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5 Ways to Grow your reach with Pinterest Keyword Research

September 28, 2020

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Not so sure about Pinterest keyword research? It’s essential to know where to look for Pinterest keywords and how to use them in your marketing strategy. Although this might sound complicated, it’s actually rather easy. It just takes a few extra steps to optimize your content for Pinterest. You don’t have to be a Google expert, you just have to know where to look. This post will cover 5 of the best ways to find relevant keywords for your Pinterest marketing strategy.

Pinterest keyword research intro

What is Keywording on Pinterest mean?

When it comes to Pinterest, there are a few words that people like to throw around. Let’s look at them for a second so you understand what they mean before I dive into the strategies.

  • Pinterest keywording – this is the act of looking up keywords to use on Pinterest. These keywords are high-ranking, meaning when you use them on your content, you’ll get more traffic and visibility.
  • Pinterest SEO – Similar to the above, although SEO stands for “search engine optimization” so I guess it’s more techy and intelligent sounding.
  • Pinterest trends – This is a tool you can use to look up keywords people are searching for. I’ll talk more about this in a bit.
  • Pinterest Keyword Tool – It’s literally just a search bar on Pinterest. Search up a “seed” or “pillar” word (like Pinterest, for example) and you’ll also find more words that are attached to that word (such as Pinterest tips and tricks or Pinterest Graphic Design) These are known as long-tail keywords because they are phrases, not just one word.
  • Other terms you might come across that pretty much mean the same thing: Pinterest keyword searchPinterest keyword strategy, or Pinterest keyword targeting.

Ok, so now that we got that out of the way–it’s a lot less scary huh?

For the purposes of this blog, I’ll be referring to Pinterest keywording or SEO as “Pinterest Keyword Research” or just “Pinterest Keyword”. This is the act of researching words to create content so it will be seen not only on Pinterest but also on search engines.

Why should I do keywording on Pinterest?

So the main point of doing any of this is that you want your content to be found. Someone inputs a search term into Pinterest (or Google, for that matter) and up pops your pin. Getting noticed is the name of the game. Since Pinterest is a visual search engine, much like Google is a search engine, then it makes sense to use keywords.

Use the Right Kind of Keywords

There’s a lot of competition, so how do you stand out?

Instead of using short-tail keywords that get way too many hits, you need to focus on keywords that people search. When I go to Google or Pinterest and I’m looking for a recipe, I don’t just type in “recipe”. That would be way too many results for me to sort through. Instead, I search specifically for what I want, such as “Keto chocolate dessert”. That’s what you need to do too when you are creating search terms for your content on Pinterest.


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Keyword Research Equals “Searchable”

Pinning Pro sums it up nicely:

Since Pinterest is a search engine (a visual one) it’s logical that everything you publish to Pinterest is searchable. And searchable means people enter words (keywords to us marketers) of word strings into the search bar to find what they’re looking for. This is similar to how you would search on Google.

Using words from keyword research are the key to visibility. They are useful because Pinterest wants to understand what your content is–what it’s about, who it’s for, why it’s useful to a certain audience. Keywords can be thought of as classifying.

Keywords are Organizing

I’m reminded of a project I did with my kids to learn about taxonomy. We can use the wisdom of Charles Linneaus to prove our point. Bear with me for me a second. The project consisted of a group of kids removing their shoes and placing them in a pile. Then, the assignment was to create as many groups from those shoes as we could using the classification system (kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species).

keyword research image
Keyword Research is a way of organizing and classifying

We don’t need the wonders of binomial nomenclature to understand the classification of keywords for Pinterest. In our above example, you might classify the stinky footwear into groups of size, color, or type. That way, when someone is searching for a specific type or color or size of shoe, all they would need to do is perform an intelligent search. “Red tennis shoes” might be something they search for.

Pinterest likes to group words and phrases this way too. It’s helpful for searchers, but it’s helpful for you to know this too. If you want to be seen first for a certain keyword, this is where this knowledge comes in handy.

Simply put, Pinterest wants to match up your content with a specific set of keywords that are searched. They want to match your audience to your content. Pinterest wants you to find your “red tennis shoes” or “black ballerina flats”.

And that’s why keywords are a big deal.

