Hey guys! So, Pinterest is currently my #1 traffic source. It used to be Google search, but that declined (most likely) because my site was on http. Since I just migrated to https, I’m hoping it will pick back up. But in the meantime, I’m focusing a lot of effort on Pinterest traffic.
While my Pinterest profile currently has over 1 million in reach, I actually reached this milestone a year or so ago, before I started working heavily with Group Boards or any schedulers, like Tailwind.
How I Got Over 1 Million in Reach on Pinterest Organically
The truth is that it was a bit of an accident. See, I was talking to my friend (and fellow blogger), Nellie, at WordCamp NYC, and she was telling me that if I engaged regularly with Pinterest that it would help increase clicks back to my food blog.
It seemed simple enough, so I was ready to try it out.
And luckily, I already had a couple good Pinterest optimizations in place that really helped the engagement strategy be successful.
Although I have learned a lot more about how to use and optimize Pinterest (which I’ll talk about in a separate post), here’s what I did to get a reach of 1 million+ ORGANICALLY. No group boards (basically), no schedulers.
5 Simple Steps I Took to Get Over 1 Million Reach on Pinterest
Note: These are “simple” steps because they’re easy to understand and pretty easy to do. But they will take hard work to execute.
- Upgrade your personal account to a business account
- Add Rich Pins to your account
- Have a keyword optimized profile
- Make keyword optimized boards (titles and descriptions)
- KEY INGREDIENT: Engage like a true Pinterest fan – pin both your pins and other pins EVERY DAY!
Let’s discuss these 5 steps for How I Got Over 1 Million in Reach on Pinterest Organically…
1) Upgrade your personal account to a business account
You can either create a business account from scratch or upgrade your personal account to a business account. This is pretty straightforward, and you can do this using the Pinterest tutorial.
2) Add Rich Pins to your account
I feel like the idea of “Rich Pins” sounds more complicated than it is. To oversimplify, rich pins help pull information from your site to help Pinterest understand what your pin is about and display additional details.
According to this page about Rich Pins over at Pinterest, there are only 2 things you need to get Rich Pins set up:
2.1) Add Metadata to the Content on Your Site
Unless you’re a developer or want to get technical, let plugins/etc. handle this – my recipe plugin formats my post to automatically add properly formatted metadata, which Pinterest can read and pull into my pins.
Easy ways to add metadata to your site:
- Recipes Rich Pins: Install and use a recipe plugin that will take care of metadata for you. Note: I’m currently using Tasty Recipes, and you can read about why I chose them on this blog post.
- Article Rich Pins: Install, activate, and use the Yoast SEO plugin. Note: This plugin has other benefits and you can read about how Yoast helps me rank page 1 on Google in this blog post.
- Other Rich Pin types: I haven’t personally added metadata for any of the rich pin formats, but these are surely a quick google search away.
2.2) Apply for Rich Pins
This was super simple and didn’t take too long (at least at the time) to complete. The Rich Pins page (linked above) has a link where you can apply. You basically just test one post with metadata and then your whole site gets opted in to Rich Pins.
3) Keyword optimized and clear profile
Although not completely optimized, my profile description did have some keywords related to my key pins topics. I don’t think this one helped that much, but every bit adds up, right?
I do think that my profile was clearly written with the topics I’d be sharing on Pinterest, which also helped grow my followers because they could easily see what I’d be pinning and decide if they wanted to follow.
Plus, a good Profile gives you a nice, polished look.
Note: Since then, I’ve made additional updates to optimize my profile and include more keywords.
4) Keyword optimized, niche boards (titles and descriptions)
I def got lucky on this one. There was a time where cutesy names ruled. But while cutesy names can make someone smile or even catch attention, they aren’t very valuable when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization). And Pinterest is basically a big search engine, after all.
Niche versus General Boards
One thing I (accidentally) did well was having niche boards. I see so many general boards nowadays, like “Recipes”. But Pinterest uses a combination of information about each pin, including the board a pin is placed into, to try to understand what the pin is about. And whether it’s relevant to a user’s search/etc. Using a super general board doesn’t help as much with this.
