One of the most effective strategies to expand your Instagram reach is to use a strong Instagram SEO (search engine optimization) approach.
Brushing up on your SEO skills will assist your brand or business become more searchable, as well as connect and establish a community.
From hashtags to alt text, we’ll show you how to apply an SEO approach to your Instagram strategy so you can reach out to the right people.
What Is Instagram SEO?
Instagram SEO means optimizing your Instagram content to be discovered in search results. When someone searches for a relevant keyword or hashtag in the Instagram search box, you want your account or content to appear near the top of the list.
The more people see your material, the better your chances of increasing your following and developing a strong Instagram community
But how does Instagram SEO function in practice?
Instagram’s algorithm analyzes all of the app’s content, gathering data that it can use to figure out what the post is about — and, by extension, who might be interested in it.
While the algorithm handles all of this automatically, there are a few things you can do to help it proceed in the right direction.
Keep reading to learn how to improve your discoverability using five methods we’ll share later in this piece.
Why Is Instagram SEO Important?
With over one billion monthly active users on Instagram, SEO plays a significant role in both reach and discovery on the platform.
As part of the Explore page, Instagram search is the directory to every Instagram account on the app.
Much like you would search a term on Google, you can use the search bar on the top of the Explore page to find and discover accounts, hashtags, and locations.
You may tap into what your target audience is looking for by tailoring your Instagram content.
That’s not all, though.
Users’ suggested posts — a section dedicated to showcasing a selection of posts from accounts you don’t follow — are also heavily influenced by SEO.
And according to Instagram, these suggestions are, “based on posts from accounts like the ones you follow and posts similar to the ones you like or save”.
With a strong Instagram SEO strategy, you can ensure your posts are surfaced in relevant search results on the Explore page and in suggested content feeds.
It’s the ultimate tactic for reaching relevant audiences and giving your content the visibility it deserves.
Instagram SEO Ranking: Key Factors
Optimizing your Instagram posts for SEO is just one part of the equation — Instagram’s algorithm takes a whole bunch of extra information into account to determine the ranking of a keyword search result on the Explore page.
According to Instagram, the most important factors are:
- Relevance to the search query: The algorithm will try to match what you’ve searched with top posts, accounts, audio, tags, and places (each split into separate tabs). This is the most important factor.
- User activity: If Instagram thinks someone will be more interested in one post over another, it will prioritize that in the search results. It determines this based on the searcher’s previous activity on the app.
- Information about the search results: When there is a high volume of relevant results for a search term, it can become a bit of a popularity contest. The number of likes, shares, and follows for an account or post can also influence where the search result is ranked.
When it comes to your Instagram SEO strategy, the main thing you can do to improve your ranking is to help the algorithm correctly identify your content — so the next time someone performs a search, Instagram will know to include your post in the results.
5 Instagram SEO Tactics to Increase Your Discoverability
Knowing how to use SEO to your advantage can skyrocket your visibility on Instagram.
Here are five ways to boost discoverability:
Tactic #1: Use Keywords to Create Descriptive Captions
Until recently you could only search in Instagram Explore via hashtags, location tags, usernames, and profile names.
However, things have changed. You can now search using keywords.
That means writing relevant, descriptive captions using choice keywords can seriously impact your content’s discoverability.
And while some of those keywords can come from an account’s name, username, and bio, they mainly come from the captions you write.
Take the keywords “Instagram ads” for example. When searched on the Explore page, Thinkdigads account populates:
The takeaway? By using descriptive keywords in your Instagram captions, you’re more likely to appear on the Explore page and get more eyes on your content.
Tactic #2: Incorporate keywords into your Instagram profile name.
If you want to grow your following and use Instagram search to your advantage, you need to optimize your Instagram profile.
If you’re hoping to rank for a specific keyword, it’s a good idea to incorporate that keyword into your name or username — since both are searchable on Instagram.
Adding keywords to your name field can be just as valuable If you can’t fit a keyword into your username.
This is a great way to improve your chances of appearing in the top results if anyone searches for your target keywords.
Tactic #3: Include up to 30 Relevant Hashtags
Using relevant hashtags on posts and stories is still one of the best ways to get discovered by new audiences.
Since hashtags are used with the intent to discover new content, using the “right” hashtags can put you in front of your target audience, even if they haven’t connected with you before.
That’s why it’s important to have a clear and well-crafted hashtag strategy — which can optimize your account and drive more engagement to gain followers.
Tactic #4: Add Descriptive Alt Text to Your Instagram Posts
Instagram alt text is a feature that allows you to write custom alternative text for a richer description of your photos.
And while the feature was mainly designed to improve accessibility on the platform, it can also be used for SEO purposes.
At the moment, Instagram automatically generates alt text so people can hear descriptions of content through a screen reader.
It uses object recognition technology to generate an automated description of photos — with a varied level of success.
However, you can also manually input alt text when you create a post, adding valuable extra detail and keywords.
How to Add Alt Text to an Instagram Post:
To add alt text to a post, tap Advanced Settings at the bottom of the screen before posting.
Next, tap Write Alt Text.
Write your alt text in the box and tap Done.
It’s that easy to create a more inclusive Instagram experience, all while improving your SEO efforts!
Tactic #5: Be Consistent With Your Niche
Finally, a major (yet simple) visibility tactic is to be consistent with your Instagram SEO practices.
The more you follow the aforementioned best practices, the more the algorithm will learn what your account is all about.
This type of consistency teaches Instagram who you are and what you offer — which means your profile and content will be served to relevant users as they browse Instagram.
With just a few tweaks and improvements, you can easily take advantage of Instagram searches and suggested posts.
Equipped with the above Instagram SEO tips, you can grow a strong, relevant audience that’s highly engaged with your content.
Instagram SEO is a no-cost, high-impact tactic for anyone who wants to grow their reach, increase traffic to their profile/website, and drive more conversions. It may not yield the same volume of results as paid advertising, but the potential ROI is staggering. If you’re committed to using social media as an engine of growth for your business, Instagram SEO is a no-brainer.