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How To Use Pinterest For Local SEO

Looking for a little extra lift for your holiday season local search rankings? Instead of relying on some elf-magic, consider making your own ranking magic through using Pinterest, a young social media site that is rising in popularity faster than Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve!

There’s a growing buzz amongst search engine optimization (SEO) circles at the moment that Pinterest is rapidly gaining traffic and traction (see Pinterest Gaining Traction for External SEO and Pinterest: Link Building & SEO Strategies).

You can see its virtually astronomical rise on Google Trends, compared with other popular image-sharing sites:

Visits to Pinterest, according to Google Trends

The cool thing is, the rising popularity of Pinterest is from real users who like the service and not just from marketers or spammers. I’m seeing many everyday users requesting invites (the service is still in beta), perhaps drawn to it by its attractive user interface coupled with social media features.

As a search engine optimization consultant, I’m interested in the ranking benefit that comes from particularly popular sites — but, Pinterest’s audience share is rapidly evolving into something cool, all on its own! So, even if it did not have a potential benefit to search rankings, the channel has a growing audience that makes it worthwhile for promotions.

I’ve previously written about how to optimize using Flickr because of its value according to my comparison of the SEO value of photo sharing services. Flickr has long enjoyed preeminence due to its optimal construction paired with its large audience of users.

But, the Google Trends graph above indicates that Pinterest’s usage may be surpassing that of Flickr — and, there’s one very big reason why its construction could provide more SEO benefit from its links than Flickr’s: the links are not NOFOLLOW-ed! So, Pinterest’s links can convey ranking benefit!

Tips For Local Search Engine Optimization On Pinterest For Local Businesses

  • When setting up your profile, obviously you should not select the option to hide your profile from search engines, and you should use good “About” description text with keywords about your business. Also, set the location with your city name (such as “Dallas, TX”), add the URL to your company’s website and connect with your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • If your website already has fair local rankings, consider using one of your best review pages from a prominent business directory site as your Pinterest profile’s website instead of your company website — doing so could help that positive review page to rank for your name searches.
  • Set up Boards using your city name, to collect pics about your area (such as Dallas), and name a Board after your business type, products or services.
  • Follow other Pinterest users in your area and Boards related to your areas of interest.
  • Try to “Pin” only good-quality, attractive pictures to your Pinterest Boards. Pinterest is highly visually-oriented, and to get any other users to show interest to your pictures they should be of good visual quality.
  • When posting a picture to your locally-named board, describe it with good keyword text.
  • Don’t “sing” with only one note — post pictures of other local sights to your board in addition to ones specific to your business. Showing an interest in your overall area will attract local consumers. Photos of local landmarks are particularly good for this. (For example, see this pic of one of the better-known Dallas Landmarks: http://pinterest.com/pin/257690409898241547/ )
  • Vote on other good-quality local Pinterest users’ photos by clicking their “♥ Like” buttons.
  • Have a good infographic designed which relates to your industry in some way, and use Pinterest to help distribute it.
  • If you already optimize via Flickr, you can use those Flickr URLs to post your images on Pinterest — this could help further optimize the Flickr pages to rank well in searches.
  • Cross-promote your Pins on Facebook and Twitter.

Here’s a bonus tip: declare a Pinterest contest to customers who visit your establishment — offer compelling prizes to those who post pictures of your business and products.

Pinterest doesn’t provide more sophisticated features found on other image sharing services like geotagging of images. However, I think we can reasonably look forward to additional features which may also be useful for local SEO as the service matures.

It’s possible that Pinterest engineers may have purposefully omitted rel=”nofollow” on the links added by users to the service in order to help lure more usage growth.

Whether this was a strategic move on their part or merely an accident, one thing seems certain to me — Pinterest is likely to add NOFOLLOW to their links eventually, so if you’d like to get a little short term benefit, you had better jump on the bandwagon soon!

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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