May 02, 2012 / by Brandon Andersen

Here’s an interesting fact: although Pinterest only has 7% of the membership that Twitter does, it actually produces nearly as much referral traffic as the micro-blogging juggernaut. And with 10 million active users and growing, the site is shaping up to be a real contender in the social media space.

Here are some tips on how to optimize your Pinterest account to drive more traffic to your Pinterest page and your website.

Add a keyword rich description to your About section

Your profile page is indexed by search engines, and the content you include in your About section makes up the majority of the text content on the page. So use the About section to your advantage. Throw in some great keywords that are specific to you, but broad enough that people actually search on them. This also helps give context to all of the boards you’ve created. Search engines love context.

Use keywords in your board names

Creating a new Pinterest board for your line of fashion-forward sneakers? Sure, you could name it “Look at these new things!” but that’s not very descriptive and won’t get you very far in search engines, or in Pinterest’s search. Name the board “Fashion-Forward Sneakers” so the odds of it showing up for those keywords increases.

Add a keyword-rich description to each of your boards

This is the same concept as above. Write keywords into the description of each board you create to increase their visibility both within search engines and within Pinterest search. The description can be edited after you’ve created a new board.

Add a relevant…and yes…keyword rich…description to your image

Noticing a trend? Always keep keywords in mind when adding content to Pinterest (and press releases, and blog posts, and well, basically anything on the web). Pinterest’s own search engine relies on the description text to determine what is in an image. If you are posting a picture of a camping stove that you sell, make sure you mention the words “camping stove” in the description.

Link your account to your social networks

Linking your Pinterest account to your social networks will create new inbound links, as well as allow you to automatically share your pins across each of those profiles; driving links back to your Pinterest account. The more people who see the images you pin, the more likely they are to pin it themselves or view your website.

Link the image to your website

If the image you’ve pinned is your own, make sure it’s linking back to a page on your website that is relevant to it. The image of those Fashion-Forward Sneakers should link back to the page for that pair of Fashion-Forward Sneakers.

This tip is the most important to driving traffic to your site. If you skip this step, and host your images somewhere other than your own blog or website, you’re missing out on all of the referral power of Pinterest.

Add the Pin It button to your website

Make it as easy as possible for people to Pin your images. Add the Pin It button to your blog or website.

Create great, original images

If you sell physical products, you probably already have pictures of them. Pin those and give them optimized descriptions with links back to their own web page. If you don’t sell physical products, you probably have thought leadership that can be turned into visually friendly infographics or images. Post often and develop your Pinterest boards.

Be a part of the community

Like any social media community, you can’t rely on Pinterest as a means to drive traffic to your site without putting the work in to be a part of the community. Everything that you post should have a purpose and a value not only to you, but to the community as a whole. Also reach out to other members who have similar interests and connect with them. The more re-pins you get, the more visible your brand becomes. The more you engage and work to make Pinterest boards that are relevant to your potential audience, the more you will reap from the site.

What about you? What techniques do you use to optimize Pinterest for your business?

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About Brandon Andersen

Brandon is the Director of Marketing at Cision US. In his role, Brandon leads Cision’s US marketing team and develops strategies for engaging marketing and PR professionals. He is a host of the popular Cision Webinar series, and blogs about everything from inbound/content marketing tactics to future trends in communication and technology on Cision Blog. Find him on Twitter @brandonchicago