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How to Use Pinterest Boards Strategically

Pinterest boards are way more important than most users give them credit. While you may think your boards are just a way to categorize your content on Pinterest, Pinterest boards are actually a big part of the Pinterest algorithm.

That’s why we’re diving deep into how Pinterest boards function and how to use Pinterest boards strategically to grow your business on Pinterest.

What are Pinterest Boards?

Pinterest boards are how you save and organize content to your Pinterest account. One of the main functions of Pinterest is as a “bookmarking tool,” which means that most users are saving pins to come back to later.

While you can save pins to your account, most users save pins to different categories. On Pinterest, these are called boards. Many other social media platforms have similar ways of organizing saved content. You may have used Instagram’s “Collections” to organize your saved posts before.

The difference with Pinterest boards is that unless you make your board secret, your Pinterest boards are visible to anyone who views your account. 

As a business marketing on Pinterest, your Pinterest boards are where you will publish your own content. You can also use boards to save other content you want to refer back to later, but we’ll mostly focus on Pinterest boards from the business user perspective.

You can have up to 2,000 boards on your Pinterest accounts, including secret boards and even group boards that you didn’t create. There is only one “type” of Pinterest board, but there are a few different ways people refer to boards based on their visibility, so let’s go over some terms you might hear.

Types of Pinterest Boards

Secret Board: A secret board is a Pinterest board that is only visible to the creators of the board. If you have shared this board with someone to collaborate on, that board will only be visible to you and your collaborators. If you are the only contributor to the board, the board will only be visible to you.

You can make a board secret when you first create it or you can edit the secrecy settings at any time by editing the board and checking or unchecking the option accordingly.

Pinterest board settings

Secret boards will show up on your profile depending on how you’ve chosen to order your boards and you’ll be able to see the lock icon indicating a secret board. Other visitors to your profile won’t see the boards at all.

Secret Pinterest board viewed on profile

If you’re using Pinterest to market your business, make sure you aren’t saving your content to a secret board, as those pins won’t get distributed in the algorithm!

Group Boards: Group boards is a term referring to boards that have multiple different contributors. Group boards used to be a way for Pinterest users to share audiences and boost their reach. This is because pins saved to a board used to be shown to all of the followers of that board. Thus, if multiple creators were saving pins to a single group board, the theory was that those pins would get distributed to all of their collective followers. This isn’t the case anymore.

Because of this past behavior with group boards, creating and joining group boards used to be a common Pinterest growth strategy. However, given that the Pinterest algorithm has changed, group boards aren’t as effective as a tool. I don’t recommend worrying about group boards at all.

Archived Boards: If you no longer want to use a Pinterest board, but you don’t want to delete the board and all its pins, you can archive the board. This action moves the board to a separate section on your profile that only you can see. You won’t be able to save pins to the archived board going forward, but you can unarchive the board at any time.

Demonstration of archived boards view

Why Do Pinterest Boards Matter?

At the development level, Pinterest uses a particular model to store, categorize, and understand all of the content on the platform. Within this storage system, three primary categories exist:

  1. User Information
  2. Board Information
  3. Pin Information

This indicates that your Pinterest boards are important for the Pinterest algorithm.

To put it plainly, your Pinterest boards are another data point that the Pinterest algorithm uses to try and understand your pin content to distribute it appropriately. Knowing that, you can create and use Pinterest boards strategically to ensure your content gets shown to the right people to achieve your goals from Pinterest marketing.

Using Pinterest Boards Strategically

The main purpose of using Pinterest boards strategically is to improve your overall Pinterest SEO. When you publish a pin to a board, Pinterest collects as much information as possible to be able to understand, categorize, and distribute it.

From the board, Pinterest is looking at the board title, the board description, and the other pins that have been saved to that board. Each of those nuggets of information is more context you give the algorithm about your pin. The more context, the more reach — as long as you’ve done your SEO correctly.

To use Pinterest boards strategically, you need to know:

  • What types of boards to create,
  • How many boards to create, and
  • How to optimize your Pinterest boards

What types of Pinterest boards should I create?

Pinterest boards are like categories for your Pinterest content to live in. So in order to figure out what boards you need to create, you have to first look at what content you plan to post on Pinterest.

I recommend starting by listing out every piece of content and every possible offer you want to promote. Take out anything that isn’t relevant and then scan what’s left over. Are there any identifiable categories that jump out at you?

