Pinterest is Growing Site Traffic

Users bypass local website searches, linking directly to pages from pins.

By Kevin RR Williams

SOCIAL MEDIA There have been fewer keyword searches on this site recently. That's because visitors have found direct links to the pages that interest them — on Pinterest. Business Pinterest accounts include access to analytics; site metrics can be a bit wonky though. Frequently, the last couple of days show a suspicious drop to zero activity that is eventually corrected. Nevertheless, different ranges can be defined for a snapshot of prior periods of time. Based on this, average daily Pinterest impressions of pins linking to have increased over 200 percent to 20,994 within five months. This represents how many times pins from appear in streams of other users each day.

Currently, about 200 followers are added monthly, with over 1,100 followers anticipated by year-end and exponential growth next year. In March of this year, 15 percent of local website traffic was attributed to Pinterest. Now, Pinterest dominates the top spot with 47 percent of page views. This surpasses the 30 percent of Google searches. For an account to flourish, it must have activity. With international users, Pinterest respects all timezones.

Pinning at various times throughout the day keeps your pins in view of others to increase impressions. It's better to pin in trickles rather than dozens at one time; with a wide variety of followers, a bombardment of something you fancy at the moment that dozen sit well with others may result in some unfollowing one or more of your boards. If an article in your site relates to two separate boards (which may have different followers), it's okay to pin either repin one of your own pins or, even better, pin a different image from your page so you can monitor which receives the most attention.

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Obviously, there's a shift in social media trends. Pinterest hit the 10 million mark of U.S. monthly unique visitors faster than any independent site in history. If you have an account, are your Pinterest boards neglected? For example, have you liked thousands of images, created hundreds of pins but have just dozens of followers? Continue reading to find out how you can infuse life into your boards. Be forewarned, if you're a blogger, you may not want others to know these secrets.

Use Pinterest to Grow Website Traffic

Merging Images with Text

Text requires translation. Images? Not so much. Therefore, social media with rich image content is experiencing rapid international growth. Twitter supports embedded images, but timelines are primarily text. Pinterest prominently features images with secondary captions, but don't let this fool you into thinking captions are unimportant.

    Twitter Tantalizes, but Beware the I.P.O. Yet unable to make a profit selling ads on its hugely popular social media site, privately owned Twitter is planning a November 6, 2013 initial public offering between $17 and $20 per share. —The New York Times

Search engines are becoming quite sophisticated. Google and TinEye can locate Web pages based on an uploaded photo — reverse image search. You can add a handy bookmarklet to your browser called ?¿ src-img. It initiates a Google reverse image search from Web pages (not native images). Nevertheless, content descriptions — typed or verbal — are still the primary method of searching the Internet.

If you are using Pinterest as a personal image library, captions like "hair," "gloves," "pink," or simple punctuation (periods and smilies are common) may satisfy your individual needs (and possibly violate some copyrights. More on that later). But if your goal is to generate site traffic, detailed captions improve positioning on search pages. Major search engines use those words to return results. This translates to more Pinterest visits, repins, followers, and ancillary site visitors if you have a blog.

Be among the top 2% elite.

Pinterest allows comments on pins but only about 2 percent of members use this feature. Liking or repinning are the favorite forms of interaction. Invert this value into a positive: Be among the top 2 percent elite Pinterest users who comment regularly and your presence will stand out. Even if others don't acknowledge your prose, those who read them are more apt to visit your boards and possibly follow you. And it certain helps to tweet or email kudos to originators of the content you admire. I have had some become followers as a result.

Merge Interests

Most of the artwork pins on my boards include detailed keywords describing the content. Whether searching on Google or Pinterest, this makes it easier for people to find a specific artist, style, or subject matter. Board titles and descriptions should likewise be descriptive. Some people use "creative" misspelled board titles. This actually hurts their Google search position.

Periodically change the order of the boards for better visibility since some users don't scroll past the first few. As the following titles demonstrate, you can create boards for your own interests but include some that appeal to your website visitors.

With the exception of the first two listed, if you visit any of the boards above, you will notice that most pins link to other websites. So building traffic doesn't mean you must create thousands of posts from your own site. Think of it like starting a conversation at a party. Unless you're a celebrity, if your monologue is entirely self-centered, you're likely to alienate others. Motivated by admiration, I pinned a beautiful piece of artwork entitled "Sunday" by Angie Niebles. To date it has received 1312 repins and 296 likes. It links directly to the artist's website. However, your own site should be a resource for a fair amount of original or properly licensed images.

Getting Down to Business

Are you a content creator? Do you have original images to upload to Pinterest rather than solely repinning others. I discovered earlier in 2013 that a large percentage of visits to my online store resulted from people pinning images. Apparently people love anatomy posters. Some pinners have posted a small, unrelated thumbnail photo from the page or didn't adequately describe the content.

Business owners have a choice of ignoring the activity of visitors or taking ownership of it. By creating a verified-business Pinterest board and enabling rich pins, my Pinterest presence has been improved. Most of the referral site traffic comes from pins originating from Doctors Anatomy Posters, one the other boards above listed with an asterisk, or from repins of them on other peoples' boards.

Go Big or Go Home

Pinterest displays images to 740 px wide.

