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          Search engine optimization (SEO) helps businesses drive visits to their website through organic search traffic. Given that the top organic search results receive a third of the clicks, a decline in ranking could be detrimental for your business. Implementing SEO best practices on your website will help to ensure that your web content is seen by as many potential customers as possible. The more visitors you have, the better your chances are of converting those visits into sales!

          Local search engine optimization (SEO) helps local businesses gain visibility by optimizing their local business listings for local search. A business that leverages local SEO will include its address, phone number, local opening times, and exact location in the form of a local citation. The goal is to rank for local searches which are usually performed by people in a specific geographical region looking for a business near them.

          We typically see results within the first 30 to 60 days, but when it comes to SEO, there are many factors at play. It's important to remember that SEO is a long-term strategy and results may not come as fast at you wish.

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          Digital advertising uses the internet to send advertisements to customers who are online through different websites and social media platforms like Google, Bing, LinkedIn and Facebook.

          The price for Google Ads management depends on the monthly ad spend. For accounts with $1,000 in monthly ad spend, the price is $550/month. Between $1,000 and $5,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $950/month. For $5,000 to $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $2,000/month. For more than $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $4,500/month.

          The price for Social Media Ads management depends on the monthly ad spend. For accounts with $1,000 in monthly ad spend, the price is $550/month. Between $1,000 and $5,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $950/month. For $5,000 to $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $2,000/month. For more than $10,000 a month in ad spend, the price is $4,500/month.

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          This depends on the complexity and size of a redesign and if eCommerce is needed. On average, it takes around 14-18 weeks from the web design intensive stage to launch.

          If your website experiences the following issues: it’s not responsive on all devices, has a slow loading speed, the design appears old and tired, users don’t spend long on the site, sales are stagnant, or your business is going through a rebranding - your website needs a redesign to boost your brand awareness and sales.

          Sometimes there’s no need to rebuild a website. Minor edits, refreshing page content and images, or restructuring page layout for SEO best practices can boost traffic and sales.

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          Semantic search launched in 2013 with the release of Google's Hummingbird update. Since then, Google's search engine has become more complex. The integration of machine learning, with RankBrain, and NLP, with BERT, has enabled the search engine to better understand the context of a query and deliver more personalized and targeted results. Semantic SEO is the process of creating machine-readable content using structured data and linked open data to help search engines better understand your content.

          On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page SEO refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to off-page SEO which refers to links and other external signals. From meta tags to page content, website structure, and HTML, on-page optimization services are focused on making your website more visible to search engines.

          Structured data refers to any organized data that conforms to a certain format, such as information in a relational database. When information is highly structured and predictable, search engines can more easily organize and display it in creative ways. Structured data involves using a piece of code that is laid out in a specific format easily understood by search engines. The search engines read the code and use it to display search results in a more dynamic way.

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          An SEO agency has experts in different areas of search engine optimization that may be out of the realm of your marketing team's abilities. SEO can be very complex and time-consuming. Furthermore, as search engine algorithms change it can be difficult to stay current on the latest ranking factors and strategies for improving online visibility. You will likely see a greater return on investment and better results from using a professional SEO agency than you would from tackling this on your own.

          As a digital marketing agency, SMA Marketing provides products and services in four areas: SEO, Local SEO, Digital Advertising, and Web Design

          We focus on building authentic, long-lasting relationships with our clients. We’re goal oriented and results driven and believe in doing good and making a difference in the world.

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Pinterest SEO: Best Practices in 2020

If you’re only using Pinterest as the place to save gluten-free cookie recipes and beach cottage bathroom remodel ideas, you’re missing out. For small businesses, both online and local brick and mortar, there is huge potential to drive traffic to your website from Pinterest.

Although it is often lumped in with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest is actually a visual search engine. Yes, you can share images on Pinterest like you do on Instagram and Facebook, and it will refer traffic to your site. However, the way people use Pinterest and the way the algorithm delivers content is very different.

Why Your Business Should Use Pinterest

Here are some Pinterest statistics that should make you sit up and take notice of the platform:

  • As of the Q4 2019, Pinterest has more than 335 million monthly active users
  • 90% of weekly pinners have used Pinterest to make a purchase
  • 40% of Pinterest users have a household income of $100,000
  • 45% of all women online are Pinterest users
  • 50% of new signups are men
  • Two-thirds of all pins represent brands or products
  • 73% of pinners say content from brands makes Pinterest more useful
  • 93% of users use Pinterest to plan purchases
  • 55% of users shop on the site
  • 34% of Americans ages 18 to 34 use Pinterest
  • Pinterest images reach 83% of US women ages 25-54
  • There were 600 million Pinterest Lens searches in February 2018
  • 59% of millenials have discovered products on Pinterest

(Sources: Statista, VentureBeat, Hootsuite and Hootsuite)

People use Pinterest to plan moments in their lives and to research products and ideas to improve their lives. Much of Pinterest’s content is aspirational. People use it like a dream board of things they want to do and accomplish in their lives, personally and professionally. They are looking for products or services to fill their lifestyle and professional needs and enjoy viewing the images on Pinterest to get ideas and learn about trends. Given the way people use Pinterest to search and shop, most every business should investigate using Pinterest to expand their reach online.

