Food Blogging for Beginners | How to Get TONS of Free Traffic from Pinterest

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When you look at some Pinterest accounts associated with food blogs, and you see 10+ million monthly pageviews on so many of them, it looks like Pinterest and food bloggers were created for each other.

You might be absolutely right, but a lot of times, food bloggers who have millions of monthly viewers on Pinterest, reach out to me or join my Pinterest marketing course because they simply can’t figure out how to actually get clicks from their popular pins and how to drive actual traffic from Pinterest to their blogs. 

So today, we will talk about Pinterest for food bloggers and not only bloggers actually. If you have a restaurant business, or you are a food photographer trying to get more clients from Pinterest, you might find all these tips shared in this video useful as well. 

So, let’s get into all the details. 

First off, I would like to show you why food bloggers are doing incredibly well on Pinterest. Let’s look at the Audience Insights. To go there, you need to go to Analytics, and then Audience Insights, and click on “All Pinterest users”.

And when you look at the statistics for all Pinterest users, you can see here the most popular categories on Pinterest including food and drinks which is a pretty broad and popular niche on Pinterest. You will also be able to see the most popular topics within that niche.

I am showing you this so that you can understand that it’s one of the indicators on why this niche is doing so well on Pinterest.

Another way to check is if you go to Pinterest Categories. This is the page that new users will be redirected to if they are just signing up for the first time on the platform. 

Pinterest is going to ask them to select at least five different categories that they would like to follow. So if you go to the category of Food and Drink, we can see that this category has 85.3m followers on Pinterest along with several trending pins and related topics. 

And just by doing this research, you will find out how many people are following a specific category or topic inside the food niche. Like for example, “Healthy Recipes”.

Now, let’s look at some traffic sources that some popular food bloggers are sharing in their income and traffic reports. Let’s look at the Pinterest account of the food blog Pinch of Yum which has more than 10 million monthly viewers. 

If we look at their income report that was published last November 2016, they were already making a very high amount of income from AdThrive, sponsored content, and their other income streams. And if we look at the traffic sources, we could see that at that time, they had about over 4million page views on their site. Their main traffic source which is Google is about 47% and their Pinterest traffic shows about 18%.

But I would also like to make a note here that the category “Direct/none” means that Google Analytics did not attribute this traffic to any specific source and I know for sure that most of this traffic comes from Pinterest. This is coming from experience and working with a lot of clients, I know that the biggest chunk of this direct or unidentified traffic comes from Pinterest. So if we make an estimate, we could say that about 30% of their traffic comes from Pinterest.

They also have another income report that was from February 2015. So this was much earlier when their site didn’t get that much traffic from Google yet. And we can see here that they had about 3 million pageviews and at that time, Pinterest was the main traffic source for them. We can also see that there was a lot of direct or unidentified traffic.

Here is another food blogger account that has about 1.7m monthly views on Pinterest which is actually not so much as I believe they can still be doing better. 

In her 2019 income report, she shows that her main traffic source was from Google but their second main traffic source is Pinterest. 

Here is another food blogger’s recent income report which we can see that her main traffic source was coming from social networks on which 91% of the social network traffic is coming from Pinterest. And only 22% is from Google. 

It’s obvious that food bloggers who are not on Pinterest or not investing heavily in this platform are missing out on a big potential traffic source. And that’s for two reasons:

First, as we’ve already seen, Pinterest users are very much into food, people love saving food photos and recipes to their boards to try them later;

Second, it’s because most of the food blogs and the nature of this niche have an advantage compared to many other blogging niches. On food blogs, the visual part of the recipe is very important – have you seen successful food websites that don’t have high-quality food photos and often videos as well? 

As long as for food bloggers visually appealing photos are an essential part of their content, they don’t need to put too much additional effort into making their content appealing for Pinterest users. 

And one more thing that I am sure makes a lot of food content viral on Pinterest – it’s the Tried it feature. Pinterest users are not only saving recipes to their boards, but they are also trying to cook them at home and a lot of people love adding their own versions of the popular recipes. They upload their pictures right under the pins, and since it will get lots of comments, this makes those pins really viral and keeps them high in search results for a long time. 

Again, it’s not in every blogging niche that this user-generated content can so easily boost the pin’s virality. For example, if you are in the personal finance niche. What kind of user-generated photos could you possibly expect? …..See what I mean? 🙂

Pinterest Strategy Tips for Food Bloggers

So far, I was talking about the advantages that food bloggers have when it comes to Pinterest marketing – I pointed out why it’s great to be on Pinterest and often why it’s so much easier for food bloggers to drive traffic from this platform, compared to many other niches. 

Now it’s time to talk about the ways food bloggers can make their Pinterest strategy even more effective and I will mention some things that a lot of food bloggers totally miss which costs them quite a lot of traffic from Pinterest. 

