When you’re getting started on Pinterest, there are so many things to learn! One topic that comes up ALL THE TIME is pin descriptions. There is a lot of confusion about what they are, why you need them, how to write them, how to add them, and when to change them. But you’re in luck! Today I’m sharing everything you need to know about Pinterest pin descriptions. You don’t want to miss this!
What Are Pinterest Pin Descriptions?
Pinterest pin descriptions are snippets of text that tell about your pin. According to this article in Pinterest Help, there is a 500-character limit for these descriptions. Depending on the length of your descriptions, some of the text may be cut off in the feed.
If you look at the pin from my post on Pinterest Analytics shown below, you will notice there are actually two snippets of text about the post. The pin description is the one at the bottom. It’s the description that the Pinterest algorithm looks at to try to figure out what your pin is about.
In case you’re wondering, the snippet at the top of the column next to the link is the meta-description for this post. I wrote that using the Yoast plug-in, and it’s optimized for Google SEO. If you don’t designate a meta-description for your posts, Pinterest will pull the first few lines from your post and put it there. It’s always a good idea to make sure you add a meta-description!
Why should I add Pinterest Pin Descriptions?
There are a few reasons you want to add pin descriptions to your pins. These reasons are for your potential pinners and for the Pinterest algorithm. It’s important to both that you add pin descriptions.
In your pin descriptions, it’s a good idea to let pinners know extra information about your content. In a Buffer webinar with Pinterest, they suggest adding enough information to “pique the reader’s curiosity” but “don’t give everything away.” After all, the goal of Pinterest is to get clicks to your website. You also want to include a strong call to action to encourage that click.
The pin descriptions also provide information for the Pinterest algorithm. The algorithm is looking for keywords in your pin descriptions so that it knows when it should show your content. According to a webinar with Pinterest and Tailwind, you want to include keywords in your pin description but avoid stuffing the descriptions with keywords so they don’t feel natural.
A more strategic reason to add pin descriptions is you know what keywords you are trying to rank for with your Pinterest profile, so you know the words that need to be in your descriptions. Pinners don’t usually know what your keywords are and they won’t necessarily add a pin description. Including one with all of your pins means EVERY SINGLE PIN you pin or other people pin from your site is automatically showing you should rank for that keyword. That’s a win for anybody!
What Kind of Keywords Should I Include in the Pin Descriptions?
The Tailwind webinar mentioned above explains keywords as the terms pinners are searching for that your content addresses. They recommend having specific keywords in the descriptions of what the content focuses on and thematic keywords that are more general topics people might be searching for. Including both types of keywords in the pin description means the Pinterest algorithm will have an easier time understanding what your pin is about and will be more likely to show it in relevant searches.
Of course, the main focus of Pinterest is always the pinner, so make sure it’s readable by people!
If you need help with identifying keywords, my post on optimizing for Pinterest gives step-by-step instructions on how to find keywords on Pinterest.
What About Hashtags in Pinterest Pin Descriptions?
Hashtags are new(ish) to the Pinterest platform, so they aren’t as common as they are on Instagram or Twitter. They also work differently than traditional keywords. When you search a hashtag on Pinterest, the results are shown to you in chronological order with the newest ones shown first.
Recommendations for hashtags are all over the place. Some people like creating their own branded hashtag, while others only do general categories. I usually do a combination of general and specific hashtags for my content.
As far as the number of hashtags, Pinterest has had different recommendations. For a while, they recommended up to 20 hashtags. Then they switched it to no more than two hashtags. The Pinterest content tips page now recommends a few relevant hashtags that people can search on Pinterest.
How Can I Add a Pin Description to My Pins?
Pin descriptions can be added to your pins in a few different ways. Don’t worry! I’m sharing all of them, so you can figure out which one works best for you.
Adding pin descriptions using alt-text
The most common way people begin adding their pin descriptions to their Pinterest pins is by using the alt-text box for their pin image. Please don’t do this!! That is not the purpose of the alt text. According to this On-Site SEO post from Moz, alt text or alternative text “are used within an HTML code to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page.”
