There are always hot topics about Pinterest that people want to know about. They want to know how to get their pins to show up in Pinterest search results or how to drive more web traffic to their blog.
There’s no doubt that one of the most controversial topics that I have come across Pinterest marketing is the use of hashtags.
What is a Hashtag?
Let’s start off with what a hashtag is. A hashtag is simply this -> #. You’ll see these across a variety of different social networks like Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and occasionally on Facebook as well. When Pinterest first came out in 2010 there was a lot of confusion about hashtags and how they were being used in Pinterest.
Many marketers assumed that by inserting # in their description that their pins would automatically pop up in search results for Pinterest, similar to the way that Twitter’s search works. But this was not the case, and soon a war on how to effectively use them ensued.
As the years have gone by, more and more brands are starting to use hashtags the smart way. Here are seven tips for using hashtags on Pinterest.
Hashtags Lead to Search Results for that Keyword
When you put a # in your pin’s description it will become bolded in the pin’s description when people are viewing them on the desktop version of Pinterest. This allows people to click on the # which leads to search results for Pins that may or may not contain that hashtag.
Usually the results that are shown are a mish-mash of pins that contain the words used in the hashtag. I typed in #GardeningTips onto the desktop version of Pinterest and here were some of the results that were shown.
Notice that some of the results show #GardeningTips, but other pins contain Gardening tips, some have Gardening-tips, and some of the don’t even have the keywords in them.
Not all Hashtags will be Indexed
Just because you put a hashtag in a pin’s description doesn’t automatically mean that it will show up in search results for that hashtag. Pinterest operates very different from Twitter.
To find out how keywords and hashtags are indexed within Pinterest search results, read my article 4 Tips to Make Your Pins more Searchable on Pinterest.
Hashtags May Lead People Away from Your Pin
A major con of having a hashtag on Pinterest is that it does lead people to search results for the keyword associated with that hashtag. Let’s say that I see your pin about gardening tips, I find the pin has the hashtag #gardeningtips and I click on it.
That click then leads me to search results for that #. And since not all hashtags are indexed, the person that clicked on your hashtag has now been taken away from your pin and now is browsing someone else’s pin.
This can be extremely troublesome when someone has clicked to enlarge a pin, and is seconds away from clicking on it again to be redirected to your website, only to be intrigued by the hashtag and click on it to disappear to a whole new set of results.
Hashtags Are Clickable on Mobile Apps
You may read some older articles about Pinterest that mention how hashtags aren’t clickable on Pinterest apps. But from my understanding in 2015, this all changed.
Hashtags are clickable on iOS and Android devices when a person does a close-up of a pin and scroll’s down to the pin description area.
Don’t Overuse Hashtags
You’ll still see this practice occur where there are pins that use dozens of hashtags in their descriptions. While this may be a popular practice on Instagram to get more followers, it can be annoying for users of Pinterest and poor etiquette.
Pinterest has officially come out saying that if you do put too many hashtags in your pin description it could actually demote the pin’s search ranking. (Thanks to Kelly Lieberman from #PinChat for sharing that article.)
Create a Unique Hashtag For Your Business
If you do want to use a hashtag for your business ensure that it’s a unique one. Try to avoid using common search terms that thousands of other pinners have used. This way when you create you own unique hashtag, and people do click on it, it will lead back to search results that are about your blog posts or products.
To help promote my upcoming book Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis, I’ll be using the #Pintalysis in pin descriptions that are being used to promote that book since Pintalysis is a unique word.
Don’t Use Hashtags in Board and Account Descriptions
You’ll see some Pinterest boards have hashtags in their pin descriptions. Hashtags in Pinterest board descriptions are not helpful because people rarely search for boards by using hashtags in front of them.
And having them in your board descriptions and are detrimental to Google search results.
Boards on Pinterest can rank very well on Google, but they have to have keywords that people are searching for with the search engine. When was the last time you decided to type into Google #YourSearchTerm? I would imagine close to never.
Leave out the hashtags in your business name and board names and descriptions to help them rank higher in Google search results for terms you want to be searched for.
As an interesting side note, if you enjoy using Pinterest a lot for your personal use, and there’s a particular board that you enjoy pinning to, then consider putting the # in front of the board name. This might be #Favourite Board. Since Pinterest shows boards to pin to in an alphabetical order, board names that have the # in front of their name generally show up at the top of the list before the rest.
Use a Branded Hashtag with Your Promoted Pins
Advertising on Pinterest is here, and if you’re planning on using Promoted Pins for your business one of the no-no’s of advertising with Pinterest is that they don’t allow more than one hashtag in the pin description.
I’m not suggesting it’s necessary, but I understand that sometimes you want to use a hashtag to have a cohesive social media strategy.
And if you do decide you want to use a hashtag in your pin description it should be branded, no generic hashtags such as #travel or #love. Most likely Pinterest is not going to approve of these pins.
Have you been using hashtags in creative ways with Pinterest? Leave a comment and share with other members of the community.