Pinterest is a fantastic source of traffic for bloggers of all types, and especially food bloggers. Many bloggers report that Pinterest is one of their top sources of traffic – in fact for Pinch of Yum it’s #2, right behind Google!

Getting people to repin your content on Pinterest is key to Pinterest success. Pinterest takes pin popularity into account when determining what to show for search queries. And the number of repins a pin has is one of the best ways to determine popularity.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  1. What a repin is
  2. Why they are important
  3. How to optimize your images for repins
  4. What the best method is for optimizing for repins
  5. Balancing fresh content with existing content

What is a repin on Pinterest?

A “repin” on Pinterest is when someone sees an existing pin on the site, then saves it again to another board. The number of repins a pins has gives a good gauge to its popularity – a pin with a lot of repins has been saved more times than a pin with few repins.

Repins can also come from outside of Pinterest, though this is less common. A web administrator can add an attribute to the image that tells Pinterest to count any Saves for that image as repins to the original. We’ll talk about how to do this in a bit!

Repins are also known as “saves” on Pinterest. For simplicity, we’ll call them repins in this article.

Where do I see the number of repins a pin has?

Great question! Since you can no longer see the number of repins on an individual Pin, we recommend using Google Analytics to find out which of your Pins are performing well. Here’s how to do that:

Here’s how you can discover your shining stars on Pinterest

1. Log in to your Google Analytics account.

2. Navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals.

3. Click on pinterest.com.

4. The next page will display your Pinterest shining stars! ⭐ These are the pins that are referring the most traffic to your blog.

Discover Our Top 5 Tips for Optimizing your Pinterest Account

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Why are repins important on Pinterest?

Repins are used by Pinterest’s algorithm to determine which Pins are popular. Pins that are more popular are more likely to show up in search results. For instance, in a search for “chicken enchiladas,” the top 5 Pins (excluding sponsored Pins) have:

  • 49,000 repins
  • 162,000 repins
  • 35,000 repins
  • 10,000 repins
  • 248,000 repins

Seeing these numbers, it’s apparent that repins are definitely used to place pins near the top of search results. If you are trying to get your pin to show up for a certain search term, it’s important to make an effort to increase the number of repins your pins have. The more repins, the higher likelihood they will show up at the top of Pinterest search.

In addition, you can see that repins aren’t the only factor that goes into ranking these Pins in the search results – otherwise, they’d be ordered with the most repins at the very top of the results. Relevancy to the user, recent popularity, number of clicks, and number of comments may also play a role in Pinterest search ranking.

How do I get more repins for my images?

Most repins come from the Pinterest site itself. If your image and description are enticing, Pinterest users will automatically repin images.

But what about when people save images to Pinterest directly from your site?

Fortunately, Pinterest’s image-recognizing algorithm seems to be pretty good. Pinning the same image from the same website will oftentimes get attributed to the same Pin.

Not always, though. And multiple Pins often exist for the same image, anyway, so it’s not clear which one they get attributed to.

In addition, if your readers save a different image, that Pin doesn’t get added to the repins count. Even worse, if the same image exists twice on the page for whatever reason (as a thumbnail, in the structured data, etc), then people who are pinning the same image – but a different instance of it – are thus splitting your repins in half. Sigh!

So what can you do?

There are two options:

  1. Set the data-pin-id for the image to the main Pin you want to promote, or
  2. Limit the number of images that are options to save to Pinterest

Let’s take a look at both of these.

How to set the data-pin-id for the image

This trick is pretty nifty! Pinterest provides the data-pin-id attribute for the sole purpose of associating image saves from a website to a particular Pin on Pinterest.

To do this, find the highest-performing Pin on Pinterest for the particular page you’re interested in. We’ll use that Pin for the data-pin-id, so every time an image is saved from your website, it’ll get associated with that Pin.

This is much easier said than done, though. One way to achieve it is to use the Tailwind Pin Inspector. If you’ve been using Tailwind for a while, you can sort this view by number of repins, search for the content you’re looking for, then click on the Pin with the highest number of repins. That only works for images you have saved, though – not Pins that came organically from your readers.

The Tailwind pin inspector, with the pins sorted by the number of repins and a box calling out the search field at the top left

Another good place to check would be Pinterest itself. Search for the keyword and see if you see any of your Pins there at the top. If you commonly include your blog URL in the Pin description, you can use that for the search (side note: this is the first instance where I’ve seen that be of any use). Click around on the top Pins and see which one has the most repins.

The number of existing repins is a good place to start, but it’s not the only thing that matters. If the image that happens to have a lot of repins (maybe a Pinterest star saved it once upon a time?) but that image really isn’t great for Pinterest, it might be best to select an image that has fewer existing repins, but that has greater potential for the future.

If you’re starting from fresh with a new blog post, you’ll publish the post first, share an image to Pinterest, then use that Pin going forward.

