In July 2019, I received a Pinterest account suspension for spam in the midst of pinning office decor for my new space!
As you can imagine, I was also in complete shock when it happened since I use Tailwind to do about 85% of my pinning.
Running a Google for Pinterest account suspension, Keywords Everywhere tells me that there are around 590 monthly queries for this term though.
It’s more common than you think!
While I did recover my account and learn that “occasionally good sites get caught in the mix”, this week away from social media led me to a few realizations about blogging, running a business, and the importance of balance.
Keep reading to learn an important lesson about relying on social media to grow your online business!
Pinterest Account Suspension: How to Reactivate Yours + an Important Lesson
This post features:
- A brief overview of Pinterest’ Community guidelines
- What to do immediately after you learn of a Pinterest account suspension
- Who to contact and how to talk to Pinterest during the process
- An account of my almost one week in Pinterest jail
- An overview of the positives and negatives associated with using Pinterest for your blog
- The important takeaway message bloggers need to get out of this
- How I’ve changed my approach to blogging as a business after this experience
I’ll share the impacts of how dealing with this suspension and content theft impacted my blog and wellbeing, plus exactly how I went about recovering my account and reporting stolen pins.
Let’s start with figuring out what spam on Pinterest actually is and whether or not you’re guilty of it!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I could earn a small commission at no additional cost to you should you make a purchase using them. All recommendations are based on my personal experience.
What is Spam on Pinterest + Community Guidelines
According to Pinterest’s Community guidelines:
We want Pinterest to be high-quality and useful, so we prioritize things that are actionable and provide consistent, enriching experiences. This includes:
- Original content that adds unique value.
- User friendly formatting that makes it easy for people to find what they’re looking for.
- A consistent landing page that matches what’s in the Pin.
We also remove spam and other disruptive content including:
- Unsolicited commercial messages.
- Attempts to artificially boost views and other metrics.
- Repetitive or unwanted posts.
- Off-domain redirects, cloaking or other ways of obscuring where a Pin leads.
- Misleading content or behavior. For example, deceptive design elements or suspicious pop-ups.
If you’ve read the above and feel you have not violated any of these terms, the next thing you’ll want to do is open the “Your Pinterest account has been suspended” email.
Click the text that reads this link to appeal.
However, do note that the responses you receive via contact forms will likely be automated.
Pinterest Account Suspension: What to do Immediately after you are flagged
As already mentioned above, when your Pinterest account is suspended, you’ll receive an email stating this fact.
If you didn’t find out via the email Pinterest sent you, you’ll receive a notification stating this fact when you try to log back into your Pinterest account.
From here, click get in touch with us to report that an error has been made.
Now, a very important step for those of you that also use Tailwind!
You will have also received an email that reads “Urgent: Reconnect Your Pinterest Account to Tailwind“.
Respond to this email stating what has happened and ask them to pause your upcoming pins.
Tailwind was incredibly professional, offered quick response times, sent me valuable links and resources in regards to this circumstance, and continued to check in on me to see how things are going.
Talk about top notch!
Now, let’s get a hold of Pinterest.
Who to Contact and how to Communicate
This might go without saying but be respectful when you write Pinterest support!
The quickest and most effective way to get in touch with Pinterest is through firstname.lastname@example.org
I sent around 8 emails total to both creators support and Pinterest for business – don’t bother with the latter though, creators support was much more efficient and actually resolved the issue for me.
Here’s a thorough template for the specific details I included in each of my emails:
- Pinterest handle and the exact address you used to claim your website
- mention if you have an account with Tailwind and that you’ve already been in touch with them
- mention how much you have invested in your business – time, money, Pinterest specific widgets, etc.
- talk about the impact this has had on you
- describe your website’s content and ask them to have a look to confirm that it is in fact, not spam
- mention that you’ve read their guidelines
- advise them that you never received a warning prior to your account suspension and talk about EXACTLY what you were doing at the time you were flagged
- mention any changes you may have made to your Pinterest account that could have resulted in your account being flagged
- mention how long you’ve used Pinterest – if you’re still learning how to use Pinterest for business, mention this too
- apologize in case you have unknowingly made a mistake and mention that you’ll be more careful in the future should your account be reactivated
- mention that you are an original content creator and that you have read and followed guidelines
- write a summary of the points you have just made
- mention your handle, website name, and sign your correspondence
Every one of my emails was thorough and mentioned anything that I thought could have gotten my account flagged.
Upon hearing from someone at Pinterest though, I learned that the following were not to blame:
- pinning too many items
- repinning too many old pins
- creating too many new pins for revised content – I also asked if there was a limit for this and learned that there is not
- setting my Tailwind auto pinning too high – I currently have it on 30 pins a day and learned that nothing done through Tailwind would result in my account being flagged
- changing too many private boards to public boards at once
Seven Days in Pinterest Jail: Short Term & Long Term Effects for You and Your Blog
My experience with this Pinterest suspension was definitely stressful – I have a family to support and have invested thousands of dollars into this blog!