Not to mention, it’s less helpful from the POV of a user trying to search for specific types recipes. I mean, would you ever search for “Recipe”? You’re probably looking for an “Easy Casserole with Chicken” or a “Healthy Cupcake Recipe”.
- Tip: I wish I would have created boards back then that were more in line with my niches. For example, while “Food: Dessert Chic” is better than “Recipes” or “Desserts”, since I focus on healthy recipes, “Healthy Dessert Recipes” would have been better. And since I focus on clean eating recipes, “Clean Eating Dessert Recipes” would have been another solid option.
SEO versus Cutesy Board Titles
- SEO words: Food, Dessert
- Cutesy words: Chic
Thankfully, my board names were only semi-cutesy, while still having good keywords present. Take the above example of “Food: Dessert Chic”. Although Chic isn’t helpful in explaining what the board is about (I was going for branding), you still know what to expect in the board.
Could it be more specific and niched down? Yes! But it wasn’t a bad start, and it does help my board titles stand up from the others with similar names.
Even still, I don’t think any of the above made as big a difference as the next and last tip…
Side Note on Group Boards: Nellie did mention Group Boards to me, and I joined a couple (I think 3) and tried to start my own. I didn’t really understand how they worked, so I didn’t post much to them. And my own group board sort of fizzled out. I’ve since re-invigorated it, but because my group boards were barely used, I don’t consider them part of my success for increasing my Pinterest reach.
5) KEY INGREDIENT: engage like a true Pinterest fan – pin both your pins and other pins EVERY DAY!
While the other Pinterest optimization tactics happened throughout my use of Pinterest, I started seeing improvement in my site traffic and Pinterest engagement when I started engaging with Pinterest on a regular basis. Which I started right after the conference ended.
What to Pin?
Pinterest likes it when you pin your own pins but also the pins of others. Don’t be greedy. 😉
When to Pin? How Often?
This may sound like a lot, but pin every day. I aimed to pin at least 5 minutes per day. Apparently, Pinterest likes it when you use Pinterest on an ongoing basis.
This turned out to be easier than I thought. Why? Because I did this…
Use Pinterest Like a True Fan
I used Pinterest like a true fan. Like a real user. I looked for valuable content, and then I shared it into my (fairly) well organized boards.
At this time, I wasn’t as into pinning recipe content as much. Which was unfortunate because most of my blog posts are about food and recipes. Lol! But I really was using Pinterest like a fan. And at that time, I was going through a difficult time in my personal life. So, I was finding a lot of comfort in the many beautiful, uplifting quotes on Pinterest. And I was sharing them like crazy.
Found something that resonated with me? Pinned! Found something I liked? Pinned! Found a recipe to try? Pinned!
I was a pinning machine, and Pinterest thanked me for it.
While I was trying to pin to all my boards, my Quotes board was my focus. And it is still my most followed and one of my most active boards, even though I’m not pinning quotes as much as I did back then. So the focus of my engagement is where my increase happened.
- Tip: If you want to increase engagement in a certain niche, focus your engagement on pins and boards in that niche.
Add Value to Your Pinterest Followers – Curate Quality
One thing that helped me pin content from others was focusing on adding value to my Pinterest followers.
When I started thinking about curating the best content out there for them, it helped me start seeking out top quality pins to add to my boards.
Did Pinterest Help My Blog Traffic Increase?
YES! As you can see from the above graph, my traffic started increasing pretty soon after I started taking Pinterest more seriously.
WordCamp NYC was the weekend of July 15-17, 2016, and you can see from the above chart that my traffic increased after that.
Note: My traffic usually increases quite a bit in December – February because my food blog is focused on recipes and healthy eating, which are more relevant during these times of the year.
More Social Tips
Thank you so much for reading about How I Got Over 1 Million in Reach on Pinterest Organically (WITHOUT a Scheduler or Group Boards!). Hope you found this post helpful. If you did, please consider sharing this on Pinterest or otherwise with your friends!