I have been blogging since 2014 and have been using Pinterest since 2015. Pinterest is my main source of pageviews, accounting for at least 80% of the traffic on this blog and as high as 90% on my other blogs.
You can see how a significant drop in Pinterest refers influences my stats and ultimately, my income. So it really sucks when I see a huge downturn in traffic refers from Pinterest.
Right now I am seeing a lot of posts and inquiries in Facebook blogging groups about bloggers seeing their Pinterest impressions and click-throughs drop. They are scrambling to figure out why this is happening to them and what they can do to reverse this trend.
First let me say, stop freaking out.
Every business has it’s ups and downs. If you track your stats month to month and year to year, you will see your own natural ebbs and flows. Different niches have different cycles and you need to know yours. You will only recognize your own pattern if you track your stats.
If you are not tracking your stats yet, grab these FREE blog journal printables here.
My refers from Pinterest track like this:
January is usually ok. Not as high as December, but not dramatically lower.
I have a huge drop in traffic in February EVERY SINGLE YEAR. This year, my traffic went up in February so I thought I had finally broken free of that trend. I was wrong. It was merely delayed a bit.
By the end of March, my refers tanked big time this year.
Which again, usually happens every year around February. But this year was definitely different because of what was going on in the world, so the dip was more pronounced than historically recorded. But overall, the dip was expected according to my previous years.
My refers start to slowly go up in April, and it takes me till September to match the click thru rate of January.
In October, the growth of the previous months either stagnates or has a slight decrease. It is a little heart-breaking because who doesn’t want to continually see growth month after month. Especially going into the last quarter of the year.
By December, my refers reach their peak and surpass the previous year’s stats.
More or less, that is how my Pinterest refers shake out, year after year.
This year has been no different.
Yes, this year’s downturn was escalated and more drawn out due to outside influences. But overall, the same.
Trends this year of note:
Clearly the travel niche was decimated this year. For them, this year is definitely not normal. Some chose to pivot to focus on local and road travel which has helped them re-coup at least some of their losses. As with any business, if you adapt, you survive and thrive.
However, niches that benefited and saw record growth included home schooling and DIY. Many took advantage of that and made a lot of money. Kudos to them.
So what’s going on right now?
So here we are in October. According to my own observations, I should stagnate or decrease. Yup. Right on schedule.
But guess what? Out there in cyber land, everyone is putting the blame on algorithm changes.
No doubt, all platforms have algorithm changes all year long. Some changes are bigger than others and some niches get hit harder while others see benefit.
If you are consistently tracking your stats, you will be able to decipher between the usual trajectory for your blog or a definite downturn due to an algorithm change.
If you do not track, YOU DON’T KNOW what is to blame.
So please, track before you stress.
BE AWARE: This is the time most marketers will try to sell you their Pinterest courses. You are probably fretting and grasping for any new knowledge to get your numbers up again and they know that.
Make sure if you are going to buy a course based on another bloggers’ stats, they show you their numbers RIGHT NOW not February which was phenomenal for everybody.
Or that they are not in a niche (homeschool or DIY) that seen a huge surge this year. Their success if you are not in the same niche will probably not be able to be duplicated.
Chances are, their numbers have dropped too and they don’t know the secret to outsmarting the yearly trend or combatting the general downswing due to the world situation or how to recover from an algorithm change.
Regardless of whether you are experiencing a natural downward trend or being hit by an algorithm change does not mean you should just lay down and take it. You should always be learning, adapting and improving.
This is the time to do some maintenance, review your performance and perfect your strategies.
9 Strategies To Help Increase Your Traffic From Pinterest
1. Turn off your automation or turn it down.
Your instinct right now is to pin more but that will hurt you, not help you. Pinterest’s algorithm rates your account. That is what influences your ability to be seen in the home feed.
If you continually pin without getting a lot of interaction, meaning repins and click through’s, Pinterest will assume that the content you share is not very good (or shareable) and will push less of your pins into the feed. (similar to what Facebook does)
It is better to pin less and have a better engagement rate than to pin more with the same results. So if you are using an automation tool like Tailwind, turn down the frequency of your own pins.
You may opt to turning off automation for your own pins altogether. Yes, manual pinning is more time consuming but when you use a social media platform as close to how it is intended to be used, i.e. the non blogger way, you WILL see better results.
Pinterest is smart. Just because you use an approved app like Tailwind, does not mean that Pinterest doesn’t know that you are not on the actual platform. You will be rewarded for spending time on the actual platform.
2. Evaluate your group boards.
It is true that group boards do not carry the same weight on Pinterest anymore. But I do believe there still is some value in them, if they haven’t been abandoned by the administrator and left to run rampant.
You need to evaluate the group boards you belong to.
It is simple to check how well the group boards you belong to are doing. On Tailwind, go to track your brand page, then board insights, then select group boards only.
If a group board is not performing well either for you or as a board entirely, it is time to say bye-bye.
Learn how to make the most of your group boards here.
