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Pinterest Best Practices Update for 2020

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If you've been online in the blogging world in the last month, you have probably seen talk of the updates to the 2020 Pinterest Best Practices. This has caused a lot of confusion, frustration, and in some cases, a bit of anger. While I am happy to see these changes, I know others are not. So, I wanted to share more about them, explain some things happening, and share why this update can be better for you.

Collage image for Pinterest best practices

2020 Pinterest Best Practices

Pinterest has been one of the best sources of traffic for bloggers for a number of years. The beautiful visuals and ability to save content to multiple boards have allowed it to become a favorite medium for driving traffic. Since you can pin something and know it can bring traffic months down the road, it definitely is a place where you get “more bang for your buck” so to speak.

As with any changes in social media, this update has been seen with both praise and anger. For the average user that isn't a blogger or using it for business, it will be much better and nicer to use. Sadly, for those in business, it makes things a bit harder to manipulate for traffic.

That said, it is not impossible to use and these changes really are going to be better for the long game. So, let's dive into what is changing and how it will affect your blog and Pinterest plan.

Pinterest Wants Fresh Images

The biggest thing to consider is that Pinterest is saying they want new and fresh images. For years now, the consensus has been that the number of repins and virality of a pin was most important and that repinning the same image over and over was okay, as long as it wasn't too often and in a spammy manner.

While repins and virality are still important and play a huge part in how you are seen on Pinterest, the new changes are focused on elevating fresh and new images first and foremost.

If you aren't sure how to make more, check out Sadie's tips on how to use Canva for Pinterest images.

Up close Pinterest icon on laptop

What Does That Mean for Me?

Ultimately, this means that you will need to restructure how you plan to repin your posts and images. Instead of relying on the same image being repinned bringing traffic, you need to continually be presenting new and fresh images for each post.

We can't be lazy about Pinterest if we want it to be a source of traffic. A single image is not enough. Your plan should include having a multitude of images to cycle through for each blog post. I'll get to more about this later in this post and how you should be developing them and tracking your pins.

What Does Pinterest Consider a Fresh Image?

A new image is something that has not been seen on Pinterest before. This isn't switching one word or one color. It is a different view and a different angle. For this to be most effective, you will need to make obvious changes to images before for them to be considered a “fresh” image.

For recipes, crafts, and tutorials where the visual is obvious, the recommendation is to have a number of different styles and displays, then you can edit each of them differently so they can be used multiple times.

If your content is not a “how-to” and more evergreen content-based, the use of a number of different stock images is recommended. Below are some examples of what is considered fresh images.

Sadie has a great list of royalty free stock image sites for you if you are looking for more variety.

Can I Still Repin My Images To Multiple Boards?

Yes! Multiple boards are still recommended, and repinning your images will still be a good practice. As always, remember that spammy behavior is a red flag with Pinterest.

What does that mean? It means that when repinning to multiple boards, you need to wait a significant time between pinning those images.

Rather than repinning that new image to a different board a few days later, wait several days or even weeks between pins for what is being said are optimum results.

Note: This strategy is the least spammy, but if you have a very large account with thousands of unique pins, you may easily be able to repin more frequently without seeming spammy. It is more about a natural flow of unique pins being seen rather than the same pins being repeated continuously.

Screenshot of Pinterest feed

Pinterest is Focused on Natural Pin Behavior

What this all boils down to is that Pinterest wants to see what is considered natural behavior. They want to see your pins and boards look more like what normal consumers would.

Think of it this way:

Pretend your mom had a Pinterest account and had created boards for recipes she is interested in, craft ideas for giving the kids for Christmas, and maybe a board or two about home decor. She logs onto Pinterest a few times a week, or maybe even every day, but she pins things naturally. She scrolls her Pinterest feed and pins what pops up, or searches out a specific thing like the best pot roast recipe. What she wouldn't be doing is pinning the same image over and over within just a few days of each other.

What Pinterest wants and what they are going to react best to is if your pinning behavior is natural. We'll talk more about how you can make that happen below.

