Digital Insights

How to Use Pinterest to do Keyword Research

Published: November 30, 2015

Just a few years ago, Pinterest launched its own version of a search feature. The goal? To help users easily find past pins (original and re-pinned). The feature helps break down where the past pins might be, provided you can remember the original keyword descriptors that will lead you back to it.

Fast forward a couple of years and as luck would have it, finding past pins is not all this feature has to offer. As long tail keywords come back in vogue, marketers are increasingly turning to Pinterest for keyword research in addition to or even over using Google’s free Keyword Planner tool. In this post, find out what has prompted the shift and how you can cash in as you build your keyword-based marketing strategy.

The “Long Tail Keyword” Defined

What exactly is a long tail keyword again? Essentially, a long tail keyword is a very descriptive three to four word phrase used in search queries. How do they differ from short tail keywords? By 2 to 3 words is the simplest answer.

Example: “Wine glass” is a short tail keyword. “Stemless silicon wine glass” is a long tail keyword. The difference is in the amount of detail included in the search query.

Long tail keywords are finally earning their place in the long-term marketing landscape for one simple reason:

Customers who use long tail keyword searches are now known to be searching for something very specific – something they are probably ready to buy right now.

How does using long tail keywords help your company? When you can identify the specific long tail keywords that most precisely describe each one of your products or services, you exponentially increase your chances of leading ready-to-buy shoppers right to what you have to sell!

But First, You Must Do Your Research

The big question then becomes – what are the long tail keywords that most precisely describe what my company is selling? Each of your products or services has one or more long tail keywords. Now you just need to discover what they are and start using them.

Why Use Pinterest Instead of Google’s Keyword Planner Tool?

Google’s Keyword Planner tool can definitely help you optimize and prioritize the short tail keywords you are using in your online ad campaigns. The tool can also help you select long tail keywords, but it isn’t naturally set up to work that way.

This is because most marketers have a limited ad budget and the Keyword Planner will encourage you to make the most of it by choosing the keywords most likely to net the widest range of prospects. These are most often short tail keywords – they are more general and help you hedge your marketing bets on a limited budget.

But with Pinterest, pinners and searchers alike tend to get a lot more detailed. And Pinterest doesn’t err on the side of caution when it comes to keyword length. In fact, the more detail you can offer Pinterest about what you are seeking, the better the results tend to be.

So where Google’s Keyword Planner is the perfect tool for identifying your ideal short tail keywords, Pinterest is the perfect tool for identifying your ideal long tail keywords.


pinterest for long tail keyword research3 Tips to Use Pinterest to Identify the Best Short/Long Tail Keywords

Marketers have several strategies they employ to use Pinterest for their keyword research.

Here are some of the most favored strategies in use today:

Pinterest’s own population tool.

When you search on Pinterest, you will notice the search browser tries to guess what you are searching for by auto-completing phrases based on your initial search term. So if you type in “wine” you may see a list that includes “wine glass,” “wine set,” “wine bottle crafts,” “wine rack” and others. By studying these popular auto-fill long tail keywords and clicking on the ones that seem to correspond to your products, you can begin to build your own list of long tail keywords.

Pinterest’s “Guided Search.”

With this feature, when you enter in a word – say “wine” – a number of shaded boxes will pop up to help guide your search. So you might see “bottle,” “barrel,” “glasses,” “party,” “tasting” and other descriptors.

Here is what to do next:

  • Highlight the top left hand corner and click and drag to the lower right hand corner of the top descriptors bar ONLY.
  • Copy to your clipboard.
  • Open up your word-processing program.
  • Past as unformatted TEXT.
  • You now have (albeit in messy text form) a great deal of new variants to consider for your principle long tail keywords (with a bit more word processing magic as described here, you can convert your text into a usable, searchable long tail keyword table).

Pinterest Analytics

For our purposes here, let’s assume you maintain a Pinterest business account for your company. So here, you have access to one of Pinterest’s most valuable tools – Pinterest Analytics. In a similar way to how Google Analytics functions, Pinterest Analytics tells you how pinners and searchers respond to your pins.

The pins with the greatest number of responses probably contain the most valuable short and long tail keywords. By analyzing which pins are outperforming the rest, you can develop your own list of effective keywords to use in the future.

By using Pinterest along with Google’s Keywords Planner tool for developing effective keyword-based marketing strategies, you can develop a comprehensive online marketing plan. With the aid of both tools, your plan can include both short tail keywords for general searchers and long tail keywords for those customers who are “searching with an intent to buy.”

This double-pronged strategy gives you the best of all worlds by calling you to attract prospects you can nurture into future customers and also attract customers who are ready to buy from you now!


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