Should You Use Hashtags or Keywords on Pinterest?

Should You Use Hashtags or Keywords on Pinterest?

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You’ve probably already heard by now that Pinterest is the latest must-have tool for any blogger, social media marketer, or influencer; with the potential to send hundreds, thousands, and millions of viewers to a blog with minimal effort. 

Admittedly, it’s not quite like that. There is some effort involved. But in my experience, Pinterest is BY FAR the easiest social media platform to get to grips with. It’s the #2 traffic driver for my blog, behind search engines. 

One question that I found myself asking — and I’ve been asked by other bloggers and local businesses — is whether you should use hashtags or keywords on Pinterest for promotion.

It’s a good question and one that I think I might have found the answer to. It took a little bit of experimentation, some absolute epic fails, and a couple of woohoo moments, but I think I can offer you an answer that’ll help you get results for your blog. 

HASHTAGS OR KEYWORDS ON PINTEREST: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? 

In some ways, there are very few differences between Pinterest hashtags and keywords. 

They’re both used by Pinterest users to find relevant information and content.  

They’re also both used by bloggers, influencers and marketers to promote content and ensure it reaches the people who are looking for it, as well as categorising content — giving it a “label” so that Pinterest knows where the content belongs. 

Hashtags and keywords are BOTH great marketing tools; they just work slightly differently. 

I wrote a complete guide to using hashtags on Pinterest for Blogging Wizard 👇🏻

USING HASHTAGS

Hashtags are great on Pinterest because they’re still pretty new. When something is new, it’s still fresh, works as it should do, doesn’t have a bunch of crazy algorithm changes to deal with (yet), and not everyone will have jumped on the bandwagon (yet). But they’re about to. 

That means you can slide yourself right in, use the cool new marketing tool and master Pinterest blog promotion, steps ahead of the rest. 

A few important facts about Pinterest hashtags 

1 – They appear in search results in chronological order of when the Pin was shared, NOT when you added the hashtag. Going back over old Pin descriptions to throw in new hashtags is not good use of your time. Newer Pins will show up before older Pins, no matter when the hashtags were added. 

2 – Hashtags are clickable [blue/highlighted] links on Pinterest, which means that you can click on one and open up a brand new set of results that all contain the same hashtag. You can’t do this with keywords in Pin descriptions; they’re not clickable links.  

3 – Hashtags only work in Pin descriptions. Don’t waste your time adding them to your bio, board name or descriptions, or any other weird and wonderful places. Again, this is not good use of your time. 

Useless Hashtags in Pinterest Board Description

USING KEYWORDS 

Using keywords or phrases on Pinterest is considered the ‘norm’. That’s the approach that Pinterest users are already taking to find stuff and have done since the beginning. 

  • Pinterest tips
  • How bloggers use Pinterest
  • Using Pinterest for blog promotion 
  • Pinterest guide 

Those are all keywords and key-phrases — things that someone would input into the search bar to find the answers to their questions. The search bar of Pinterest is used in very much the same way as the search bar of Google. 

You don’t need to add a special character to make keywords or phases work [#], and keyword-based search terms are not shown in chronological order; they’re shown in order of relevance. You can also use keywords in more places than just a Pin’s description, including in your bio, board name and descriptions, and display name. 

Keywords in Pinterest Description

WHICH ONE WINS: KEYWORDS OR HASHTAGS ON PINTEREST?

In reality, there is no “winning” answer. There is no “winning” combination of hashtags and keywords because things in the digital world constantly and consistently change. 

Algorithms change. 

Marketing changes. 

Pinterest users change. 

Breaking things down, hashtags on Pinterest are great for right-now traffic and promotion. They appear in search results in chronological order, so older Pins are going to appear much farther down in the results. The browser will need to scroll down quite a way to find them, especially if you’re using popular and generic hashtags — #SocialMedia#Pinterest#Blogging

Slightly more specific hashtags are going to have fewer results — 

#PinterestTips#BloggingForBeginners#SocialMediaGrowth

Really specific hashtags will have ever fewer results still, and in some cases, none at all —

#PinterestTipsForBloggers#GrowYourBlogWithPinterest#HowToUsePinterest.

You shouldn’t disregard these hashtags entirely. Just because they don’t have any hits now, doesn’t mean that people aren’t searching for them; it means that people [bloggers, marketers, influencers, etc.] aren’t using them yet. I actually recommend using the weird and obscure or longer hashtags from time to time. 

People are more comfortable using keywords. 

But again, that’s just for right now — and that will change too. The more that people become aware that hashtags are being used on Pinterest, the more natural and comfortable it will be for those people — viewers and content creators alike — to use them. 

Keywords are easier to throw naturally into the Pin’s description, meaning that marketers and bloggers are probably using them by accident, without even realising it. 

“Wondering whether you should use hashtags or keywords on Pinterest? I debated the pros and cons of each to figure out a formula that works.” 

That’s one of the descriptions I plan to use for Pins that promote this blog post. Without even thinking about adding in keywords or hashtags, I’ve “accidentally” added the following keywords — 

  • keywords on Pinterest
  • hashtags or keywords on Pinterest
  • Pinterest

And those are the kinds of words or phrases that people would search for if they were looking for my blog post —

  • How to use keywords on Pinterest
  • Should I use hashtags or keywords on Pinterest?
  • Where should I use keywords on Pinterest?
  • etc. 

