Understanding the very basics of Pinterest will lay the foundation to any and all successful Pinterest strategies.

This is not a post on how to set up and get started with Pinterest. If that’s what you need, I highly recommend listening to this podcast.

In this post I’m going to assume you have a business account set up, and you either want to know where to go from there, or you’re feeling a bit confused about everything that’s going on in the Pinterest world right now.


Pinterest, at it’s core, is a visual search engine. On the Pinterest blog it has refered to itself as a “search and discovery site”.

It’s so important to understand that Pinterest, like any other platform, is a business too. Like us, they just want to be successful. And in order to do that, they have to make money. The good news is that if we keep this knowledge in mind, we can totally leverage the platform in a way that benefits our businesses (keeping in mind – Pinterest wants it’s users to be able to search and discover new ideas). I won’t go into pinterest ads in this article, that’s an exciting topic for another blog post coming soon! For this post I want to highlight and underscore some foundational Pinterest basics and key principals, regardless of your niche or marketing strategy.

the three mail points of pinterest that you should be focusing on


Let’s break down what Pinerest is:

Search Engine = keywords.

Visual = pretty pictures.

So to have any measure of success with Pinterest, your pins must be keyworded properly in order for anyone to find it in the first place. And your pin have to be appealing enough to entice the person who sees your pin to click on it.


Keywords For Pins

Keywording your pin images isn’t as hard as it might sound. The simplest way to do it is to type your word or topic into the search bar at the top (like a regular Pinterest user would). For example, say you wrote a blog post on skincare tips. Notice that right away Pinterest will drop down some suggestions, kind of like Google. These are your first keyword clues. After you type in your topic you’ll see words in colored tiles at the top (the uided search), and underneath that you’ll find pin suggestions according to your search. Side note – it’s a very exciting thing when your pin is one of the first that shows up in a search!

Back to the colored tiles, those are more search suggestions or more importantly, your keywords! If your blog post is about “tips for dry skin”, click on that tile and see what else pops up. Maybe some tiles will suggest “tips for dry skin in the winter” or even for “combination/dry skin”. Keep going and clicking on what pertains to your topic and gathering keywords until you come to the end of Pinterest, aka no more tiles pop up. It’s usually best to go as niched down and specific as possible.

Another thing you can do is look at the most popular pins under your search, and take note of what keywords were used there. You’re likely to find some good ideas, especially if your search didn’t avail very many tile suggestions.

Once you have your keywords, put them in your pin description in a 1-3 sentience format. Voila! But hang on, there’s still some more keywording to do.

Keywords Everywhere

When it comes to Pinterest, it’s important to optimize yourself as much as possible. Make sure the image description or alt text on your website has keywords attached to it as well. Also, you’ll definitely want to add distinct keywords to all of your boards, as well as a few keywords to your profile.


Having good images is the other big component of Pinterest. Pinterest, like Instagram, is a very visual platform.

The first place to put a good image is your profile picture! Ideally it would be a friendly close up photo of yourself. If not that, a logo image is definitely better than nothing.

When it comes to pins – not only should your Pinterest images be clear and bright, but they should also include a strong, enticing call to action that makes the user want to click on it above all the other pins.

*Not all pins require a text overlay and call to action. Some Pins, such as wedding or fashion images, may not benefit from it. Just keep in mind what your audience is looking for.*

I create all of my pins in Canva. It’s easy to use and free. (There is a paid version, which I personally use and adore, but you can still make amazing pins with the free version.)

Canva does have a selection of free images to choose from, so you don’t necessarily even need to have your own photos.

When adding your text overlay, make sure you’re using an easy to read font (it also helps to be consistent with your fonts and colors, because that create’s brand recognition). Here are some examples and ideas that are more likely to get your pin clicked on:

  • HOW TO… or HOW I..
  • 5 WAYS TO… or 10 REASONS WHY…

The rule of thumb is to make you pin size a 2:3 ratio. So to make it easy you can go with 600px by 900px, or using the 735px by 1102px template in Canva is fine too.

