Pinterest SEO: How to Use Keywords on Pinterest


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!


Hey there!

resident pinterest nerd and quiet marketer, at your service.

Let's get to know each other >>







Tell me, are you wondering how to rank high on Pinterest search results? Was that a yes?

Then mark your calendar because your high priority task for today is to get your feet wet in the Pinterest SEO department and create a Pinterest keyword strategy!

Let’s talk all things keywords on Pinterest.

So, is Pinterest really good for SEO?

Oh, it absolutely is! You’re soon going to find that Pinterest has lots more in common with search engines like Google and Yahoo than with Instagram or any other social media.

On a related note: Pinterest vs Instagram: Which Is Right for Your Business?

Pinterest is a visual search engine, with keywords in the center of ranking for visibility and discoverability. If you’re worried whether Pinterest SEO will be worth your time, don’t be. It always is, if done right.

Lots of new Pinterest users get caught up in growing their following and fail to utilize even the most basic SEO tactics.

Don’t get me wrong – growing an engaged following boosts the performance of your content, but if you’re not using keywords, you’re leaving a lot of reach, engagement, and traffic on the table.

If you just recognized yourself, don’t freak out! Today we’ll talk about what’s keywording, why it’s important to distinguish between different keywords, how you can use them in strategic places, and how to find relevant keywords. Let’s dive in!

Complete Guide to Pinterest Keywords

What are keywords on Pinterest?

Keywords are specific words you use to let Pinterest know what your images are about and to help your content show up in Smart Feed and search results.

Keywords help your audience find your content on Pinterest.

Pinterest uses keywords to pull up relevant content as search results and display related content under pins. That’s why we add niche keywords to our profile, boards, and pins.

There are two types of keywords we can use on Pinterest – short tail and long tail keywords.

Short tail keywords consist of 1-2 words and are broad, general, and not specific at all. Pinterest, small business and dinner recipes are examples of short-tail keywords. Short tail keywords have a high search volume and bring lots of traffic, but on the downside, they have high competition (meaning lots of people are using these keywords in their SEO efforts) and are hard to rank high for.

Long tail keywords consist of 3 or more words, are specific, and are more targeted. The more words in your keyword, the more specific and targeted the keyword. Long tail keywords are less searched for but the competition is lower. This means it’s easier to rank high. Pinterest graphic templates, small business bookkeeping software and vegan dinner recipes are examples of long tail keywords.

I prefer long tail keywords because that way I can target specific people and specific interests. When it comes to Pinterest (especially pin descriptions), it’s best to use a combination of short tail and long tail keywords.

How to find best keywords on Pinterest

Knowing how to describe a pin with correct keywords makes all the difference. Pinterest is great at sending the right people to your content BUT you have to feed it the right keywords first.

The good news is that you don’t have to guess what keywords to use. The Pinterest search bar is your bestie and I’ll show you how to use it in a second.

Understand your audience

Before you start researching keywords, you need to have an understanding of your customers. As a business owner, you most certainly have a client avatar but understanding your audience goes even deeper than that.

Do you know what problems they’re experiencing? What’s frustrating them? What do they want to learn about? What are their pain points?

Forget that you’re an expert in your field and think like your audience. You need to be able to think on their level.

Having an understanding like this helps you write better, more targeted content. It also makes researching keywords easier because you know what your people are searching for.

Simplify your life with a keyword bank

Before you embark on your keyword-optimizing journey, take the time to sit down and create a keyword bank of sorts. Keyword bank is a collection of relevant keywords that you’ll use time and time again.

The process of setting up a keyword bank is a must-have step in my account set-up and managing process. Mine is an Excel spreadsheet but you can also use your preferred project management software, Airtable, a piece of paper, or even a Word document.

Write down your main short-tail keyword and list more specific long-tail keywords in a column under that. 

Let’s say you want to find keywords related to Instagram. Instagram is your main keyword and according to Pinterest, your additional keywords would be Instagram photos, Instagram theme, Instagram captions, Instagram tips, etc. Your additional keywords are more specific and targeted.

Repeat the process for your other big keywords. By the end, you’ll have a collection of Pinterest-approved keywords you can use to create content around and use in your board and pin descriptions.

Use the search bar

To find keywords, look no further than the Pinterest search bar. When you click on it, you’ll see your recent searches and current trending ideas on Pinterest. If any of the currently popular ideas are relevant to your post, you can use them as keywords!

