15 Powerful Tips to Beat The Pinterest Algorithm (2021)

Content pinterest algo

Only a little over a decade old, visual search engine Pinterest claims over 454 million active monthly users and is one of the most popular social commerce sites. Thanks to its smooth integration of shopping tools and its ability to boost brand awareness, Pinterest can be a gold mine for marketers - but taking advantage of this platform requires an understanding of recent Pinterest algorithm changes.

What Is the Pinterest Algorithm?

Like most social media sites, an algorithm determines what appears in a Pinterest user’s feed. AI tracks what kinds of content any given user has engaged with in the past in order to serve the user the most relevant and interesting content possible. 

Algorithms are frequently updated to make a particular site more engaging for visitors. These updates can make older marketing strategies irrelevant, so it’s wise to understand how the most recent changes to Pinterest might affect you.

Pinterest home feed

How the Pinterest Algorithm Used to Work Before Pinterest Smart Feed

Pinterest is primarily a visual search engine, allowing users to save images they like to themed boards for later access. 

In its early years, Pinterest used a simple chronological feed. This privileged pinners who repinned constantly, because the newest content would always be shown at the top of a user’s home feed. 

Pinterest Smart Feed

By 2014, Pinterest had moved to a Smart Feed system, which collected information from users to serve them more relevant content, not just the latest first. Like most search engines, the Pinterest algorithm operated according to a “click-through prediction model.” 

This means that whenever a Pinterest user would use the search function or scroll through their feed, the Pinterest algorithm would show them pins similar to what they had clicked on or pinned previously, with the goal of showing them more of what they had historically been shown to like. 

New Pinterest Changes

The biggest Pinterest algorithm change came in July 2020 with the introduction of “controllable distribution.” 

Users’ home feeds are still populated with pins deemed to be the most relevant, the Pinterest Algorithm now integrates certain other content according to its own goals - highlighting video content being chief among them.

The 4 Factors That Determine a Pin’s Ranking

All of these Pinterest algorithm changes boil down to this: pin quality matters more than quantity. 

There are four main categories to consider when trying to get your pins to rank higher: 

  • Domain Quality 
  • Pin Quality 
  • Pinner Quality
  • Topic Relevance 

Domain quality tracks how popular the pins from your site are, thus privileging high-authority websites that gain a lot of engagement. 

Pin quality is largely based on engagement levels - repins, likes, and comments along with click-throughs to your website. 

Pinner quality is judged by your ability to consistently produce quality pins, as well as repin other high-quality pins to your boards. 

Topic relevance determines how closely your pin matches the interests of any given user search, based on keywords and hashtags. This is essentially SEO for Pinterest. 

Each of the Pinterest algorithm tips we will suggest boosts your Pinterest performance in one of these four areas. 

15 Powerful Ways to Beat the Pinterest Algorithm

Though changes to Pinterest make it a little more difficult to get your pins noticed and repinned, following our best practices is a good way to work with the Pinterest algorithm change, instead of against it. 

Convert to a Business Account 

business account on Pinterest

If you don’t have a Pinterest business account yet, that’s the first step. Converting to a business account is free, and it opens up a variety of analytics and advertising tools that personal accounts don’t have, including rich pins, product pins, and branded headers. 

Claim Your Website/URL

Part of verifying your Pinterest business account involves copying an HTML tag from your site manager (WordPress, for example), and then pasting it under the “Claim Website” section in your business account.

This adds your URL to your profile and automatically tags all your pins with your profile picture, making your pins much more likely to drive traffic to your website.

west elm feed

Use Rich Pins

One of the biggest changes to Pinterest was rich pins, which automatically sync data from your website. They come in three types: recipe, product, and article rich pins. These pins are more appealing to users because they contain at-a-glance information: in-stock information, price, size, etc. 

You need to apply to create rich pins through the Rich Pin Validator

Create Fresh Pins 

In this context, “fresh” simply means “new.” A fresh pin is one with an image or video that the Pinterest algorithm has not seen before. You can create new images and link them to existing website information, but small changes to visuals or only changing the text do not count as fresh. 

Use Attention-Grabbing Visuals

The Pinterest smart feed works hard to match pinners with relevant pins, but it’s still a visual platform - you need to get attention by strong visuals. 

Good lighting, clean staging, and video prioritization are all important to Pinterest. Images that tend to do well include product-in-use visuals, infographics, and creative typography or quotations. 

Use The Correct Pin Size

It’s crucial to design pins that are the right size for optimal performance. Incorrect sizing can lead to distorted images or pins that don’t load properly on a user’s feed.

According to Tailwind, the best size for a pin in 2021 is 1000 x 15000 px with a 2:3 aspect ratio. 

Square pins (good for integrating Instagram images on Pinterest) should be 1000 x 1000 with a 1:1 aspect ratio. 

Add a Clear CTA to Your Pins

If Pinterest is part of your digital marketing strategy, then you should add a clear call-to-action to move pinners closer to your desired action - shopping, signing up, learning more, etc. 

For example, the pin below adds a clear link to shop the account’s online store. 

add a CTA to Pinterest pins

Add Text Overlays

Increase your pin’s visual appeal by adding some simple text overlay to your images. The added text makes your pin more recognizable to the search engine since the Pinterest algorithm change and tells pinners exactly what they will be seeing. 

