So, you think you’ve been mistakenly caught by the Pinterest spam block? You’re in good company; like, a football-field-full-of-people amount of company. The Pinterest spam block has caught many accounts for no particular reason, but you’re not helpless.
Some Pinterest Spam Block Backstory
In true 2020 style, it was sometime during 2020 that the spam filter began plaguing creators. Many of us simply woke up one morning to see our Pinterest accounts falling out of the sky. Some people lost millions of viewers within a week.
The Pinterest spam block is like the Instagram shadowban: there’s no indication of a problem on your end, but your content stops being shown to viewers.
The real kicker is that you will still see spam on Pinterest constantly! *shakes fists at sky*
How To Tell If You’ve Been Caught In The Pinterest Spam Block
In order to rectify the Pinterest spam block on your account, you first have to identify it and then get Pinterest to admit and remove the spam blocker from your account. Let’s start with the diagnosis stage.
Step 1. Diagnosing Your Pinterest Account
Here are the telltale signs that your Pinterest account has been caught in the Pinterest spam block:
- Your website traffic flatlines. For some creators, this looks like losing hundreds or thousands of website visitors almost immediately.
- Your average monthly viewers decline. This is an instance when your number of monthly views is really important – use it as a thermometer to check the temperature of your account. A drastic drop that seems out of step with seasonal changes or viral content that could be quietening down could be the spam blocker.
- Your rankings disappear from searches. Perhaps the most devastating symptom of being caught in the Pinterest spam block is losing your rankings. When my account was mistakenly flagged spam, it took a week after my impressions flatlined for my rankings to disappear, so check back in on this symptom
Here’s a peek at how that can look in your analytics:
There are times when your account stats will decline and it’s not the Pinterest spam blocker. A few of those scenarios are:
- After viral content. What goes up must come down! Viral content will balance out and come down from orbit at some point.
- After seasonal content has died down. Very similar to viral content is seasonal content. These are the “ebbs and flows” Pinterest sometimes talks about in their help emails. It’s natural and predictable.
- If you’re using an outdated strategy. No platform stays the same forever. If you haven’t educated yourself and stayed current on how to actually use the platform *now* then an outdated strategy would certainly wreak havoc.
For example, one of my clients reached out for an account audit after her account’s reach has slowly dwindled over the course of months. After I audited her account and Pinterest strategy, she sent me this screenshot of her Pinterest analytics:
When it doubt about the Pinterest spam block, put in a help ticket. And when in doubt about your strategy, send me an email for some Pinterest coaching 🙂
The next step after diagnosing the Pinterest spam block on your account is getting Pinterest to acknowledge it and mark your account as safe.
Recovering Your Account After Being Incorrectly Marked As Spam
Time to get Pinterest to confess! You may have to pester them and email them more than once. Pinterest customer support has declined in quality over the past 3 years. They also sometimes deny that the spam blocker has affected accounts, only to later confess (a few tricks for handling that below).
Don’t be shy or rude, just express what you’re concerned about. I’ll give you my exact message below to make it as easy as possible.
Step 2. Get Pinterest To Confirm You’re In The Spam Block
If you think you’ve been caught in the Pinterest spam block, you should put in a help ticket right away. You can follow this link, or navigate to the help center from your Pinterest account by clicking the question mark bottom in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen:
When putting in your help ticket, let Pinterest know that you haven’t committed spammy practices and deflect their common bandaid responses.
You can use this text below:
Hello Pinterest team, I believe my account has been mistakenly caught in the spam block. My website visitors from Pinterest have essentially disappeared, my impressions have flatlined and my new fresh content is not being seen by viewers. This is not just “ebbs and flows” – I need a human to look at my account please and mark it as safe. Thank you so much for helping me handle this quickly.
Customize this to fit your account’s symptoms, but I do recommend keeping the “ebbs and flows” comment because this will usually be their initial reply. Also, keep it friendly! There’s no reason to be rude, and it never helps anyway.
What Pinterest Will Say
There’s a handful of canned responses that Pinterest commonly shoots off in response to the Pinterest spam block help tickets. Here’s what you can expect.
The response That You Want To Get from Pinterest:
“We apologize for the inconvenience, we’ve looked into this and have found a bug in our spam blocker that was mistakenly flagging safe content as spam. We’re working on this now to get everything back to normal – it may take several days. We’re sorry for any inconvenience. We work hard to keep spammy links off Pinterest and sometimes the system flags false-positives.”
Ironically, it seems like there’s never been more spam on Pinterest, despite the spam blocker. But hey, that’s the point here! Getting them to admit to the Pinterest spam block on your account and remove it is a success. But expect it to take weeks, not days, for your account to rebalance.
The Canned Denial Response from Pinterest:
“Like other online organic distribution platforms, Pinterest experiences natural ebbs and flows with its content distribution, which therefore results in variations in viewership and impression volume. Oftentimes, fluctuations are results of changes in engagement rates, seasonality, format type, related interests for content, or updates that Pinterest makes to the system so we can better deliver valuable ideas to our Pinners. Just as our users’ interests evolve, we expect the distribution of creators’ content to experience natural ups and downs as well.
