5 Mistakes you should never make on Pinterest

5 Mistakes you should NEVER make on Pinterest

There are over 50 billion pins on Pinterest. Your pin has to stand out in this pool.

But did you know that Pinterest might not even be showing your pins? Are you wondering why?

It’s because you’re making these mistakes:

1. Treating description as optional

Repins – easy, quick, and convenient. You don’t have to create content, just ‘Repin’.

Sure, it sounds good! But if you repin without adding or updating descriptions, it won’t work for you.

Descriptions help your pins in being found for relevant keyword searches. Not just that, you also have a chance to show up for related terms. In fact, a good description can help your repin rank even higher than the original pin.

In the example below, I searched for ‘Jewelry’ and Pinterest suggested Making, DIY, Organizer, Pearl as related keywords. If  I don’t have a description in my pin, it will not feature for any of these keywords.

Pinterest Guided Search

Make sure that you:

  1. Don’t repin without updating the description

    It’s easy to get lost in a pinning spree. Click on the ‘Pin It’ button and you’re done!

    Do you take the time to edit the description? Or to check whether there is a description at all?

    You should not repin without checking because:

    a) The pin might not have keywords
    Pinterest Pin with no keywords
    If you were looking for ‘hairstyles’, will you ever just use ‘Pretty’ to look for them? I know I wouldn’t. Here, hairstyle, hairstyles for medium length hair, hairstyles for long hair, etc would have been relevant keywords.

    This is what Pinterest suggested:
    Keyword suggestions by Pinterest

    b) Your pin could include irrelevant hashtags, links, or keywords
    Pinterest Pins with irrelevant keywords
    Here, ‘Don’t lose hope’ is a completely unrelated description for a jewelry pin. It doesn’t tell the user what the pin is about or what she can hope to find when she clicks on it.

    c) This is the worst one. The pin might not have a description at all
    Pinterest pin with no description

  2. Don’t drop keywords

    Pinterest indexes pins for search based on keywords.

    So can you get away without having a proper description and just adding keywords?

    Not really!

    Let’s look at how your descriptions would look if you were simply dropping keywords. Here Mashable has pinned ’10 Rising Social Networks You Should Explore’ thrice with just the name of the network in the description.
    Pinterest Pins with keywords dropped
    ‘Shots’ and ‘Secret’ are extremely broad search terms. I searched for both these search terms and Mashable’s pins weren’t in the results.

    You can check the results here:

    You should have a proper description because – 

    Pinterest is a visual search engine and it’s mainly the quality of your image that drives your pins engagement.

    However, descriptions set the context of the pin and nudge users towards an action. And you have 500 characters to do this. This can be extremely helpful in driving user engagement i.e. click throughs, repins, etc.

    Pinterest Pins with good description

    Pins with good engagement are considered to be better ‘quality’ pins by Pinterest.

    And this is important for Smart Feed (remember we discussed this). Higher quality pins will be shown to more users.

    Note: Keep in mind that almost 80% of Pinterest users are on mobile. Here are some numbers that’ll help you optimize your pin description:

  1. On an iPhone, your description will be truncated after 4 lines (about 100 characters)
  2. On an iPad, your users will see up to 10 lines in a description in the feed (about 250 characters)
  3. On an Android device, Pinterest will show 3-4 lines of your description in the feed (about 100 characters)


2. Not giving EVERY IMAGE the time it needs

Pinterest is all about images. You get them wrong and you’ve already started on the wrong foot.

Images for Pinterest should –

  1. Be vertical

    Vertical pins perform better on Pinterest. This is because, irrespective of the height of the pin, width of all the pins is adjusted to the same size –  235 pixels. This means that longer pins capture more real estate and have better probability of grabbing a user’s attention.

    At OrangeTwig, we are about to release long pins. These will be in the ratio of 1:2.5, perfect to drive more user attention.

  2. Have an aspect ratio between 2:3 and 1:3.5

    Aspect ratio is the ratio of width to height.

    The minimum width of a pin is 236 pixels – this is in your feed. When you click on a pin and it expands, it’s width is 736 pixels. Height of a pin varies accordingly. If the height of your pin is greater than 3.5 times the width, Pinterest will crop your pin in the feed.

  3. Not have human faces

    Pins without faces perform better on Pinterest.Is this the complete opposite of what you’ve been hearing about images on social media? On Facebook and Instagram, Faces do better because sharing personal experience is their core philosophy. On the other hand, Pinterest is all about cataloging your interests.

  4. Be colorful

    Images with multiple colors receive 3.25 times more repins than single color images.

Helpful tools – 


  1. OrangeTwig
    You no longer have to worry about creating that perfect pin. Simply select your products and a professionally designed image will be created for you. Not just your products, you can promote your coupons and sale too. Very soon, these will be optimized in Pinterest specific dimensions (1.2:5).Let’s look at some OrangeTwig generated pins:
    OrangeTwig long pin optimized for Pinterest
  2. Canva 
  3. Picmonkey


If you don’t have legal rights to an image, don’t use it for creating graphics. Here are some free sources that you can use:

  1. Flickr
  2. Deviantart
  3. FreePhotosBank

3. Having poorly organized boards

When you visit someone’s profile, what’s one of the first things you notice? I notice their ‘Boards’. Having poorly organized boards can put off your most determined followers. It shows that you’re not committed to your account.

