Pinterest Algorithm Changes 2016– The Ultimate Guide on How they are Adversely Affecting your Blog Traffic & Sales; PLUS Solutions!
So maybe I wasn’t working smart enough…
Were we posting BORING stuff and thus our new pins aren’t appearing on the Pinterest Smart Feed anymore? Early February, Pinterest had an algorithm change, and our Pinterest traffic literally tanked overnight! I thought either we missed some Pinterest algorithm changes, Smart Feed updates or I was doing something wrong. I don’t like to jump on bandwagons of posting something before I test it out and see whats what. So I have been investigating and checking my Pinterest feed & analytics for just over 45 days.
I initially checked with the gods at Pinterest and didn’t get far apart from; some changes have been put in place you shouldn’t worry about it. Now for me that’s a red flag…I definitely started to dig a lil deeper and inquire from other Pinterest lovers and influencers whether these so called Pinterest algorithm changes were affecting them too?
So in this post I am sharing with you my findings on how the February 2016 Pinterest smartfeed changes are affecting your Pins and ultimately your blog traffic and conversion rates.
If you are on Pinterest for business, the only way to track your success is by opening or changing your existing account into a business account you can learn how to do that here!
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10 Pinterest Algorithm Changes Affecting your Blog Traffic:
- Hand on my heart I have been advocating for Group Boards and pinning with influencers. This strategy has helped grow our Blog traffic via Pinterest, followers and most of all, my hunger to learn more about Pinterest. Well today I am sorry to say this strategy is on ICE at the moment. Group boards seem to have been hit the most with the early February Pinterest algorithm changes. We have been heavy group board pinners at the cost of our own boards…In fact you will find most of our boards have less than 500 pins. WHY? Because we were targeting our Pins to where the masses are; Group Boards!
This worked for us until Jan/Feb this year. I was checking our Analytics and noticed a drop in traffic, by loads. I had in fact increased our pinning . So I was surprised by the drop in stats. Like I said I got curious, thus my investigations and I can tell you that I also noted that our new pins on large group boards are completely not picking up any traction, WHY I wondered! Well….
- Chinese whispers were onto Pinterest changing re-pin counts to an aggregate of the re-pins across the board, instead of a count on each individual pin…What? In fact it was happening already, for some beta testers. My question then was; how does one track the success of a particular pin or lack of it? This to me smelt of the Twitter API change that saw people lose their tweets and re-tweet counts overnight! By the way you can re-activate your Twitter counts. We found a tool so use it while it’s still free here!
Watch The Video below for More Details on Effects of The February Pinterest Algorithm Changes to your Blog Traffic!
So now you know a wee more on what’s going on, below is more:
- Pinterest revealed that timing of pins esp. pinning large numbers at once doesn’t matter? Although it’s agreed by most Pinterest experts that scheduled pins don’t count as re-pins. So hang on to your auto-scheduler account for now, while keeping your ear to the ground!
- As you heard on the video above, your new pins are not pushed to the top of the newsfeed anymore, its taking a lot longer for them to appear if ever. So my advice is try and pin your seasonal content way in advance like you should have pinned your Easter giveaways, offers etc. by now, probably 3-4 weeks ago.
- Pinterest is retiring place boards to focus on putting lots of useful information about places right on the Pins. Before this, every place Pin had a little map on it. This is specific to travel related boards, and since I am a travel lover, I noticed the lil maps had disappeared from my place boards…What, I liked those to be honest!
- I thought something had gone wrong with our account…When I checked our boards and most had no descriptions. Like the Facebook Ghost that deleted groups Info! Like what the heck..! Spoke with another Pinner and she advised that it’s another of the Pinterest algorithm changes…Aaarrg. Many Pinterest boards’ descriptions spaces were empty…Still you can go back in and add a description, we did. Chances are Pinterest may remove them again time will tell…Its happening for some and not others so I don’t have a clue how they are picking whose description goes and whose stays! Watch that space.
Any Good News from this Pinterest Algorithm Update?
1- Of course there is. For mobiles you now got a new “Likes” board automatically added to your boards. A collection of your most current likes in one place, how cool is that! If you have never noticed, Login to your account via the Pinterest mobile app and you will notice it. Not yet activated for desktops, but I guess it’s only a matter of time.
2- In fact for mobile users, if they check your pin out, they get a popup asking them to follow you…Cool beans. Lots of people use their cellphones for Pinterest, and so I noticed an increase in new followers.
3- While usually any change gets ragged and is resisted, its human nature, in my view any change that will improve user experience and encourage quality content in my newsfeed is good. Granted at the moment we’re predominantly seeing our own stuff in Picked for you pins. I bet Pinterest is polishing this up…Curated feeds are nothing new to any Social Media business user. Quality content is king, means we gotta focus on delivering value content via the right size, HD images with text overlay & well optimised. Not just memes and cute kitties (we love em 🙂 ). So again connect with your target audience, follow your niche influencers, pin and engage with other people’s content in fact use the 60/40 rule. 60% your pins 40% other people’s pins. watch your following grow. Be part of a Pinterest Community we have a Pinterest Link Party every weekend at The Bloggers Pit Stop.