This pin tells the viewer that they will receive work from home productivity tips if they click. This is necessary information, otherwise, the pin’s purpose might be too unclear to elicit a click.

add a text overlay to Pinterest pins 

Add Your Logo to All Images

Because Pinterest is a visual search engine, you should take every opportunity to add your brand’s logo. This will increase brand awareness and encourage users to follow your account. Additionally, this maintains your branding even if your pin is repinned organically to users’ boards. 

Frequently Post New Content to Pinterest

The Pinterest algorithm change prioritizes fresh, relevant content. While older pins can continue to generate engagement long after they are posted, you should be continuously producing new content for Pinterest to maintain user interest and keep the algorithm happy. 

Having trouble coming up with enough fresh content? Use a content curation tool like Upflow to automate that process for you. 

Schedule Posts to Make It Easier

As with other social platforms, there is a best time to post to Pinterest for each demographic group. 

Tailwind is the official social scheduling partner of Pinterest, but there are other options as well, like Hootsuite, Buffer, and SocialPilot. 

Repin Popular Pins to Your Boards

Curating themed boards is a key part of the Pinterest experience. You can boost your brand’s reputation as a taste-maker on Pinterest by repinning a few popular pins to your themed boards. Just make sure that the theme is spot-on, or it can hurt your credibility or even get you flagged as spam. 

Use Target Keywords In Bio

You can SEO your Pinterest Business Account. As naturally as possible, integrate the keywords that you want to be associated with your brand into your bio. Some of these will be self-evident - if you sell furniture, for example, keywords like “handmade tables” or “unique living room furniture” might accurately describe what you sell. 

Try to incorporate both broad and specific keywords into your title. For example, this account has the general phrase “interior design” and also the more specific term “Nordic design” included in it’s bio. This should capture both generalized pinners just browsing and those looking for something more specific. 

keywords in Pinterest bio

Use Target Keywords in Pin Descriptions and Title 

It makes the Pinterest algorithm’s job easier when you incorporate keywords into your pins’ descriptions and titles. While you will likely incorporate many of the same keywords that you used in your bio, make sure to vary them to be specific to each pin. 

It’s a good idea to maintain a spreadsheet of keywords related to your niche so that you can easily and quickly create pins with accurate keywords instead of going through tedious research each time. 

This pin uses keywords like “DIY candelabra” and “sweet 16 candelabra” to capture some popular search terms. 

keywords in title

Use Target Keywords in Board Descriptions and Title

Are you noticing a pattern? Yes, your board descriptions should be optimized just like your bio and individual pins. Don’t go overboard here - it’s best to keep the title and board description simple, clear, and focused. 

If you’re having trouble finding trending keywords on Pinterest, you can use a tool like Pin Inspector or simply type relevant keywords into the search bar and see how the Pinterest algorithm autocompletes your query. 

Add Hashtags

On Pinterest, hashtags can be used only on pin descriptions, and it is recommended to use between 2-4 hashtags only. Try a mix of timeless and trendy hashtags to help pinners find your content more easily.

Create Pinterest Video Pins and Carousel Pins

We know that the most recent Pinterest changes were partially designed to promote video pins, which tend to show greater engagement than static images. 

Another newer format that seems to be performing well is the carousel pin: a single pin that features multiple images integrated into one design. Pinterest allows you to create carousel pins directly in the pin creator function when designing a new pin from your website. This lets you position each image exactly where you like it. 

It’s a good idea to mix in video and carousel pins with more traditional static-image pins to keep the overall look from becoming too busy. 

New 2021 Pinterest Algorithm Changes

Pinterests’ official social scheduling partner Tailwind announced the following guidelines for making the most of the Pinterest algorithm in 2021. 

Don’t Pin More Than 50 Pins Per Day

Because Pinterest used a chronological feed in the early days, pinners would often try to “flood the market” by sharing hundreds of pins per day in an attempt to reach more people. 

This is a bad strategy today because the Pinterest algorithm prioritizes relevance and quality, so your pins can actually achieve a greater reach over time - unlike on Facebook and Instagram, where novelty is king. 

Pinterest’s partner Tailwind recommends around 15-25 pins per day, scheduled at strategic times. Definitely don’t schedule more than 50 pins per day, which can be flagged as spammer behavior. 

Leave a 2 Day Interval Between Pinning to Boards

Pinning to multiple boards is a good way to gain visibility for your pins, but it can be quickly flagged as spam if you dump duplicate pins to boards all at once. 

Leave some space between pinning to themed boards - about two days is usually sufficient, scheduled at the best time to pin on Pinterest according to your audience. 

Repin to a Max of 10 Boards

Similarly, pinning to numerous boards can hurt your pins’ authority level. Don’t share each pin to every single related board - choose a maximum of ten, and make sure the theme of each board is highly relevant. 


Everything about Pinterest’s AI image search engine is designed to serve users with the most relevant, interesting, and novel content. The recent Pinterest changes have not changed that fundamental fact; rather, they encourage business accounts to keep their content fresh and discourage spammy behavior. 

Implementing the tips above will help your account work with the Pinterest algorithm to better serve your audience and grow engagement for your brand. 

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