Leveraging Pinterest for SEO and E-commerce

Pinterest has quickly evolved from a simple idea to one of the most popular, revenue generating social media platforms. In the last 5 months alone Pinterest has grown its user base 43.7 percent to more than 70 million. These users aren’t merely pinning pictures; they’re buying products.

Most social media channels lack the ability to drive non-assisted conversions and rely on attribution to justify spend. New studies are constantly being released showing that referral traffic from Pinterest converts directly into e-commerce conversions.

So how can SEO professionals and e-commerce companies unlock the potential of this new channel?

SEO: Acquire More Links

Building relationships is at the core of any ethical, results-oriented link building campaign. Identifying related bloggers and key influencers is the first step toward building these relationships and acquiring new links.

Pinterest is a great way to discover new blogs for your outreach campaign. Pinterest’s search functionality makes it easy to find relevant boards. For example, if you work with or for a lawn care provider you may search on Pinterest for “weed control” boards and get the following result:


There are so many related boards and pins that I could have scrolled for hours.

In order to boost your outreach program it’s important to only focus on Pins that were linked from a website as opposed to simply uploaded by a user. Every website you find is now a potential site to get a link from.

It’s also important to pay attention to key influencers even if they don’t pin from a website. Most users will link other social media handles with their Pinterest account. If you identify a popular user in your niche, check to see if they have a Twitter account that may include a website that they own or blog for.

E-commerce Brands: Sell More Products

The vast majority of online retailers aren’t capitalizing on the revenue potential that exists on Pinterest. Images are an extremely powerful tool that can increases sales exponentially.

What channel is seeing the largest budget and click growth amongst online retailers? What’s driving all of Google’s incremental ad revenue? Answer: Product Listing Ads! (For more information on the growth of PLAs check out this post.)

Pinterest is slowly but surely moving to a paid model that will mimic Google PLAs. A few months ago they introduced Rich Pins, which give advertisers the ability to include price and availability information for various products (and now Pinterest will alert users when prices drop). They have also expanded their analytics package to give advertisers more information around how users interact with their pins (translation: products).

To maximize your revenue on Pinterest, it’s critical that all of your products are pinned.

Utilizing rich pins will increase your conversion rate and attract users who are buy mode. To take advantage of this new feature, companies have to format their product in one of two ways:

  • oEmbed
  • Semantic Markup using Open Graph or Schema.org

Once your formatting has been validated using the Pinterest validation tool, simply apply for inclusion in the rich pins program.

If you don’t have the dev resources to implement the proper formatting or get rejected by Pinterest, there are still other options to get your products listed. The boards for your brand should mimic your category and sub-category structure.

Below is an example for Dick’s Sporting Goods golf category. Any of their golf categories or sub-categories would be great candidates for potential Pinterest boards.


In addition to pinning your own products, it can be beneficial to share other quality content that provides value to your user base. No social media user wants to be spammed tons of products by the brand that sells them. This type of mass product pinning can also hurt the brand image.

Ensure that your verified brand Pinterest account is focused on creating value for the community via posting related and sometimes competing products and images.

So where can you upload all your products? One option is to create a branded user name such as “NikeShop”. All product images would be uploaded under this account.

Another alternative is to create a non-branded persona. Note that if you sell a large number of SKUs it’s critical spread out your pins. You don’t want to simply spam Pinterest by uploading 5,000 SKUs in a day.

Prioritizing which products you upload based on revenue and order volume is a great way to slowly roll out your product pins while maximizing incremental revenue.


Pinterest represents a virtually untapped marketing channel for online retailers and brands. It’s capable of driving incremental revenue, improving SEO performance, and increasing aided/unaided brand awareness. It also provides brands the ability to serve PLAs for free and diversify their online revenue sources.

Many companies are investing to reduce their dependence on Google. Given its growth and user purchase behavior, Pinterest deserves to be at the top of your consideration set.

Related reading

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