Relevance and Recency are Key to Latest Pinterest Best Practices

These two things have become more and more important in online content and promotion. Being relevant and being new is important. We've seen this with the EAT updates of Google looking for more relevance and authority on topics. The same thing has happened in our Facebook feeds making groups more specific and important, but newsfeeds less cluttered and more relevant. Now it has moved to Pinterest, and this is a good thing.

This is where you are going to shine. When you are an authority on something and your product, image, or topic is relevant to a user's search, then it will be noticed. Newer images are getting more attention and are going to be the focus.

Everything is about quality and freshness, but don't forget that relevance goes further than just the pin itself, but also where you pin it. I will share more about group boards below, but let me first say that as you pin, part of the relevance is going to come from pinning to only the most applicable boards. Don't pin to every board, just to get your pin seen. It's not how it is best done.

Older Content Will Be Seen Less Often

This is the biggest point of contention with many bloggers. Those who have had pins that have longterm viral success may find that their older content is getting fewer views and repins. Note that I said MAY, see less. This isn't a guarantee, and again, Pinterest is looking at relevance alongside freshness. So, if you have a viral pin that is relevant, it can continue to bring traffic, but be aware that some may change.

Please know that this doesn't mean that all old content is irrelevant. It doesn't mean that you can't repin those older pins and still see traction on them. This is just a warning that should your numbers start changing, this is likely the reason.

Focus on adding fresh new pins more than old, but don't neglect your existing work. Move toward it being pinned less frequently.

Screenshot of Pinterest analytics

Pinterest is Still All About Evergreen Content

Pinterest best practices tell us that it is still about evergreen content. Unlike some platforms, it is also still about the long game. Sometimes, a fresh new pin won't gain real traction for several weeks or months. So, don't fret, your content can still be useful months and yes, even years down the road.

Just know that as you move forward, your focus should be less on repinning the same old things and more on pinning new images to the right boards. Your posts from last Christmas can be repinned for this Christmas and still be relevant. Just rethink the way you plan.

Group Boards Are Less Relevant

We've known this for some time, but it is more and more apparent with these changes. During a recent Q&A with Tailwind and Pinterest experts, we were told that the goal of group boards originally and always was to encourage collaboration. That meant amongst those who are adding to the board. It was not ever really meant to be a way to reach larger amounts of followers, but at one point did function that way.

Over time, many things have changed, but as of now, with the lastest Pinterest best practices being shared, we should look at group boards differently. They aren't as good for reaching larger numbers and should be used only sparingly and specifically.

Note: If you are seeing great traffic from one, don't abandon it, simply know that it isn't always the case and is more often not the case with group boards. Sometimes, Pinterest best practices aren't set in stone for every account. Follow your own statistics for the best results, but don't be afraid to make changes.

How Tailwind Can Help You Follow Pinterest Best Practices

Yes, I must preface this with the fact that I am a Tailwind affiliate, but, I 100% believe in the product and how it can help you as a content creator. So, some of the tips below are going to be specifically from Tailwind and for Tailwind.

A few recent updates have definitely made it easier to prevent spammy behavior when using tailwind and they are working tirelessly to improve your options on the platform as well as to help you make the most of your Pinterest account.

Laptop open to Pinterest canada

New Tailwind Smart Guide Alerts Spammy Behavior

One of the latest changes in Tailwind that is really great for the latest Pinterest best practices updates is in their updated Smart Guide. You'll notice this when scheduling pins in your dashboard.

What is the Smart Guide?

It is simply a way for Tailwind to send you a little reminder of what you are doing might be spammy. For instance, when you are scheduling a new pin to multiple boards, it may pop and say, “you are pinning to more than 10 boards, make sure you are only pinning to relevant boards”. This is to help you remember to follow best practices.

It can also alert you if you have pinned a post recently to the same board and alert you that it is too frequent and would be considered spammy behavior by Pinterest.

Tailwind Still Suggests 15-20 Pins Daily

A few years ago, you were probably told more is better. In fact, I remember just 3 years ago in a Facebook group being told pinning 100 posts per day was best. Those days, if ever true, are long gone.

Some accounts will do great with more, but the average Tailwind user with good repin rates and growth is pinning around 20 pins per day.

