Why Pinterest Should Be One of Your Top Referral Choices, and How to Maximize Referral Traffic from Pinterest

Social media has become one of the biggest platforms to generate traffic for online businesses and blogs. While Facebook dominates this field, Pinterest, with a reported 100 million active users, is quickly becoming the second most popular source of social media referrals, according to a 2014 report from Shareaholic. If used correctly, Pinterest can be a massive traffic referral if you manage to capture the audience’s attention with your images, and engage them enough to visit your site as a result. In this article, I will provide solid proof strategies that will drive the maximum traffic from Pinterest to your website.

How do I Maximize Traffic from Pinterest to My Website?

Pinterest is the only social media platform that restricts users to pinning and sharing images. Therefore, the strategies for generating traffic from this site are unique to Pinterest. The main idea is to create the best looking and unique images, and then provide as much information about your website as possible to lead people to your site. Here are surefire ways to maximize referral traffic from Pinterest:

  1. Optimize Your Images

You have to remember that Pinterest’s users are bombarded with hundreds of images every time they log on, so you need to make your visuals stand out to attract attention. People love unique, innovative and original images rather than simple stock images that are boring and uninspiring. Consider creating collages with multiple photos, a colorful background and text to showcase your images.


Since Pinterest only allows users to share images, the visuals need to be strategically optimized to encourage people to view and share them with their social circles; after all, that is the number one way to generate traffic to your website from Pinterest.

To create the best looking images, you must first configure their size. Pinterest has no restrictions on how tall images can be, but does have a limit on the width. Pins in the feed must be 238 pixels, with an extended size of 735 pixels when the pin is clicked upon; the height will be adjusted to the size of the visual, according to Author Media. Hubspot Blog advises on using high-resolution images with no pixelation.

In a report from Wired, a company called Curalate analyzed 500,000 images on Pinterest to evaluate which images are the most popular. They found the following image characteristics that create the most buzz and referral traffic:

  • Images without faces are repinned 23% more.
  • Minimal background is ideal; instead of the typical white space, using a minimal background that provides context for the image is best.
  • Visuals with a mix of dominant colors are viewed three times more than images of one color; furthermore, red and orange colors draw the most views.
  • Moderate color and light are preferred by Pinterest users; black-and-white images, and those that are too bright, are viewed and shared less than images with 50% color saturation.
  • Vertical photos are the most popular, especially with a ratio of 2:3 and 4:5.
  1. Add Text to the Photo

A big mistake that is often made is to create a stunning photo with no identifying information of your business. Users can see your visual and like it; however, have no idea what the image may link back to. Some images are very concise and clear; for example, if you have an ecommerce clothing store and upload a photo of a dress you are selling, that is self-explanatory, and users will likely realize what to do to purchase the item.

However, there are abstract or not self-explanatory images that you may decide to pin, that will not provide a clear understanding of what the link to the pin may be. This is why it is important to add text to the actual photo. The text in the photo needs to be precise and short, such as:

  • “Ten Tips for a Home Remodel”
  • “Five Quick Dinner Ideas”
  • “Most Popular Vacations in 2016”


You get the idea that text in the photo can be the deciding factor in whether Pinterest users gloss over the image, or take the time to click on it and find out more about your business.

To create text in your images, utilize the many free and paid apps, such as Fotor, to help you easily add a short description to explain what the pin represents.

  1. Add a Description

Although Pinterest only allows you to pin images, each image has an accompanying description that is crucial to increase traffic to your website. This is the space that will provide users with the information about your blog or site that will help them decide whether they want to click on your link or not. You need to make the description count, make it informative and easy to read. Here are strategies for the most successful Pinterest descriptions:

  • Character Count – Although Pinterest has a 500-character limit, social media scientist Dan Zarella found that descriptions made up of 200-characters performed best and were repinned the most.
  • SEO-friendly Terms – When Google’s algorithms index images, they look for accompanying SEO-friendly text that makes it easy to understand what the visual is. If you are uploading a photo of a couch, for example, you should save the photo with a keyword-specific description, such as Eco-friendly Green Couch. Furthermore, add SEO-specific terms to the description, especially if your goal is to lead people to visit your site.
  • Link – Make sure to add a link in the description, which will make it easier for people to visit your site without having to expand the actual image, and click it again to be led to your website. Generating maximum traffic results from making it as easy as possible for users to access your site.


