Use Rich Pins for stand-out Pinterest shares

Any image can be pinned on Pinterest, linked to a website or page on a site, and a text description added. That’s easy, but Rich Pins are needed to make your posts stand out from the crowd.

The difference between an ordinary pin and a Rich Pin is not in the image, but the accompanying text. This consists of a heading and description.

Share an image or URL on Pinterest and with a Rich Pin the heading on the web page it is taken from is displayed in bold text to make it stand out, and a description of the web page is included. You can easily see which pins are Rich Pins and which are not.

Of course, the image that is pinned is by far the most important factor and it should be where you place most of your time and effort. However, the text under it is also valuable too.

It can be used to add information that is not in the image and this could make the difference between someone skipping over a pin and clicking on it.

Use Open Graph tags

Where does this textual information come from? Open Graph tags. The same tags that Facebook uses.

A large number of Open Graph tags are supported (see this list), but most are optional. That doesn’t mean you can ignore them and the more information you include in Open Graph tags, the better it is for getting your Pinterest pins noticed.

As we saw with Facebook earlier in the course (Use Open Graph tags for Facebook shares), Open Graph tags look like this if you were to inspect the source code of a web page. (Right click an empty space and select View Page Source.)

Web page source code showing meta tags

You don’t need to type in all that complicated code yourself and there are plugins that do it for you. There are several WordPress plugins that add Open Graph tags and two of the most popular are Jetpack and Yoast.

Jetpack, and some other social shares plugins, overlays a Pin button on images on your site when the mouse hovers over them. This makes it easier for readers of your blog articles to pin your content and it also encourages people to share your content images because of the visual cue.

There are many plugins that add Pin buttons, sharing buttons and Open Graph tags to your site. Make sure one of them is adding the right tags by inspecting the source code of the web page.

Special Pinterest tags

There is a large number of optional Open Graph tags that can be used in addition to the basic tags. For example, there are tags for recipes that enable a special type of recipe pin to be displayed that lists the ingredients, and so on. Product tags can include the price and whether an item is in stock and more.

Plugins are needed to create these special tags so look for either Pinterest or Open Graph tag support when choosing plugins for WordPress, such as for displaying recipes, online stores and other content.

Optimise the page content

What do you need in order for Rich Pins to be used by Pinterest? It starts with the right content. For example, make sure that the post has a large featured image at the start of the article.

You can insert an image into the body of the article yourself in the usual way, but there is another method.

When a post is being created in WordPress, down at the bottom of the sidebar on the right is Featured Image. Click the link to add an image from the media gallery.

Include a featured image with every post on your website

The best size for Pinterest images is portrait, such as 900 x 600 pixels. It can be taller and you have probably seen infographics shared on Pinterest that are very tall indeed. There doesn’t seem to be a height limit, but unless you are posting an infographic, stick to 900 to 1200 pixels tall by 600 wide.

Landscape images will display as pins, but the problem is that when surrounded by lots of portrait images they become lost because they don’t catch your eye. If you want to be successful with Pinterest pins, follow the Pinterest style and use portrait images.

The featured image should have an Alt Text description as shown here. Select the image in the WordPress media gallery and type in up to 150 characters describing the image or the post.

Include a title and Alt Text description for all images

Every page should have a title, which is the text that appears on the browser tab. Social plugins like Yoast and All-in-One SEO (two of many plugins), enable you to enter the page title.

Every page should have a heading. Technically, this should use an h1 tag, which is the largest heading size that is allowed. It’s actual size on the screen depends on the theme you use, but in the code it is labelled as h1.

If you right click a heading on a web page and select Inspect, you’ll see the code used. Can you see the h1 here?

Inspect the code on a web page using Chrome

Enable rich pins with the validator

You have:

  • A page title
  • A heading
  • A large featured image with alt text description
  • A plugin that adds Open Graph tags describing the page content

You can now set up Rich Pins for your website.

Go to the Pinterest Rich pins validator and enter the URL of a page on your site. Choose a typical post with Open Graph tags, not the home page, about page, privacy policy or similar pages. Click the button to validate it.

Validate a Pinterest Rich Pin

Scroll down the page looking at all the messages and make sure there are no problems. If everything is OK, Click Apply Now.

You can return to check whether Rich Pins have been approved (it takes time, so be patient). Eventually you will get a message like this:

Validate a Pinterest Rich Pin

That’s it, when you or someone else shares an image or URL on Pinterest, the featured image, page title and description are automatically added.

Confirm your site

There is more to making your pins look great and there are additional benefits when you confirm your site. This is a process where you prove you are the owner.

Any pin that comes from your website will have your profile picture. It also enables Pinterest analytics so you can see who is pinning from your site and other information.

  1. To confirm your website, go to Pinterest, mouse over your picture in the top right corner and click settings in the menu that is displayed.
  2. Look for the Website section and click Confirm Website.
  3. Copy the meta tag.
  4. Insert it into the home page of your website in the <head> section.

That last step requires a plugin.  If you have a plug that can insert code into the <head> of a page, you would add something like this below.

<meta name="p:domain_verify" content="8f16536f677c6b49e7bd9fc62f5e3528"/>

Pinterest gives you this code and you just copy and paste it into whatever plugin you use. (Mine won’t work. Everyone gets a different code, so go get yours!) Here are a couple of plugins you could use: AdFunc Head & Footer Code and Head & Footer Code.

I use All-In-One SEO and there is a section in the settings to insert the Pinterest verification code (just the code, not the meta name).

Verify your website with Pinterest

An alternative way to confirm your website to Pinterest is to upload a file to your webserver. Click the Download link to get the file, then upload it using FTP to your website. See How to access WordPress site files and fix faults with FTP.

Action points

  • Get a plugin that supports Open Graph meta tags
  • Make sure there is a large featured image
  • Enable Rich Pins with the Pinterest validator
  • Verify your site with Pinterest if necessary

Go to part 5: Use MeWe to promote your site

Course Contents: Secrets to successful social media promotion