Entering its fourth year, Pinterest continues to gain popularity among brands with the acquisition of VisualGraph, an image recognition and visual search technology startup. According to the company, the acquisition will help it to “build technology to better understand what people are pinning.”

Over the past year, Pinterest has supported brands with features like rich pins and native analytics. It’s also won praise for referral traffic and driving sales. A study from social marketing firm Piquora released in November showed that today, on average, one pin generates 78 cents in sales.

Through its latest acquisition, Pinterest will not only be able to provide consumers with easier access to things they love, but it could also result in more relevant ads and recommendations. An example shared by TechCrunch suggested that a member who pins a lot of long dresses might see more similar apparel as a result of Pinterest being able to recognize the shape of clothing.

As a business, this creates a lot more opportunities to drive sales through Pinterest. But before you can start counting conversions, you need to make sure that your website is Pinterest-ready. Pinterest is an image-driven site, and in order to get the most out of it, your website and/or blog needs to be optimized.

Upload Original Images

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Images are a powerful asset to have on your website regardless of which social media platforms you’re using, but they’re especially important when it comes to pinning. Images are the only way anyone can share content from your site on Pinterest. For this reason, it’s recommended that your site feature attention-grabbing images on each page, including blog posts.

Keep in mind that not all images are compatible. For example, Flash will not work with Pinterest. You’ll also want to be sure that the images uploaded to your site are at least 100×200 pixels wide. Otherwise it won’t be available to share on Pinterest. We also recommend viewing the full range of Pinterest design specs before diving too deep into your content strategy.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that original images tend to be the stronger choice. In an article Social Media Examiner, it was revealed that Ana White’s Carpentry Blog received more than 6,000 visitors a day from Pinterest because she focused on publishing original photos of her work, opposed to stock images.

Don’t Ignore Pin Descriptions

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The Pin It button currently makes it easier for website visitors to pin content found off of Pinterest, such as recipes from a favorite food blog or photos from a travel site. Previously, this button only provided pinners with a tiny 150 pixel-wide image with a single word for the description.

In September, the company released an update that allows brands to point visitors to a bigger, pin-friendlier version of the image (at least 750 pixels wide) that includes a more helpful description. By adding a couple lines of code to your image tab, blog and website owners can make posts more pinnable.

As a result, when visitors want to pin something from your site, the pin they end up with is easy on the eyes and links to the correct page. Best of all, it’s preloaded with a smart description that both pinners and search engines will love. Keep in mind that your pin’s description can also be used when members search for related pins.

More recently, Pinterest teamed up with Getty images to provide more detailed information on the photos people pin on the site. Let’s say that you’re a photographer and someone pins a photo of yours from Getty Images. The update ensures that your image will get proper attribution, including who took the picture, when it was taken, and a description.

Promote Your Pins

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Pinterest is known for driving traffic to websites, but you also want to be sure you’re driving traffic to your Pinterest profile, just as you would with your Twitter account or Facebook Page. This can be achieved through a variety of tools provided by the website, including buttons, widgets, and APIs.

Pinterest’s buttons and widgets are pretty self-explanatory, so we’ll focus on the recently introduced APIs which allow third-party sites and publishers to display pins beyond the platform. The API feed can be used to display the most clicked-through or shared pins, enabling consumers to see popular content from the service on your website.

For example, if someone is looking for cold weather recipes on AllRecipes.com, he or she will see the most pinned recipes from the site on the homepage. People looking for birthday gift ideas can visit Zappos.com to see which shoes pinners are favoring. And to further help with discovery, Pinterest will also release additional API endpoints that will surface top repins, most recent pins, related pins, and pins from specific search terms for your domain.

As Pinterest continues to develop new tools for businesses, it’ll become increasingly important that your content is optimized for the site. If you’re new to the Pinterest platform, you can check out the images that are being pinned from your website by visiting http://pinterest.com/source/yourdomain.com/ and replace “yourdomain” with your website’s name. From there, you’ll want to regularly check Pinterest’s built-in analytics to measure your success on the platform.

[Via: TechCrunch, Image credit: mkhmarketing, Pink Sherbet Photography, CarbonNYCtheilr]