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Almost one year ago I had the pleasure of meeting two Pinterest employees at Mom2.0, a conference for bloggers. A small group of us stayed after the session and had the opportunity to “get real” with them and chat about some things that were on bloggers’ minds such as stolen pins, rich pins, Pinterest best practices, and more.
This relationship has been an honest and open door that we have kept up since the conference and in light of recent Pinterest changes, I asked for some clarification and solid numbers for bloggers. As I’ve mentioned to Pinterest, bloggers will follow the rules if you give them rules–but you have to give them specific rules.
I have had multiple meetings with Pinterest over the last few weeks and given a lot of feedback to them from bloggers about some things that are happening at Pinterest. I feel that they are beginning to understand where we are coming from and as more information comes out, I’ll update this post for you.
I co-wrote this post with my Pinterest rep. Pinterest asked that I post this on my blog for bloggers to see–originally we discussed posting it in Facebook groups but decided it was easier to read and save if it was on a blog.
What is considered Spam on Pinterest?
Pinterest users are reporting that seeing a board with the same Pin multiple times (even if that is over the course of many months) is spammy, AND they’re reporting those Pins and boards.
In order to not be considered spam (and have your account shut down):
1. Don’t Pin the same Pin to the same board multiple times.
2. Click through Pins to make sure that you’re not Pinning a Pin that leads to a spammy site. You can also test to see if a link is spammy using these tips: (website removed)
3. Make sure the Pin image is relevant to the webpage it’s linking to.
4. Sites with pop-ups, sites that are very heavy on ads, and sites that have a slow load time are considered spammy.
Note: Account suspensions don’t happen with one “negative action.” There are usually several strikes against your account by the time your account is reviewed and suspended.
Are duplicate pins ok on Pinterest?
I explained that as bloggers with a ton of posts and Pins, we repin often. And of course, more repins = more website visits = more money for us, so more is better for bloggers and we really need specifics.
Pinterest explained that our boards should not have duplicate Pins. A few times is ok, but if a regular person would look at your board and notice the ‘same pin,’ then it’s getting risky. They will take into consideration things like Tailwind glitches (like when Tailwind Pinned duplicate Pins for all of us at the end of last year).
Approved Schedulers for Pinterest
This can’t be said enough: do NOT use unapproved schedulers. If the scheduler asks for your username and password, it is a security risk and you shouldn’t be using it. If it’s an approved scheduler, it’ll have a popup that brings you to the Pinterest site and asks you to approve the app (oAuth).
You can find a list of all approved Pinterest partner tools right here.
Long vs Short Pins on Pinterest
The tall giraffe Pins are slowly losing traction and are losing distribution. Anything longer than 2:3 will be in danger of being cut off (think about the tilted Pins on the business profiles–if it’s getting cut off there, it’ll also show up cut off in other places in the same way).
Pinterest gave us a warning about this way in advance (like, two years ago), so that we could change our image layouts. The changes are still in progress and the 2:3 aspect ratio will continue to be emphasized.
Do Pin and board descriptions matter?
Descriptions make your Pins and boards more useful to Pinners and help with distribution. We recommend adding descriptions to all your boards and Pins, along with descriptive titles.
Does categorizing boards help with SEO?
Yes, categorizing your boards does help with search engine optimization. To edit your board category, just click or tap the pencil icon in the lower right corner of your board, then select select the category that best represents your board.
How does Pinterest use keywords? Should I include them in my descriptions?
Yes! Good keywords will help your content get to the right audience and give helpful context to Pinners. Pro tip: Try out a search yourself to find out what results show up with certain keywords.
What’s the difference between keywords and hashtags? And when should I use each?
Both keywords and hashtags make your Pins easier to find. Keywords help with search and give important context about your Pins and boards to Pinners. Adding hashtags helps Pinners discover your Pins. Each hashtag you add automatically creates a link that Pinners can tap to see other Pins with that same hashtag. People can discover hashtags in places like search results and Pin descriptions. When you visit a hashtag feed, the freshest Pins are featured up top.
For my descriptions, should I use full sentences or only keywords?
People are reading these, so sentences work best. But remember that robots are also indexing these, so make sure to include strong keywords.
There’s a new “Creators” landing page with case studies and tips. Good overview for anyone getting started: https://business.pinterest.com/en/creators. You can also email Creator support at Creators-Support@pinterest.com.
Look to join and maintain smaller tribes with good quality control. Tribes that are helping to distribute spammy Pins are becoming an issue–don’t assume that because you see a Pin in a Tribe, it’s “safe.” Look for familiar URLs and click through the Pins you don’t recognize to see if it leads to a spammy site or a quality one.
How many times a day should I be Pinning?
Pin a handful of times or a lot, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re following the spam rules and doing it authentically (not blindly). Pinterest understands that a smaller blogger with less posts/Pins is going to Pin less than a larger blogger with 1,000 posts/Pins. The most important thing is to save ideas consistently and steadily, rather than in one single flurry.
What’s the deal with Group Boards?
While group boards are a great way to collaborate with friends and family, they are not good mechanisms for getting distribution. The ones that follow Pinterest’s wishes are small group boards that are all Pinning about a small handful of related topics (healthy recipes and fitness; kids crafts and recipes, etc). Go find a few bloggers that are similar to you and have great content and create a niche group board. Pinterest wants collaboration, not group boards that hack the distribution of Pins/algorithm. <— this was stressed many times during our phone calls.
What I’m doing different
I manage my own Pinterest account as well as a few accounts for brands and bloggers. I’m changing the way all of the accounts are managed due to these changes.
Personally, I’ll no longer be adding duplicate Pins to boards. I’ll be evaluating where my Pins link to very closely and paying more attention to Tailwind’s little ! warnings that say “you’ve Pinned this Pin to the same board.”
I’ll be creating more new Pins for posts so I can still share my newest and more popular recipes in ways that don’t look as spammy. Right now, I create 4-6 per post and each focuses on a different category of the post (Weight Watchers, Healthy, 21 Day Fix, cooking method, etc). I’ll be making at least 2 Pins for each of these categories now.
I’m leaving any tribe that isn’t managed by someone I know or has ANY spammy looking Pins. I’m also creating a few tribes and hiring someone to check them weekly for rule following and quality links. My assistants will have lists of “safe” accounts to Pin from.
I’ll be Pinning more from bloggers I know and less from unknown sources. If I Pin about a certain topic, I’ll be creating tribes to help fill my boards and filling those Tribes with high quality bloggers.