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How to Get Unblocked on Pinterest When Your Blog is in Jail
It's no secret that more Pinterest users are being blocked than ever before by Pinterest for failing to adhere to their spam policies.
Prior to 2019, spam was rampant on Pinterest and eventually developed into a huge problem.
Some users acted maliciously, purposely stealing popular pins and using them to redirect traffic to their own websites. Some were creating their own pins, but the pins weren't relevant and led to spammy websites that scraped data and credit card info.
Other users didn't have malicious intent, but were a bit careless and accidentally pinned stolen pins or pins that led to spammy sites.
In 2019, Pinterest started cracking down hard on spam. To be honest, I really think this is a good thing!
Pinterest is interested in keeping quality high on their platform, because if the user experience becomes too poor, people will eventually stop using it. Prior to last year, I would say that they were certainly getting there.
Having your pins stolen was pretty much a right of passage on Pinterest. It happened to everyone, it was infuriating, and there wasn't a lot you could do about it.
You could report it, but back then their reporting feature wasn't great and often accidentally banned the original user as well as the thief.
Thankfully, Pinterest’s algorithm has grown a ton and they really know what they are doing now.
Of course, there are still occasional accidents when it comes to websites being blocked for spam.
Let’s make a quick distinction before we get any further...
What's the difference between a blocked link and a blocked site?
Keep in mind that there is a big difference between Pinterest blocking one of your links, and blocking your entire website.
If Pinterest believes that one of the pages on your website is spammy, they may simply block any pin links to it. If you do something a bit more sinister, Pinterest may block your entire domain URL so that you can't create any new pins for your website.
When this happens, they also remove any pins you already had on the platform. In this case, your Pinterest traffic effectively drops to zero.
What to do if Pinterest Blocks One of Your Links
If Pinterest has blocked a link to your site but not your entire website, you'll see a message that says something along the lines of "Sorry, we blocked this link because it may lead to spam."
So why would one of your links get blocked? There are a number of reasons why this could happen, including by accident!
The most likely reason for having a particular link blocked is that Pinterest thinks it may lead to spam. If your page is low in valuable content, and especially if it has any spammy qualities about it, it is likely that the page will be blocked.
Another reason a particular page might be blocked is if the content does not fit in within Pinterest’s rules.
Pornography, nudity, and violent content are all clearly against Pinterest guidelines, and something they won't allow to be linked to on their platform.
The last reason a page might be considered inappropriate is if the pin you created for it is misleading.
For example, let's say you create a pin about personal finance for kids, but it links to a page asking people to buy jewelry. This is considered misleading and Pinterest will definitely have a problem with it. They want to make sure that people get what they expected to see when they click through a pin.
If your link is on topic, fits within their guidelines, and isn't spammy, this may be a simple mistake on the algorithms part!
We’ll get to how you can appeal this decision further down in this post.
Why Did Pinterest Block My Entire Website?
There are a number of reasons why websites are now getting blocked for spam by Pinterest. Pinterest has tightened their grip considerably on websites they consider to be engaging in spammy practices.
Pinterest has a zero tolerance policy for spam, so if it is something you have engaged in, you likely will not be getting your account unblocked.
However, if it was simply a mistake on their part, you can expect to have your account reinstated within a couple of weeks. So what does Pinterest consider to be spammy practices?
1. Pinning Too Often to the Same Boards
The first practice Pinterest sees as spammy is pinning the same blog posts to the same Pinterest boards too closely together.
For example, one Pinterest best practice is to make sure that you only pin a blog post to a particular board once per day.
If you've created five pins for a particular blog post, make sure to spread them out over at least five days!
Pinning several of them to the same board on the same day is considered excessive by Pinterest, and could get you blocked for spam.
The reason for this is that Pinterest doesn't want your followers to see a flood of the same pin in their feed.
When you upload a handful of pins that all lead to the same blog post all at once, they can clog up the feed of people who follow your account.
Pinterest wants you to pin as naturally as possible, where the pins leading to a particular blog post on the same Pinterest board are spaced out naturally over time.
This is one of the reasons I absolutely recommend using Tailwind to help you share your pins. Tailwind has an interval feature which allows you to ensure that pins with the same blog URL will not be posted to the same boards on the same day.
Another piece to this puzzle is making sure that you don't post the exact same pin to a particular board too often.
Pinterest wants to see at least four or five months go by before a particular pin is reposted onto a board. It used to be that you could repin a particular pin to a board every couple of days and be just fine, but those rules have changed.
Pinterest is favoring new and fresh content, and they really don't want to see what they consider to be duplicates.
Tailwind’s SmartLoop feature makes this super easy to do. You can set up your Smart Loop to pin your most successful pins to your best boards on autopilot, while keeping a 5-month spread between them.
This is a great way to keep getting traffic from those popular pins, without breaking Pinterest's spam rules.
2. Repinning Spam or Stolen Pins
Another reason Pinterest may have blocked your website is if you have repinned stolen pins or pins that lead to spammy sites.