On a visually rich site like Pinterest, it's disheartening to click a preview to reveal a "full-size" image that is not much larger than the thumbnail. Of course, some that sell images prefer to limit the size of previews. Pinterest has virtually no size restriction. It scales oversize images to fit. On the desktop, Pinterest displays images up to 740 pixels wide. Images under 80x80 pixels are ignored. Strive to pin images at least 350x350 pixels to prevent letterbox previews. Portrait (vertically) cropped images appear larger in the Pinterest feed (user homepage). If images are your own, or you licensed them, consider watermarking them or embedding your website address in case a repinner edits the caption or link.

Pinterest has made it easier to include on-hover Pin It buttons on your site and exclude inappropriate images. The Lytebox feature to click and reveal larger images on this site is incompatible with on-hover buttons. However, implementation still allows the simple tag below to be included within image HTML tags to suppress those that should not be pinned. It also allows a larger image to be substituted for a smaller one. Along with analytics, these are perks of having a verified business account.


Don’t Make Copyright an Issue

I don't want to frighten you with legalities because to date, I have not heard of many lawsuits, though some photographers and artists have complained. As a creator, licensor, and seller of intellectual property, I respect the fact that artists and photographers make a living by selling their work. One site was forced to pay $400 for pinning a stock photo that it could have licensed for $10. (As a point of clarification, the fact that someone else pays a licensing fee to use an unwatermarked image does not cascade use to secondary users who decide to copy it.) Keep in mind that the primary beneficiary of a pinned photograph that you didn't shoot or artwork you didn't draw should be the creator. Users should read the Terms of Use for details.

"you represent and warrant that: (i) you either are the sole and exclusive owner of all Member Content that you make available through the Site, Application and Services or you have all rights, licenses, consents and releases that are necessary to grant to Cold Brew Labs the rights in such Member Content, as contemplated under these Terms; and (ii) neither the Member Content nor your posting, uploading, publication, submission or transmittal of the Member Content or Cold Brew Labs’ use of the Member Content (or any portion thereof) on, through or by means of the Site, Application and the Services will infringe, misappropriate or violate a third party’s patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, moral rights or other proprietary or intellectual property rights, or rights of publicity or privacy…"

Basically, Pinterest abdicates copyright compliance to the Pinner. Pinterest sole responsibility is to remove objectionable pins requested by copyright holders (or other users if it does not comply with terms of use). They also provide code, which should not be circumvented, that allows site owners to prevent pins from being made from their site. To stay within the bounds of copyright laws, endeavor to link to an originating website rather than merely uploading images; follow boards that do so. Properly attributed pins increase users' likelihood of repinning. Click images to verify links and look for proper attribution before repinning. Some of the worst offenders appear to be images pinned from indefinite Tumblr-type streams or from a variable site homepage (instead of clicking the link to the actual article). When the pins are properly attributed, the author is less like to claim infringement.

"By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, *modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services."

The permission to license, sell and otherwise exploit basically translates to permission to sell promoted pins. Is it redundant to like and repin? Given uncertain licensing, a minority of users mark pins they see uploaded by others as "likes" and restrict themselves to pinning original content. There's no rule but here's a suggestion. Your likes can be a place to keep uncategorized pins until you have enough for a specific board. If I click a pin and it doesn't take me to an appropriate website, I may "Like" it for future research. When I have more time, I use reverse image search tools to add accurate links and descriptions to such pins. Sometimes you'll even find a Pin It button on the author's website, which is passive consent.

Blog: Adding Rich Data Pins

Once I pin an image, it is usually unliked. So I think of my likes as a to-do list that I am working on shortening. It might take a bit more effort to include attribution, but the payoff is Pinner credibility that generates more followers. You would be surprised how many people appreciate pinning properly attributed images that limit their liability. By verifying a business account and using rich data on your website, you receive automatic attribution for all pins from from your website.

What Kind of Traffic?

I'm glad you finally asked. To business owners, there's a difference between traffic and conversion. The large majority of Pinterest traffic appears to be from people who are simply verifying the link of the pin. These visits, according to Google analytics, last 1 to 10 seconds. However, the quality of a pin and the landing page factor into what people do when they visit. If it's an online store, is it easy to checkout? If it's a blog, is the text legible and free of distracting pop-up windows?

Following Secrets

Following and liking might be considered "safer" activities than repinning if you don't care to put the time into properly attributing links. This might leave you pinning only original content on a sparse board.

Multiple boards are used to categorize pins. You may follow all of another member's boards outright or cherry pick boards you prefer. When you follow all boards, expect that occasionally, you will see some pins with which you have no interest. When limited selections to specific boards, you may miss great content on remaining boards moderated by that user. How can you tell whether to cherry pick or not? Click the member's "Pins" tab to see an aggregate of what (s)he has pinned. This simulates how your Pinterest feed might look. (Of course it would be integrated with your existing follows.) If you like what you see, Follow All. Whether someone follows one board, 20 boards or every board of a user, (s)he is still counted as one follower.

Get Your Pins Off Pinterest

Creative ways to use pins include: embedding ones from your boards on your blog, and linking to your pins as references in your articles. You can also tweet them or like them on Facebook. The one thing better than free advice is good advice. You decide which this has been. How many boards do you have? Have you been frightened or enlightened about Pinterest use? Which of my boards are you following and what tips do you plan to implement in the near future?

Tags: how to create inbound links, legalities, marketing, promotion, SEO, technology

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