First, let’s start with the typical mistakes I’ve seen on many food blogs that are struggling with Pinterest traffic:

  1. They make horizontal photos of the food or square photos like for Instagram. I’ll have to repeat it here: for Pinterest, images have to be vertical, the image ratio can be between 2:3 and 1:2. If you really really have to upload some horizontal photos to your recipe posts, then at least make those specific horizontal images unavailable to be saved from your page.Image sizes recommended for this year are quite big: 1000*1500 pixels if you use 2:3 ratio so it makes 1000*2000 pixels for the taller image ratio. I know that most of the site owners are concerned about the size of the images because it makes their pages heavy, especially if they have multiple photos of the recipe per page. So I would say if you are really trying to minimize image size, you can go to about 600*900 pixels, this is the image resolution Pinterest previously recommended in all their best practices. So I guess, it would be still ok. But if your images go even smaller than this, you are sacrificing the image quality and this could negatively affect the performance of the pin image on Pinterest.
  2. Having no Pinterest “SAVE” buttons on the posts and on the images you want to be pinnable. Here I’m talking about both – regular social sharing buttons that might show up on the side while you scroll down the page, and on mobile, they will stick to the bottom of the screen.  And I also mean the hover buttons like this for example that will show up on top of each pinnable image. You need to give users as many options to save something from your page as possible. You need to make sure that on your website, you are allowing your users to save images from your site. For example on this site, they are using a Save hover button on their images.However, I would recommend having a sticky social sharing button so that your audience won’t be able to miss that option. 
  3. The next tip is adding Pinterest-optimized descriptions. When a user is saving an image from your page, which description is fetched from your site? I think in most cases, it will be either the title of the page or sometimes it’s the alt text you added for Google SEO purposes. (If you struggle to understand the basics of search engine optimization for Google, check this free training by Mike Pearson who has his Google SEO figured out and making over $10,000/mo with each of the two niche blogs he runs.) But those options are both not ideal because usually, the page title is quite short as well as the alt-text. For a Pinterest description, you have up to 500 characters to include many related keywords and hashtags so you need to maximize the use of that. If you want your users to save images from your site with Pinterest-optimized descriptions, what you should do instead is either add a data-pin-description tag manually. You can read about this image attribute in official sources on Pinterest here.Or you can simply use the Grow plugin that allows you to add these Pinterest-specific descriptions at the end of each post and it will be applied to all the images on the page automatically. This is how your pin description should look like if it is getting saved directly from your site. 
    I also have more tips and an in-depth explanation about this topic on my Pinterest course – Pinterest SEO Traffics Secrets.  I have a specific lesson there where I teach you the settings, recommended plugins, and a lot more tips. If you are not ready to dive in yet with my paid course but you still want to see the potential of Pinterest, then you are welcome to join my FREE Pinterest Masterclass.
  4. Engage in comments. I already mentioned that Pinterest rewards engagement on your pins! You can reply and like comments and the “tried it” photos that users left on your pins. You can ask questions, say thanks, and more. The more engagement – the higher the virality of your pins.
  5. Add text overlay. One very common mistake I see food bloggers make is saving a lot of pins that are just photos of the food – but have no text overlay. You see, without text overlay, it’s just a pretty image and you might lose the click just because your competitor who is ranking for the same keyword has the text and so the user can better understand what is behind the pin. You need to let your users know what to expect from your site once they click on your image. 

There is one topic with lots of debates among food bloggers – it’s enabling or disabling Recipe Rich pins. You see, Recipe pins can show to the user a lot of information – like ingredients, cooking time and some food bloggers claim that when they disabled Rich pins, they started getting more click-through from their pins. 

Here is an example of a Recipe rich pin. It has the title, detailed ingredients, descriptions, and more. 

And since the recipe rich pins are showing so much information already, they are afraid that no one will bother to click through on their site.

I personally don’t think that if someone saw the ingredients, they will not need to read the full recipe. As a user, I always go to the site to read all the detailed instructions. 

But that’s my personal user experience and I haven’t seen any solid research on multiple food blogs that would prove statistically that click-throughs and traffic are better when Recipe Rich pins are disabled. I can’t take any side in these debates as I think each food blogger should take this decision after evaluating very carefully all the pros and cons. 

Disabling Rich pins is not a joke. It will not only remove the ingredients but also you will lose the pin titles and when users save something from your site, those pins will have no pin titles and no keywords on them. Yes, you can add these descriptions yourself but this is not the case to users who are visiting your blog. They won’t have any access to edit your pin description or title so it will basically empty when they decide to save your pin. 

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Marketing board to check the post later when new updates are announced.

Food Blogging for Beginners | How to Get TONS of Free Traffic from Pinterest

Food Blogging for Beginners | How to Get TONS of Free Traffic from Pinterest


  1. Pinterest Strategy Tips for Food Bloggers
  2. The next tip is adding Pinterest-optimized descriptions
  3. Engage in comments
  4. Add text overlay

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