On social media, search engine optimization is an extremely important component of any marketing strategy. And although Pinterest’s bread and butter is predominately visual, the service is no exception. You might not think that an optimized Pinterest profile is necessary, but consider the fact that the platform’s users are buying items more often and in greater quantities.

Pinterest members spend more money and shop more frequently than users of any other social network. We’ve seen the amazing opportunities that a successful Pinterest Pin can present for brands. But in order to get your products known, shared, and loved on Pinterest, you first need to get them noticed — and that’s where SEO comes in.

Here are three tips for optimizing your brand’s Pinterest presence for search.

Optimize Your Username and About Section

Good Pinterest SEO starts right off the bat with your username. For most businesses, this should be fairly straightforward and will likely mimic usernames on your existing social profiles. The New York Times, for example, chose the username “NYTimes,” remaining consistent with its Twitter and Facebook profiles. This makes it really simple for people to find your brand across platforms; however, not every business will have an easy time doing this.

Pinterest has imposed a 15 character limit for usernames. If your ideal name is too long, or maybe your business name was already taken by someone else, HubSpot suggests choosing a memorable, easy-to-spell keyword related to your brand. For example, Martha Stewart Weddings in the Middle East used “MSWeddingsME” for its username — a smart move because it uses the valuable keyword “weddings” while differentiating itself from other Martha Stewart accounts.

Next, you’ll want to focus your attention on your profile’s ‘About’ section, which provides you with 200 characters of prime keyword real estate. As on most social networks, you’ll want to utilize this space for a keyword-rich overview that covers the who, what, and where of your brand. The challenge here is finding the perfect balance between descriptive and concise.

Additionally, under Search Privacy in Settings, Pinterest asks if you’d like to keep search engines from showing your Pinterest profile in search results. If you want to appear in Google results, make sure that this option is set to “No,” otherwise you’ll only be discoverable through Pinterest’s internal search.

Optimize Pin Descriptions and Images

The launch of Guided Search in April only emphasized the importance of having a strong Pin description. As a refresher, Guided Search helps pinners sift through all of the platform’s content to faster locate what it is they’re interested in. This is important because all of the board titles, descriptions, and comments associated with your Pins can influence how frequently they appear in members’ searches.

While brevity is always appreciated, it can be more effective to write thoughtful and useful descriptions for your Pins. Pinterest gives you 500 characters to work with, so think about what people will search for and use the most compelling and distinct parts of the pin in your description. Be careful not to use language that your customers won’t understand or link to irrelevant content. And the worst mistake you can make on Pinterest is ignoring Pin descriptions altogether.

You should also consider incorporating hashtags into your descriptions. Not only will it make it easier for your social team to organize content, but it’ll also make your Pins much more searchable. For example, Rollins College knows that Pinterest is a popular destination for brides planning weddings. On its “Weddings @ Rollins” board, it uploads photos of alumni getting married on campus while using hashtags like #RollinsCollege, #Knowles Chapel, and #WinterPark.

It’s also worth noting that using creative and unique titles for your boards can help boost your discoverability. By default, Pinterest offers default titles, such as “For the Home,” “My Style,” and “Products I Love.” Rather than sticking with something so general and broad, consider renaming these with potential search terms. For example, “For the Home” could be broken into a few different unique boards like “Modern Kitchens,” “Children’s Bedrooms,” or “DIY Bathrooms.”

Additionally, using imagery that is formatted and named correctly can have a significant impact on the success of your Pins and boards. A common mistake is uploading an image using its default name, such as “logo-blue(3).jpg,” which doesn’t help you at all in search. Instead, focus on using clearly named image files and alt text that include keywords to make it easier for search engines to determine what your image is about.

Build More Backlinks

A backlink is a link that leads people back to your website. They’re critical to your SEO strategy because search engines look at them when measuring relevancy. As such, having a healthy amount of backlinks can significantly increase your visibility and discoverability. So how can Pinterest help you develop a stronger pool of backlinks?

Each time a Pin is pinned and repinned, it creates a backlink to the source page. So the more a pins gets shared, the more backlinks are created. This is why it’s helpful to create original pins that link back to your website, blog, or product page. The key here is to not go overboard — you want to ensure a happy balance between your own products and other content that will be valuable to consumers.

And last but not least, we also recommend taking a few minutes to verify your website. We’ve detailed the step-by-step process in an earlier article. This shows visitors that your Pinterest profile is official and not an impostor or copy-cat. People will be more likely to repin and share content from a profile that’s verified than one that’s not. For more information on optimizing your Pinterest business profile, visit business.pinterest.com.

[Image credit: Alvaro Ortiz, theilr, theilr]