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In a previous post, my coworker Lauren outlined what Pinterest is, how to use it, and why it’s important. As part 2 in a 3 part series, I want to outline how Pinterest is now becoming an important element to any SEM strategy.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is not just about words, it’s about anything and everything that conveys a message to your customer. This includes images, videos, other rich media, and obviously the actual words on your website. Because of Pinterest’s appeal to aesthetics, it is now necessary for websites to seriously consider the images they use. This means stock photography is a thing of the past.

An Example

An important thing to remember about Pinterest is that images are the “hook” to your content. For example, say you have a great recipe for rice pilaf and you have just blogged about it on your food blog. Then a subscriber of yours sees it, and thinks the recipe is rice-tastic and then proceeds to Facebook it, Tweet it and Pin it. But let’s also say that you only included one image with your recipe and it’s a stock photo you found on Google images that’s pixilated and grainy. Well, when your awesome subscriber goes to pin this wonderful recipe and hits their “Pin It” bookmark (to be discussed later), the only image they can pin, to share your recipe, is the pixilated and grainy stock photo. Now, at first you may not see a huge problem with this. Well friends, here’s the issue… take a look at this example of the Food and Drink Pinterest feed.

Look how pretty! You’re pixilated grainy image will get lost in all the amazingness of other, good quality images. You won’t get any repins, or more importantly visits, because your photo doesn’t look appetizing compared to all of these great food shots. This is why images are now crucial to your content strategy.

Pinterest Share Tools

The “Pin It” Bookmark

The “Pin It” bookmark is something Pinterest has developed to make pinning new content easy. You install it by dragging and dropping it to your bookmark tool bar on your browser.

When you want to pin something you see on a page (lets continue with the recipe motif since I love food and I love to cook), you click the “Pin It” bookmark and it gives you options of images it found on the page for you to pin. For example, if I find this delectable recipe for garlic cheese rolls on RaptorToe.com and want to pin it, this is what I see:

Then I hit the “Pin It” bookmark, it gives me several image options based on how many image files were found on the particular page.

I can choose what image I want to pin, then add a description, and choose which board I want to pin it to. From there I can share it to other social networks if I wish.

Give pinners only GREAT options for images.

“Pin It” Share Button

You don’t want to leave it up to chance that pinners will choose the best image that conveys your content. Good news! You can install the Pinterest share button on every post/page of your site to give YOU more control of how your content is shared. You can specify the description to keep messaging consistent and in-brand along with specifying the image shared. Pinterest also provides an advanced code for multiple Pin buttons per page (used mainly for Ecommerce websites). How great are they?!

Pinterest “Follow Button”

If you have created a company or brand profile (if you haven’t already, you should) you can add a follow button to your website. This way, users can keep up with YOUR pins on Pinterest.

Consider This

Here are a few things to consider when implementing images:

  • WHY are you using the image? Are you using an image just because? Does it have a purpose?
  • What is the message you’re trying to convey and what message does it support?
  • Can the image “stand alone”? Can the image convey the message by itself?
  • Is the image compelling enough to draw a click?

Because Pinterest is like crack for ADD-ers, you probably have about .05 seconds to catch the eye of a Pinner. Asking all the above questions will help focus your images so Pinners will be anxious to share your content.

Search Engine Optimization

It’s well known that social media is playing a big role in Google’s ranking factors. Pinterest is now the next big social thing, and brands need to jump on the bandwagon if they are doing SEO.

Pinterest SEO Benefit

Yes, there is SEO benefit.

Pinterest recently updated their look and functionality so some of the SEO benefit has been lost. Previously with every pin, your website received one branded, do-follow, anchor text link. This is no longer that case. You now get one no-follow, image link. Some might argue the benefit is lost. I say, along with others, a link is a link is a link. You want your back link portfolio to look natural, what’s more natural than image links? And guess what, Pinterest links don’t go away.

Tracking Pinterest

One great thing about Pinterest is that is drives traffic. With most analytics packages it tracks under referral traffic. If you use Google Analytics, like me, it’s pretty simple to gather information.

To find referral traffic in GA (Google Analytics):

  • Go to the left sidebar navigation. Click “Traffic Sources,” “Sources” and then “Referrals.”
  • This will give you a list of all the sites that drive traffic to your website. In that list you will find “Pinterest.com” if you are receiving traffic from pins.
  • Click “Pinterest.com” in the list, it will pull open the list of all the individual pins that send visitors. If you have goals or ecommerce tracking set up, you can then see which pins actually drove leads and sales. Very cool.

Affiliate Marketing

How Pinterest Makes Its Money

It has recently come to light that Pinterest has been attaching their affiliate code to URL’s when a pinner clicks through to a website. They have been using a program call Skimlinks to achieve this. According to Adrianne Jefferies’s blog post, Skimlinks crawls through all Pinterest links and checks if the URL points to a merchant store with an affiliate program (like Amazon). When they find one, the program automatically changes the URL to include the Pinterest affiliate code.

The Controversy

The controversy has been over Pinterest’s neglect in disclosing their affiliate program. I personally don’t take offense, and honestly don’t care. But I can see how not being forthcoming can rub some the wrong way. Those that are most perturbed are other affiliate marketers that have been making money off Pinterest by tagging URL’s with their code.

So for those of you who already have or are planning on implementing an affiliate program, Pinterest beat you to the punch.

To Wrap It Up

Pinterest appeals to a very specific demographic, and that requires change in your current online strategies. Don’t miss the boat on this, Pinterest is sticking around. Part 3 of the series will address branding, and how Pinterest can benefit your brand.

And in case you missed the first post, take a look at Pinterest… What Is The Big Deal? – Part 1 as well as Part 3: Brand It: Four Ways to Brand Your Business via Pinterest