How to Write Effective Pinterest Pin Descriptions


I'm a Pinterest strategist & consultant, introvert, knitter, and plant whisperer. Since 2018, I've helped women with online service-based business create a simple and effective Pinterest presence that puts them on the map as an expert. If you're looking for marketing education, intentional business tips and a dose of behind the scenes, grab a cuppa & stay a while!


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Pinterest pin descriptions are the elevator pitch of your content on Pinterest – short, punchy, persuasive. If only the process of crafting one were as quick and easy. It can be tough to muster up a compelling reason why the reader should read your post in less than 100 characters.

Are you confused about pin descriptions? Tired of staring at the blinking cursor trying to summon the right words? This post is your antidote.

The Do’s & Dont’s of Writing Engage-worthy Pin Descriptions

What the heck is a Pinterest pin description?

Pin description is the piece of copy next to a pin that tells what the pin is about and why your audience should click and read it.

In short, it provides context about the pin.

A well-written pin description helps Pinterest understand, categorize, and distribute the pin. If you did a great job, your pin is shown in the right places and to the right people… Which is what we want!

From the user’s standpoint, your pin description helps them decide whether the pin is relevant to them or not.

Do this for effective Pinterest pin descriptions

Research the keywords and hashtags before you start writing. Like Google, Pinterest uses keywords to pull up relevant content as search results. There are a bunch of tips and tricks to writing good pin descriptions, but at its core, it boils down to using keywords masterfully. Do that, and you’re more than halfway there. I’ve covered the process of researching keywords in-depth in my complete guide to Pinterest keywords.

Use natural language and complete sentences to explain the content of the pin. Writing Pinterest pin descriptions can feel a little stiff because you can’t see the person on the other side of the screen. Is this thing even on? Is anyone even reading this? A tip I teach my clients is to imagine you’re talking to a friend. Write like you speak and weave in the keywords. What is this pin about? What will your friend find after the click? Why should she care? Gimme some deets, man.

Write to the people first and algorithm second.

Tap into emotions. As much as we like to think people make decisions only based on rational thinking, that’s not the case. Humans are emotional beings! This 2015 study, for example, found that people experience at least one emotion 90% of the time. Rationality helps us process the information we receive, but the emotional response inspires action. Emotions – sneaky bastards – get involved and affect every single one of our decisions. Use the knowledge of your ideal client to nudge her in the right direction.

Put the most relevant keywords and compelling information first. Pinterest displays pin descriptions in different ways across devices and feeds, and won’t always show the entire description. That does not mean there is no SEO wizard magic happening behind the scenes. Put the most relevant information in the first 50-60 characters as it is more likely to show up in pinners’ feeds.

{OBSOLETE as of 2022} Feel free to use hashtags. Yes, hashtags are a thing on Pinterest in 2020 (they have been for a while)! Currently, they’re only clickable in pin descriptions. Always run the hashtag through the search bar before adding 2-5 most relevant ones to your pin description. Avoid using random or unrelated hashtags.

Include a solid call to action. You have set the expectations and included relevant keywords. It’s time to ask your audience to do something (keep reading, grab a resource, etc.)!

Pinterest Pin descriptions are the elevator pitch of your content.

But these things will kill your vibe…

Don’t blindly assume Instagram hashtags work on Pinterest. Always check first! And while you’re at it, read about Pinterest vs Instagram marketing.

Recommended reading: Pinterest vs Instagram: Which Is Right for Your Business?

Don’t keyword stuff (anywhere, period). Keyword stuffing is the manipulative practice of adding a list or group of keywords to the pin in an attempt to manipulate its ranking. It’s a bad practice in SEO, including Pinterest. I’m disappointed to see some “gurus” and “experts” do it and recommend it as a best practice, but it is a crappy thing. Remember the rule: write to the people first and the algorithm second. The algorithm is also known to deprioritize or penalize keyword-stuffed pins since the practice is in violation of the community guidelines. Hear it in Pinterest’s own words:

Work relevant keywords into your descriptions, but stay away from keyword stuffing. It’s unnecessary, and makes your Pins less useful for the people reading them.

Don’t copy the introduction paragraph or meta description of your blog post. Remember what we talked about Pinterest SEO and keywords earlier?

Keywords work the best in context.

Don’t use the word “click” in your call-to-action. It is the most generic verb you could use to try and engage a reader. I have experimented with this for over a year – engagement is lower for those pins.

Hey copycat! Don’t copy-paste someone else’s high-ranking pin description, hoping it will improve your ranking. Pinterest is not stupid, and copying someone else’s work is lame. Have some integrity and originality. It is okay to look up similar pins to get your creative juices flowing. But, that’s all it should be – inspiration. Use your research, think about your audience, and create something of your own that is even better.

Don’t put your pin description into the alt text tag. Alt-text is meant for screen readers, search engines, and for displaying text if the image fails to load. It is not designed for keyword and hashtag-heavy text like a Pinterest description.

Should you update scrappy descriptions from the past?

Even though some of your older pin descriptions make you cringe, there is no point in editing them and adding new keywords or hashtags. It doesn’t affect how they rank. Leave them be!

The best way to correct past errors is to create new, better content. Make new images for your posts and use your new-found pin description knowledge to write effective descriptions. Doing so aligns with what Pinterest favors in 2020 and beyond – fresh, unseen content.

Recommended reading: Pinterest Best Practices for 2020: 5 Ways to Use Pinterest for Business

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I wholeheartedly believe that marketing should be simple and effective, not confusing and overwhelming. Hence my passion for the brand-building power of a low-maintenance, high-impact Pinterest presence.

My shtick? One day Pinterest intensives for online service providers ready to stop spinning wheels and get a clear direction to more visibility, clicks, leads, and clients.

I'm here to give you the knowledge, clarity, and confidence you need to take the reins of your Pinterest marketing, book your dream clients, and create a purposeful life that feels good - in both business and at home.

I'm Maris, your Pinterest strategist

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Since 2018, it's been my mission to help women in service-based businesses craft a low-maintenance, high-impact Pinterest presence so that they can book their dream clients, cultivate clarity & confidence with their work, and create a purposeful life that feels good — in both business and at home.

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I'm Maris, resident Pinterest nerd and flat white enthusiast, at your service. 

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