Here are 15 things you should not be doing on Pinterest. By avoiding these things, you can stay on Pinterest’s good side.
Everyone always talks about things you should be doing on Pinterest, but today I want to focus on things Pinterest says we shouldn’t do. Hopefully adhering to these suggestions you will be able to improve your Pinterest strategy and stay out of trouble with Pinterest.
Remember: Pinterest is a free platform and they reserve the right to take your content down at any time for any reason. Play by their rules.
Here are the 15 things I recommend you steer clear from when it comes to marketing your blog on Pinterest (I go into each one in detail after the list):
- Don’t use images that you do not own or have the proper rights to
- Never imply Pinterest is sponsoring, endorsing or recommending you or your Pins
- Don’t repetitively or overly save identical Pins
- Avoid Repin or share threads
- Don’t use a link shortener or redirects like bit.ly
- Don’t save spammy content
- Don’t use a personal account for your blog or business
- Keep Pinterest clean and safe
- Be cautious saving in public spaces
- Don’t send group board invites in mass amounts
- Only use approved third-party tools
- Don’t leave links in comments or “tried it” responses
- Don’t keyword stuff
- Avoid bulk creating new boards with large amounts of content
- Don’t mass follow boards or people
Let’s go over what those mean for you as a blogger and Pinterest marketer. Are you ready?
1. Don’t use images that you do not own or have the proper rights to
Using images you find on random places from the web is a quick way to get your Pins flagged on Pinterest. If you use stock photos, make sure to use them from trusted sources. If you are using free images, try to look for pictures that have a Creative Commons Public Domains Dedication license (meaning the creator has made the image public for anyone to use, without citation).
Pay attention to what the requirements are for using the stock image you select. Using an image that require crediting the photographer is fine for your blog post, but it gets a bit more complicated when you are sharing that image on Pinterest. Yes, you credited on your post but what about on Pinterest. It’s a gray area.
Another pro tip for stock images: never save it to Pinterest as is, make sure to change it up a bit and make it your own (even if that’s just by adding a text overlay).
2. Never imply Pinterest is sponsoring, endorsing or recommending you or your Pins.
Pinterest gives some guidelines on appropriate phrasing vs. inappropriate,
Acceptable phrases: Popular on Pinterest, Find us on Pinterest, Follow us on Pinterest, Visit us, Find more ideas on Pinterest, Get inspired on Pinterest
Unacceptable phrases: Trending on Pinterest, Trending Pins, any phrase that uses “Pin” as a verb (use “save” instead)
Whenever you reference Pinterest, make sure to include your Pinterest URL”
A Pin is considered “Popular” when it has a high number of impressions, saves, or clicks.
Along the same lines, Pinterest prefers if we don’t use their logo – only the Pinterest badge (I need to go update some 2015 posts…)
3. Don’t repetitively or overly save identical Pins
Let’s go straight to the sources for this one, because I know it’s frequently debate in FB groups. Can you save the same Pin back to back to back… so on?
“We also remove spam and other disruptive content including: Repetitive or unwanted posts” – Community Guidelines
And this one,
“You might hit a block if you: Add or save a lot of Pins from the same website quickly” – Pinterest Rate Limit Blocks
Regardless of how the home and following feed space things out for your followers, you need to do your own spacing. Spread your Pins out, especially when going to the same post. Using a scheduling tool (aff link) is a great way to space out your Pins. If you’re manual pinning make a cautious effort to space things out.
4. Avoid Repin or share threads
Repin or Pinterest share threads are really popular among bloggers on Facebook. They use these threads to help jump start their content and get more exposure. However, they’re another strategy that walks the fine line of being okay and being risky.
Here are two statements Pinterest gives us that make Repin threads sound like a bad idea,
Pinterest may remove content that, “Attempts to artificially boost views and other metrics”
and this one,
“Don’t incentivize or pay people to distribute content in large volumes, in spammy ways or for each Pin they save.”
While you aren’t paying people in share threads, it is a way of artificially inflating the popularity of your Pin.
Repin threads walk the line too closely for my comfort lately. I used to be more open to them, but as Pinterest is working on beefing up their spam monitoring I’m more hesitant.
By participating in share threads, you might get dinged in two different ways: as being a person who is entices Pinners to save your content and as someone who participates in these artificial boosts.
Another cons is the content you are required to save might be spammy.
If you still want to participate in share threads, make sure only to join ones that let you choose which Pins to save (do not participate in all or nothing threads). Also, make sure you can schedule out the Pins instead of saving that day.
Read more on why share threads are a bad idea.
As a little side note in this section. The second statement from Pinterest discusses paying for people to Pin. Brands are allowed to hire content creators to collaborate on boards or Pins, they just can’t do it in large masses.
5. Don’t use a link shortener or redirects like bit.ly
Pinterest has asked us not to use link shorteners or redirects like bit.ly for our Pin links. In the spam and quality section of the community guidelines, they also state that they may remove content that uses “Off-domain redirects, cloaking or other ways of obscuring where a Pin leads.”