Not only does my blog assist in supporting our little unit financially though, my actual name is attached to it!
For me, the impacts of a Pinterest suspension included:
It took about two weeks total to recover my account – one week for support to determine they made a mistake and the other for me to find and report the content thieves who hijacked countless pins – something which led to a temporary flatline in blog traffic from this platform!
In addition to stolen pins though, there were even pins created that featured my name and a slogan I haven’t used in over a year.
Here’s an excellent article on Medium that gives a brief overview on “Lazy Scammers” – people/groups who:
- crawl your site’s content – articles, images, and apparently even brand slogans
- get your account banned
- use the content you created to redirect to their site(s)!
While I’m not 100% certain this was the case for me, the similarities are worth noting.
To protect your pins and easily report stolen content, you should:
- keep track of your original pins by always launching them in the same board – you can make reference to them in your reports and rest assured knowing they won’t be deleted if you select the Remove All option*
- brand your pins to match your blog or shop
- include your business and/or domain name on every pin you create
Pinterest becomes a better and safer community every time someone reports the real problem makers on this platform so, don’t be afraid to fight back.
*While many other bloggers advise against this feature, I returned to Pinterest with dozens of stolen pins and very little traffic remaining from this platform – the idea of starting over didn’t frighten me.
While many of my repins from Tailwind were also deleted, most of these only had several reshares as well.
This process could have dragged on for much longer but I chose the manner I found most efficient for my circumstances.
Use your own discretion to decide what works for you!
Pros & Cons of Pinterest for Blogging
When you run a Google for a competitive topic, which social networks do top performing sites generally include social sharing options for?
They’re almost always:
Site speed is often an overlooked SEO factor.
I tested my site’s speed in GTmetrix with and without pins attached to each of my posts and found that I ranked higher for both PageSpeed Score and YSlowScore without the added weight of pins and Pinterest widgets.
Compared to having all Pinterest items active on my site, my scores were A (93%) and B (83%) without pins versus A (92%) and B (80%) with pins – although it’s not a major impact, there was a slight improvement of about half a second – this is also the reason my site doesn’t offer a “Pin It” button.
The reasons for this?
- Smaller request size
- Fewer images
Now, let’s check out my Google Analytics.
Pinterest brings me about 56% of my blog traffic.
That’s a good portion but apparently my site doesn’t rely on it as much as it used to – about a year ago, 80% of traffic used to come from Pinterest but a strong SEO strategy has really improved my Google Ranking.
The takeaway: Focus on SEO and content creation – social media marketing is still an excellent means of promoting your content but ranking in search engines is a must for your long term business plan.
Pros of Using Pinterest for Blogging
Most bloggers swear by Pinterest for blogging, especially for new bloggers! Here are a few of the reasons why:
- When you’re just starting out, ranking in Google can be practically impossible with zero domain authority – Pinterest gives you an opportunity to be competitive
- You can showcase your design skills
- You can use eye catching visuals including stock photos or your own photographs as part of your pins
- Can bring in a lot of traffic
- You can receive a lot of social shares that’ll help your rank in other search engines like Google – some of my articles have thousands of shares on them, the vast majority of these being from Pinterest!
Who should use Pinterest?
From personal experience, I highly recommend Pinterest to:
- new and upcoming bloggers
- graphic designers and those who utilize infographics on their sites
- those who receive the vast majority of site traffic from this platform
However, if you’ve established some domain authority, you’ll be able to confidently leave the platform if need be.
Do keep in mind that if you remove Pinterest from your social sharing options, you’ll also lose all shares previously affiliated with it though.
Cons of Using Pinterest for Blogging
I know what you’re thinking… sinner!
As you can see from the social shares button below though, I’m still using Pinterest on my blog despite this experience.
However, there are a few costs involved that you should be aware of – these include:
- You’ll need to include images/pins that are optimized for Pinterest in all of your blog posts to stay competitive
- It’ll slow down your site a bit – more to load, after all
- Creating pins takes time – sometimes hours, especially if you’ll be designing your own custom infographics!
- Gathering images for your pins will also take time and/or a financial investment – whether a great camera or stock photo subscription
Who shouldn’t use Pinterest?
Blog owners who are:
- already very competitive on Google
- have little time available for designing graphics
- value a site that runs at optimal speeds
One of the things you see discussed less often about blogging is the amount of work it actually takes – you need to stay up to date daily and you’ll be learning constantly from the moment you signup for hosting.
There isn’t one correct solution for any problem nor is there one right way of doing things though.