4- This could be debatable but one of the Pinterest algorithm changes is an addition of “picked for you pins” to your home feed, different and separate from those you follow! The thing is for most people, us inclusive it is showing our own stuff from our personal boards. Stuff we already pinned. It could be a message to re-pin these as they are popular maybe! I noticed that it’s mostly topics we follow. So maybe coz we optimized our boards. Note that Pinterest is now bending towards “Topics” so pick your topics wisely. Go back to your Pinterest account update by choosing the Topics you like and know your target audience likes too!
How to keep on top of the Pinterest Algorithm Changes and Keep getting traffic:
These Pinterest smart feed and Algorithm changes affected lots of people so much so Jill Levenhagen a Pinterest Strategist wrote an Open Letter to Pinterest on behalf of bloggers. And we agree with her indeed as affected small business owners and bloggers. In addition to that we are giving you some housekeeping to ensure your account, blog and business/brand stays on top of things and grows to boot. So…
- Make sure your Pinterest account is optimized for Search Engines by maximizing the 160 letter space. Include your Keywords and Vision its doable!
- Make sure your board titles and descriptions are Search Engine Optimized too. That way your content can still be found on search engines despite the Pinterest algorithm changes. Re-vamp your descriptions to include keywords related to the board topic.
Super tip: Add a Call to Action (CTA) to each board directing your audience to visit your blog include the URL of course on each and every one of your branded boards, see one of our boards description below.
- Get your boards in the order you want them to appear to your target audience, with your brand specific boards at the top. Or place your seasonal related boards at top and the Group boards at the bottom. I would go so far as to advise that you reduce your boards to those that are most visited. Any boards with less content or are older and you don’t pin on them often, turn them from public to secret until you build them up. No need to delete the pins.
- CANT EMPHASIZE ENOUGH the importance of Your Board Titles. Its how you are found frankly and some people will follow your board but not you! So ensure ten words dont overlap or go beyond the visible title area. Make em Short, Meaning full, and Precise for ease of search! If I want to see Gourmet Recipes, and you have a board with awesome recipes but you names it “Kimere” or “My private eats” or something weird like that who is gonna find that board? It wont appear on the search and you will hardly get followers, if it cannot be found its lost in translation simple!
- Pin your older, most re-pinned pins across YOUR other boards. Pins with lots of engagement are the ones showing up more in the new Pinterest feed. Keep circulating those pins to get blog traffic & leads. Also don’t just Pin from your popular site pages/posts, 40% + of the time find other people’s pins that have a large number of repins and pin them to your personal boards. Be a giving entrepinner.
- Super Tip: Bump up your pins in your own boards. Go to a specific pin, edit then move it to another of your boards. Then immediately move it back to the board it was on. Your pin gets bumped up hopefully. Do this with pins that have high re-pin counts. It also could help to boost the board and pin. DON’T DO THIS on someone else’s collaborative group board. Only boards you own BUT the pins can be anything you pinned, not just from your blog. My rule of thumb is I pin no more than 5-10 pins of one type to a board in one session. DO some other stuff and come back and pin to same board again later. This is for direct pinning though. If you are pinning the content to a secret board, it doesn’t matter, binge pin away.
- For now we’re focusing on our 5-10 blog posts attracting the most Pinterest traffic. Find these under your Pinterest analytics (See images below) only available on Business accounts. What are those posts topics? Optimize them by going to your Google Keyword planner update with long tailed keywords we showed you how to do this in our Email Marketing A/B Testing post read it now. Pin from those Boards and Posts more as they’re attracting for you blog traffic already.
- To rise above the pinterest algorithm changes, keep creating great value content impacting people’s needs and pains. Encourage your audience to share and ENGAGE, yes Ask a Question, Start a conversation…! Pinterest like Google (Remember it’s a Visual Search Engine) is favouring engagement and value content. Ask people to re-pin, like and comment on your pins. Respond to their comments and be sure to use keywords in your replies. Do unto others, so comment on other people’s pins, especially those with lots of engagement. Get people to tag others in your pins…
- Never try to keep on top of the Pinterest algorithm changes by buying followers. Neither are Follow for follow type followers any value. Both are non-engaged, non-interested followers and for the former they are usually fake. Bought followers are useless numbers. They are used as social proof by many bloggers. But, they just make it look like you have a lot of followers. Listen to this Podcast on why you shouldn’t participate in such events and why we wont ever again. It really wont help your brand long term. There are lots of bloggers out there who pay for followers. They think they are doing themselves a favor to get ahead, when all they are doing is setting themselves up for a huge fall in the long term.
- For now, don’t put much into pinning on large group boards with multitudes of collaborators, these are the most affected by the Feb Pinterest algorithm changes. Instead Pin your content on your own boards, then re-pin said pin on several others of your boards, thus showing that its valued content and of course get others to re-pin for you. You can Still pin on to smaller group boards with high engaged active users. And be a giving entre-pinner!
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Mentioned resources in this post:
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- If you are serious about Upping your Blog SEO game check out The Web Design Solutions.
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Want to know a secret? I plan to add more to this util the Pinterest Algorithm Changes settle in. So do bookmark, Pin it and check back for more Tips to be added!
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