Survey: Pinterest a Great Source of Links for Publishers. What Types of Sites Get the Most Links?

Pinterest logoAs Pinterest continues to grow in popularity and usage it is becoming not only an important source of traffic and engagement for publishers but also a good source of links. What types of sites get the most links from Pinterest?

I spend a lot of time auditing websites which means I am regularly in the Google Webmaster Tools profiles for a variety of sites.

Lately I’ve been noticing some impressive Pinterest link counts in the linking domains report under “Links to Your Sites.” For example:

Pinterest Links in Google Webmaster Tools

What stands out is not just that Pinterest is becoming a top source of links for a number of content sites but that the links tend to be spread out over a lot of different pages:

Pinterest Links and Linked Pages in Google Webmaster Tools

This got me curious so I took a look at the Pinterest link figures in Google Webmaster Tools for a group of 60 popular sites in a variety of topical categories. The surveyed group includes the magazine sites in my Pinterest traffic survey plus quite a few more that we work with at Define Media Group.

For reasons of client confidentially I am not able to reveal the specific sites but they are all well-known brands from major publishers. To make the survey more meaningful I divided the 60 sites into eight categories.

Here are the average Pinterest link counts for the sites in each category:

Pinterest Links to Publishers by Category

Not surprisingly the sites in the Food and Home categories are dominating by a large margin. Fashion and Beauty is also doing well compared to many categories although I expected those sites to be closer to Food and Home.

These are the exact averages for each category:

Links from Pinterest: Category Averages
Average LinksAverage Linked Pages
Food612,23812,886
Home602,4396,464
Fashion & Beauty99,0503,455
Entertainment59,2923,682
News & Tech50,6904,267
Health46,5161,593
Travel30,6221,457
Sports6,6871,500
ALL201,6484,418

And here are the counts for the most linked site in each category:

Site with the Most Pinterest Links in Each Category
LinksLinked Pages
Food1,721,95323,454
Home2,220,91319,242
Fashion & Beauty544,9746,964
Entertainment214,2297,088
News & Tech152,2189,498
Health112,5904,306
Travel49,4311,586
Sports22,9055,087

No big surprises here as the link figures are roughly in line with what tends to be popular on Pinterest and the demographics of the user base. Lifestyle content is the big winner but there are good opportunities for publishers in nearly any topical area.

But What About Nofollow?

External links on Pinterest have the nofollow attribute which takes way their direct SEO value (a necessary step to combat abuse). However links from Pinterest still have considerable indirect SEO value as users discover content through them which leads to links and social shares in other places.

It is also important to remember that the value of links (from any site) extends beyond SEO. A high volume of links from Pinterest to a diverse mix of pages creates plenty of opportunity for exposure, engagement and traffic.

Comments

  1. It’s important to stop thinking of links only in terms of SEO value. Will a link generate traffic to your site? Is the traffic qualified? If so, that link is valuable. As you mentioned it can help SEO in other indirect ways, such as influencing social shares.

  2. I agree Nick, SEO completely dominates how links are viewed, understandably. But there is a lot more potential value to be had.

  3. Great topic and so agree! It gets eyeballs and buyers to my site and thats what really counts. Still learning more each day, but this has been our best Social site thus far.

  4. I agree with links being valuable even if it is no-followed. If it can bring traffic, then it’s valuable.

    But the biggest problem that I see with Pinterest is that it’s heavy on graphics. And most pins/boards images are from other people’s websites and works.

    Aren’t they going to have a problem with copyright issues on this one? (Pinterest users)

  5. Ryan, copyright concerns related to Pinterest have indeed been cropping up. Here’s their current policy: http://pinterest.com/about/copyright/

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