This week, Pinterest announced the launch of a new type of Rich Pin - the How-To Pin. Rich Pins, in general, are seen as a positive for both users and content providers, but is this one actually going to prove beneficial to the sites that enable them?
It's a good question and one that was raised in a new article from Patricio Robles at Econsultancy. In that, a couple of interesting points are made. For one, the Pins appear to be a positive for Pinterest on the SEO front. Secondly, they may be a detriment to brands/content providers on that same note.
What are How-To Pins?
The pins include step-by-step instructions to help users accomplish whatever the pins pertain to.
As a Pinterest spokesperson tells us, "When you tap a Pin for a closer look, you’ll see all the info you need to try an idea on Pins in food & drink, hair & beauty, fitness and DIY."
At first, users will start seeing How-To Pins from Home Depot, Food.com, Style Me Pretty, Greatist, ELLE, Marie Claire, Brit & Co., Sunset, Delish and others, in the home feed (only from brands they follow), in search or by visiting a brand’s profile.
"We’re building a catalog of +50 billion ideas, and this is the latest update to Pins as we add more rich data to make them as useful and actionable as possible," the spokesperson says, adding, "Pinterest is increasingly the app for finding ideas. According to an IPSOS Survey of online adults 18-64, an overwhelming majority said Pinterest was the best app to find inspiration, plan, and try something new, while Facebook is about making connections and Twitter is about staying updated on current events."
How-To Pins are rolling out to all Pinterest users in the US, UK, and Germany on Android and the web. iOS will gain support in the future.
Are How-To Pins Worth Implementing?
These How-To Pins replicate the content from a third-party website, placing that content right on Pinterest, leaving the user with little reason to click over to your site. This means potentially less referral traffic.
It's not entirely unlike Google instant answers, especially when you consider Pinterest as a search engine rather than a social network (which Pinterest itself most certainly does). While using the How-To Pins may help you in Pinterest visibility, it may hurt you in Google visibility. That is if we're talking about your actual site.
Robles points to an example of a How-To Pin from publisher Brit & Co.
"One of its how-to Pins, How to Make Easy, Cheesy Pizza Pull-Apart Bread, is based on an article it published on its own site under the same title in 2014," he writes. "The how-to Pin, which is of course hosted on pinterest.com, appears on the first page of a Google search for the title while the article on the Brit & Co. appears near the bottom of the second page of Google's search results."
"This demonstrates the potential of how-to Pins based on third-party content to provide a significant SEO benefit to Pinterest at the expense of the third-party which owns the content," he adds.
For some, this won't necessarily make a difference, as long as they're content is showing up in one way or another. For those depending on actual referral traffic, it might not be such a good thing.
It's worth noting, however, that users can still click through to the original content from How-To pins. It's just not clear that they'll typically have much of a reason to do so.
Rich Pins Have Their Benefits
As noted, the pins could help you in the visibility department though. I don't know that Rich Pins have ever been named as an official ranking signal in Pinterest's search algorithm, but a while back, we talked to Vincent Ng, a marketer who has been engaging in Pinterest marketing since 2010, and runs a Pinterest marketing agency. He seemed to place a good deal of importance on Rich Pin usage.
"Rich pins for a blogger is a must, because rich pins are a factor in search rankings for Pinterest. Pinterest prefers to show blog posts or pins that are rich pins," he said. "On top of that, rich pins also have more credibility and authority because rich pins for articles show off, in bold text, the title of the blog post article and the meta description when clicked through."
"I worked with a hairstyle blog on improving their traffic, and we were stuck at getting 30 referral visits a day from Pinterest," he adds. "The moment they were approved for rich pins, the traffic spiked up within two days to 70 referral visits from Pinterest."
That certainly sounds appealing, but again, this is a new type of Rich Pin that puts the sought after content right on Pinterest, so I'm not so sure it'll have quite that effect.
If these Pins help the content perform better in Google, even if it's still hosted on Pinterest, there's probably something to be said for that.
It's entirely possible that some content providers will have great success with How-To pins, but the point raised by Robles is certainly worth considering. Pinterest can be a great referral traffic driver for some sites, and if this includes you, you may want to some thinking before implementing this.