“How to” Get Found

Among the things that spiked on the internet during the pandemic, as increasing numbers of people were homebound, were searches for products to purchase online.

Searches for “how-to” were also popular as more people cooked at home and tried different arts, crafts, and home improvement projects. In March, AdWeek published an article revealing that Pinterest searches for children’s activities alone were up more than 4,000%!

No sooner had a pandemic been declared in March when Pinterest witnessed its highest weekend in history for saves and searches. The app was one of the first to recognize consumer demand and respond quickly.

By the third week of March, Pinterest announced the launch of its Today tab, which made it easier for users to discover and check out trending and timely ideas. By clicking on the “Today” tab at the top of their screen, users would see a list of new daily ideas.

Pinterest’s quick action resulted in more people locating lesson plans, finding help on meal preparations, getting tips on gardening, and developing craft projects for their children. They credit the popularity and the sharing capability of their app because the use of their Send a Pin feature rose 34%. What Pinterest subsequently discovered was that interest in kid-friendly, and comfort food recipes, self-care tips, and family movies also spiked.

And as self-quarantine entered its second month, searches for stress relief and quotes about stress tripled. Searches for “calming quotes” doubled. Pinterest again responded quickly by making a mental wellness feature available on all its platforms, phone, and PC. What’s different with the Today algorithm is that popularity is based on audience preferences and not those of each user.

The final adjustment Pinterest made was to add a separate and dedicated page for COVID-19 searches. It includes pins that frequently answer questions and information on recognizing and reporting false health information.

Getting Aboard

With more people expected to work remotely and rely on social media in the future, it’s not too late to optimize “How to” posts and enhance chances of being discovered on Google. Keeping an ear to the ground like Pinterest enables a brand to quickly adjust and adapt to a changing market. Here are four options.

The how-to post must have a title clearly describing what the article will be about, followed by content explaining it.

Option 1 uses simple formatting like H1 tags for the article’s title and H2 tags for each step. This will make it easier to be found.

Option 2 should also contain the H1 heading for the post title. The H2 heading is the title of the list and should also contain keywords related to H1. A couple of lines further describing the list may be inserted below the H2 title.

The final steps include wrapping the list with the HTML list element and formatting the list items with an H3 tag.

Option 3 is like option 2 but with a named anchor for each list item with accompanying links.

Option 4 is the most complex but also the most effective for “how-tos.” It involves writing coding to content and script to the pages.

In short, the higher the number, the better the chances of success. Brands with no experts on staff would be wise to retain a good developer who can effectively implement these additions and improve the chances of being discovered.