Don’t Use Pinterest like a Cheater

With all of the above said, there are some people who take this knowledge and use it stupidly. For instance, they find keywords that rank really well and attach it to pins that have nothing to do with that keyword. In essence, they just use the keyword to rank high and lie about the content. Pinterest isn’t stupid. It’s a good way to get your account flagged if you try to cheat the system.

And honestly, why would anyone do this? You want to attract the right audience to your content not use words that have nothing to do with your offers or promotions.

How do I do Pinterest keyword research?

One huge factor in all of this keyword research talk is knowing what platforms people are using. Take this bit of information from Hootsuite:

85 percent of all Pinterest searches happen on smart devices.

This is important to know when you plant those keywords into pins, which I’ll show you later. If you use a cursive or small font, those keywords aren’t going to get picked up as well. Since most are using smartphones, it’s a good idea to create pins that stand out on a smartphone device.

This also leads me to offer another suggestion: know your audience. You can’t possibly know the right search terms or keywords if you don’t know the pain points of your ideal reader or customer. Get to know them first.

Hang out online where they are and snoop around for what they are asking about. Take a look at Quora too. Practice social listening on social media, such as on Twitter by plugging in a few keywords and reading what people are saying online. Keep a log of these questions or pain points and gear your keywords toward these concerns.

Pinterest Keyword Research Tools

1) Pinterest Keyword Search bar

I’ve written on this blog about finding keywords through Pinterest using the search bar. As a refresher, you can watch this video.

The auto-suggested Pinterest keyword, also known as Guided Search, are the best ones to use for your pin titles and description. The Guided Search includes the most popular keywords that are being searched by users. In the search results, you’ll find buttons or an auto-populated list of Pinterest boards, Pinterest pins, and other content using the keywords.

Pinterest has a video of the guided search here.

In my linked video, I also show you the guided search on a desktop.

While this has been the most suggested way to find keywords, Pinterest is taking this away. Some keywords are no longer showing the guided search. This is because of Pinterest Trends. I’ll get to that in a minute.


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2) Keyword Research with Pinterest ads

You can “pretend” to set up an ad on Pinterest and find a slew of long-tail keywords.

Log into your Pinterest account and navigate to ADS–>CREATE CAMPAIGN

Click on a campaign type and then scroll down and click on “continue”.
On the next screen, scroll down past the audience targeting, and search up a pillar or seed keyword

Pinterest keyword research using pinterst ads

Take note of the high ranking keywords in the monthly searches and save them in a spreadsheet.

3) Pinterest Trends

Pinterest has recently decided to let business users in on the analytics of keywords that happen on the platform with the Pinterest trends tool. While you can look up keywords on Pinterest using the search bar, you can’t determine the volume of searches for that keyword. This is why Pinterest trends is great. You can drill down into very specific keywords and see how people are using those terms.

Like I mentioned, Guided Search is slowly dying out. Pinterest is wanting us to use Pinterest Trends instead.

Visit Pinterest Trends and type in a keyword (example: Pinterest) you want to search.

Pinterest trends for Pinterest keyword research

You’ll get some options for that search term. In this example, my search term didn’t offer very many results. So I changed it to “graphic design” to see other options.

Select from the list a keyword phrase that makes sense. On the next page, you’ll see the data for that keyword phrase, but if you scroll down, you can see related keywords as well. You can also compare search terms from this dashboard. Take note of the keywords that are trending and will bring the most visibility.

Pinterest keyword research tool - Pinterest Trends

4) Google

Google has a keyword planner tool, but here’s a really quick way to find keywords.

1) Do a search on a seed word. For example: Pinterest, shoes, fashion, etc.

2) If you scroll to the bottom of the page, notice the list of recommended searches.

3) To drill down your search, try using one of the recommended searches or use another word, such as “Pinterest graphics” or “fashion men”. Scroll to the bottom again and note the keywords listed.

4) Save your keywords in an Excel file, on Airtable, or simply use a notepad. Keep these for later use.

5) Keyword Research Using Keen

Keen is apparently a competitor of Pinterest, although I’m not seeing it. It was created by Google and is a visual search, but not as useful as Pinterest. The platform has limited features since it hasn’t been around very long. Keen appears to be useful for saving ideas (called Gems), but from a business standpoint, I find it lacking.


