With one billion monthly active users, and an equal amount of content created in proportion, SEO plays a big role in aiding reach and discovery on Instagram.
The search feature on Instagram is an integral part of the user experience. Similar to what you would do on Google, use the search bar on the Explore page to discover new content, hashtags, new accounts, and locations.
SEO also plays an important role in displaying new suggested posts from accounts you don’t directly follow.
According to Instagram, these suggestions are based on posts from accounts that you follow and posts similar to ones you liked or saved before.
With an Instagram Marketing and SEO strategy, you can ensure that the posts are available as relevant search results on the Explore page and inside content feeds.
This is one of the best tactics to reach a new audience and give your content the visibility you want. It’s a great way to create a unique personalized marketing experience for your followers.
- What is SEO on Instagram?
- Instagram SEO Ranking: Key Factors
- 6 Instagram SEO Tactics to Increase Your Discoverability
What is SEO on Instagram?
SEO on Instagram is about creating content or creating videos online in a way that they reach multiple places at once, starting from search results to gaining a place on the Instagram feed.
SEO is essential to improve the life and discoverability of your content to get more eyeballs and sell more products on Instagram.
SEO on Instagram derives itself from a user’s activity on the platform.
The user activity consists of the hashtags the user follows or the accounts they follow and engage with. This gives us an idea of the content they like. Accounts and hashtags the user interacts with will rank higher on the feed than the ones they don’t interact with.
Here are the results when I search “woodworking” from an Instagram account where I follow a number of travel writers and brands. My account posts woodworking updates primarily.
I follow most of the top search results and have interacted with them before. Comparatively, the search results on different accounts are entirely different.
The top recommendations change depending on who searches. And Instagram tailors each result based on the user’s past engagement and history with accounts.
For brands, it’s all about reach. Understand the hashtags your target audience may use to encourage engagement with your social media content. For example, if you write about credit cards, look for Instagram hashtags that keep alive a credit-fuelled lifestyle, like pricey hotels, luxury cars, and more.
The more people discover your content, the better the odds of growing your following.
Instagram’s algorithm processes every single piece of content on the app, piecing together information that helps it determine what the post is about and who it is for. It does all of this automatically, but with the help of a few signals done right, you can make sure that Instagram SEO works for you.
Here are a few ways to consistently increase the discoverability of your content.
Instagram SEO Ranking: Key Factors
Every time an individual uses Instagram, the company tracks movements to collect data about each user. Since Instagram gathers around 69% of personal data, it helps to create an algorithm that provides users with useful information.
When you optimize Instagram posts for SEO, the Instagram algorithm adds extra information to make them rank better.
That begs the question as to what the most important signals are that help optimize your content for you:
According to Instagram, the most important SEO ranking signals are:
- The algorithm matches what you searched before with top posts, accounts, tags, and places. This is the most important factor.
- User activity: If Instagram thinks someone is more interested in one post over the other, it will start to prioritize that over the other in search results. What gets shown in search results is determined to a large degree based on the user’s previous activity.
- Information about the search results: When there’s a high volume of results, the ranking is determined by the number of shares, likes, and follower counts for a particular account.
For your Instagram SEO strategy— improve your ranking by identifying your content. When someone does a search, Instagram knows what to include in the results.
6 Instagram SEO Tactics to Increase Your Discoverability
#1 Optimize your Instagram profile for search
Your Instagram bio is the best place for you to include relevant keywords as well as search terms.
Instagram bio SEO starts with choosing the right username. Include the right keywords along with your brand name.
If you search for a keyword like woodworking, you’ll see that all the top results for the term include the word “woodworking” in the handle or their bio or both.
That’s no accident.
Also, as a final step, include a location in the bio if it’s relevant to your business. Business and Creator accounts can add a location to their account. If you haven’t already switched to a business account, do that now.
To add a profile location for Instagram bios, open the Instagram app and tap on the profile icon. Tap Edit Profile, then access the Contact Options. Enter your address and be as specific as you want with the details. You can enter the street details too.
In the settings, tap on the option to Display location information publicly. When done right, it helps to generate inbound leads for your business as your profile attracts the right target audience.
#2 Write Descriptive Captions With Keywords
Until now, you could search on Instagram using hashtags, tags, usernames, and profile names. This has now changed massively. Today you can search using keywords similar to how you would conduct a search on Google. If you have a dearth of ideas, dig into your newsletters and repurpose ideas from them that you can use for your social campaigns.
When someone types into the bar and what he types is the most important signal that determines what results are served to you. Based on the search terms, Instagram looks for usernames, bios, captions, hashtags, and locations. As brands on Instagram, you can understand this better with the help of social media monitoring tools like Google Analytics and Hootsuite Insights.
This means if you write relevant descriptive captions with the right choice of keywords, this improves the discoverability of your content.
Using relevant descriptive keywords in your Instagram captions allows your content to appear on the results page. If you’re planning many posts and need inspiration, then the best social media management tools give you content and hashtag suggestions. You can also get insights about when is the best time to post to maximize engagement.
#3 Add Keywords to the Instagram Bio
If you want to optimize your follower growth, use Instagram search to your advantage. If you want to rank for a keyword, add that keyword to your name or username since you can search for both on Instagram.
If you can’t add a keyword to the username, add keywords to your name field in the bio description. Pandora uses a single-line bio to describe what it does.
This is how you improve your chances of appearing on the top results when someone searches for the target keywords.
#4 Include Up to 30 or More Relevant Hashtags
Use relevant, targeted hashtags on posts and on stories to get discovered by audiences on Instagram.
If you have a public channel add hashtags to the content and make your post visible on the hashtags results page.
Here’s a post from Gym Express. Look at all the hashtags it has added.
Since hashtags are used to discover new content, the right hashtags will help put your account before the right audience, even if they haven’t seen your content before.
That’s why you need a clear strategy, and without this, you can miss opportunities to gain followers and drive engagement.
#5 Enrich your Instagram Images with Rich Alt Text
Instagram’s alt text feature lets you add custom text for richly describing your photos. The feature improves the accessibility of your content on the platform. It can also boost SEO benefits.
Instagram automatically generates alt text for images uploaded on its platform so people can hear descriptions through screen readers.
This is through object recognition technology that generates an automated description of images but is mostly a hit or miss.
You can also add alt text when creating new content and add extra detail and keywords.
Also, here’s a quick guide to help with that:
To add alt text to a post, tap on advanced settings at the screen’s bottom before you start posting.
Write the alt text in the box and tap on done. To change the alt text, go to the photo, click on it, and then tap the three dots on the right corner and click edit.
Once you click edit, you get options to add a location or alt text.
Access the alt text option under accessibility.
This creates a much better Instagram experience.
#6 Be Consistent in Your Efforts
Another simple tactic is being consistent on Instagram.
The more you follow these practices, the more the algorithm rewards you.
This consistency shows Instagram who you are and what you can offer. Your profile and content will reach more users as they browse Instagram.
Look at how posts from Elf Cosmetics populate the Explore page when “lipgloss” is searched:
This is because of two reasons.
The first is its impressive posting frequency. It posts new content multiple times a day.
The second is its use of keyword-rich captions.
By putting in your efforts to maintain your brand message, you will get the rewards of better reach in no time.
With a few tweaks and some simple improvements, take advantage of Instagram searches with suggested posts.
With these tips, you can grow a strong, highly engaged, relevant audience online on Instagram.
About George Mathew
George is a writer and blogger at Kamayobloggers, a site he started to share cutting-edge marketing advice online.