Add the Pin ID to your image

Once you know which Pin you want to attribute the pins to, you can use that Pin’s ID for any of all of the images on your page.

On Pinterest, open up the Pin with Potential™. Take a look at the URL for the page and copy the long string of numbers at the end of the URL. This is the Pin’s unique ID.

Pinterest URL with the long string of numbers highlighted in blue

Now go to your WordPress editor and select the image that you want to add the repin ID to. Place the Pin ID that you got from Pinterest in the Tasty Pins Pinterest Repin ID field:

the Pinterest Repin ID field in the WordPress block sidebar in the editor

Now, when this image is pinned with the Pinterest hover button, its save will be attributed to the original Pin. 🎉

Again, this method has its pros and cons.

Pros:

  • All images show a hover button, but all images will Pin the best image that you’ve set with the repin ID
  • Image saves get attributed to the main Pin repin count

Cons:

  • If the reader uses the multi-select tool, the repin ID won’t be used (we’ve asked Pinterest about this and hope they update)
  • Requires extra work after publishing to find the best Pin to use for repins

Quick tip: Adding a repin ID to a forced image in Tasty Pins adds that repin ID to all the other images in the content!

If you don’t want to use the Repin ID, the next best option is to limit the options for images to save to Pinterest.

How to limit image options for saving to Pinterest

There are two ways to limit the image options for saving to Pinterest:

  • Disabling pinning on non-ideal images
  • Force-pinning a certain image that’s Pinterest-perfect

Disabling Pinning

One way to limit the image options for saving to Pinterest is with the data-pin-nopin attribute. When this attribute is added to an image with any value, it will prevent the image from being shown in the Pinterest multi-select tool (for example, with the browser button). It will also prevent any Pinterest hover buttons from showing up over the image.

Here’s what that looks like:

<img src="https://example.com/chicken-enchiladas-process-shot.jpg" data-pin-nopin="true" />

The data-pin-nopin attribute added to an image tag inside a WordPress post

You can add this attribute manually to any image. Alternatively, you can use Tasty Pins to add it automatically with just the tick of a checkbox:

the Disable Pinning checkbox inside Tasty Pins

This is a good option for any images that aren’t great for Pinterest. These might be process shots or ingredient shots, if your website is a food blog. If you’re in another niche – say crafts and DIY or even an SEO blog – then a non-optimal image might be a materials shot or a metrics shot – both shots are really important for their respective audiences, but they won’t do much good on Pinterest.

This method has its pros and cons. Let’s take a look:

Pros:

  • Only Pinterest-optimized images show up in the multi-select tool.

Cons:

  • Hover buttons don’t show up on disabled images, and hover buttons can be a reminder to save to Pinterest
  • While readers have good options, image saves aren’t attributed to any specific pin, so repins don’t necessarily always add up

Force-pinning a Pinterest-perfect image

When you force-pin an image, you force the user to use a specific image when saving to Pinterest regardless of which image they clicked the hover button on.

That means that the user can click the hover button on an image that isn’t Pinterest-perfect, but instead your chosen image that’s best for Pinterest will be used.

Comparison between image that is clicked (hand holding head of garlic) with the image that will bee saved to Pinterest (text overlay How to Peel Garlic image)

This method also has its pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Only Pinterest-optimized images show up in the multi-select tool.
  • Hover buttons continue to show on all images

Cons:

  • Image saves still aren’t attributed to any specific Pin, so repins don’t necessarily always add up

So what’s the best method – disabling pinning on images, force-pinning, or adding the Repin ID?

When we’re talking about optimizing for repins, adding the repin ID is the best way to go. However, it does require some research to find the best Pin to use, and it also requires that the Pin already exist on Pinterest (so you can’t set it up for new content until that has been saved to Pinterest).

Disabling pinning is great for images that aren’t directly related to the content. A list of “other posts you may like” that you manually add into the content, for instance, would be a great use-case for disabling pinning.

Force-pinning is great for brand new content that doesn’t yet have any Pins on Pinterest. Once you have an idea of which Pin is performing best, you can add the repin ID to the forced image to add it to all the other images in the content.

How does this work in terms of fresh content?

After speaking with Kate Ahl from Simple Pin Media about this, we discovered that Pinterest is shifting gears a bit to favor fresh content (aka Pins being shared for the first time) in the home feed.

With that knowledge in mind, our recommendation now is to wait a little while before adding a repin ID if it’s a new piece of content. That way, Pinterest gets a chance to circulate it around the Pinterestsphere (hi, new word) and give your Pin some extra juice.

That doesn’t mean you should forget about your existing Pins, though! Giving your existing Pins a fresh coat of paint could really go a long way in boosting engagement as well, so we do suggest taking the time to go through your older Pins to see which ones could use a refresh. 🎨

If you’re interested in learning more about striking a balance with fresh content, feel free to check out our blog post How to balance fresh Pinterest content with existing content!