Hashtags on Pinterest used to be something that was sort of supported by Pinterest but was really frowned upon. Usually, it was recommended that people use only one hashtag if they REALLY needed to and that that hashtag should be used to differentiate brand content.
Well, not anymore! It’s now acceptable to use hashtags on Pinterest thanks to brands wishing to make use of them. Hashtags in your pin descriptions will now link directly to posts using the same tag. They even have their own special search layout!
I was actually writing this post up for the Pinterest SEO mini course I’m working on releasing, but I got super carried away and thought it would be really useful as a blog post. Hope you enjoy it!
By the way, if you’re interested in being notified when the mini course is available, subscribe on my Messenger bot and I’ll send you a heads up when its ready!
Pinterest Hashtags Quick Links
Keep reading or skip to a section
- How to Use Hashtags Effectively on Pinterest
- Remember that Pinterest is still a search engine
- Post new content consistently; hashtag searches are displayed by most recent
- Posting at peak usage might be making a comeback
- Mix popular and niche hashtags
- Great for evergreen AND time-sensitive content
- Try using Pinterest to get views for Instagram posts
- How Many Hashtags Should You Use on Pinterest?
- Should You Still Use Descriptions with Keywords?
- Where to Use Hashtags on Pinterest
- Should I Add Hashtags to Old Pins?
- Recap: Pinterest Hashtag Best Practices
Hashtags are still new, so there are not yet many strategies built around them as features are still slowly being rolled out. Based on what I’ve seen so far, here are my suggestions for some best practices for using hashtags on Pinterest.
Remember that Pinterest is still a search engine
I still think it’s important to remember that Pinterest is largely a search engine rather than a social platform. Don’t try to do the same thing as you do on Instagram where you add as many tags as you can to get as many comments and likes as you can.
Pinterest doesn’t even have likes anymore and comments are hidden away.
Use hashtags that people are likely to search or click on. Personal or social tags like #WorldsEndParty2017 or #KristieAndJoeWedding aren’t going to be very useful. things like #SpringOutfits or #ChristmasRecipes are much more searchable.
Could you use social tags? Sure, but keep that to your personal account unless you’re a blogging personality with a huge following who really wants to pin your wedding plans.
I know we all wish we were like celebs, but we’re not. Maybe one day! For now, let’s spend effort where it counts.
Post new content consistently; hashtag searches are displayed by most recent
When you search for a hashtag on Pinterest, instead of the usual most-optimized-posts feed, you get a feed of posts under that hashtag sorted by time added.
Pinterest is currently marketing hashtags as the best way to find the freshest new content on Pinterest. You can even see the exact time a pin was added.
Check out this screenshot:
Bonus that one of my pins was the latest posted!
Updated to add that Pinterest now shows hashtag links in blue after the description text.
I’ve already noticed Pinterest suggesting popular hashtags on the mobile app, so people will be searching like this sooner than you might think. You can find this section in the app by clicking the search button and it will be right there under the Trending tab. I hope they add trending hashtags for individual sections as well.
Posting at peak usage might be making a comeback
When the Smart Feed came out, posting at peak activity times kind of fell out of importance. Pinterest chose when to show your content to users and often that wasn’t immediately after you posted it.
Most-recent search for hashtags means good post timing is probably coming back to Pinterest as word gets out that people can search for hashtags. If they do take off as much as Pinterest hopes, it’s even more of a reason to post consistently and take advantage of tools like BoardBooster or Tailwind to manage all-day pinning for you.
One thing to note here is that it only seems to show newly created pins, not repins. So while manual pinning is best for making and receiving repins, it looks like perhaps those pins added by schedulers are useful for rotating your pins through hashtag searches.
The very first thing that tipped me off to the reemergence of Pinterest hashtags was seeing tag suggestions when writing pin descriptions. When you press the #, Pinterest gives you a list of tags and shows you how many pins are under each tag.
This tells me that similar to Instagram hashtag strategy, a mix of popular and less popular hashtags will be best.
Tags with lots of pins will be highly active, so your post will only show at the top of search feeds for a limited time. It’s possible that you’ll reach more people just because the tag is probably viewed often.
Tags with fewer pins will be less active, so your post will have more longevity. You’ll reach people more slowly, but you’ll have a larger window of time for people to view your posts.
Less active hashtags are also more niche, so the people who view your pins will also be much more focused than those in the popular tags.
