Pinterest Recipe for Success

Pinterest caters to recipes, products and movies.

By Kevin RR Williams

SOCIAL MEDIA It appears that Pinterest, the third most popular social network, has brilliantly executed what could easily be considered a five-year plan — within just three months! The ink has barely dried from my extensive review of Pinterest features and already the website and mobile app user interfaces have been completely retooled. Enjoy larger images, a more streamlined graphical user interface, better discovery of related pins, optimized image display, and more. Clearly, Pinterest is not resting on its laurels. And neither should you.

Pinterest has sought to enhance some of the most popular types of pins by means of structured data. The "old" style of thinking for pinners is to cram details into a single block of unformatted text. Now Pinterest supports what it calls Rich Pins — hints embedded on Web pages to format recipes, products and movies.

Recipe Pins

According to Pinterest data directory Repinly, 11 percent (January 2013) of the most popular pins come from the food and drink category. Chefs, cooks and diners repin pictures of all sorts of delicious foods, hoping later to retrieve the recipe. Sometimes these recipes are not easy to locate. This hunting can frustrate those simply curious about whether there's an allergen or how long it takes to prepare. Rich Pins can present cooking time, serving size, and categorized ingredients in a consistent format right below each pinned photo.

Pinterest Recipe for Success

Choose from two ways to collect information. Then add the tags to your website:

  • Schema.org
  • hRecipe

Product Pins

For frequently indexed sites, Google Webmaster tools allow developers to have product prices and availability presented within search results. As far as I can tell, it's not entirely dynamic, with availability stats being anywhere from several days to a month old. Pinterest has more lofty ambitions than Google.

Previously, merchants benefited from some quasi support by including a static price preceded by a British Pound or US Dollar currency symbol. This triggered a prominent price label superimposed over the image. That feature has been expunged. The new rich data is relatively dynamic. Pinterest scrapes approved sites daily to update product data with the current price and inventory status. This allows Pinterest boards to become virtual storefronts for merchants.

Pinterest Recipe for Success

Choose from three four ways to collect information. Then add the tags to your website:

  • oEmbed
  • Schema.org
  • OpenGraph
  • Feeds

Movie Pins

Theaters can have showtimes presented below images of actors or movie posters by adding Schema.org tags to websites.

There is an online tool called the Rich Pin Validator to preview pins after appropriate tags have been added. With either pin style, two crucial steps are required before new formatting is visible to visitors.

  1. Show Pinterest how your pins look by applying on Pinterest for Developers site
  2. Wait for email letting you know if you’ve been approved

Getting Structured Data to Cooperate

Rich Pins went live on May 21, 2013. Since then, those with business accounts on Pinterest, including ClinicalPosters.com, have scrambled to make pages compliant. Pinterest is not alone in its support of structured data (rich snippets). Google, Facebook, and Twitter also use them. Each is based upon one or more modified open standards. Hence, the challenge lies in getting them all to behave together without conflicts — particularly when Pinterest has not quite matured in its recognition of the various tag protocols it claims to support.

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The biggest conflict was between Google and Pinterest support for tags based upon Schema.org. I tried to circumvent it by directing Pinterest to use OpenGraph tags but they were unrecognized. Pinterest supports strict schema.org tag, whereas Google favors a variant based upon data‑vocabulary.org. They have conflicting formats to indicate availability. The solution was to include a separate block of tags for each and mark the Pinterest availability as, "InStock." while specifying the supporting url within the Google availability (http://data-vocabulary.org/in_stock).

Pinterest Analytics

I was initially surprised to discover that 20 percent of the traffic to this site comes from Pinterest. Then it became evident that such traffic began long before I joined and before Pin It buttons were added. How? By examining Google analytics and the often overlooked new analytics feature of Pinterest. As you can see from the screenshot, every week there are thousands of Pinterest impressions. The analytics page includes buttons to view Site Metrics, Most Recent, Most Repinned, and Most Clicked.

Pinterest Recipe for Success

So in addition to larger images, a more streamlined graphical user interface, better discovery of related pins and optimized image display, Pinterest is supporting Rich Pins along with the tools to monitor success. My product tagging done. Upon approval I will likely consolidate all product pins into a single board.

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Will Rich Pins benefit you site? Do you think implementation will increase site traffic or remove the need to click for further information?

Tags: programmers, programming, SEO, site engine optimization, somed