Pinterest’s Guided Search: “Room for Serendipity”Shawn 04.25.2014
Ah, Pinterest. You’re getting harder to ignore everyday. For those not in the know, here are a few quick facts to get you up to speed. Pinterest has:
- 70 million users
- 750 million Boards
- 30 billion Pins
- 14.2 minutes spent on site per visit (that’s more than LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ combined)
- Over 500,000 businesses have boards (we’re one of them)
- 47% of women have made a purchase as a direct result of Pinterest.
Pinterest has formidable engagement rates, built-in purchasing intent, and a massive user base, so why aren’t more people – like you – using it?
Marketers are quick to point out that the Pinterest demographic is disproportionately female (over 80% of their users), or that it isn’t right for their product or service, etc. This is ridiculous.
No business can afford to ignore nearly half of the U.S. market, yet many businesses continue to slight this social media juggernaut.
But that’s about to change, thanks to Pinterest’s Guided Search:
Pinterest’s foray into search capability shouldn’t come as a surprise. Images (and whiteboard animation video) have exploded in popularity and importance for SEOs, and ranking your content has become a multimedia undertaking.
Yes, longform content is still valuable (the average top 10 ranked pages in a Google search contain at least 2,000 words), but YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, and image sites like Pinterest are climbing the charts. People expect relevant images to not only accompany search results, but to precede them, especially with the rise of mobile use.
Pinterest’s recent blog post describes this shift in search expectations perfectly:
“Search engines are great for answering specific questions—the weather in San Francisco or the capital of Peru—but Pinterest can help with the questions that have more than one right answer. Where’s your next vacation or what’s for dinner tonight? With so many possibilities, you might not know the best one till you see it.”
Contextual searching, using natural language, was one of the focal points for Google’s Hummingbird search algorithm update late last September. This means keyword specific queries – while still important – aren’t the only way to rank your content. Natural search phrases and helpful pages are becoming the standard, and what could be more natural than a helpful, user-generated Pinterest board?
The beauty of Pinterest – and one of the secrets to it’s astronomical engagement rate – is that it embraces the fact that maybe you don’t know what you’re looking for. Instead of limiting your search to the text as typed, it shows you peripheral boards and concepts that you might never have considered, but turn out to be exactly what you wanted.
That sounds like a pretty intelligent search engine to me, and one I wouldn’t mind pinning for other people to see.