Does Pinterest help with SEO?

Like Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest has been another one of “those” rising social networks over the last 12 months. It’s somehow managed to break through the curtains and onto the stage where many thousands of other competing and socially focused websites haven’t.

It’s surprising really. I mean, Flickr’s been around forever and does a similar job but missed the potential that Pinterest saw in allowing image sharing. On Flickr, people create accounts and they share photos they’ve taken. Then people comment on each photo if they feel like it.

I’m surmising that Pinterest took Flickr’s idea and, in a sense, made pictures 100% more shareable and social. In my view, Pinterest also created a much better website. As soon as you hit Pinterest you ‘get’ what’s going on and how it works. You’re in the action from the moment you visit.

Subjective? Probably. Compare the home page of Pinterest and Flickr and make up your own mind.

Pinterest has a concentrated audience most marketers can only dream about. Its audience is made up of mostly affluent women, 50% of which reportedly have kids, who spend on average 15 minutes per day on the site. Mashable has a pretty cool infographic explaining all this.

For marketers, some will find Pinterest easier to (and I hate saying this), ‘leverage’ than others. If you’re pinning female-friendly related imagery such as wedding pics, diamonds, cute kids, pets and cheesy ‘feel good’ messages , it’s pretty easy to cut through.

If you’re into Massey Ferguson tractors, you might find it heavy going.

With the trials we’ve run within our agency, we’re seeing some useful traffic heading back to our customers’ websites when we pin pictures which are pretty cool. They say content is king, but I’d argue in Pinterest’s case, ‘quality’ content is king if you want your pictures to get shared around.

In fact, ‘quality’ wins over just about anything, anywhere!

Does Pinterest help with your SEO? Well, on the surface it doesn’t. Pinterest uses the old rel=’nofollow’ tag on all their external links (and pictures) which stops authority, PageRank and anchor text relevance flowing back from Pinterest to your website.

However, Pinterest does enable Facebook and Twitter sharing as well as embedding of your pictures. Interestingly though, they seemed to have snubbed Google Plus as a sharing option at this point. Odd.

Anyway, indirectly, you can enjoy lots of social sharing of your content, which can’t hurt.

But here’s the thing; I don’t think it’s always about ‘rankings’. I don’t think that just because, technically, Pinterest won’t improve your rankings means you shouldn’t try it out.

I know SEO is (or should be) defined as an ethical process of trying to improve the search engine rankings of your content (a web page, a video, an image, etc) but sometimes creating and sharing great content such as images on Pinterest can have a similar effect to high rankings. And on Pinterest, it’s quality traffic to your website from an awesome demographic.

Even though Pinterest is pretty big and very public, it’s a community and a pretty tight-knit one at that. So if you join in, “like” other people’s stuff, say nice things and re-pin before you pin your very first picture. You’ll get noticed, if what you have to share is any good.

Chris Thomas heads up Reseo, a search engine optimisation company which specialises in creating and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.


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