And remember, you can always study pins that you yourself have clicked on. Analyze what attracted you to that pin and what made you want to click on it instead of all the other pins that came up in your Pinterest search. When in doubt, always approach Pinterest from a user experience.



As of now, our Pinteret profile will display two things, your monthly views and your number of followers.

The monthy views will indicate how many times anything on or in your profile got viewed in the past month. This number honestly doesn’t mean much, especially since promoted pins can affect that number. What matters more is how many clicks you’re actually getting to your website.

Your number of followers also doesn’t mean a whole lot, unless those are engaged followers who are actually interacting with your pins. BUT it is definitely a very good thing when your follower base grows. That means you’re establishing authority in your niche on Pinterest! And obviously the more followers you have the more you’re likely to have people seeing your content.

It’s important to check in with your analytics every month or so. You don’t want to go more than that because Pinterest is a slow burn and you should give it time to build itself. But you’ll get a really good idea of what your audience likes to see. And don’t forget Google Analytics, so you can pinpoint exactly what’s getting you traffic to your website. This will also help you get ideas for new content.

One of the easiest ways to decipher Pinterest analytics is to think of it in three sections: impressions, saves, and clicks.


The number of times a pin is shown.

This is where keywords come in, because that’s how anyone will find your pin in the first place. They are looking for something specific, and if your pin fits that description in will show up in front of them.


Each time a person pins your image to a board, it’s considered a save.

Again, a save doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll get clicked on. But the more a pin is saved, the more it’ll get seen which leads to a greater chance of click through’s to your website.


When someone clicks on your pin.

Ideally your click through rate should be at least 1% of the amount of impressions you get. If you have a pin with a huge number of impressions and a low number of clicks, it may be a sign that there are definitely people searching for your topic and what you offer, but perhaps your pin isn’t getting clicked on because the image is not resonating with your audience. Try creating and testing different images!

The most important one of these to focus on is “clicks”, because the goal is to actually get people to visit your website from Pinterest. It can be a bit of a conundrum. Pinterest wants them to stay on the platform, but you want then to leave the platform and go to your website.

But there are things you can do to make Pinterest love you! The two things Pinterest wants most from you is fresh content, and consistency.

Fresh Content

A “fresh content” is basically a new pin, regardless of where the pin directs to (old blog post, new blog post, product pin, landing page, it doesn’t really matter). It’s always good to have fresh posts to pin from, but creating new pins for old posts is beneficial as well. *UPDATE!* For the past few months the people behind Pinterest have stated quite frequently that the platform is now prioritizing fresh content over repinned/resaved content. So make sure this is at the top of your Pinterest marketing strategy!


Usually, pinning at least 5 times a day is sufficient. It’s very important to not get spammy, so take the time to make sure your pins are well spread out.

You can absolutely pin content from other people as well. In fact I highly recommend it. Especially if you’re using Tailwind Tribes (You should be!) and group boards. Some people will recommend pinning mostly your own content, and some will recommend more of a fifty fifty split. This might be the type thing you just have to test to see what works best for your account.


Tailwind is the only scheduler that is supported by Pinterest, so that alone is enough to convince me to use it! I saves so much time, and joining tribes will really help your pins get seen by more people.

For more info on tailwind, check out this podcast.

how to understand pinterest on a foundational level

At the end of the day, look at Pinterest as the first step in your sales funnel.


Remember that like most platforms, Pinterest is constantly changing. They regularly tweak their algorithm, and they seem to come out with new rules monthly. I admit, this can get a little frustrating. As soon as you finally feel like you have the latest kinks worked out, they completely change it again! That whole first 5 pins from midnight UTC thing sure didn’t last long. lol

And sometimes it feels like they’ll add things just because they see other platforms doing it. Then we have to figure out how Pinterest wants us to use it…It’s ok though. We love Pinterest and we’ll be patient as she finds herself and figures out who she is in the world. ♥

But if Pinterest is just not quite your thing, and you feel a little overwhelmed by all of it, you could always consider hiring a Pinterest VA. I’d be happy to chat with you about Pinterest for your own business.

Or follow me in Instagram, I tend to blab a lot about Pinterest there as well 🙂

Smiling profile picture by the beach.