Let’s use myself as an example…

As a Pinterest manager, if I did this process for myself, I might notice categories around Pinterest (obviously), marketing strategy, blogging, email marketing, and business growth. Those tend to be topics I talk about again and again in my content, and they relate to my offers and services.

All of those categories would be good boards to create because I know my content would fit well within those boards and make sense from an SEO perspective.

But I don’t just want one Pinterest marketing board or one email marketing board.

Maybe I want a board about Pinterest SEO, and a board about Pinterest templates and pin design. Maybe I want boards about growing your email list, email marketing for beginners, and creating lead magnets.

The original categories I brainstormed are a good starting point, but they’re just that — a starting point. The other boards you create from that initial brainstorm will depend on what content you have available and what your keyword research tells you.

Above all, your boards should be informed by your Pinterest keyword research because that’s how we know what Pinterest users are already looking for.

If you’re stumped for board ideas, a simple way to do Pinterest keyword research is using the predictive search suggestions:

  • Type the category into the Pinterest search bar (Ex. “Pinterest marketing”)
  • Take note of what longer phrases Pinterest suggests you search
  • Complete the search for the category and toggle to see boards with that category and what they’re titled

How many boards should I create?

There isn’t a set number of boards you need to create to see Pinterest success. The most important thing is that you have enough boards to pin all of your content to. If you’re just getting started with Pinterest marketing, I recommend starting with at least 10-15.

It’s completely fine and normal to have overlap between your boards. Most likely, your boards will all share one commonality. Creating a variety of boards that are general and specific increases the different keywords and audiences you can target with your Pinterest content.

How to Optimize Your Pinterest Boards

Whether you’re creating a new Pinterest board or you’re going back and optimizing old Pinterest boards, here’s what you’re going to do:

1. Title your board with a high-level keyword

Your board titles can be up to 50 characters long. Generally, shorter board titles perform better, but you can experiment with the length. Your board title should contain a highly searched and/or highly relevant keyword.

2. Pin a few relevant pins

If you’re creating a new board, you’ll usually be prompted to save a few pins to the board at first. This is one of the only times I’ll outright tell you to save other users’ pins, as it helps give the board more history and context in Pinterest’s eyes. Pin anywhere from 5-10 pins from the suggestions as long as they’re relevant to the content you plan to pin to the board.

No one else will see those pins unless they go digging (they won’t), so don’t worry too much about “pinning your competition”.

3. Add a keyword-rich board description

Your board description is a frequently overlooked place to include Pinterest keywords. Although they’re far from the most important piece of the Pinterest SEO equation, you should still take the time to add optimized board descriptions to your Pinterest boards.

The goal with your Pinterest board descriptions is to describe the board and its content, making sure to use the main keyword from the board title and several other relevant keywords.

4. Save pins directly from the search results (optional)

If you’re optimizing an older board or the suggested pins when you first created the board didn’t give you good results, another way to “prime” the board with high-ranking pins is to look at the search results themselves. Search the title of your board and pin a few of the first pins that turn up, as long as they’re relevant.

You can also scroll to the bottom of your board to get more pin suggestions.

Hot tip: this is a good way to see if Pinterest is starting to accurately understand your board content! If the more pins/ideas section is full of unrelated pins, that might be a sign you need to rework your keywords.

Using Pinterest Boards to Grow on Pinterest

Boards alone aren’t going to determine your success on Pinterest; they’re just one part of the overall equation! But Pinterest boards are one of the things I see businesses on Pinterest misuse most frequently.

Creating optimized Pinterest boards that focus on SEO is a simple, effective, and essential part of setting up your Pinterest business account, so don’t overlook it! It’s also never too late to go back and optimize older boards.

Pinterest is constantly evolving, as is your business. So while most of your board optimization can be pretty one-and-done, you might find that you have to go back and revisit your Pinterest board strategy from time to time.

If you want to finally understand Pinterest SEO and how you can make it work for your Pinterest marketing, including how to find the best keywords, how to do keyword research, how to decide what boards to create, and more, my friend Amy has created the BEST Pinterest SEO course on the market.

Pinterest Rank Boost is my holy grail Pinterest SEO course. Amy dives into the Pinterest Engineering blog so you don’t have to, and generously shares her years and years of experience. I wouldn’t be able to share the things I do without her education, and I highly recommend you head straight to the source if you have any interest in DIYing your Pinterest marketing or providing Pinterest marketing services.

Get Pinterest Rank Boost 2.0 here to master Pinterest SEO for just $67!