*That’s* what you should pay more attention to: inserting marketing keywords into your Pin descriptions in a natural, free-flowing way. More people use keywords than hashtags, so natural keywords should be your number one priority. Hashtags, for now at least, should come a close second. They’re good, but not quite as good as keywords. 

Hashtags could direct people AWAY from your content.

I’m not saying that you should be selfish and keep all of those Pinterest views for yourself, but the last thing you’re going to want to do is direct people away from your blog post or web page before they’ve even had a chance to land on it. That’s pretty much what hashtags do. 

Hashtags are obvious, bright, and highlighted. It’s very obvious that they’re clickable links. Pinterest wants browsers to click on those links and find more relevant content. 

But YOU want those browsers to click on YOUR pins and actually land on YOUR blog posts. 

Hashtags could prevent that from happening. They’re blue and sparkly and pretty … and they’re right there in the Pin’s description. The browser needs to make a decision: click on the Pin and through to the blog post waiting behind it, or expand on a hashtag to find posts that are potentially better than yours. 

Maybe we should add those hashtags in sparingly? Throw a sprinkling of them here n’ there. Don’t overload your Pin descriptions with multiple reasons to click away from your blog … ya know? 

MY PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS

I like to use a mixture of both keywords and hashtags in my Pinterest descriptions. That way I hit both groups of people — those who like to search using keywords and those who use hashtags. 

Hashtags are still a new concept on the image-based platform, and not everyone is going to be using them yet. 

My Mum didn’t know that hashtags now worked on there and she’s a daily Pinterest user. 

My sister is the same — still searching the “old-fashioned” way, using keywords and phrases. 

We can add my boyfriend to that list too. He’s a business owner and had NO IDEA that you could use hashtags on Pinterest, or that people might find his artwork on Pinterest by using hashtags. (He’s an artist and tattooist — two genres that do very well on Pinterest.) 

If you focus all of your attention on hashtags, you’re missing out on potential keyword traffic — people like my mum, sister and boyfriend who still use keywords on Pinterest every day. 

If you use both hashtags and keywords, you’re targeting everyone

I’m not saying that my way is the best/only way, but here’s how I do it:

Pin’s description + hashtags + keywords. 

Pin Description Keywords Hashtags

Wondering whether you should use hashtags or keywords on Pinterest? I debated the pros and cons of each to figure out a formula that works > ukwordgirl.com {#PinterestMarketing | Pinterest For Bloggers | Pinterest Growth Strategy} 

I like to put hashtags and keywords in special characters to separate them from the rest of the Pin’s description, right at the end. It looks neater, don’t you think? That’s the only reason I do it. There’s no secret Pinterest reasoning or anything. 

[#PinterestMarketing | Pinterest For Bloggers | Pinterest Growth Strategy]

~ #PinterestMarketing | Pinterest For Bloggers | Pinterest Growth Strategy ~

• #PinterestMarketing | Pinterest For Bloggers | Pinterest Growth Strategy •

In my opinion, hashtags look better at the end, wrapped up in special characters, because that particular part of the description isn’t *that* important to the Pinterest user. 

When you use hashtags on Instagram, you tend to hide right at the bottom of the caption, or in a comment, right? This separates them from the important part — the bit that you want browsers to read — because they’re just for marketing purposes. And, let’s be honest, they’re ugly. I think hashtags are ugly, anyway. And who actually reads the hashtags? 

*Apart from me because I like to see which hashtags other people are using. 

Instagram Hashtags at Bottom

I take the same hide-at-the-end approach with Pinterest hashtags and marketing keywords. 

It doesn’t matter whether the user reads the hashtags and keywords at the end. They don’t actually add more information. They simply act as a way for the user to find that content; the first part of the description is what tells a browser what the link will take them to: 

“Wondering whether you should use hashtags or keywords on Pinterest? I debated the pros and cons of each to figure out a formula that works.”

I also like to use a mix of hashtags and keywords. I’m still figuring out a “perfect” number/ratio, but I’ve been using one or two hashtags with two or three keywords and it’s a system that seems to be working just fine. 

Throw more than five or six hashtags/keywords in there and things start to look a little spam-tastic. 

The ones that contain 1/2 hashtags and 2-4 keywords are getting plenty of repin action. 

FINALLY …

Yes, I know, I’ve talked for hours already. I’m almost done, though. I promise. 

Experiment. 

Play around with things. Use three hashtags and three keywords, and then try no keywords and six hashtags. What works for me might not work for you, but I’m definitely interested in what has worked for you … or what hasn’t. If you’ve written a post on how you use keywords and/or hashtags in your Pinterest strategy, tell me all about it. 

I would love to link to you *right here*!

If you haven’t written a blog post about it, maybe you should? I’d definitely want to read it, and with more and more bloggers jumping on the Pinterest marketing bandwagon, people definitely have questions. Questions that YOU might have the answers to. 

And if you don’t know what combination works or has been working for you, perhaps it’s about time that you took a little peek?

Which of your Pinterest Pins have the most repins? How many hashtags and/or keywords did you use in the description?

What about other people’s popular Pins? What’s in their description that isn’t in yours? 

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my blog post today.

Have a fabulous day! 

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