The alt text is used by screen readers for people with visual impairments so they can know what the image is about, it’s displayed when an image is broken and can’t be displayed, and it’s used by the web crawlers of Google and other search engines to understand what the image is about so they know when to display the image.The most common way people begin adding their pin descriptions to their Pinterest pins is by using the alt-text box for their pin image. Please don't do this!! That is not the purpose of the alt text. #pinteresttip #SEObestpractice Click To Tweet
While it is a good idea to add your keyword or keywords in your alt text, it’s also important to describe what the image is. You want to make your content accessible to everyone and make sure you are using SEO best practices for Google, not just Pinterest.
I highly recommend reading the Moz article to find out more about alt text, as well as every other article they’ve ever shared. Their SEO info is amazing! 😍
Adding pin descriptions manually
When you add a pin to Pinterest, you can put in your description as you add the pin. That description will be there for all repins of that pin, but it won’t be there for future pins from your website.
It’s also easy to add a pin description in Tailwind (affiliate link) when you schedule the pin. Adding the description in Tailwind is nice because it allows you to enter the description once and it’ll be there every time that pin is scheduled through the Pin Inspector in Tailwind. Since every pin within Tailwind is considered a fresh pin, your description will be there for every fresh pin you add. It’s also easy to change the pin description in Tailwind when you’re ready to change things up!
Manually adding pin descriptions does have drawbacks. While these processes let you keyword your pins when you pin, other people will have to write their own descriptions for your pins or they’ll leave the pin descriptions blank.
It’s better to provide your own description for each of your pins and make it easy on yourself!
Adding pin descriptions with a plug-in
If you have a Word Press website, you can use a plug-in to add your pin descriptions. These three plug-ins let you hide pins on your site and designate a pin description for each of your pins. They all cost $29 for one website, so you can take your pick which one you prefer.
I haven’t used any of these plug-ins, but I’ve heard that Social Warfare Pro can be glitchy when they do an update. I know that Kate Ahl of Simple Pin Media recommends Tasty Pins, and I’ve seen many happy comments from people who use Social Pup. If you know of a plug-in that I missed that lets you add a pin description for your Pinterest pins or if you have an opinion on any of these plug-ins, please let me know!
Adding pin descriptions with HTML
For those of you that don’t want to pay for a plug-in and want to make sure you have a quality pin description there for anyone who might pin from your website, you can add a pin description in HTML.
Don’t freak out. It’s not nearly as hard as it seems!
After you’ve added your pin image to the post, switch to the Text editor. You can find it in the top right corner in both classic and block editor in Word Press. Find the code for your pin image. In the image below, it’s in the bright pink box.
The way that HTML works in each section of code begins with < and ends with />. You will notice at the top of the box, there is a <img to tell you it’s an image. It then tells the source (src) where it’s pulling the image from, then it has the alt text (alt) to describe the image followed by the size of the image.
The next part gives the pin description. You will notice it says data-pin-description=”my pin description including hashtags” /> This means that the pin description displayed should be everything inside the quotation marks and the /> says that’s the end of the information about that image.
You might be thinking that there’s no way you will ever remember that code or how to do it. I have the HTML code on a sticky note on the desktop of my computer. All I have to do is change the text and paste it in after the size of the image. It takes less than a minute for each pin!
Should I Use the Same Pin Description for Every Pin?
Pinterest said in the Tailwind webinar that the best practice is to provide a fresh pin description for every pin. Whether you are using the same graphic as a previous pin or a different pin for the same post, it’s a good idea to use a new description. This makes the pin fresh content, which Pinterest loves.
What Should I Do if I Still Have Questions About Pin Descriptions?
There are many amazing sources out there with fabulous information about Pinterest! I strongly recommend the Pinterest business blog, the webinars I linked above from Tailwind and Buffer (since they’re official Pinterest partners), and the Simple Pin Media podcast. I have learned so much from all of these sources, and the information they provide is from people in the know.
Of course, you can always reach out to me with any questions you might have. I am more than willing to share what I know, and I love researching if I don’t know something.
That’s it for today. Now it’s your turn. Where are you in your Pinterest pin description journey? Do you have tips to share on creating pin descriptions? What are the challenges you face? I would love to hear in the comments below or on my Facebook page!
Until next time,