Pinterest Mistakes That Got Me Banned
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It’s taken me a while to gain the courage to write this post. Immediately after it happened, I felt like a blogging failure. But time has passed as I am ready and motivated to start blogging again, even if it has to be without Pinterest.
Why I Joined Pinterest
Before blogging, I had never really used Pinterest for personal use. I had made an account just to be able to search the site, and hadn’t really saved anything on there.
Fast forward to me starting to blog, I found out that Pinterest can be a source of massive amounts of traffic. I got excited and purchased the Pinteresting Strategies E-Book from Carly Campbell. (Spoiler alert: the strategies in this book did not get me banned, if anything I should have followed this book more closely to avoid getting banned.)
How I Found Out I Was Suspended
After a few months on Pinterest trying to promote my blog (this site), I was beginning to get the hang of things. I had set up a few boards of my own and even joined some group boards. I was enjoying my time manually pinning (a strategy from the e-book), and discovering other people’s blog’s on Pinterest.
Then one day, I got logged out of Pinterest while I was using the site. I tried to log back in and wasn’t able to. I checked the e-mail associated with my account and there was a message saying I was suspended because I violated their spam policies. See the message below.
Believing I had done nothing that was against their policies, I requested a manual review via the link in the message. They wasted no time (less than 24 hours I believe) in sending me this next message:
I was devastated. I couldn’t think of anything I had done to be banned. The fact that I was manually pinning everything (using no 3rd party tools) made me even more confused. I could understand if they didn’t like a tool I was using, but they apparently had a problem with something I did.
Why I Think I Was Banned
To be honest, I have no way of knowing exactly what set them off. But, there were changes I had made immediately leading up to this notice that I suspect are the cause.
1. Changing all my board descriptions to keywords.
I read some advice from a popular blogger (I’m not going to out anybody here) that suggested changing your board descriptions to keywords. My boards went from a few sentences like “Blogging for beginners. Tips and tricks for new bloggers to grow their blog…” to a cluster of keywords separated with commas, like “blogging for beginners, new bloggers, how to start blogging…”. I put put A LOT of keywords in each board description. In hindsight, it must have looked really spammy.
While I’m sure this blogger meant well, this was just another reminder to take in everything you read with a grain of salt. Think about if that advice will work for you before applying it blindly like I did and potentially facing consequences.
2. Creating multiple board covers in one day and linking them all to my site.
I fell in love with the clean and streamlined look that some blogger’s have on their Pinterest boards pages. I thought my boards page looked cluttered with nothing breaking up all of the non-uniform pins. So I decided to do something about it and created a board cover template.
I uploaded them as images to Pinterest and linked them to my blog. For some, I was able to link to specific posts that were related to whatever the topic of the Pinterest board was, but for the rest of them I linked them directly to my blog homepage.
I must have created 5-10 board covers and linked them all to my blog in one day.
Pinterest might have seen that as spammy because they were just images with text on them that linked to my blog, and I uploaded them all one after another without pinning anything else in between.
I would definitely recommend this as something not to do. If I were to do it again I would upload maybe two a day at most, only link to a related post on my blog (not the homepage) or nothing at all, and make sure to pin other content throughout the day as well.
3. Pinning Just to Pin.
This reason is more speculation than the other reasons because it is not outright spam-like behavior, but it is something I wish I had thought about while my account was active. That is, to not pin just to pin.
I would get a little lazy pinning sometimes and pin things just because I liked the pin image, without really doing any quality checks.
Unfortunately, I have come across many stolen pins with images that have a completely different URL address than the one that the pin is linked to. That’s just one example of something that you can think about/check before pinning.
Sometimes I was pinning haphazardly just to meet the daily goal I set for myself.
How to Learn from My Mistakes
As you can see, although I wasn’t doing anything super shady, Pinterest still thought it best to suspend my account. That should probably serve as a warning to everyone to be careful how they utilize Pinterest.
You can educate yourself more by viewing their policies here:
Will I Join Pinterest Again?
I haven’t looked it up for myself yet if I am allowed to create a new account, but I know my URL isn’t blocked on Pinterest.
For now, I am experimenting with driving traffic using other methods (mostly organic search traffic).
What Can You Learn from This?
If there’s one thing this experience has taught me it’s that diversification is important. I hadn’t been on Pinterest long enough to build up any real referral traffic from the site, but my goal was to make it a major source of traffic for me.
If I had been successful, the suspension would be devastating. I would probably have lost 90% of blog traffic.
There are many blogs that have no organic traffic whatsoever and rely solely on Pinterest, the same would happen to them if they were suspended.
It’s important to diversify traffic and income streams for your blog. At the end of the day, putting all your eggs in one basket offers no insurance.