Pin description sources are ranked by Pinterest. The hierarchy looks like this, from most to least preferred:

  1. data-pin-description
  2. Image title attribute
  3. Alt text
  4. Article title
  5. Article content

The most common place to put a Pinterest description is in the alt text field. We have a blog post that discusses using the alt text for Pinterest text and why it’s not a great place for your Pinterest descriptions to live.

The article title and article content don’t provide optimized Pinterest descriptions either.

But what about that title tag? Is that a good place to put a Pinterest description?

TL;DR: It might work for some bloggers, but in general it’s not a great idea.

Let’s dig in.

What is the image title attribute?

The image title attribute is another place to put descriptive information about your image. The image title attribute pops up as a tooltip when an image is hovered. For example:

Screenshot of an image with a hover tooltip displaying the image title attribute

How is the image title attribute different from the alt attribute?

The image title attribute differs from the alt attribute in that it is not read by screen readers for the visually impaired. It is also not shown on the page if the image fails to load – in that case, the alt text is shown.

Is the title attribute used for SEO?

There is little evidence of the title tag being used as a ranking factor for SEO.

So can I put my Pinterest description there?

We don’t recommend using the title tag for Pinterest descriptions. Here’s why:

Shortcuts make the road longer in the end

Blogging takes a lot of work. Every minute we can save here or there can be used to cook up another recipe, write another blog post, take more awesome photos, etc. That said, shortcuts make the road longer in the end.

Let’s take the alt text for example. The alt text works for Pinterest. Bloggers around the world, us included, thought, “Hey! Let’s use this field for Pinterest text. It’s right there and easy to use, and it works when we pin our images. It’s also great to include alt text for SEO. Let’s do it!”

But then the day came when Casey, the Food Blogger Pro SEO expert, came to us and said, “Hey guys. You’re doing this wrong. Pinterest text doesn’t belong in the alt text. This needs to change.”

We were really bummed when this happened. For Pinch of Yum, this meant hours and hours of going back to edit the alt attribute for all images on the site. We built Tasty Pins so that we could easily add Pinterest text in the proper place – the image’s data-pin-description.

By using the alt text shortcut, we made a lot more work for ourselves in the long run. We wasted a lot of time and manpower going back to add the data-pin-description and optimize the alt text for SEO on those images when we should have done it right in the first place.

The same goes for the title attribute

It’s tempting to use the image title attribute for the Pinterest description. It’s already there. It wouldn’t require the development or purchase of a new plugin. It seems like the easy thing to do.

When it came to Pinch of Yum, we wanted to learn from our mistakes and not make the same mistake again. We wanted to use a field for our Pinterest text that was created for Pinterest and would only ever be used by Pinterest. That’s the data-pin-description, and that’s what Tasty Pins adds to your site.

Google has said that they don’t currently focus on the image title attribute as a ranking factor, but that doesn’t mean that won’t change in the future. As with everything related to SEO, things are always changing, and who knows when Google or other search engines will start taking the image title attribute more seriously.

Using a field with a specific purpose, like the Pinterest Text field in Tasty Pins, makes your blog future-proof.

As a side note, having a bunch of Pinterest-optimized text and hashtags show up whenever someone hovers over an image isn’t the most visually attractive thing. It’s not really a huge issue, but is something to consider if you decide to use the image title attribute for your Pinterest descriptions.

In conclusion

Using the image title attribute is a quick shortcut that may fill the role of providing Pinterest text temporarily; however, relying on a field with one purpose to fulfill another unrelated purpose is a risky behavior that will likely lead to more work in the end. Using a field that is meant for the job at hand (in this case, the data-pin-description ) is the best way to future-proof your blog and streamline your process for the long run.