Changes to Pinterest – Should You Be Worried?
Posted on October 13, 2014 | By Kelly | 28 responses
Pinterest has been a wonderful social media platform for a lot of us bloggers.
If you blog about something that has a strong visual aspect – like fashion, food or DIY/crafts – Pinterest is pretty freaking awesome.
I honestly never thought that the platform would do much for me, because let’s face it, pictures of blogging aren’t really exciting.
But I was very wrong, and in the fairly short-up-until-now life span of my blog, Pinterest has been responsible for, what to me, is a scary-huge percent of my traffic.
Why is giant traffic scary?
Well, my older blog used to get a lot of search traffic – and then Google changed, and all my traffic went bye-bye. Like a lot of other website owners, I was playing by a certain set of rules – and Google changed the rules. (That’s ok – the rules we were playing by were kind of rigged, and I think Google has done the right thing and really made search fairer for all.)
A lot of people were depending on the Facebook gravy train for traffic – and then suddenly Facebook changed, and now organic page views are just a sliver of what they used to be; if you want a lot of people to see your posts, you’ve got to pay and not everyone is willing to do that. Facebook did just what Google did – they got us all playing by a certain set of rules, and then they changed the rules.
But that explains why it makes me nervous when I get a lot of traffic from one source – what happens to me if something happens to that traffic source?
And that brings us back to Pinterest. Because recently, Pinterest has been changing their rules.
Up until now, your main Pinterest feed has shown you all the pins from the people you follow, in chronological order. But recently Pinterest switched to a new way of showing you pins, called the “Smart Feed”.
According to Susan Wenner Jackson from AHAology, you’ll now see pins based on:
Who you follow (Note: Pins may not be chronological, and some may no longer show up for you if they’re not performing well or relevant to you.)
Related Pins (based on what you pin and who you follow)
Interests you’re following
So for those of you who have seen drops in your Pinterest numbers, this explains why.
Up until now, Pinterest traffic has been kind of easy to get. Honestly, I’ve hardly done anything to get mine but share and be shared.
But now – like in so many other things – quality is going to count more than quantity. Just having a butt-ton of followers isn’t going to be enough to get you oodles of repins and corresponding traffic. You’re going to have to pin awesome pins that link back to awesome content.
Your pin descriptions and tags are vital – because search on Pinterest is going to be more important than ever when it comes to new people finding you. You may not be showing up in feeds as often, so you want to make sure that you get found in search – and that your pin stands out from the other search results.
So yeah – you’ve probably seen a drop in Pinterest traffic – but I generally think these are good changes. As much as it hurts to see my Pinterest traffic dropping, I think it makes the user experience in Pinterest better. People are going to see more of what really interests them, and high quality content is going to rise to the top.
The other big Pinterest change will be starting October 19th, when Pinterest will start showing Featured Pins (pins that people pay to have show up in your feed) based upon your browsing history. According to the website ReadWrite,
The biggest concern here isn’t about Pinterest traffic, but with what’s getting shared with advertisers.
The good news is that you can opt out of this to a certain extent – Just go to your Pinterest account settings, and move the sliders under “Personalization” over to “NO” – that’s all there is to it!
I wish Facebook Privacy was that easy!
So – At least in the near future, you may very well be seeing less traffic from Pinterest. Mine dropped down for a week, then shot back up even higher. Last week was actually my highest Pinterest-traffic week since I started this blog. Now it’s leveled off a little bit. I imagine the up-and-down may go on for a while, while things work themselves out.
But more importantly, if you’re in a situation where you get most of your traffic from one source, please don’t sit back feeling content with that traffic. You should always be working to improve your traffic from a variety of sources. Don’t be like I was with Google, thinking everything was awesome, that I had SEO all figured out and my traffic would only keep growing; don’t have all your eggs in one basket!
It’s important to have a diverse traffic portfolio – balanced between search and social media. It’s never good to be too dependant on one source.
PS: My other big Pinterest advantage is using the pin scheduler, BoardBooster – check out this post to see how it’s skyrocketed my traffic and pin followers!