Pinterest search bar

If not, find your own. Let’s take Instagram as an example. When you start typing, Pinterest gives you a list of keywords.

These are all keywords people search for on Pinterest so take note. We learn that Instagram captions, Instagram highlight covers, Instagram picture ideas and Instagram bio ideas are all popular keywords on Pinterest.

Instagram search

You can now hit enter and get search results for Instagram. Pinterest will display a row of colorful tiles below the search bar. This is called guided search and each of these tiles is a keyword. There you go – even more keywords for you!

Pinterest guided search

You can narrow down (= get more specific) search results by clicking on a tile. Below are the search results for instagram bio. There’s an abundance of keywords you can use.

Pinterest guided search

Where to use keywords on Pinterest

Image titles, descriptions and alt text

Always start by optimizing your Pinterest pins off-site.

This is not only important for Pinterest, but it’s also a generally good SEO practice. Search engines like Google and Pinterest can’t see what’s on the picture. Instead, they rely on the text that comes with the image like file name, title, and alt-text description.

Before you even upload an image to your site, give it a proper name. Instead of “image1.jpeg”, “DSC_56789.jpeg” or “pintemplate.jpeg”, name the file with the keywords.

For example, if your blog post is about writing clever Instagram captions, title the Pinterest graphic something along the lines of clever-instagram-captions.png.

If your post is about working more productively, you could name the file something along the lines of “improve-productivity-work.jpeg” or “productivity-tips.jpeg”. This lets Pinterest know your pin is about productivity.

When you upload the image to your media files, take the time to give it a title and write an alt-text description. You don’t want to have images with titles like “DSC_56789.jpeg” floating around on the interwebs.

Your URL

As you write your post, you most likely have an idea of what your main keyword is. Make sure it’s included in your URL!


This is the prime space you should definitely take advantage of! Using niche keywords all over your profile gives Pinterest an overview of what you’re about and helps get your account pulled up when someone searched for those keywords.

In the past, Pinterest allowed more characters in business names which is why you see a lot of accounts with profile names like in the screenshot below. Profile names were used to list niches and therefore increase the chances of being found.

As of writing this in January 2019, Pinterest has tightened up the rules and no longer allows business names longer than 30 characters. This means two things.

First of all, Pinterest clearly wants us to use the business name only for its intended purpose. Secondly, if you currently have a business name longer than 30 characters, the only way you’ll be able to keep it is to not update your profile. You won’t be able to save any changes until your business name is within the character limit.

You can and should, however, make use of your profile description! In the 160 characters, let people know what you do and how you can serve them. Since you already have a keyword bank set up, pick 2-3 keywords to describe how you can be of use.

Board titles and board descriptions

Read my post about board optimization for in-depth information about how to make sure your boards are optimized and searchable.

Pin titles and pin descriptions

Pinterest pin descriptions are the elevator pitch of your content on Pinterest – short, punchy, persuasive.

Pin descriptions are the obvious space to add keywords. Before even uploading your pin to Pinterest and saving it to a board, make it your mission to filter out the keywords you should use for that particular pin. That means stretching your keyword research muscles!

Pick a few keywords to include, then write a few sentences telling people what your pin is about. Top it off with a few hashtags. Remember, the goal is to captivate and make people click.


Hashtags are becoming a thing on Pinterest and work the same way as on other social platforms. As mentioned before, you can add them to board descriptions but they’re not clickable.

However, hashtag use in pin descriptions is definitely endorsed by Pinterest. Use specific words or phrases that describe the content of the pin. The current suggestion is to use 1-2 relevant hashtags but no more than 20 hashtags per pin.

Promoted pins

Keywords are also the key to creating optimized promoted pin campaigns. For starters, use a combination of 20-30 short and long-tail keywords that have proven to do well with regular pins.

And that’s how you use keywords on Pinterest! Remember, don’t just use keywords. Use the right keywords! Make sure to get a clear understanding of your audience and what they crave, research and then optimize your profile!

Before you go, pin these tips for later!

How to Use Keywords on Pinterest
  1. Good Morning. I haven’t heard about the use of a keyword bank. What a fantastic idea. Thank you very much. I’m going to get started on that right away.


  2. Megan Doffing says:

    Thank you. This was awesome!

