[Search] How to improve image SEO with Pinterest?

by bold-lichterman

For several years now, I have been convinced that the natural referencing of images (Pictures Search Optimization) in search engines will become a major issue. After reflection, it seems to me that almost all types of sites (e-commerce sites, blogs, etc.) as well as all sectors of activity (fashion, tourism, real estate, etc.) are concerned.

Why ? For several reasons :

On the one hand, in terms of uses, the internet user’s experience is much better when searching for images. Imagine looking on Google to buy a black designer sofa.

Take the test, on Google Search, you will obtain results that are complex to exploit: 10 links to naturally indexed sites, 11 paid ads, and recently ads with images positioned at the top right.

Search How to improve image SEO with Pinterest

Then do the same search for “black designer sofa” in Google Images. In this case, the navigation is much more pragmatic and depending on the photos you like, you will visit the site that sells the sofa whose images have caught your attention.

On the other hand, in terms of statistics, the share of image search traffic from search engines is exploding:

On Bing Images: 20 million unique visitors per day in 2009…

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… Against an average of well over 40 million (more than double!) Over the last 12 months

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We find the same curves on Yahoo (20 million unique visitors per day in 2009) …

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… Against an average that is close to 80 million over the last 12 months:

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Then, the success of specialized platforms such as Pinterest is a good illustration of this new search trend by something other than the classic Text search.

Finally, and by way of example, in terms of content alone, Pinterest already has more than 68 million links indexed in Google (and more than 2 billion for Flickr!)

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Of course, Pinterest traffic can be put into perspective: To date, according to Google Trends, Pinterest traffic is estimated to be around 4 million unique visitors per day, and around 40,000 in France.

But Pinterest being in fashion, I found it interesting to use it as a platform for watching Pictures Search Optimization. So I performed several content indexing tests.

First question: how does Pinterest search work?

To date, the search engine does not offer auto-completion and once a word is entered (“breitling” in this case), you arrive by default on the Pins and you can also use two other “Boards” criteria ( some bugs…) and “People”.

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Second question: how to make your images visible on Pinterest?

Having found no information on the web to date (guidelines,…) I went ahead empirically.

Starting with the “Breitling Jet Team” issue (Breitling Air Patrol), the first thing I did was to create a dedicated Board, taking care to properly use / multiply the targeted key expression (“Breitling Jet Team” ) in the Title field but also in the description.

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Naming the Board with the key expression is relatively important since it allows you to preempt the url (this point is even more efficient if the targeted expression is used as profile name):

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Then, the second step was to go and aggregate as much photo content as possible.

So I added the maximum amount of content (127 to date) to the Board via the “Pin” service.

There, I must confess that I took care to add 100% of the elements that were already displayed in priority on the “Breitling Jet Team” search, coming from other existing Boards.

I waited several days and, disappointment. My Board was not at all visible on the Breitling Jet Team request.

So I made two changes which immediately took effect:

1) I have systematically added the targeted expression in the description of each content

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2) I added videos to the Board (the most viewed on Youtube!)

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And there, the result was immediate.

Since these last two modifications, not only the request “Breitling Jet Team” allowed me to dominate the first page of response of Pinterest (at least to this day). Out of 41 suggested results my Board appears 22 times.

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The results are also conclusive outside of Pinterest:

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Concretely, to maximize the visibility of your images on Pinterest you must:

1) Create a profile where the title corresponds to a key expression

2) Start by aggregating as much content as possible, taking care to put the key expressions in each description

3) Add videos to the Board

4) Regularly update the contents.

For an e-commerce site, you have to set up a web service that dynamically generates an exclusive Board for each product category and includes all the associated media elements (photos and videos).

To follow the ROI and the impact on traffic, just add the url of the Board in the parameters of the traffic sources.

In any case, to ask the question of referencing the images of a site is to answer several essential issues in a referencing strategy: what research method uses my target and on what platforms is it looking?

In summary, it is therefore strategic to set up a real policy for referencing images… by making them visible to the target audience on successful platforms.

François Sutter – Consulting Director Manual