Since Pinterest recently launched its "sections" feature, there's been a lot of talk around it. While it is clearly sensible and popular, the question that comes to us as marketers and bloggers is this:
"Can we use this to our advantage?" One thing we know for sure - a lot of Pinterest users wanted this feature. As a matter of fact, it was the most requested Pinterest feature of all time. Which is easy to understand - many boards have hundreds or even thousands of pins. Sections can help these boards get organized.
The good: When you organize a large board into several Board Sections, this helps your visitors find the pins that they want to see. For example, if you have a thousand recipes on one board, few people will have the patience to scroll through all those recipes. But if the same pins are organized into sections such as "Cookies", "Cakes", etc. then visitors that are looking for a specific type of recipe will find the right pins without too much scrolling.
The bad: At the time of this writing, Pinterest has not incorporated Board Sections into search. Unlike boards, board sections do not have descriptions. Savvy marketers always think about SEO keywords that should be incorporated into pin descriptions and board descriptions. Ultimately, these keywords help your pins get more exposure in search results. Because of this, many Pinterest marketers will continue to organize their pins using separate boards and stay away from board sections until Pinterest adds section descriptions and updates the search to index this information.
Another SEO-related concern is related to URL structure. Board sections make the URL longer. The more characters there are before the actual keywords in question, the less value Google seems to place on it - according to various SEO experts, anyway.
Lastly, while board sections are helpful for visitors that know exactly what they want, they create some extra friction for those visitors that just want to browse your pins. It takes a few clicks to get from a board section back to the main board and open another board section. These extra clicks reduce the chance that your visitors will see all the pins on your board. Indeed, scrolling through one long list of pins is easier switching between a bunch of board sections because the swipe gesture does not require as much effort as clicking on links or deciding which link to click.
The conclusion: If Pinterest decides to go the whole nine yards, adds descriptions to sections, and incorporates it into search, it would be great news for marketers. Long tail keywords would rule. Unfortunately, the way it is at present, it is little more than an organizational tool, the real value of which still has to be determined. With that being said, it has been proven time and time again that early adopters of new features are the ones who end up deriving the most benefit. It might be the case yet again.