SEO and Pinterest Description Secrets

SEO and Pinterest are great together except when they're both fighting for the alt tag in images. Here's how to fix that problem with a quick HTML trick.

SEO and Pinterest go together like bread and butter. Not only is Pinterest a search engine (yes, really) it can also help to boost your search engine rankings! But Pinterest and SEO can sometimes be at odds can run into serious trouble when making our websites best fit what works on Pinterest. Namely, it’s when we use alt text for Pinterest descriptions.

As a Pinterest Manager, I often see clients who struggle with getting Pinterest & SEO to play nice together.

As well, Pinterest can be a total pain in the butt when it comes to getting what you need out of it.

  • Pinterest friendly images can slow down our websites – Bad for SEO!
  • We’re not capitalizing on Pinterest search and Related Pins – Bad for Pinterest SEO!
  • People who click through often end up at the homepage – Bad for Pinterest SEO!
  • Guess what? Pinterest has a secret solution for these problems. And when you use it, you can actually get more pins than you did before!

Improve SEO by Hiding Pinterest Sized Images

Pinterest images are typically MASSIVE. And slow down loading our websites, which isn’t great for SEO. But did you know that Pinterest allows you to display one image but allow readers to pin a completely different image?!?

Yup. Mind blown when I discovered that.

It’s also handy to create Pinterest specific calls-to-action for your images!

The image on the right appears on my blog post that went viral on Pinterest a few years ago. It blew up the number of pins created by my website visitors and has brought an enormous amount of traffic to my website to this day.

But this image with a call-to-action like this is not what we want on Pinterest. A CTA like that is a bit odd on the platform, but not odd on your blog.

You can do this with some extra fancy HTML behind the scenes. Don’t worry, it’s easy!

Improve Pinterest SEO With One Step

Pinterest works through javascript and pulls all the information it needs to create a pin through this code. Basically, when someone clicks the Pin It button on their browser bar or on your website itself, it executes code that hangs out over on Pinterest’s website and pulls up the Pinterest pinning overlay on your website, which looks like this.

Pinterest pin descriptions

On this post, you’ll see that when you click the Pin It button, there’s a longer version of my pin that pulls with a different description than what’s in my alt-text. The image is also full sized dimensions for Pinterest, rather than the small size that’s available on my blog itself.

As well, if someone clicks the Pin it button while on my image in my post at the bottom of this post, the special description will pull up in the Pinning window:

How to write pinterest pin descriptions

Inside the code behind the scenes, I’m creating the Pinterest description than what’s in my alt-text. Take a look at this:

how to optimize pin descriptions for pinterest seo

That’s probably a bunch of nonsense to you, but if you look, it has one description that is in the alt tag that reads “Learn how to use Pinterest descriptions to get more repins and have better SEO” but the Pinterest description that appears when pinning starts “Pinterest provides better tools” and is different than the SEO optimized alt-tag I created.

Here’s how you hide special Pinterest images and descriptions on your site:

You can use the following code to tell Pinterest where to get the image, a special Pinterest description, what individual post URL the pin comes from, and what publisher pin to repin from. For Pinterest SEO, having repins of your original pin can do wonders for turning up in Pinterest search!

<img src="" alt="SEO description goes here" 
data-pin-description="Pinterest specific description here" 
  • data-pin-description: The all-important Pinterest Description!
  • data-pin-url: The link where you want the pin to point to!
  • data-pin-media: The link where a Pinterest friendly image lives!
  • data-pin-id: Your original pin from the article!

When you’re inserting your image on whatever CMS platform you’re using (WordPress, Squarespace, etc), you want to insert the image like you normally would and create your SEO optimized alt tag. Then look at the code behind the scenes. In WordPress, you’ll click the Text tab in your editing window to get to the code that creates the image. You’ll also want to upload your Pinterest-friendly image to your website but not embed it into your post.

You’ll see code that starts off with img src, like in the above code, and your alt tag you created. After the final quote mark after the alt tag, you want to write out the Pinterest specific code. You can copy the code below and change the bits inside the quote marks for your own information.

data-pin-description="Pinterest specific description here" 

You’ll need to grab the URL where the image you want to be pinned, your Pinterest-friendly image, lives on your site. If you’re a WordPress user, go to Media, click on the image and copy the link in the URL that’s show in the URL field. You’ll paste this URL to replace my placeholder URL the data-pin-media line. This tells Pinterest to pull the hidden image instead of the image that’s actually showing on your blog post.

The important part here to know is that if you haven’t yet pinned your post, you don’t want to include the final line where it says data-pin-id because this is the ID number of your first pin. Since Pinterest has changed the way they’re showing repin counts, I’m unsure if this is important anymore to Pinterest SEO but personally believe that it’s still important to include. You can add that last bit of information about your pin after you’ve published your post.

If you get a little lost, take a look at the code of my site and look for the final image on the page to see how I used this code.

Want to learn more about crafting great Pinterest descriptions? Don't forget to write great board descriptions when you're focused on improving your Pinterest SEO!

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