Pinterest introduced some major algorithm changes to its platform this year. Gone are the days where Pinterest users can simply re-pin the same pins to countless group boards to drive traffic.
Even if you’ve been on Pinterest for a longer time and have been gaining traction through old well-performing content, not keeping up with the latest changes could lead to a decrease in traffic.
Meanwhile, the Pinterest update can be a great opportunity for new and established users. It helps us focus on a more meaningful, fresh approach.
The following article covers 5 major Pinterest algorithm changes in 2020. Additionally, it provides you with relevant strategy tips you should know of to make your traffic skyrocket. So let’s jump right into it.
What Is Pinterest?
For all users who are new to the platform, Pinterest is a social media site where users can collect and share pins of anything they find interesting. Many content creators, bloggers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs benefit from the platform as a source of organic website traffic. Pinterest therefore is often considered a search engine rather than a traditional social media platform similar to Instagram or Facebook.
Why You Should Be On Pinterest
Pinterest is a great, organic traffic source for your website. Compared to platforms like for instance Instagram, where your post usually loses traction and exposure after a couple of days, content on Pinterest has the potential to go viral and drive traffic for months. It is also a great source for business-related knowledge and inspiration for your blog.
Why Do Pinterest Algorithm Changes Matter?
If you’ve been putting Pinterest on the back burner and expect to continue seeing consistent traffic, you might not get the results you were hoping for. Pinterest is like a well-oiled machine. You have to put in some effort (and high-quality effort) to gain traction and see results!
Users who pin the same content to countless boards too often without spacing it out might get punished. The Pinterest algorithm often categorized those users as spam. Think about what other users would like to see on Pinterest? Do they want to see the same pins over and over? Of course, they don’t.
To make Pinterest’s algorithm happy, let’s have a look at 5 major Pinterest updates.
1. Focus On Fresh Pins
Pinterest loves fresh pins. This is why they decided to prioritize new over previously pinned content. What’s important to know is what would fall under a ‘fresh’ pin according to Pinterest.
Fresh Pins are images or videos that users haven’t been shared previously. You can create multiple different images that link to the same blog post, page, or product, and each of those would be fresh when saved to Pinterest for the first time. A fresh pin, therefore, is the unique combination of an image and post or product URL. Fresh Pins can come from creating new images for links you’ve previously shared to Pinterest. Pinterest also recommends writing a new description. If you can, use new keywords than the ones you’ve used for that same URL in the past.
Note:The following does not counts as a Fresh Pin:
- Pinning the same image and changing the Pin title, Pin description, or alt text
- Making small changes to an image that has already been Pinned before (for example, changing the background color of an image)
To summarize, just adding a different text overlay isn’t enough, to create a fresh pin and meet the requirements of the latest Pinterest update. The more unique the pin is, the better. Ideally, you should be creating multiple “fresh” pins for each URL/blog post/product on your website. Remember, the most important is that the image must appear new and fresh to Pinners!
Pro tip: Create at least 5 different unique pin templates, then switch out your images, graphics, and title/text overlay for each new pin you make. This makes pin creation a lot faster!
2. Avoid More Than 10 Duplicate Pins
Only pin to your 10 MOST relevant boards for each unique pin (this includes your own as well as group boards).
This is probably one of the biggest Pinterest algorithm changes in 2020. A couple of months back it was ok to re-pin the same content to countless different boards (whether that were your own or group boards) for months. The new algorithm however, recommends pinning duplicate pins (pins with an exact image/URL combination that has already been pinned to Pinterest before) to a maximum number of 10 boards. Basically, if Pinterest has seen the image before, then it would not be considered “fresh.”
When thinking about Duplicate Pins in SmartLoop in Tailwind, you’ll want to ensure that you’re intentional about the types of Pins you loop. There are two main reasons you’d want to add a Pin to one of your loops:
- Sharing timely seasonal Pins a few times a year. This can surface seasonal content when it’s most relevant. This means more engagement and distribution for the content people are ready to act on now.
- To gain new followers. You can reshare your Pin a few times a year to surface it in the following tab of your newest audience members. You’ll see even more distribution when you refresh the images in your Loops!