“We encourage all creators to continue to post inspiring, high-quality ideas to see what is resonating with their audience on Pinterest.
“Sometimes, recent changes in creators’ stats may be the result of updates we’re making to prioritize new Pins over other already-Pinned content.
“We encourage creators to publish new, original content regularly as the best way to build your audience on Pinterest itself. We encourage you to publish new content over Saving already-pinned content from yourself or others. Pinners come to Pinterest to discover new ideas and as we continue to update, we’ll prioritize new original content over Saves. This is true whether you publish content through Pinterest directly or through a third-party scheduling tool.”
This is not the response that you want.
After reading many threads in Facebook groups dedicated to Pinterest, I’ve seen that it’s not unheard of for Pinterest to deny the spam blocker at first before ultimately acknowledging it and removing the block.
Once caught by the spam blocker, your account will not go back to normal until the Pinterest spam block is waved and your account is marked as safe.
If your account continues to plummet, submit more help tickets. You will get a different customer support person with each ticket. Here is a hail Mary customer support ticket:
“Hello there Pinterest team, my account has plummeted and I believe it was caught in the spam blocker. These are not seasonal ebbs and flows, and I’ve never committed any spammy behavior. Can you please see if my account is caught in the spam filter? I’m planning an ads campaign but will not proceed until I know my account is marked as safe. Thank you for helping me resolve this quickly!”
I’m not normally a liar, but when it comes to being ignored by the help desk, my nose grows. Yours should too.
I wish it didn’t come to this, but sometimes it’s the only way to get a help ticket addressed. I had a client whose account was completely suspended by Pinterest’s mistake and after *months* of submitting help tickets telling them that it was an error, they only brought it back from the dead and let her back on the platform after we said we were planning an ads campaign.
In the event that your tickets are being completely ignored, put in a ticket every single day until you talk to a human. Be nice and be persistent. It’s vital that you talk to a Pinterest representative so that they can mark your account as safe. Your account won’t recover without them removing the block.
How To Avoid The Pinterest Spam Block
While the Pinterest spam block is somewhat random, you can take steps to minimize your risk of being flagged.
Check Your Pinning Practices For Errors
Never commit spam. That may sound straightforward, but familiarize yourself with what constitutes spam on Pinterest if you’re worried your pinning has been caught in the Pinterest spam block.
Minimize re-pinning other creators’ content (or stop altogether). There’s no reason to re-pin other creators’ content. If you do re-pin, check each and every link to make sure that it’s not spam. Re-pinning a spam link can flag you as spam, too. That’s how my aforementioned client’s account was incorrectly suspended. *shivers*
Pinterest doesn’t say that re-pinning will hinder your account, but yet they kind of do. This insight came directly from Pinterest’s customer support:
“I checked the back-end and saw that there are a comparatively high number of re-pins on your Pinterest account. Please know that ultimately, we make edits to our algorithm to improve the pinner experience, which results in more quality traffic (people who are interested in your business content and will more likely convert).”
Don’t pin the same URL repeatedly. If you make multiple pins for each of your blog posts, never upload them all in a row. Space them out with at least 7 day inbetween, and even more if you can.
Use The Idea Pins Feature
Idea pins (previously called story pins) do not get you traffic, but they get excellent reach that’s much more immediate than the typical slow-burn of optimizing on Pinterest.
Publishing idea pins will grow your brand reach and follower count. This didn’t use to matter on Pinterest, but they’re pushing creators more and more to grow their following on the app and engage with users within the Pinterest interface specifically.
This is actually less a point about the Pinterest spam block and more about succeeding on Pinterest in 2021. If Pinterest is a priority platform for you, then you have to play the game! And the game keeps changing; such is the life of a digital entrepreneur.
Beef Up Your Google Referrals
In the world of online business, it’s never safe to keep all of your eggs in one basket. Don’t wait to be struck by the Pinterest spam block to focus on getting referrals from Google.
Split your time between Google and Pinterest; I have some easy ideas that will help you here. If writing well-optimized content is still intimidating or a struggle for you, read my small business SEO guide here.
Pinterest Is A Mess, But We Still Need It
Pinterest changed drastically in 2020 – Pinterest themselves even described it as the “start of a new Pinterest” at the October 2020 Pinterest Creator Festival.
On your smart feed now, you’ll see an overload of ads, video pins that you can’t intuitively click on and idea pins, which have no click-through whatsoever.
Creators are encouraged to publish fresh content daily, which has led to many creators creating massive amounts of pin covers for their pieces (the highest number I’ve heard is 50 – 100 pin covers for a single piece of content; my word that’s not the Pinterest I want to be scrolling through).
As frustrated as I am with Pinterest, these annoyances do not outweigh the opportunity. Keep your Pinterest account active and healthy. Keep optimizing your content to the best of your ability and creating content that people want to read, and remember that this is a long game we’re playing.
Final Comments On The Pinterest Spam Block
Getting caught in the Pinterest spam block is not as devastating in the long run as it feels in real-time. Follow these steps to resolve your account and protect yourself from future damage.
If your account was caught by the Pinterest spam block, do you have any insight to add to help other creators out? I’d love to hear in the comments!