How to Optimize Pins for Pinterest SEO & Make Money

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You’ve probably read how to do Pinterest keyword research and make money guides, but they haven’t worked out like you’d expect.  The reason many don’t work is they forget to show you how to find and use data that is relevant to you, your specific situation and nice, as well as how to find the keywords that create proper reactions by images and the intent of the user.

The post below will teach you one way to easily gather this in order to be successful.  This is a trick I’ve used multiple times and will continue to use with clients and for my own projects.  It allows me to optimize based on data, not opinions, thoughts and random intuition.  If you like the content or find it useful, it’s free so I’d appreciate a share as a way to say thank you.

(PS, this post contains affiliate links and I earn commissions if you click and shop through them).

How to Optimize Your Pinterest Pins for Traffic, Exposure and Money

how to optimize for pinterest traffic and make money

How to Do Pinterest Keyword Research

I’ve tried numerous tools which tell me what has volume and what does not.  I also tried using the modified version bubbles they feature under a search result to help further define a search.  Still nothing.  These tools give you glimpses into potential traffic, but there is one thing missing.  Pinterest is a visual search engine that relies on your images to be relevant to the user and then the descriptions and that is the key.

Even if you do show up for that big keyword phrase, you might not get engagement and could potentially lose the ranking because people aren’t clicking on your pin, saving it, clicking through or anything.  No engagement may mean an irrelevant result for the algorithm and all of your hard work is now for nothing.  By seeing this happen multiple times, I got frustrated and that’s how I developed this technique.

The first thing I do is build an ads campaign and I spend between $10 and $30 on it with the goal of losing the money because it gives me the data I need to optimize properly.

Pinterest SEO data includes:

  • How many people engaged with the pin and which variation of image and text
  • The amount of saves for it
  • How many close ups you get without any further engagement
  • If the image is appealing for the specific keywords and gains some interaction
  • Which keywords have actual volume (assuming you use numerous versions of the base keyword)
  • What the algorithm thinks of the pin’s relevance for the keyword or phrase (the description, name, tags, etc…)
  • The potential to make money or build my website more by keyword based on conversions

Let’s discuss the last bullet point a bit more, but first, here’s how to find the breakdown of traffic by keyword and pin, as well as which columns are important.  You’ll see how I sort to keyword inside the interface and then a breakdown of volume for specific keyword variations on a pin.  This is all the same exact base keyword but with modifiers to determine which ones generate conversions vs. exposure vs. which Pinterest thinks my text and image is irrelevant for.

Note: Because the above is private data for a client, I placed blue boxes over the keywords and identifiable information.

You’ll see the sweet spot here is the keyword phrase that had 22 engagements with 356 impressions.  That is my primary focus from the test.  It has some search volume and lots of engagement so it’s going to send really good signals to Pinterest’s algorithm.  If my next goal is just exposure, then I’d go for the high volume impressions one with the new version as a secondary focus once I’ve optimized for the main phrase.  Now I can get an increased reach with some engagement and have them hopefully balance out % wise.

how to see how much traffic by keyword in Pinterest

how to optimize pinterest pins for SEO

Optimizing Your Pins Based on Your Goal

Everyone has different goals for Pinterest.  Some want Pinterest followers because they make money as an influencer on Pinterest.  Others need to show high rates of views per month on their website for CPM ads.  In house people could get measured on total saves or sales as well as traffic and followers, and bloggers or ecommerce stores need to think about getting Pinterest users to come to their site and convert into readers, subscribers and followers.

By having the break down of interactions and engagement by keyword, you can modify your image to meet the user’s needs based on how they engaged with the image variation, and know which keyword to optimize each specific pin for.  Think about 5 different photos in a recipe post and each has a unique pin, description, etc…  Now you’re running those and optimizing the image for the specific terms inside Pinterest to find out which can cause the reaction you need.  That could also be split testing the main image or a collage.

It could be a food shot with subshots of the steps, just the finished product, a collage or maybe the finished product with wording.

The next part is where it really gets good.  We go into tracking, testing and working on converting the pinterest traffic into customers, readers and subscribers.

How to Make Money Off Pinterest Keyword Traffic

During the test you’re going to start to get some traffic coming in by keyword.  The first thing to do is to determine if the person is just saving your pin and moving on, or if they’re clicking through to your site which can generate conversions and revenue.  To measure the impact on your site you have a few options.

Here is the easiest one:

  • Use Google’s URL Builder and do source “pinterestads” and medium “XYZtest”
  • Next set a goal from the landing page and a conversion (you can also use the Pinterest pixel for some of them)
  • Now measure by going into analytics and looking at acquisition > Social Media > Pinterest > Sort by Landing Page and secondary dimension “source/medium” or “medium” alone.
  • Last make sure the column for goals or conversions is showing so you can see the conversions you are shooting for.

By going to this report you now have the campaign showing and if you set your goals and conversions up properly, you are measuring if it is converting for you.  If it is, you can begin optimizing your rich pins, images and content to try and get your pin to show up in Pinterest SEO and for the queries that generate the right response.  If not, you can now test the Pin for other keywords and different aspects of the page and design.  If you’re not sure what to look for conversion wise, here’s some of the ones I normally use with Pinterest marketing.

Pinterest website conversions can include:

  • Sales
  • Newsletter sign ups
  • CPM ads (how much traffic is hitting your site from Pinterest referrals)
  • Recipe downloads
  • Contest entries
  • Anything else important to you

Hint, if you want to take your sales funnel data and conversions to a more advanced level, there are tools you can use.  If you look at the source code on this page/site, as of today I still use this tool to help with my conversions and creating stronger funnels.   I also currently use this one for email/newsletter sign ups on my site and on client ones.

And that is it.  By using this same method I can apply it to virtually any niche and create content that is Pinterest friendly, optimized and has a good chance at creating the intended reaction and response.  It could be saves, shares, website traffic, sales, newsletter sign ups or numerous other things.  The process stays mostly the same, the only thing different is the keywords, images and URLs.

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