I know it's super common for Pinterest users to blindly pin any pins they like without checking out the website behind it first. But that is a very bad idea!
Back in the day, this wouldn't have been a problem.
But since so many pins have been stolen and redirected to spammy websites, Pinterest is now cracking down on those nefarious users AND users who accidentally share them.
This is why you absolutely need to click through a pin and check the quality of the page behind it before you save it to one of your boards. This is time consuming for sure, but it's definitely necessary.
Here's what you want to check before you save a pin you come across:
- Check that the domain name on the pin matches the URL it links to. If they don't match, the pin has been stolen and you don't want to pin it.
- Check that the title on the pin and content on the post are related. Pinterest really doesn't want to see misleading pins, so make sure that the page the pin links to is on topic.
- Skim through the page real quick and make sure it seems high-quality. The page should be on topic, have enough content to be considered valuable, and not have any spammy or sketchy attributes.
3. Pinning to a Spammy Site
Another reason Pinterest may have blocked your website is if it's spammy. You will know if this is you or not! And I'm guessing it's not.
If you're just a blogger who is writing about acceptable Pinterest topics, this one won't be you.
Spammy websites are typically those that use any type of black hat techniques to get traffic, that scrape credit card information, or that in one way or another try to swindle or manipulate the reader.
4. Engaging in Share-All and Follow-for-Follow Threads
This is the one that typically gets Pinterest users who don't know any better!
If you've been around on Facebook much, you've probably seen that almost every Facebook business group has a share thread for people to share their blog posts and Pinterest pins to get more engagement.
Share threads themselves aren't necessarily a problem, but they have a spin-off that certainly is.
If you've ever come across a share thread that was a pin-all or share-all thread, run away! These are threads where everyone who posts on them is expected to share every single blog post or pin that is in that thread.
It's a manipulative way of artificially boosting engagement, and Pinterest considers it to be a spammy practice.
Here's an example...
Pinterest’s algorithm is incredibly intelligent, and they are getting better and better at seeing what we do on other social media platforms to determine if there is any spammy behavior going on.
Pinterest can even tell which other Pinterest users are saving your pins, and when they see the same group of people repeatedly saving your content and you saving theirs, it triggers their spam filter.
My advice here is to stay far away from share-all and pin-all threads. Regular share threads where sharing is optional and users can select just a couple of their favorites to share, are still safe.
How to Appeal if Your Website or Link is Blocked for Spam by Pinterest
The first thing you’ll want to do if one of your links or your entire blog URL is blocked is submit an appeal to Pinterest.
First, go to the Pinterest appeals page , go to the Appeals section, and select the “Pinterest blocked my site” option. Click Continue.
Under the “What’s the Issue?” section, you’ll want to choose the option that best fits what’s happening with your account. Pinterest will then take you to a form where you can fill out your information and they will review your account.
I recommend being very polite in the comment section, and ask for their help. The Pinterest support team will be able to see on their end if real spam occurred or not, which is good news for you!
What to do if Your Pinterest Appeal is Rejected
I’ll be honest here. If you have engaged in any practices that Pinterest perceives as spammy, you very likely won’t be getting your account back.
That being said, mistakes on their end certainly do happen. If you believe that you didn’t do anything spammy, you’ll want to reach out to them weekly until the case is resolved.
Pinterest appeals is pretty good about reinstating non-offending users, although it can sometimes take a few weeks to get there.
Your best bet is to keep trying until they reinstate your account or close the case completely.
What to do if Pinterest Won’t Reinstate Your Account and Closes the Case
In the worst case scenario, Pinterest will refuse to unblock your website and will close the case (meaning that they won’t respond to your requests anymore).
In this event, all of your pins that are currently on the platform are deleted, and you won’t be able to upload any new pins to Pinterest using the blocked URL.
The only thing you can truly do here is change your domain name and do everything you can to follow the rules. Thankfully, this isn’t a terribly difficult thing to do but it can take some extra work to right all of the broken links it will cause.
If you need to get a new URL, head over to your web host and chat with support to get it completed. Domain names themselves are pretty cheap when you’ve already purchased hosting.
Siteground, for example, only charges $15.95 per year for a domain name. I love hosting with them because their support is incredibly quick and knowledgeable, and they’ve always been able to help me with more complicated hosting tasks.
Having your website blocked for spam by Pinterest can be incredibly disheartening, but it’s important to keep some perspective.
This is a great reminder that we shouldn’t rely long term on only one source of traffic for our businesses. It’s too risky.
If you’re a new blogger, focus everything you have on getting Pinterest traffic. But once you’ve mastered that, it’s a wise idea to add another traffic source such as Google SEO, Youtube, or a solid social media strategy.
If you’ve been blocked and can’t get the situation resolved, keep in mind that this is not the be all end all of your business. You may have to change course a bit, but you can still pivot and be quite successful. Good luck!
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