Great for evergreen AND time-sensitive content
Since hashtag searches are time-based (more on that later, it’s also a good feature for promoting time-sensitive content. Usually, non-evergreen content isn’t the best on Pinterest since it can take some pins over 3 months to get any real traction, even with a solid strategy. Hashtags could possibly lessen that 3 month gap now.
Another great usage is for seasonal or monthly content. This type of content always sees a boost during its season, so it stands to reason that you could benefit year after year as it becomes popular again due to seasonal searches.
Try using Pinterest to get views for Instagram posts
Of course, I’m not 100% sure how effective this will be but it’s worth a shot. You can already automatically send Instagram photos to Pinterest through services like IFTTT and Zapier. You’ll probably already have some tags in your Instagram description as well.
This does mean that if you’re using 30 tags in your Instagram descriptions you should either use fewer in the description and put the rest in the comments or edit the descriptions of the pin from your Instagram post so it has 20 or less.
Since this is still a very new feature, I suggest using them more like you would on Facebook or Twitter (just a few) rather than how you do on Instagram (all 30 at once).
3-5 hashtags in a pin description give you some room to play around, doesn’t look too messy, and still allows for plenty of room to optimize for search keywords.
Really, it’s too soon to tell how Pinterest reacts to what number of hashtags. I’ll be sure to update as I learn more.
Right now though, they say you should use no more than 20 hashtags, but also remind you to use concise and descriptive tags.
Here’s the direct quote from that site in case you don’t feel like clicking the link:
When inserting a hashtag, we recommend you be specific and descriptive. Use words or phrases that describe the content in the Pin – we recommend you add no more than 20 hashtags per Pin. It’s best to be objective and use hashtags that make sense and are relevant to the Pin. Depending on your Pin, consider using hashtags that are timely (e.g. #oscars, #backtoschool, #halloween) and/or hashtags for evergreen content that works well on Pinterest (e.g. #mealplanning, #hairgoals, #homedecor). This is to help make it easier to for users to filter and find relevant content they are interested in.
Should You Still Use Descriptions with Keywords?
It’s important to note that having hashtags doesn’t make keywords obsolete. This isn’t Instagram. People will still search like normal, especially since it makes more sense to our brains.
Do you often search for #howtodothisthingiwanttodo in Google? I don’t think so. Neither will other people. Optimize for both keywords AND hashtags.
Hashtags only work in pin descriptions. If you try to use hashtags in other places, such as your board our your profile, they won’t be linked. You can no longer find them in Pinterest search, either. Prior to the change, you could technically find tagged profiles, boards, and pins, but now it’s just for pins.
This is because hashtags now have their own type of search with results based on when the pin was posted. That makes it unique from all other searches on Pinterest.
I think a LOT of bloggers will be happy with this change as hashtags become more popular. Pins finally have a way to found more quickly than they were after the Smart Feed came out.
Since the hashtag search is time-based, adding hashtags to pins you’ve already uploaded to Pinterest won’t make them appear as new pins under a hashtag search.
That said, it’s definitely worth it just to have the hashtags included when people repin one of your pins through a scheduler. That screenshot I posted above? That was a repin from someone else with Tailwind (I could tell cause I had a certain UTM tag on it).
If you already have a lot of pins without hashtags, I’d focus on updating popular pins that get a lot of saves and pins that are performing well in searches.
Recap: Pinterest Hashtag Best Practices
Alright, let’s take a look at everything we’ve learned here!
Previously, hashtags would work like any other Pinterest search. There was no special sequence or anything for a hashtag search and you often ended up with the same results you would with a normal search, depending on the hashtag.
Now, as of around August and September 2017, hashtags on Pinterest are being reworked into something that’s actually usable.
Here’s a quick overview of how hashtags are working so far:
- Pinterest suggests using no more than 20 hashtags on a single pin
- Pinterest will give hashtag suggestions while writing a description when saving a pin
- You can see how many pins are under a certain hashtag when it gives these suggestions
- Hashtags have their own search feed
- Hashtag search is chronologically based
- Use searchable hashtags, not social ones
- Post consistently and when users are most active on Pinterest
- Use a mix of popular and niche hashtags
- Hashtags are a great way to promote time-sensitive content
- Utilize your Instagram photos that have hashtags in the comments
- Add hashtags to the bottom of your description, not the top
- Don’t quit your keyword rich description strategy; enhance it with hashtags
- Update frequently repinned and highly searched pins