my post on content planning which I wrote in April 2019 did really well.
And because it got so many Pinterest shares, it currently ranks as the first search result for the keywords “blog content plan.”
So, don’t rely on Pinterest entirely. Use both – Pinterest and SEO side by side if you want to grow your blog traffic and rank on Google.
If you are looking for more help on blog traffic and SEO, you can check out my blog traffic eBook that will help you with both.
Now if you are already implementing every single strategy there is, and still not seeing results, keep reading.
Why are my pins not gaining traction?
When I add a new pin, I don’t see it hitting it off like it used to. This is normal. Please accept it and make peace with the fact that Pins don’t do as well as they used to.
It’s the new algorithm Pinterest is on. It can take a few weeks for a pin to start taking off. Carly covers this point extensively in her eCourse.
This sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.
Some of my old pins which I’ve pinned 1-2 years ago are taking off now and bringing me traffic.
This is why you need to be super consistent. I promise, your consistency will pay off in a year.
Don’t waste your time with the following Pinterest strategies:
1. Video pins
Give this a shot, but if it’s not working, stop making video pins entirely. Video pins get a lot of views. But they don’t help you get clicks back to your website.
They only boost your vanity metric – impressions and monthly viewers.
For my latest post, how to become an illustrator, I made a cute video pin that shows how a pencil sketch is turned into a digital illustration. It got a few views in 1 day. But there’s no way for me to tell how many clicks it gets.
Pinterest has made it very difficult for people to click on video pins and go to the website. Remember what I said about them wanting you to spend time on their platform?
So, what’s the point in spending so much time making a video pin if you’re not getting the click back to your website?
It’s a total waste.
Spend your time writing more content instead. This will bring you better results.
Once you add a pin to a board, don’t bother repinning it to others. Just pin it once to a relevant board and leave it at that. Re-pinning will do more harm than good, remember that.
3. Pinterest stories
Pinterest has introduced Pinterest stories (again to keep people on the platform), but they’re practically useless for us bloggers because you can’t insert links in them.
It will undoubtedly increase your Pinterest monthly viewers, but it is a waste.
I repeat… a waste.
So, don’t even bother with stories.
What you need to be paying attention to on Pinterest + Resources:
1. Your pin titles
Your pin titles matter a lot and if they are good, you will get engagement as people will interact with your pins.
I never cared about it much, because it didn’t matter back in 2015-2018.
But now more than ever, Pinterest titles matter. Pay attention to your pin design and how you write your pin titles. I highly recommend this resource – Pinterest Title Traffic Hacks to learn more about crafting Pin titles that get people to click!
This was the first eBook I purchased from Carly and once I saw how thorough and helpful her explanations are, I didn’t hesitate to invest in her eCourse.
This eBook (which includes videos) contains:
- How to use Buzzwords that tap into strong emotions (examples and videos included)
- What kind of hierarchy you need to be using so that your pins become instantly readable
- How to use subheadings to get more clicks
- Some neat hacks on leveraging seasonal content and using multiple titles
and so much more… This only costs $17, so if you’re struggling to make clickable pins, check out this resource.
I’ve even printed this eBook and use it daily to write my own pin titles.
2. Your pin design
Tall pins fare extremely well on Pinterest. Wide pins? – Eh, not so much.
When I initially started blogging, I only created wide pins. I barely got 2-3 repins even though my blog posts were worded with a lot of thought.
After careful observation, I noticed that the pins that did really well on Pinterest were tall. Now, I make sure that all my pins are of 1000 x 1500 pixels or 1000 x 1800px.
If you have a unique template, people are going to recognize your pins the moment they see it. How do you create the perfect pin? Read the following tips to create clickable pins.
- Make sure your pins are always the same dimensions. (for egs: 1000 x 1500 px)
- Don’t use more than 2-3 fonts.
- Include your blog name.
- Create lighter pins with more reddish or yellowish tones. Darker pins which have blue or green tones don’t get pinned too often.
3. Your pinning frequency
As discouraging as your Pinterest statistics may be, please dedicate 10-15 minutes a day to Pinterest. Think of it like eating chocolate cake every day.
You won’t see its ill-effects right now, but do it for 5 years at a stretch and you may be prone to diabetes.
This may have not been the best example but you get the point. It adds up. These pins which you are pinning now will take off slowly and your consistency will reward you.
Give it time, Senorita.
How to spend minimum time on Pinterest but still gain blog traffic?
Okay, if you’ve read all these tips and are scratching your head wondering how can a person handle Pinterest and their blog and still stay sane, don’t worry… I’ve got you covered.
Use Pin templates.
Please, for the love of all that is holy in the world, don’t create pins from scratch.
This is such a huge time-waster and a task that is low-value. Consider investing in a few Pinterest templates that you can keep tweaking. If you buy Styled Stock Society or Pixistock photo subscriptions, you will get access to multiple Pinterest templates.
However, if you’re looking for some good and affordable Pinterest templates right now, I highly recommend these:
If you’re looking for the best value for money, this is it. You will get access to over 90+ Pinterest templates that you can basically reuse forever. Check out the Pinterest Pin Template bundle here.
I’ve always admired Station Seven’s branding. This template pack includes 30 customizable Pinterest pin templates.
These pin templates are extremely easy to read and simple. So, I highly recommend these pin templates if you’re looking for a clean and tidy pin design.
I spend 1-2 days a month creating pins for the whole month. I spend another 2 days writing social media posts to schedule in my SmarterQueue for the whole month.
This helps me focus the remaining 25 days on my Blog and email newsletters alone. And I create products when I have free time.
Batch your tasks. It will help you not go crazy with Pinterest and you’d only have to spend 10-15 minutes a day on it. I promise.
Pretty savvy huh?
I understand that I’ve covered a lot of points. If you’re hell-bent on making Pinterest work for you and use manual pinning, I highly suggest that you invest in this Pinterest eCourse for $57. (use the code PINNING5 to get a $5 discount)
It has helped me understand what strategies I need to keep focusing on and what strategies I needed to abandon completely. She also gives you a strategy to repin your pins that are doing well. I tried this method and it helped me increase my clicks!
Additionally, it helped reassure me and answer several of my nagging doubts.
P.S. I tend to ask a lot of questions and have a lot of doubts.
It’s extremely cost-effective and includes a lot more strategies that you can implement immediately. If Pinterest is bringing you a good amount of traffic each month or your ratio of Pinterest Traffic is higher than SEO traffic, then yes, please consider it.
Check out the eCourse here. (use the code PINNING5 to get a $5 discount). You won’t regret this purchase.
Lastly, if you are in the blogging and online business niche, you can follow my Pinterest account to make sure that you are updated with my latest blogging tips and resources.
Aaaaaand, that’s all for now.
If you made it through this entire tutorial, you’re officially up-to-date on what is currently working on Pinterest!
Please leave a comment below if you have doubts or questions and I’ll be more than happy to answer it asap.
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- 17 Reasons why your Blog is not making money + how to fix it