Best Practices for Pinterest

Pinterest’s Head of Product Marketing, Sarah Hoople Shere, chatted with Alisa Meredith of Tailwind, sharing their latest updates and answering viewers’ questions. Hearing how Pinterest works directly from a key insider helps us understand how the search engine serves up content. According to Shere, Pinterest is investing more resources to serve content creators and help them optimize their use of the platform.

In this article, I’ll share a few key takeaways and best practices to help you get the most out of Pinterest for your business.

The People You Follow Tab

Pinterest has an option to navigate from your default Smart Feed to show pins from people you follow. This option to view pins in your “people you follow” feed (also known as the Following tab) gives the user more control over what they see in their feed. You’ll see the first few pins from people you follow, in reverse chronological order. If you’ve been using Pinterest for a few years, you’ll remember that you used to see pins from those you follow as your default. (Can I get a collective “yay!” that they brought that back?!)

Pinterest home feed and following feed

You can think of this as Pinterest’s way of helping the platform be more social in that users have the option to view pins from people they know and follow – friends, bloggers, and businesses. It’s refreshing when you consider the changes to Instagram and Facebook and their algorithms which serve up content they “think” we want to see based on their algorithms.

As a content creator, this is a great way to get your content in front of people who follow you. Post consistently, and your followers will begin to recognize your pins and feel more connected to your brand over time.

Time of Day Doesn’t Matter

Shere explained that the time of day that you pin doesn’t matter. However, the first 5 pins that you save each day will get the most reach. You may notice that your audience tends to engage more during a certain time of day. Watch your analytics to determine when that is, and then post those first 5 pins of the day at that time.

Consistency Over Volume

Shere explains that there’s no such thing as pinning too much. However, she advises that they prefer consistency over volume. It’s better to pin 5 images each day than to pin 15 on Monday and another 15 on Friday.

In the event that pinners do pin a ton of pins at one time, they’ve accounted for that with their new algorithm. In your followers’ feed, they will publish the first 5 pins that you post that day; then they will show 5 pins from someone else that your follower follows as long as those accounts have pinned that day, etc. Then further down the feed, they will show your next 5 pins after content from other accounts that your followers follow.

When Does a New Day Start on Pinterest?

When you’re figuring out when new pins for that day will start to show up in your followers’ feeds, you need to know that the new day starts at midnight UTC (which is 8pm EST.) That’s when the “first 5 pins of the day” will show up in your followers’ Following tab.

Comments Will Be Unified Per URL

In the past, pins with comments and photo tries were published underneath each instance of that pin, if it was pinned directly from the website. Now, they have consolidated comments into one stream. This shows that a pin has greater engagement than if the comments were spread out among several different pins from that one URL.

They’ve also added the ability to like and reply to comments. Pinterest is attempting to be more “social” by giving users new ways to engage with content. The comments and the “tried it” feature are great for content creators since they provide social proof that an idea is helpful or that it works.

How Pinterest Serves Up Content

Besides being shown to people who follow you, how do people find your pins? Shere explained Pinterest SEO and best practices for getting found on the search engine.

Here’s how your content gets distributed on Pinterest. When you pin an image, it gets shown to your followers first. Through the following tab, that happens more quickly than it did in the past. From there, Pinterest can gauge how well the pin performs and then show it to others through searches and recommended pins in their home feed. Shere noted that if you pin an image to more than one board, pin it to the most relevant board first. The pin from the first board will get shown to your followers.

Learn more about how the Pinterest Smart Feed works.

Shere’s number 1 piece of advice is to make sure the pin is engaging and relevant to your followers. They are the ones that will give the signal that it’s a good piece of content that should be distributed more broadly. Her second piece of advice is to follow universal SEO best practices to make sure it’s relevant to other pinners that might be interested in it.

Essential Elements of Pinterest SEO

Keyword Rich Descriptions

The most important place to use keywords is in your descriptions. Think about what your audience searches for on Pinterest. Use those keywords in your descriptions, with variations of the keyword phrase. Include keywords about the pin as well as keywords around the theme of your pin. A good example of a keyword rich description is: “This chocolate fondue recipe is great for your next chocolate-themed birthday party and will have chocolate dessert lovers begging for more.” Great Pinterest descriptions include very specific topical keywords as well as broader search terms. You want to avoid keyword stuffing though so that your description is natural and engaging.

You can do quick keyword research within Pinterest by typing in a core keyword in the search bar. Similar to the way Google recommends keywords, Pinterest will recommend keywords under your search query. This will give you an idea of keywords that pinners are searching for.

Screenshot (213)

If you click on one of the suggested search terms, you can drill down further and discover related keywords and themes that you can use in your content and your pin descriptions.

Screenshot (214)

Your pin description should match the blog post title. Pinterest wants users to have a good experience. When they click your pin image to open up the article, they want the article to live up to the expectations the user has for the link they are opening. The content of the pin should match the content of the landing page or blog article.