A lot of people freak out and assume this means they can’t change their domain and properly 301 redirect, or they can’t delete a post and 301 redirect it to something relevant.
That’s really not what Pinterest is worried about. (Rest assured: I changed domains and set up a proper 301 redirect, my Pinterest traffic remained the same)
Pinterest just doesn’t want spammy and misleading content. They want to know that the Pin is going to land where the URL says it’s going.
So for Pinterest, don’t use shorteners like bit.ly. If you share affiliate links directly on Pinterest, use your full affiliate link instead of using a pretty link.
Loving this post? Save to Pinterest so you can reference it later.
Save to Pinterest!
6. Don’t save spammy content
Admittedly, this one is pretty vague. But Pinterest wants to make sure they are distributing the best possible content to their users. As the platform grows, they are having to crack down on this more and more.
Here’s what they say, “We want Pinterest to be high-quality and useful, so we prioritize things that are actionable and provide consistent, enriching experiences”
What this means for you:
- Create and publish quality content.
- Make sure your headline and Pin graphics match the content on the site. Don’t overpromise or mislead.
- Check the links of Pins you save that aren’t your content. Yes, it’s time-consuming and somewhat annoying. But it could protect you from Pinterest’s naughty list. One way I make this easier for myself is by having a list of trusted sites in my industry that I save content from.
7. Don’t use a personal account for your blog or business.
Pinterest’s terms of service require that if you are using Pinterest to promote your business (aka, your blog), then you need to be using a business account.
If for some reason you haven’t yet, go convert your account to a business account. Simply visit: https://www.pinterest.com/business/convert/
It’s easy to do, and you get lots of other benefits too!
- Business accounts get access to analytics and Pin stats
- Business accounts get access to ads, known as Promoted Pins
- You can claim your website, Instagram, Youtube and Etsy shop
- Pinterest recommends claimed websites to relevant audiences, and they prioritize your pins because they know you are the creator of them.
- Claimed business accounts attach your Pinterest profile to all of your content saved on Pinterest.
8. Keep Pinterest clean and safe
Don’t save any of the following content on Pinterest:
- Sexually explicit content
- Glorified violence
- Drug abuse
- Eating disorders
- Threatening content
We’ve all seen these things creep in on Pinterest, but that doesn’t mean you should join in. Pinterest doesn’t approve and will eventually find and remove or block this type of content.
9. Be cautious saving in public spaces
Sometimes Pinterest will temporarily block certain IP address or areas due to known spam attacks. Spammers like working at coffee shops too. Harder to track ‘em down. The likelihood of you being at the same public location of a spammer is probably slim, but you never know.
It might not be a “spam attack” but just a regular Joe that got flagged while browsing or saving to Pinterest.
10. Don’t send group board invites in mass amounts
This one goes out to the group board owners out there. If you’re like me then you like to batch your work tasks. This can mean adding all those board requests at the same time. As you’ll notice further down on this list, anytime Pinterest sees “mass” anything they get suspicious. It’s just not normal behavior.
Try to stay on top of requests and add a few at a time instead of waiting to add them all at once. The requestees will love you more too.
11. Only use approved third-party tools
Don’t use anything else. This year Pinterest even went as far to email anyone using an un-approved scheduling tool
Pinterest wants tools and apps that play by their rules. They have a list for you to consult to see if the tool you are using is an approved partner.
If you have used an un-approved third-party app in the past, remove it from your account and change your password.
You can do this by going to your profile settings > apps. Click revoke access.
As an un-approved app, it might not register in the system and show up in the settings. If this is the case, just stop using it and change your Pinterest password.
12. Don’t leave links in comments or “tried it” responses
I’m sure you’ve seen them,
These tacky comments pop up on popular Pins, dropping links and dashing. This isn’t a good practice off Pinterest, and it isn’t a good practice on Pinterest.
I feel like Pinterest’s new “communities” are opening up a door for this there too. Remember to be tasteful with your sharing and link dropping inside the communities you join.
13. Don’t keyword stuff
Yep. I’m going there.
Trying not to sound snobby here, but I’ve been team no keyword stuffing all along. I know there’s the great Pinterest debate about descriptions, but with Pinterest cracking down on quality content – best ditch the keyword stuffing strategies.
Recently, my friend Kate Ahl did some investigating with Pinterest about what they consider a Spam Pin. To sum up the answer – Pinterest investigates Pins that seem suspicious of spamdexing
Keyword stuffing is at the top of the list for spamdexing.
The Pinterest employee specifically mentioned hashtag stuffing, so that’s a big no-no as well.
Instead of keyword stuffing, create different descriptions for your Pins. When you save a blog post to Board A, give it one description and when you save it to Board B, give it a different description with different focus keywords. This gives you opportunities to show up for different searches while avoiding keyword stuffing. Plus, Pinterest approves and recommends using different descriptions.
