Pinterest’s new auto-descriptions (What I’ve learned about my photos and some unsolicited advice.)

Pinterest.  We all love it, right?  OK, most of us love it.
Some of us….?
No matter what your opinion of Pinterest might be, if you have a website or blog with pictures on it chances are good that someone has pinned your photos.

Here’s how to have a little more control over what gets pinned and how it is described.

A caveat: Pinterest seems to be constantly tweaking their site.  This post reflects my most current experiences and what I have figured out through trial and error.  Someone else might have a better system than me (and if so, I would love to know about it) but this is what I am needing to do at the moment for my photos at the moment.  

For a long time Pinterest didn’t have any character limits on their descriptions, so basically people could pin a photo and then copy and paste an entire blog post into the “comment” area.  Bloggers like me, who rely on Pinterst for a huge chunk of their traffic, were not happy.  (I mean, why should people come to our blogs to read about a photo on Pinterest when they could read the whole thing  in a Pinterest description…?)

Pinterest finally implemented a character limit a few months ago.  YAY!  But now they are going so far as to have descriptions of the pin automatically upload when someone pins your photo… if you aren’t careful, that could be a big BOO!

Here are a few examples from photos of mine that others have pinned.

1. DSCN4220  This doesn’t tell anyone about this photo, other than the fact that the blogger (that would be me) was lazy and opted not to rename it.  I should have named it “soaking burner in ammonia” or something like that.
2. How to store fresh produce – From A to Zucchini (And a handy printable.)  This is the title of the blog post itself.  This is an older post, so I am not sure how it shows up like this… did the pinner copy and paste it into the description?  Did Pinterest do it automatically?  (click HERE to read original post)
3. cleaning stove burners, grates  This is how I saved the photo.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  I should have named it “How to easily clean your stove burners” or something that is easily searchable. (click HERE to read original post)
4. The V Spot: Make ahead, stuffed French Toast This is the new thing that Pinterest seems to be doing, at least for me.  It adds the name of my blog and whatever the title of the post is.  It’s cool for this particular post, but I don’t always name my posts something so clear and concise. (click HERE to read original post)

This is what I have found to be the safest route:
First, try to create a “beauty shot” and put text onto the photo (without obscuring the subject).  Explain what it is and show it first in your post.  It is the photo that people are most likely to pin.
Here’s an example of one I did for a recent project:

To read about this project click HERE

Don’t laugh, but I saved this photo as unique, easy, DIY, wedding gift, anniversary gift, cheap, inexpensive  I wanted to have key words that someone might be searching for.  But remember photo #3 above..?  I didn’t want that coming up as the description, so I did the only thing I have found that ensures the description says what I want it to say…  I went into Pinterst and did it myself.

Publish your post and copy the link, then go into Pinterest.  Go either to Goodies or About and then Pin It Button.  Scroll down until you find Pin It Button For Websites.

Add your link into the “URL of the page the pin is on” then type in your description.  As you type, the code below is automatically updated with your description.  Copy the code, then go back and edit your post by inserting the code directly under your Beauty Shot.

Now when my photo is pinned using the “Pin it” button next to the photo, it automatically has this description:

You can add your blog name, instructions to click for tutorial or recipe… whatever.
All of the other photos on the page are automatically pinning with the title of the post, but that’s OK, because the shot most likely to get pinned is set up.

(Does this work every time?  No.  If someone is pinning from the “Pin It” tool on their browsers tool bar they will probably get the title of your post.)

Can pinners change the description to whatever they want?  Of course they can.  But you should try to make it as easy as possible for them to pin it, remember why they pinned it, and hopefully find their way to your blog or website.

If you don’t know how to find out what you have had pinned on Pinterest, it’s very easy:

Just type in /source/ followed by the URL of your website.

How are you doing with all of these Pinterest changes?  Love them or hate them?  Am I doing this the hard way?  Let me know!


  1. says

    I have to say Pinterest has not caught on with me. Sure is is a great resource of photos but to me it just seems like another way for people to steal my work.
    Plus I see many blogs that just copy all the photos for their blog posts and call it a day having compiled everyone’s photos into what looks like their own work.