But that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful at all. In fact, you can use it to find keywords!

I’ve created a board for “Pinterest Design” and I’m storing all kinds of blog posts and visually appealing links to it for reference. The boards are similar to Pinterest. You can explore more links by going to the EXPLORE tab. Keen locates articles that you might find useful based on your other “gems” that you’ve saved. If you go to the next tab, SEARCH, this is where the magic happens.

Plug in some keywords and you’ll generate a huge amount more of other keywords to use. Save these to a spreadsheet or notebook.

Keen Search Terms
Find Google Terms on Keen

Where do I use keywords in my content?

Once you have a handful of keywords to use, the first place you want to use them is your headline. Head over to Co-Shedule and come up with a few headlines you want to work with. Then use the best one for your post. You can save the others for alternate pin titles.

Secondly, use the keywords to name your image files. Instead of using some random image name like “DSC_123.png”, use a keyword title. For example, if your keyword is “keto chocolate desserts”, you might use something like “keto-chocolate-desserts.png”.  Also, be sure to add these to titles and descriptions of the images.

And of course, then there’s Pinterest itself.

Pinterest keyword research can help guide Pinterest board titles, Pinterest pin descriptions and/or image filenames to drive qualified referral traffic. (

Let’s start with your image. Use the keywords you used for your blog post for your first image. Then create several other images, saving them with proper file names as I explained above, and vary the title name.

When you pin the image to Pinterest, use a similar title and pop some of those keywords you researched throughout the description text. Here’s an example:

Pinterest keyword research in titles

Notice the use of keywords in the title. To be consistent, I’ll need the image to have a similar title and then add a description with hashtags (up to 500 characters). This is where I’ll put in my keywords that I’ve researched.

Tip: You can turn your blog posts into a series of questions and use those as titles for your pins. Also save any headlines you’ve run through Co-Schedule and use those for pin titles!

Which leads me to another point — use the keywords to inspire content for your business!

If you know a keyword ranks well and it makes sense to use it, why not create content around it? Look through your list of keywords and see if it sparks some ideas.

Pin Regularly to send out more traffic over time

While looking up seed keywords, researching the long-tail keywords, and using those to create popular pins is important, there is another piece to factor in: pinning consistency.

Think about it.

If you post only one blog post to your website and not much else, do you think Google is going to rank you low or high? Do you think you are going to be found? A big fat NO to that one.

Why is that?

Because you need content to be found. Your content needs to contain target keywords for a specific audience to run a search query. When they run the search, hopefully, you’ll have optimized your website well for Google to rank you. The same is true of Pinterest. Pinning consistently with keywords that target your audience will grow your blog traffic, bring readers to your landing pages, and rank you higher for specific terms on Pinterest.

Google or Pinterest? Which is better?

Each platform has their own strengths and weaknesses. Inside of Pinterest, you can take a look at how your pins are performing. Simple Pin Media offers this suggestion about low performing pins

Pins that have 2,000 impressions or less are typically keyworded incorrectly. If the keywording is off, Pinterest doesn’t know what the pin is about and so they won’t show it. The image can sometimes be a problem, but usually, if impressions are that low, you have a keyword issue.

If you look at a pin that’s been on the platform longer than 6-12 months and you see a low impression, you might want to try some new keywords for the pin. Pinterest allows you to see the pin performance alongside also being able to search up terms on the website.

Using Google and Pinterest together is always a good idea. In addition, if you have Tailwind, you can also add the analytics from that tool and learn even more about your pin performance and keywords. Use the “insights” feature to learn more about your Pinterest analytics.


Pinterest keyword research should be apart of every business owner’s toolkit. Even though it sounds scary with all the lingo that gets thrown around, it all amounts to using words that get searched in your own content. It doesn’t take as much time as you’d think and with the wealth of tools at your disposal, many of them free, you can easily implement a strategy into your Pinterest marketing. The top 5 tools I suggest above are:

  • Pinterest search bar
  • Pinterest ads
  • Pinterest Trends
  • Google
  • Keen

Use other tools like Tailwind, Pinterest analytics, and Google Analytics to keep an eye on the data and fine-tune your strategy.


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About the Author

Pinterest graphic designer and digital strategist for business owners and change-makers who want to be seen and heard.

Michelle Buck

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