  1. Add a Call-to-Action

Like with any blog, it is highly advisable to include a call-to-action (CTA) to urge those who view your image to click on the accompanying link to visit your website. BrandonGaille found that images with a CTA saw 80% more engagement than visuals without it. Calls-to-action can be added as text in the actual image, and/or in the description. Great examples of calls-to-action to use on Pinterest are:

  • Click here for more information
  • Read more here
  • Attend our event
  • Check out our blog
  • Visit our store
  • Like our pin
  • Please repin
  • Enter our contest


  1. Add Prices

The goal of generating traffic to your retail website is to drive sales. Recently, Pinterest has made it easier than ever to refer massive sales traffic to ecommerce stores by allowing retailers to add a price in the description, which will include the image in Pinterest’s Gifts feed, intended for Pinterest users who are searching for gifts or products to purchase. This section showcases “Product Pins” with prices and links back to the ecommerce site, making it incredibly easy for those specifically looking for the type of services or products you offer to visit your site.


  1. Add a Pin-it Button

Another useful strategy to get more traffic from Pinterest is to “employ” Pinterest users to repin images from your site. Adding a Pin-it Button, “is the best way for your business to get discovered on Pinterest,” according to the platform. “When you add the Pin It button to your site’s pages, you let your customers save things they like onto Pinterest, which means even more people can find it.”

A Pin-it-button lets your site’s visitors easily repin images from your site to their Pinterest boards. This is an easy and effortless way to generate traffic to your website by allowing your site’s visitors to promote your services or products to their social circles.


  1. Create a Contest

Engaging with users through a contest is another way to generate traffic to your site. Offering a prize is a great motivator to create buzz around your brand, and encourage site visitors. Here are useful tips on holding a successful competition:

  • One Unique Entry – Pinterest asks that those holding the contest ask entrants to pin their own images rather than repin the site’s images, and only ask for one entry.
  • Pinboard & Hashtags – To create uniformity for the contest, create one dedicated Pinboard, and ask users to pin their images there. Create contest-related hashtags, or keywords, and ask users to tag their images.
  • Create a Landing Page – Creating a separate landing page is the perfect way to refer traffic from Pinterest back to your site. If you create the page on your own blog or ecommerce site, there is a much higher chance that after entering the contest, users will explore your site. Plus, it allows contest entrants to read all the rules and regulations of your contest, as well as post questions and comments (which Pinterest doesn’t allow on its platform as it’s considered spam).

Pinterest has specific, yet easy-to-understand rules about competitions on its platform. Social Media Examiner provides some great examples of competitions that followed the rules, and set up unique contests.

  • US restaurant HuHot organized a crowdsourcing contest where they asked the audience to pin images as well as Mongolian grill recipes on their board.
  • Baby brand Ergobaby created a My Ideal Mother’s Day contest, where entrants had to pin images of their idea of the best Mother’s Day. They asked users to tag three hashtags: #ergobaby, #idealmothersday and #babywearing.
  • Jewelry brand Boticca set up an I Wish for a Gift With a Story Contest, where entrants were asked to create and pin their own story, entering the contest on a dedicated landing page by submitting their name and email address, as well as their Pinterest profile link.


Pinterest is quickly becoming one of the top online platforms that generates referral traffic. Setting up an account is free and easy; however, it is important to use the strategies in this article to maximize traffic back to your site.

For more information on social media marketing, or to get help with setting up a Pinterest account for your business needs, contact SumoMe, which provides a suite of products to grow your website’s traffic.


Renata Ilitsky is an experienced freelance writer with over ten years of experience. She has written content in various forms for many diverse industries, such as technology, health, real estate, beauty, celebrity, etc. In addition, she promotes content with SEO strategies and social media marketing. Renata is passionate about holistic lifestyles, which she writes about in her blog, www.simplenaturalsolutions.com.