  2. says

    Great tips – thanks! I am getting decent traffic from Pinterest – especially on recipe posts – but still learning the best ways to use it.

  3. says

    Last few things I searched on Pinterest ended up spam. :(
    I don’t think too many people pin from my blog but if they did I’d have to do what you suggested because those are def the ones I pin when I pin from a blog.

  4. says

    I discovered your blog because of Pinterest. I’d never have found it otherwise, because I don’t go looking for blogs. I’m fairly careful to check the links before I repin because so many of them lead to tumbler or some other space that offers nothing, or spam, or worse. Sometimes, if a pin truly sparks my interest and it has no link I’ll go a’google-ing for whatever instructions or recipe is missing. I’ve also begun unfollowing people who pin pictures with no links, and over time I will be deleting pins on my boards that are not linked. I have noticed some bloggers have the option to “pin it” right on their boards. My guess is they do that so they can control what is actualy pinned. I’m not sure that making things harder for those who subscribe to blogs is necessarily the best way to go. Someone like myself who found this blog through Pinterest might not be interested in having to click “here” to get to the recipe or tutorial. I know there are a few blogs that I subscribed to through pinterest that do that. I’ll be dropping them. I subscribe to save myself time and because the subject matter is of interest to me and because the information is easy to get. (Just thought you’d like to hear a pinners take on this.)

  5. says

    Murielle, I sure wish I could reply to you directly. Thanks for doing your best to “pin from the source.” Anyone who works hard to create original content appreciate that extra effort on your part. What I have outlined in this post has nothing to do with people subscribing to blogs, or even reading blogs. It is all about how to make sure the automatic description that pinterest now plugs in is an actual description of the blog post and not, say, a camera number. We know pinners are busy (because we pin too!) so the idea is to make it easier on everyone. If you pin a photo of a chair re-do, wouldn’t you rather it automatically said “how to recover this chair” as opposed to DSC5665…? You’d have to delete and type in your own description for the latter no matter what.

  6. says

    Love your full description of the new developments Pinterest has gone through. Though… Adding your own description to a pin is way easier than you described: just add a description to the image, in the HTML code of the image, like: img src=”” title=”” . Just fill in the title, and Pinterest will automatically take that as the standard description for the pin! In most blogging platforms you can switch to HTML code or add the description when adding the photo to your blog post. I don’t know how to do this in Blogger, but it works this way in WordPress… Good luck!

    Love Maria.

  7. says

    Hi Maria! Yes, you can insert the description into the html code for your photo. The problem is that Pinterest is still pulling the title of the post, no matter what the description in the code says. By putting the description into their “Pin It” button and placing the button near the photo that is most likely to be pinned, you can help to ensure the description is what you want it to be.

  8. says

    I don’t blog, but as a crafter I appreciate the work that has gone into blogging and if pinning something I always make a description about the blog, why I loved it. I have found 2 “blogs” that are just copying others blogs and taking it as their own. So before I pin I make sure that it is to the correct site. It horrifies me that these people are not only stealing others work but sharing pics of the bloggers children. This is a great idea.

  9. says

    great post, VIV!

    so you don’t ever put the URL of the photo? that always gets me. since i’m on blogger. never tried it this way, to be honest.

    but since the auto thingy has come into play – it’s been a GREAT/HUGE help for the tech challenged girl!

    thanks for all your tips!

  10. says

    Great to know – I love Pinterest and think at the end of the day it is a good tool and like all other things it can be used by others who are not honest. I love that it automatically does this so that we have some control.

  11. says

    Great post and full of awesome information! Thank you so much for sharing…it is so nice to learn how other’s are dealing with so many changes….like so many of us bloggers out there! Have a lovely weekend! Angie xo

  12. says

    Oh my word…I had no idea Pinterest was doing this! Thank you so much for this great post and tutorial. I will have to do some investigating!

    If you have a moment, maybe you could link this post up to my weekly say G’Day Saturday Linky party that has just started? I think everyone needs to read this!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

  13. says

    Perhaps an easy way is to add an alt attribute to your image tag with the description you want to show up. Like this:

    [img src=”(image url)” alt=”(your description)”]

    (Of course, replace [] with <>)

    Hope it helps!


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