14. Avoid bulk creating new boards and filling them with large amounts of content
In the last round of suspended accounts, many of the Pinners were new to Pinterest or were creating and filling new boards.
In all fairness, it really isn’t their fault they did it that way. I’ve read so many getting started guides that recommend launching a new Pinterest account with at least 10 boards with a large number of Pins saved to them already.
However, this type of behavior is unnatural and sends up a little red flag.
It is okay to take your time filling up new boards. It is okay to only have a few boards at first.
This is the natural process of Pinterest.
15. Don’t mass follow boards or people
I was definitely guilty of this one in my 2014 days. I would search for my keywords, switch to boards and then follow like a crazy lady.
Usually, Pinterest only puts a temporary block on you for this (meaning they won’t let you use Pinterest for a few hours – 36 hours). So while it’s not the end of the world, I’m sure if you do this enough times the flags will start to come up more often.
Stay on Pinterest’s good side.
It boils down to this short sentence:
Save quality content in normal Pinterest behavior.
By avoiding these 15 things, you will evade temporary blocks, suspended accounts, and Pinterest Jail.
What do you think of these Pinterest no no’s? (Yes, I spend the majority of my time with my two children.)
Are you guilty of any? Are there any that you disagree with?
Lisa | IndividualObligation says
I really feel like this blog post should be something everyone reads before they even save their first pin on Pinterest. It’s full of useful tips to help keep your account safe.
Whilst some are just common sense and courtesy to me. Some, like avoiding creating too many new boards all at once. Are ones I feel many people, including myself, have fallen into the trap of.
I’ve definitely made the mistake of creating new boards and filling them with pins too fast in my opinion. But as a new pinner back then, I would never have thought there was something like using the platform ‘too much’ that could get my account suspended.
JOHN MULINDI says
As an ardent pinterest user, this post was very educative to me. Thanks for sharing the detailed information on how to best use Pinterest to market content.
Hi, I’ve been trying to sort out my Pinterest for ages and your blog post has been a great help so I have included you as one of my Pinterest masters in my roundup blog
Can’t wait to see what else you have in store
Kristie Hill says
Wow, thank you. I’m flattered. Great resource you put together!
wade shykes says
I find more and more pinners repinning their own personal names on pins. What?? If I come across a pin , I dont want their (the pinners my name plastered all over it ), the next person repins and their name is floating out there in pinland. I am positive this is going to affect copyright. Most fashion boards are notorious for this have a look at them . If you are not involved in styling the room, working for the company you cannot badge the pin with your personal name on pins. I notice a couple of weeks a blogger told everyone how to print their names on pins – now everyone is doing this. Have you noticed pinners are now printing on pins (as an example) PINNED BY PAUL SMITH
Kristie Hill says
I haven’t noticed that yet. But I agree, yuck!
ross wall says
Kristie- proof read first sentence in 10 things shouldn’t do on previous page.
Kristie Hill says
Hi there! Thanks for sharing these great tips!
As for #4, I wonder if Pinterest discourages border alterations simply because it ruins the aesthetics of the site? Since content is delivered as a scrolling screen of box-like shapes, a pin with a rounded border might seem a little out of place.
I could be 100% wrong, but it was the first thing that crossed my mind.
Kristie Hill says
I think you’re probably right about the boarders Veronica, it does ruin the asethetics of Pinterest a little bit.
Loved this post! One thing I’ve found to be a huge bummer is similar to #5 – I’ve come across pins that mention a freebie and when you arrive at the site, the time period that it was free is now over. I totally get offering a freebie for a short period of time but it always feels a little like false advertising (even if it wasn’t intentional on the bloggers part).
Great tips and fantastic information for pinners. Love it!
Kristie Hill says
Thanks Kate, looks like I need to go check out all of your Pinterest tips too. Glad you commented so I could find your awesome blog.
Ryan Biddulph says
Kristie, all tips look dead on to me. I’m no hyper Pinner but learned quickly that if you Pin other people’s stuff much of the time you’ll get more Pins. Like karma. Similar to any network, generous people earn nice karmic brownie points and in time, become really popular and Pinnable too. Give freely receive easily.
I’d also say relevance counts a ton. I was Pinning stuff to a travel board recently, yet the board was devoted solely to crazy, nuts, travel misadventures. Board owner emailed me asking to stay on topic and I obliged.
Kristie Hill says
That’s a great addition to the list Ryan, to stay relevant. Especially on Group boards. I have been leaving group boards lately that have irrelevant content or spammers. I don’t want to get mixed up with that crowd. That’s cool that they owner reached out to you before removing you from the group.
Thanks for stopping by.
Rahul Biswal says
Although I don’t do any marketing of my blog on Pinterest. But after reading this post, I am going to try Pinterest for blog promotion.
Kristie Hill says
Have you been working on your Pinterest marketing? Have you noticed a traffic increase yet. Let me know if you need any further pointers.