Tip: Go to your pin schedule in Tailwind to easily adjust how many are being added.

My suggestion? If you are used to pinning more, cut back and watch your stats. When cutting back, make sure your repins are quality and only pinned to relevant boards. If in a couple of months you are seeing significant drops in traffic, it's time to rethink and go back to more pins.

Tribes Are Still Relevant

While group boards are bringing pinners less direct traffic, Tailwind Tribes are still relevant and bringing a good return on time investment.

This is a great way to get your pins out to a larger audience in a more natural way.

My biggest suggestion for using Tribes is to join ones with quality content and good contributors. Be active in the Tribe pinning from others when applicable, and only sharing your best content there.

Use the tools Tailwind provides you with to gauge if a Tribe is working for you. At the top of the screen, as shown below, you can see how many times you've been repinned by others on a Tribe. If your repins are significantly less than what you are pinning from the group, look to see (1) if your content is quality and (2) if the Tribe has good contributors that have good content and relevant boards for your content.

Note: When joining a Tailwind Tribe, look at what the Tribe is focused on before you join. If you are primarily posting recipes but join several home decor Tribes, you are not going to see the results you want.

My Tips For Using Pinterest Best Practices in 2020

Wrapping up, this is not a definitive list of everything for Pinterest, but I believe after learning as much as I could of the new changes, a great outlook moving forward.

  1. Pin less like a blogger, and more like a regular consumer. Natural habits will be more effective.
  2. Create new images for old posts, and multiple variations for new posts.
  3. Move away from group boards and focus more on relevant Tailwind Tribes for collaborations.
  4. Don't pin to every board, but pin to the truly related choices.
  5. Repin less frequently, but when doing so, make sure they are pinned to the best boards for the topic.

What about Pin Titles and Descriptions?

This one last thing to remember that hasn't really changed but is worth mentioning. Pinterest pin titles have been a rather recent addition, and they are a powerful way to get your point across. Descriptions' suggestions haven't changed much in recent years, but it's always worth a reminder.

Pin Titles: Make it the focus on the keywords you are targeting on Pinterest. Short and to the point is best.

Pin Descriptions: Make this a natural message that includes your call to action and keywords without being keyword stuffed. 5-10 relevant hashtags can be included if desired.

If you are not using Tailwind, I still believe it is a highly useful tool for those who have more than 25 posts live on their site. It allows you to simply set things up and let them rotate naturally without the day to day manual pinning bogging you down.

What Does Tailwind Currently Offer Bloggers?

To be fair, I have focused here on Pinterest best practices, but I do also want to include a bit more about what Tailwind offers to website owners, business owners, and bloggers.

Tailwind is a scheduling program that allows you to set up not just your Pinterest schedule, but also a schedule for Instagram. Along with Tailwind for Pinterest, you have power ups called Tribes and SmartLoops. These give you an added boost for potential traffic and can help grow your brand easily.

What are the Tailwind Power Ups for Pinterest?

Tailwind for Pinterest offers the ability to schedule your pins, but also has additional “power-ups” you can add to your account to help boost your overall Pinterest traffic. My favorite is the addition of Tailwind Tribes that you can add in different increments to suit your needs and budget.

Additionally, Tailwind SmartLoops allows you to create a looping schedule where the same pin is added to select boards on continual rotation. This way you can literally pin, set, and forget for a significant time, but not worry about the pin being forgotten in your Pinterest schedule.

Tailwind products and power-ups have a variety of price points to meet your unique business needs. Starting at just $15 per month when paid monthly, you can utilize Tailwind for your business and website needs.

If you are new to Tailwind, you can join and try it out with a free trial for 100 pins to Pinterest or 30 Instagram posts. These trials are for the exact number of posts/repins, not days, so you can use that over a few months or even a single week depending upon your individual site and page needs.

What About Tailwind for Instagram?

While this post is about Pinterest best practices, I would be remiss to not mention the benefits of also using Tailwind for scheduling your Instagram account. I especially love the fact that Tailwind has a great “green light” system for hashtags to help you see what are better choices when adding Instagram posts. They also give suggestions, that often help me find better hashtags I wouldn't have thought to add.

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