Why you shouldn’t rely on Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog

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I learned most of what I know about blogging in 2019. Unfortunately, I started blogging in about 2012. Unsuccessfully. For a long time.

I actually had a moderately successful personal finance blog that I’m kicking myself for deleting.

I should have just left it to rank on its own, but I’d decided, for the millionth time) to give up blogging and write a novel. The novel’s written. I came to blogging. It turns out you can write more than one thing at a time.

The reason the personal finance blog was successful was 100% down to Pinterest. I used Boardbooster (RIP – you deserved better) and Tailwind.

(Tailwind is more powerful but I had better results with Boardbooster).

Nowadays, and obviously this is just my opinion, it’s kind of a waste of time.

If you love figuring out algorithms and creating graphics and all that stuff, then go and get Tailwind and get cracking.

I don’t. I like writing and creating content. That’s how I like to spend my time.

For those of you that aren’t sure if you’re going to give Pinterest a go, please read this post. It will help you understand why Pinterest isn’t the best way to get traffic.

Don’t get me wrong. It is A way to get traffic. It can be the easiest way. It’s definitely the quickest way. But it’s not the best – SEO is the best way, because it’s most likely to attract people who are actually looking for your content and may even be ready to buy something you sell or recommend.

So just don’t put all your eggs in one, er, traffic-driving method.

Pinterest changes its algorithm all the time

All these people who sell Pinterest courses can attest to this. They must be HELL to keep updated.

Pinterest wants to be a search engine and compete with Google, but currently, its algorithm works according to the SEO in a pin description – not the content that the pin links to.

It gets better all the time but it ain’t great. So it relies on user behaviour – both people who create content and normal Pinterest users. Back in the day you could just keyword stuff your description and Pinterest would just display you in people’s feed – your content could be absolute crap.

Think about the number of times you click through on a great pin only to find it leads to spam. The most popular pins are the ones that look good – not the ones that actually lead to great content.

For Pinterest to compete with Google this will have to change. All your hard work leveraging Pinterest to work for you could disappear, literally overnight.

In short, Pinterest is trying to stop bloggers from hacking its algorithm. It’s trying to figure out how to best serve its normal users. It doesn’t want schedulers doing all the pinning – it wants real users.

Pinterest doesn’t necessarily drive quality traffic

In my experience, especially in those apparently amazing group boards and Tailwind Tribes, a lot of the views you get are just other bloggers looking to fill up their schedulers.

I’d go as far as to say that a lot of people who start tribes and group boards only do it so they can easily fill up their boards.

Having a lot of page views won’t actually get you anywhere if no one hangs around for more than a second or two. It won’t even help you make much money from ads, and you certainly can’t build your email list if that’s something you’re looking to do.

The difference with SEO traffic is you’re far more likely to get hits from people who actually NEED your content and maybe your products and services.

Pinterest can skew your analytics

I like to use the average time on page metric to measure whether or not my content is hitting the mark (I wrote more about why over on Medium).

If people are actually taking the time to read my content that they’re more likely to buy anything that I’m selling, click through to my affiliate links and sign up to my newsletter.

I even keep my email signup pretty hidden – it’s right at the bottom of my post, below the Pinterest pin, so that only people who are actually looking for it can find it.

And yes, I do get sign ups.

I have no interest in getting a million pageviews that don’t read my content. That’s pretty much a vanity metric.

If I get 10,000 hits from SEO and 10,000 hits from Pinterest, it’s hard for me to tell whether my average time of page is smaller because my content’s crap, or because I got a load of bloggers from my niche looking to fill up my boards.

Don’t get me wrong, I do put my posts on Pinterest, I just find group boards and Tribes a bit…spammy.

Pinterest is time consuming

Whilst Tailwind is an extremely powerful bit of kit that will help you it is NOT the easy set-it-and-forget-it software it markets itself as.

Well, it kind of is, in that you do set-it-and-forget-it.

Except that:

  • The actual setting it part takes ages. It can take a good couple of hours to fill up your weekly schedule and it’s incredibly dull. I’d rather spend that time writing an article.
  • Pinterest doesn’t want people using schedulers. I don’t CARE that Tailwind is an ‘official partner’. Pinterest makes money from ads. It wants you to actively be on the platform every damn day. So it rolls out algorithm updates all the time. I’m talking MONTHLY.
  • If you put a step wrong, you get flagged at spam and can receive a suspension. Fair enough. Except what constitutes spammy behaviour changes all time, and now Pinterest have taken to just deleting accounts without a warning. Consider this your warning.
  • You filling up your scheduler doesn’t guarantee traffic. You have to play around with time slots, pin design, and loads of other factors. I can’t be bothered when if I’m patient, I can get traffic from Google with none of the hassle.
  • Even you if you everything write, it can take months to see results, and results obviously aren’t guaranteed.

Pinterest is following Facebook’s lead with boosting paid campaigns

And Instagram. It’s going to become as pay-to-play as they are.

The difference here is that Pinterest wants to be a search engine, more like Google than Facebook.

Whilst Google does put ads right at the top of the SERP, many of us subconsciously ignore them, and go straight to the organic results – which is beneficial to everyone.

Also, people read the title of the search result, and if you match better than the ad (which is likely unless you’re in a very competitive niche) you’ll get the click.

Final thoughts on being over reliant on Pinterest as a traffic source

I’m not going to lie and say that Pinterest isn’t a good way to get traffic, because it’s obviously been the key to many blogger’s success.

Just…don’t rely on it. Remember that a lot of blogger have a Tailwind affiliate code – they get paid for recommending it, and it does sound good on paper.

I mean, it can drive traffic and can only take two hours a week. But it isn’t a guarantee. And it certainly isn’t easy.

If you have the budget to try it out, go for it, but I swear it isn’t a quick and easy to get traffic.

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