To increase click-throughs to your website, direct readers where to go by using calls to action. Ask them to click to read the article or click to see the recipe. Also be sure to include your URL in the description and in the URL field when pinning new content.

Other Places for Keywords

Use keywords in your profile, board titles, and board descriptions. Cover all of the ways someone might be looking for your pins, your boards, and a person like you. Include keyword-related hashtags.

Yes, Pinterest now supports hashtags. When users search by hashtag, the pins are served in reverse chronological order. So, fresh pins appear at the top of the search. Pinterest has found that pins with hashtags do get more distribution the first day they are pinned. You can add up to 20 relevant hashtags to a pin description. Focus on semantic hashtags ~ general themes that people will search for. Pinners search for hashtags and click on hashtags within pin descriptions, so they are using hashtags to discover fresh content both ways.

Pin Fresh Content

A brand new pin, whether it’s from a new article or an old article, is considered fresh content. Your followers will want to see fresh content from you. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a scheduling tool or pinning natively on Pinterest, all content is treated the same. If you’re using a scheduling application, you don’t need to worry that your content will be served up less frequently.

Underperforming Pins

A common question among Pinterest users is, “Should I delete underperforming pins?” Shere’s answer is “no.” Pins with a low number of repins will not hurt your other pins’ chances of being distributed. She also advises that an underperforming pin that doesn’t do well initially may gain traction later on. There’s no value in spending time deleting underperforming pins.

Direct Pins vs. Repins

If you’re wondering which holds more weight, having your image pinned directly from your website or re-pinned, there isn’t much of a difference in how Pinterest evaluates the pin’s engagement. You want both as they both signal to the algorithm that the pin has value to those looking for ideas about your pin’s topic. Both direct pins and repins will help your pin show up in search and as a recommended pin in the home feed.

Focus on Analytics

Use analytics to determine what pins are most engaging and relevant to your audience and make adjustments. You’ll need a business account to view your analytics. You will also want to claim your website on Pinterest and embed the code on your site, as well as enable rich pins.

Tips for Getting More Followers

Followers are a small portion of the people you reach on Pinterest. In your new business profile, check out the number of followers you have and your total reach. Most of your pin distribution takes place with people who discover your content (through searches and their home feed) and aren’t yet followers.

Now that users have the following tab and can more easily view pins from people they follow, content creators may want to focus on creating content their followers will engage with. As mentioned before, engagement from your followers will signal to Pinterest that your pin should be distributed to more people. Shere advises that the quality of your followers is more important than the number of followers. It’s better to have a low number of highly engaged followers than a large number of followers that rarely engage.

To build your followers, Pinterest is rolling out features to help recommend you to pinners who like your type of content. To help Pinterest recognize that you are a high-quality content creator and that they should recommend you to pinners, make sure you have a business account, claim your website, pin regularly, and have an optimized profile and keyword rich board descriptions.

Other steps to draw followers to your account include:

  • Having a Pinterest follow button on your website
  • Make sure your followers on other channels know you are on Pinterest and give them a link to follow you
  • Embed the pin in your blog post and ask your readers to indicate that they’ve tried it by leaving a photo comment on the pin
  • Join Pinterest boards
  • Start your own board and invite people
  • Use compelling images and infographics to create a brand identity
  • Follow your competitor’s followers
  • Optimize your profile name with keywords

Effective Pin Images

The optimal ratio is 2:3, or 600×900 pixels. If you go taller than that, your pin may get lower distribution and may get cut off in the app. Squares also work, but vertical pins work better because you’re getting more space in the feed.

Regarding the content of the pin image, users are looking for help contextualizing the information. Using lifestyle images, tasteful branding, and limited helpful text which hints at the original content is suggested. Tasteful branding is adding a little brand awareness to your pin, including a small logo or URL and on-brand colors. It ensures that as your pin is distributed over time, that your branding isn’t lost (especially if pinners change the description of the pin) and people can always try to go back to the original source. URLs or logos are best placed in the bottom or top center of the image.

Local Businesses Can Succeed on Pinterest

This is a common concern among local business owners. They think Pinterest can’t work for them. Shere shared some ideas to help local businesses get their content seen on Pinterest. She said that no matter where you are located, you should be able to reach pinners in your area. Focus on using hashtags and pin descriptions that include keywords and geographical terms that your target audience will be searching for. Use these terms in your profile description and your account name.

To watch the full video of Pinterest’s Head of Product Marketing, Sarah Hoople Shere, and Alisa Meredith of Tailwind click here.

New for 2020 – Pinterest 100 – The Top Trends List

Pinterest recently created Pinterest 100, an annual report and website devoted to helping brands and users discover new and emerging trends. The report lists the current trends, organized into 10 themes, and the percent increase in searches over the past year. The report is a valuable resource for research on consumer interests and habits.

Is your business using Pinterest? It’s not too late to jump into Pinterest and see all that it can do for your business. They continually update the platform to improve the user experience and help brands reach their target audience more effectively.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2018 and has updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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