3. Join niche specific group boards.
You know when you go to repin something on Pinterest and it suggests 3 boards at the top that you may want to pin that to? Are you surprised sometimes when the right boards show up? You know why that is?
It is because that pin and those boards have been SEO optimized and Pinterest is recognizing what that pin and those boards are about. That is what you want happening with every single one of your pins and boards.
Though general group boards are great because you can pin any of your content to them, they are bad for creating a strong SEO presence for your pin.
Ultimately, you want your pin being pinned to boards that boost its SEO.
- Fashion to fashion boards.
- Blogging to blogging tips.
- Cleaning to life hacks.
Pinning to topic specific group boards is more challenging as you have to pay attention to what and where you are pinning but the benefit is bountiful.
4. Pay attention to popular on Pinterest.
Did you know that there is a tool within Pinterest to see what is being searched and repinned the most on Pinterest at any given moment?
Click on your search bar on Pinterest and you will find a drop down menu.
At the top, it will list your recent searches, then ideas for you, then popular on Pinterest.
If you have any pins that cover those popular topics, make sure to pin them right then to relevant boards. You can also use that list to create new content, new pins and new boards. Make sure to include those popular keywords in your descriptions and as hashtags.
5. Curate great content with a customized home feed.
One of the best strategies you can use to increase your Pinterest collateral is to share awesome content. The way to do that is to have a home feed that shows you pins that will resonate with your audience.
If your feed is filled with crap that you don’t want to share, you have some work to do. You may have to unfollow some people and boards to get there. Don’t be squeamish. You have to cut out the fat.
Then, follow new boards and topics that you will want to share. Stop following entire profiles and get in the habit of choosing the boards of a pinner that interest you. This will cut down on the fluff that isn’t relevant to your ideal reader.
Check out my Pinterest profile and boards here.
6. Make new pins.
Pinterest loves new pins and new content. This is a great time to make new pins for your most popular posts or posts that you believe should have garnered more action.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. I have too many clients that get stuck in the “all pins must all look alike” mindset. Bull shit. If you check out any blogger that is really rocking Pinterest, you will see that they have multiple pins for every post in a variety of styles.
When creating new pins, try to choose an image that is related to the post. I know that it isn’t always possible but if you can choose an image that corresponds, believe it or not, Pinterest knows and again that helps with getting into the search results on Pinterest.
Play around with the text on your images too. The text does not have to match the post title exactly. As long as the text is not misleading and reflects what the post is about, you are good to go.
You don’t have to add all these new pins directly to your posts either. Upload them to Pinterest through the “Create” tab at the top left corner of your Pinterest profile.
Please remember to always change the image file on your computer to include keywords BEFORE you add the new image to Pinterest or your post. This step greatly improves your SEO. Don’t skip this step in haste.
Watch the analytics of your new pins and if one takes off, then you can either add it to your post or replace the one that is there already.
Need help creating pins? Click here.
7. Make video pins.
As with any other social media platform, video has taken over. Pinterest loves video pins and if you haven’t made any yet, you need to get on board.
Canva has made it so easy to animate your pins. Yes, even ones that you have previously made.
When you have your design open, on the left you should see an “Animate” button. If you click on that, it will open up a menu of animate options. Have fun and check out what each animation does.
When you have chosen a design, download it as a MP4 video and upload it through Pinterest directly using the “Create” button.
Be sure to title it and give it a description using keywords. Don’t forget to link it to a post.
Your video pin will then reviewed by Pinterest before it can be seen in the home feed. It is usually pretty fast, like 15 minutes, but I have had video pins take a few days too.
Make a few and check your analytics on Pinterest to track how your new pins are doing and which style gets you more refers.
8. Improve descriptions.
Pinterest is a search engine as well as a social media platform. That means that you should optimize your pins as much as possible. Go back through older posts/pins and make sure you have used good SEO practices to increase pins’ effectiveness.
You can do this by:
- Uploading image files with file names that include keywords
- Completing image alt tags on your blog and pin descriptions on Pinterest to include keywords and relevant hashtags
- Use keywords on images as text
Good SEO techniques will greatly improve your ability to get into the home feed of your followers as well as be found by pinners in search results.
Your profile, pins and boards should all have good descriptions containing keywords and hashtags.
9. Respond to comments.
Did you forget that Pinterest is a social media platform?
Believe it or not, but regular people do leave comments on Pinterest pins. Yes, a lot of it is spam and garbage. But some comments are golden and should be liked and responded to.
One of my pins for my other blog is about grey hair transition. And women love to leave image comments of themselves as they go through their own change. When they take the time to do that, I like and respond to their comments.
And guess what? Pinterest pushes that pin out to more people and I see a surge in impressions and click throughs for that pin.
About once a week, I go through comments on Pinterest, delete the spam comments and respond to the genuine ones.
Add going through Pinterest comments to your to-do list occasionally to make sure you engage with pinners and give your pins an added boost.
The 9 steps above are a great way to combat natural and algorithmic downswings. The key is to never panic and get back to basics applying good practices that are known to improve your standing with Pinterest. You will be rewarded with more refers. Just be patient and consistent and you will see results.