Learn what works for you and enjoy the process, even during the more challenging times!
A Critical Lesson in Social Media & Blogging
I bet you’ve read it a million times over, right?
The importance of having a self-hosted blog?
In case you don’t know, self-hosting your blog means that:
- you’ll be able to choose and use your own “.com” domain name rather than a subdomain like “.wordpress.com”
- you have more control over your blog including customization options like: themes, plugins, layout, SEO, etc.
- more opportunities to monetize your site including ads, affiliate marketing, services, etc.
- and most importantly – you own your content and can do what you want on your site
Before my Pinterest nightmare, I had another one week scare with Instagram in June where more than 50% of the images disappeared from my feed!
And while I learned that this was the result of a security glitch, it was horrifying to have so much of my content just disappear like that – this content included sponsored posts where the expectation was a permanent static post for compensation.
However, if your social media profile is suspended, stolen, or disappears, what’s an influencer to do?
Getting in touch with Pinterest was certainly easier than Instagram – in fact, I never heard back from Instagram and one day, my photos simply just came back on their own.
But even easier than that? Getting in touch with my email list and Siteground!
I call Siteground any time I have a technical issue with my site and literally, the time is takes from the moment I hit dial until my concern is resolved is usually about two minutes – not one week!
Reality check: While it’s an incredible way to build your online presence, you don’t actually own your content on social media.
As this article by SocialMediaToday puts it, you’re simply “renting social media channels”.
I’m incredibly grateful for the start that Instagram gave me and the fact that it led to something much bigger with my blog. But the idea that it’s not completely within my control is a bit alarming.
Believe me, I still love and will utilize social media as part of my blogging business plan but focusing my attention on SEO is the priority.
And so, with this said, I highly encourage you to invest in your SEO in addition to choosing a strong plugin like Squirrly (what I use here) to help you rank for terms relevant to your niche.
The Right Way to Grow Your Online Business
I’m a bit salty after this experience but I’m also grateful because I learned A LOT in going through it.
At the same time as my Pinterest suspension, I was on a planned leave from Instagram to focus on my family, boosting SEO, and improving Google SERPs.
Can you imagine how much time I had during that one week away from both platforms? Wow!
Here’s what I used to do:
- Design two to four pins a day for new and old posts
- Pinterest keyword research for said pins
- Wrote Pinterest SEO’d descriptions for said pins
- Posted those pins to my own boards and a couple of Group Boards
- Posted said pins to Tailwind
- Reshare revised articles on LinkedIn
- Designed 5 to 10 Instagram stories a day
- Organized Instagram posts for the month and week ahead
- Post to Instagram
- Reshare said post to Facebook and Twitter
I don’t know about you ladies and gents but for me, designing pins takes a lot of time.
Even with amazing design tools like Canva or feminine stock photos, text overlays and adding your name and details to protect pins takes plenty of creative thinking and time – it’s also a necessity!
Some of my pins have literally taken hours to create!
So, what did I spend my extra hours doing during my semi-planned/semi-unplanned social media hiatus? To name a few:
- Writing this post 😉
- Creating new content for the blog
- Using Squirrly to SEO all of my old blog posts
- Improving my Google SERP’s and CTR’s with the above
- Spending time with my family
- Working out daily
- Healthy meal planning
- Getting enough sleep
Yes, a few of these things are even indirectly related to boosting my business’ performance.
You know that saying, “everything in moderation”? It’s as true as it is an essential to your well-being!
Have you been sidelined by Pinterest? Take a deep breath and know that this happens completely by accident to a lot of content creators!
If you’re faced with a Pinterest account suspension, you’ll want to:
- review Pinterest’s Community guidelines to confirm that you have not violated any policies
- click the link in the email notification you would have received to appeal the suspension
- contact email@example.com with a message that states your handle, the site URL you claimed, what you were doing at the time, plus additional evidence to support your case
- contact Tailwind to pause your account while this issue is resolved
- continue writing in using the above email instead of contact forms
- if you’re the victim of content theft, report any stolen pins or material to help in making the Pinterest community a safer place for everyone
While social media provides a wonderful way to connect with other like-minded individuals, it should not be the only method you use in marketing your online business.
Invest in your SEO by conducting keyword research, improving site speed, and/or getting started with amazing plugins like Squirrly.
Work smarter not harder.
It’s easy to start grinding when business picks up but balance is key for maintaining its success.
Determine which social media platforms are most beneficial to you and schedule your content in advance with a great app like Tailwind.
Stick to what’s working, don’t be afraid to try something new, and ditch time wasters – just because it works for others, doesn’t mean it’s right for you!
Has your Pinterest account ever been suspended? How did you change your blogging business plan as a result? Share your experience in the comments below!