Exploring Pinterest’s Guided Search

Published by
Melissa Megginson

With last night’s announcement of Guided Search, Pinterest is looking to change the way we view search engines. Sounds great, but what exactly does that mean? In this post, we walk you through what Guided Search is and what it means for users and marketers.

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to experience the new Pinterest layout that put search front-and-center – if only for a few hours. Since that time, Pinterest has not been shy about presenting themselves as a search and discovery tool rather than a social media platform. Well, last night they released a brand new way to search the Internet: Guided Search. Sounds great, but what exactly does Guided Search mean? Keep reading to learn more.

1. What is Guided Search?

According to Pinterest, Guided Search is “made for exploring, whether you know exactly what you want, or you’re just starting to look around”. They want Guided Search to be an entirely new way to search the Internet, based on the excitement of image exploration. Users will now be able to search though Pinterest’s 750 million boards and 30 billion pins to find exactly what they didn’t know they were looking for.

2. How does it work?

Right now Guided Search is only offered on phone and tablet apps. When I tried it out this morning, I was met with this screen on search:

Because I’m in dire need of a new summer cut, I chose “Hair Styles”. From there I was able to explore all the different styling options:

After choosing my hair type (medium length hair with bangs), it was time to explore:

If I decided that I needed more, then all I would need to do is hit the “+” to add extra permitters:


Now I can find the most cute, current cut to get my summer started right.

3. What does it mean for users?

This is a potential game changer for search as we know it. While previous search engines allowed users to find something they were looking for, Pinterest’s new guided search lets users explore things they didn’t even know they were looking for. Pinterest believes that search should be “lot less typing… and a lot more browsing” through images. The simple idea that people are more interested in browsing images rather than text is what made them the platform they are today. Making the leap to visual discovery is a very logical – and potentially very lucrative – one.

4. What does it mean for marketers?

The Pinterest blog specifically says: “We’re not changing the way we rank search results, so you don’t need to make any changes to Pins from your business. As always, good Pin descriptions are the best way to help Pinners find your content”. You must take that advice to heart – always have good pin descriptions. This release just emphasizes the need for good Pinterest SEO. With this more “serendipitous” way of searching, you must, must, must describe your pins with rich, descriptive keywords that your target audience will be willing to stumble upon.

 What’s your take on Pinterest’s Guided Search? Let us know in the comments!

Melissa Megginson

Melissa Megginson is resident Community Manager and Cat Lady at Tailwind, the leading Pinterest & Instagram tool for brands. Melissa specializes in affiliate marketing, public speaking, and making our members look good. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @MelMegg.

View Comments

    • Should come up if you start with a search tied to an existing / popular topic. E.g. "Women's Fashion" or "DIY". Doesn't always show for longtail terms where the graph probably isn't as developed yet.

Published by
Melissa Megginson

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