More about Pinterest…
- 10 Pinterest Myths That Are Hurting Your Pageviews
- What To Do When You Experience A Significant Drop In Pinterest Traffic
- The Importance Of Checking Your Pinterest Pin Links
- 100+ Pinterest Group Boards Directory
- Avoid This Huge Pinterest Error That Costs You Traffic
I’m in the same boat as Lyla, although I’ve been blogging and pinning for several years. Thank you for your suggestions. I’m going to check my descriptions and see if they are too similar. This is the steepest down turn I’ve ever had on Pinterest. I’m very perplexed by it. Your post is a great jumping off point. Thank you!
You’re welcome! Hope my suggestions help recoup some traffic from Pinterest.
Elena thank you so much for this. I’ve rocked Pinterest for a while for my main relationship blog. Then suddenly it feels like I know nothing. I took notes from your post and will implement them. Thanks again!
You’re welcome! Thanks for reading!
Thanks so much. I upload all my pins manually, and make sure that I switch it up as much as possible. I’ve made a few video pins on Canva recently, but they never do all that well. Think I need a total Pinterest break right now, as it’s affecting me emotionally. Just live in hope that one day my fresh pins will have a good reach again!
Thanks for this post, Elena. Can’t lie, been feeling tearful about the whole Pinterest situation. My account was doing really well; I would get at least 1,000 impressions per pin and many clicks. Since 2 days ago, that’s all stopped. My fresh pins now get roughly FIVE impressions. I can’t believe it. I’m a new-ish blogger and have never experienced a Pinterest downswing like this.
I’ve emailed Pinterest twice now, but no response. Everyone on the FaceBook groups is also frustrated and upset. I’m not pinning for a while.
It can be very frustrating and sometimes you just have to be patient and let things settle. Make sure when you are making new pins that you add them directly on Pinterest, use a new title and new description. Animated pins are also very important. I should be releasing a new product of animated pin templates by the end of the day today if you are interested so stay tuned!
Reblogged this on Suzie Speaks and commented:
I see a lot of people freaking out about this at the minute – here’s some great advice from Elena
Great article and very well timed. Everyone seems to be losing their collective minds over the drop in traffic. It was nice to read a calm and sensible strategy to get through the dip (and future dips).
It is what it is and we just have to try to make the best of it. There are so many new bloggers that have not had a year cycle so they don’t have anything to pull from. If they are around next year, they will see. Thanks for reading!
Thanks for this informative post, Elena! I just took over my account on March 1st and wondered what I was doing wrong!
Thanks for the tip about not overpinning when fewer pinners are around. I need to do some culling. How do you decide when to delete boards? If they have less than a certain number of pins or followers? What do you do with old pins that are doing nothing? Every so often I see one of them on the smart feed, like my banner that comes up with my about page. Mistakes were made! 🙂
I use boardbooster analytics to decide which boards are duds as well as use it to mass delete underperforming pins.
I use tailwind.
I described in the post how to find underforming boards in tailwind too. I use boardbooster and tailwind.
One more annoying question. Since I’m probably using Tailwind incorrectly, I’ve ended up with a lot of different urls for the same pin. (I pin from drafts) Does it matter?
That doesn’t make sense. Make sure the urls are correct. You can pin from Pinterest or drafts.
In Referrers, WP will just list a total for Pinterest, but if I click on the “down arrow” it shows many different urls. When clicking on several of the urls, they go to the same pin.
Oh yes. Of course. Those are pin urls not post urls. And they all may go to the same post but they are not the exact same pin.
So it doesn’t matter Whew!. Does that happen when I update the pin description?
No. When you or someone else creates a new pin or repins one of your pins.
Cool! Thank you so much, Elena! I thought I’d screwed up, big time. (((hugs)))
Great tips. I’m already doing much of this and still not killing Pinterest, sadly.
Just keep using the platform and adjusting your strategy every few months and sooner or later, it will all click.
Reblogged this on Dream Big, Dream Often.
This article was fantastic! There are so many practical and useful things here, and when someone takes the time to do them they will see great things. Thanks for the practical step by step actionable tips!
I love Pinterest but over the last month my followers numbers have completely dried up – I used to get dozens of new followers every day or so – I have not had ONE new follower in the last month – people still pin my pins but it’s been crickets for follows. I don’t really care but I feel a bit unloved by the Pinterest gods atm. I’m hoping it’s one of “those things” and will turn around again.
A lot of pinners are following and unfollowing right now so that makes it hard to have a movement upwards. Hopefully these people will figure out soon that this strategy does not work for them.
I try to remember to look at my year over year trends when a month is starting to take a downturn. In almost all cases, I will see that YOY, I’m still going up.
Good for you!
hmmm…wondering where I learned that from?
We need fries
Pinterest hates me… the feeling is mutual.
No it doesn’t! You need to be consistent and strategic in your manual pinning plus a few new pins would help.
Show me how 🙂