Pinterest is a very cool idea. It could very easily challenge Tumblr as a platform for image-centred blogging, with its ease of use and flexibility. What’s more, in the past six months the volume of traffic reaching the site has increased exponentially, having more than doubled since August.
It makes bookmarking a broad range of assets and media a simple and aesthetically appealing endeavour, and the potential to make content go viral has not gone overlooked.
The potential to exploit this for link spam has also reached the SEO radar, and irresponsible link-farming has become a distinct possibility, partly through the lack of no-follow links in Pinterest content. There has also been a spate of articles on SEO blogs in the past week or so encouraging the use of the resource, for example this one from a guest blogger on Search Engine Land.
The article’s enthusiasm for a growing and well-thought-out site is understandable, but its position in SEO terms as a hub for new and possibly low-value content is just as clear. Should this trend become widespread it may force Pinterest’s hand and cause them to remove the do-follow aspect of the site’s content, which would not only combat the influx of high-density, low-quality material, but also make a large dent in the quantifiable SEO value of work that is of some more general worth to the community in which it is posted.
Should Pinterest go down a similar path to Wikipedia, who several years ago made their external links no-follow after a long campaign of removing SEO-farming articles, there will still be value posting content to their site; the ease of use still means that quality content will be appropriately shared, and should it be posted on external sites can gather SEO value that way.
The big question is how would a Pinterest with self-imposed and diminished SEO value adapt? One hopes it finds a way to maintain its popularity and usability without suffering an influx of spam.