Additionally, how often you pin to each board matters, as well. Pinterest recommends using an interval of at least 2-3 days each time you pin the same pin to a different board. If you fail to do so, your account might be shadowbanned.
Luckily, interval scheduling is easy with the schedule tool Tailwind. Tailwind also has a feature called ‘Smart Guide’ that automatically evaluates your pin schedule and makes sure you’re are following Pinterest’s algorithm rules. Whenever your pins are scheduled too closely or in case you are trying to re-pin the same content multiple times to the same board, Tailwind will let you know.
3. Pin Less Often But More Of Your Own Content
Before the recent Pinterest algorithm changes, many people believed that the more pins are shared on a daily basis the better. Many content creators believed that pinning around 30-50 pins per day is best. With the latest Pinterest algorithm changes, the platform now recommends pinning much less (15-25 pins per day on average). Pinning more than recommended can hurt your traffic and exposure.
If you decide to reduce your pin volume per day, it’s best to share more of your own content to your own boards. I’d still recommend pinning other creator’s content, just less often.
4. Create More New Content
Pinterest wants to constantly see new content (and not just new pins). New content means new blog posts, new product pages – content that has a new URL that hasn’t been shared on Pinterest before.
While it is important to share already existing content in form of resh pins, make sure you also focus on creating new content on a weekly basis.
Like most social media platforms, Pinterest favors creators that are consistent over a longer period of time. Therefore, in case you haven’t done so, you might want to consider a scheduling tool like Tailwind.
5. Focus less on group boards, and more on your own boards
The usage of group boards used to be an efficient strategy to get your pins in front of a bigger audience. However, Pinterest group boards actually weren’t created for this purpose. Instead, they were intended to be used by individuals to plan for an event or collaborate with other content creators.
With the latest Pinterest algorithm changes, group boards won’t be as effective. If you are looking for an alternative to get your pins in front of a bigger audience, Tailwind ‘Tribes’ are worth looking into.
With group boards becoming less effective with the latest Pinterest update, it is better for you to focus pinning more on your own boards, then fill in the gaps with group boards.
Additionally, as mentioned earlier, the key is relevancy. Only choose the most relevant boards (based on the keywords in the board title and description) when pinning on Pinterest.
That way, they can show your pins to people who are more likely to be interested in and engaging with your content. In case you need to create more boards based on your new blog content, go ahead and do so!
If you are already using Tailwind, make sure to take a look at your Board inspector analytics and archive any group boards that do not perform well for you. Those could negatively affect your reach.
If you are owning group boards yourself, split them up into smaller board lists based on specific topics. For example, a group board covering digital marketing could be split into, “social media tips”, “SEO tips” and “digital advertising tips”
Pinterest Algorithm Changes and Hashtags
In late 2020 Pinterest confirmed that hashtags are optional. In my point of view, they might even be phased out, as people do not really use them for searching. Meanwhile, Pinterest hasn’t officially confirmed this. I recommend focusing on keywords in your pin description and to make sure you use up all 500 characters. You can use a few hashtags if you like for now, but don’t focus all your time on them.
Pinterest Algorithm Changes in 2020: Final Words
Pinterest’s algorithm changes intend to push users to share more meaningful, fresh, and relevant content. They are meant to improve the overall user experience. While I am excited about the changes, they also mean more manual work for content creators. Creators are obliged to create new pins and blog posts on a weekly basis, thus a scheduling tool like Tailwind can take away some of the additional manual workloads.
My biggest takeaway: Spend less time re-sharing your old and other people’s pins, and focus on creating new, meaningful content. Additionally, make sure your pins match with your board topics and keywords.
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Hi, I’m Kathrin. I am a Digital Entrepreneur & LinkedIn content creator from Germany, living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Having worked in different multinational organizations & start-ups in Germany, the Netherlands, France, England, and the United States for more than a decade, I help businesses & individuals adapt to digital transformation. Besides, I cover topics around new technologies, health & lifestyle on my Blog. Say hi on my socials!