  3. AP blog says:

    Congratulations for the article, I loved these tips.
    Your website is amazing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Craft your Pinterest presence, today

pinterest, from a to z

Pinterest is the most powerful traffic driver of all social media platforms but can be confusing to understand and use for business. Getting the click – and a website visit – is the ultimate goal of a Pinterest strategy, but it only happens if you’ve done everything right and the stars align. So what does […]

Design Pinterest Images That Get the Click
4 Reasons to Convert to Pinterest Business Account ASAP

If you’re an online service business owner on Pinterest and haven’t converted to a Pinterest business account yet, this is your cue. It’s a simple switch that takes a minute but rewards you with features and information about your account that help you uplevel your Pinterest marketing. So without further ado, allow me to introduce […]

4 Effective Ways to Automate Your Pinterest Marketing Strategy

Your service-based business deserves a ridiculously productive, low-cost Pinterest assistant that shaves hours off your workweek by doing all the heavy lifting on Pinterest. But I’m not talking about hiring a flesh and blood human assistant. You can focus on being the heart and brains behind your business by putting Pinterest marketing on software autopilot. […]

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

How to Easily Add a Pin It Button to Your Website

Wouldn’t it be nice if your website visitors shared your content on their Pinterest boards? Well, they can and will if you make it easy for them! Although the Pin It button has been around for years, nearly not enough service providers take advantage of this additional content distribution. This post was first published in August […]

Pinterest and email marketing are the power duo every B2B service-based business needs. Email marketing is far from dead and continues to be one of the most successful ways to attract and engage an audience. Pinterest, on the other hand, is a powerful visual search engine on a mission to serve pinners looking for inspiration […]

Are you close to quitting Pinterest because it feels like you’re wasting your time without getting anything (or very little) in return? Or maybe you’re only getting started with Pinterest & want to avoid common pitfalls.  Either way, here are five common reasons service providers like you struggle to Pinterest (yes, we’re using it as […]

5 Signs You Should Hire a Pinterest Strategist

Are you thinking of including Pinterest in your marketing strategy for your service-based business? Showing up and getting started is often the hardest part – especially if you’re doing it on your own. In some cases, it’s wiser to hire a Pinterest strategist and save a lot of time, energy, and effort. But how do […]

Check these reader favorites


Behind the brand

personal, lifestyle & behind the scenes peeks

As a highly sensitive person, your path to creating a business that supports you in every way and feels good probably looks a bit different than someone who’s not an HSP. Ask me how I know 🙌 Trying to do things the traditional way has led me to overwhelm and burnout many times before. These […]

HSP business

Since mentioning I use Google Drive and Notion together to manage my business, I’ve been getting questions about what information I put into Notion and how I use it. I love not being restricted by the (in)abilities of a project management software and being able to build my own systems in Notion. Particularly as someone who loves to […]

Notion for Small Business
4 Things I No Longer Do for My Business

Lately, I’ve been applying KonMari magic to my business and weeding out mindsets, strategies, and tactics that bring anything but joy. It’s been a blast, to say the least. So whether you love to get a peek behind the scenes or are just binging (hey I see you), this is for you. What I No […]

New brand, new website, who dis? Just kidding, it’s still me but my corner of the internet is sporting a new look. Pop the bubbly and throw all the confetti because we’re celebrating the new era of Jungle Soul Collective! I hope you like it much as I do, especially after I tell you why […]

The cat’s out of the bag – I’m done with HoneyBook and Hello Bonsai. Yes, I’m crawling back to Dubsado’s loving arms. Yes, I feel like a cheater who’s been given a second chance. But there is no better CRM than Dubsado and I had to give others a try to be convinced. Dubsado was […]

Why I'm Switching Back to Dubsado
learn more

I'm a Pinterest strategist and consultant, fan of slow and quiet marketing, fiber crafts enthusiast and a professional green thumb. I'm here to help you build your business through organic discoverability and search marketing.

My core belief is that marketing should be simple but effective, and that's why I love Pinterest consulting. It's such a great way to increase your organic website traffic and connect with aligned clients naturally!

Over the past six years I've helped over two hundred women grow their businesses with Pinterest marketing. My services are a good fit for sensitive or introverted women who feel mainstream marketing is draining, overwhelming, and manipulative.

I'm Maris.

nice to meet you.

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.

begin your pinterest experience

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

hello there

Soul Mail

Pinterest Q&A







"If you can't do great things, do small things in a great way." - Napoleon Hill


soul mail for introverts and sensitive women in service-based business 

book your strategy consult