For instance, this account doesn’t leave a very good impression. In the top row, there is board with just 4 pins. The first board is ‘Stuff to Buy’ and not ‘My Shop’. Then there is an empty board right next to ‘My Shop’ board.
Poorly organized boards on Pinterest

These tips should help you get organized:

  1. The top two rows have the highest probability of getting noticed. Place your most important boards there.
  2. Move boards according to seasons. For instance, a ‘Christmas’ board would make sense in December, but in May it should be moved down.
  3. Typically, a board should have at least 10-15 pins. Also, boards which have few pins should be placed towards the end.

Secret Boards – Does it happen often with you that you create a board but you have very few pins on them? Use Secret boards. Till you have about 10-15 pins on a board, don’t make it public.

Here, ‘Men’s Wedding Bands’ board has no pins. This should have been a secret board.
Pinterest board with no pins
Bonus tip – Don’t forget to add or update ‘Categories’ of your board. This will help in indexing your boards for search.

Pinterest Board Categories


4. Not doing a health check of links before repinning

Do you repin a lot? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Over 80% of pins on Pinterest are repins.

Do you check if your repins lead to the intended site? Each pin on your boards is your responsibility. But since repins don’t come from you directly, you have to go an extra mile to make sure that all the components, especially the link, are in place.

Why this emphasis on link?

‘Smart Feed’, Pinterest’s search algorithm, decides ‘how’, ‘when’, and ‘to whom’ your pins will be shown. Pin quality is an essential component of Smart Feed. Source link affects pin quality.

What to check for?

  1. Spammy links

    If the destination link to your pin is spammy, Pinterest will block that link.
    Pin that leads to spammy links
    Penalty for not checking spammy links:If your pins repeatedly lead to spammy sites, Pinterest can;
    a) Remove your pins or boards
    b) Restrict the use of your account
    c) Disable your account

  2. Broken Links

    Broken links directly affect the quality of your pins. In fact, link quality is so important to Pinterest that sometimes it fixes the broken links itself.

    The problem with this is that Pinterest may not link your pin correctly. As a result, your users will go to the wrong place.
    Pinterest's policy on broken links

  3. General links for specific posts

    Using general links instead of permalinks increases the steps for your users to reach actual content. This leads to poor user experience and Pinterest frequently demotes such posts.

5. Ignoring numbers

Pinterest is all about content. A user can follow you or just a couple of your boards. You probably spend a lot of time curating content. Just finding pins to repin can be a time consuming process. For a busy seller like you, that’s time that you could have invested in your shop.

Analytics can make your Pinterest marketing efforts more productive by giving you a direction to focus on.

Unlike Twitter and Instagram, Pinterest gives analytics to all its business users for free. So it’s free help.

Analytics increases your productivity by telling you –

  1. What type of content is working

    Impressions, clicks, and repins indicate the type of content that your users are interested in. And this is what you need to focus on.

  2. Relevance vs value of your content

    Impressions and clicks indicate relevance. Repins on the other hand suggest value to users. Revisit your content if a particular category of pins has disproportionately low number of repins as compared to clicks.

    Note: This is not applicable for pins that users are pinning from your website.

  3. Traffic generators on your website 

    In the website analytics section, you can see the click throughs to your website. This is the content on your website that is generating traffic for you.

Bonus Mistake

I know I said 5. But I am going to sneak a 6th one in.

6. Buying Followers

Have you come across apps which promise follows for money? Do you feel tempted?

Let me tell you straight up – it’s money best spent somewhere else.

Here’s why:

  1. Few followers are not limiting on Pinterest

    On other channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, followers are important because the number of followers decide the audience for your content. On Pinterest, however, your content is shown in the feed of your followers as well as to users searching for similar content.

  2. In violation of Pinterest’s terms

    Pinterest clearly states in it’s ‘Acceptable Use Policy’ that users shouldn’t buy followers.

    buying followers

  3. Your pins will rank lower

    Bought followers will rarely engage with your pins. Pins with low engagement will not be considered good quality pins and will either not be shown to your followers or placed really low in the feed.

So, build your following organically – share good content consistently, follow relevant people, engage with them, and let users come to you. These are people who will interact with your content and might eventually buy from you.

In addition to these, we also have our usual suspects:

  1. Having an incomplete Pinterest profile
  2. Not engaging with followers
  3. Posting only product related content

These have been covered in detail in our blog – 7 Proven Hacks to grow your Audience on Pinterest.


Now that you know what to avoid, go over your Pinterest account and see what you’ve been doing incorrectly.

As long as you have these, you have nothing to worry about:

  1. Quality links in your pins
  2. Keyword rich descriptions
  3. Vertical bright images
  4. Organized boards
  5. Organic followers

Happy pinning!

Are you guilty of making any of these mistakes? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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