Instagram is a powerful social media platform with over 2.35 billion active users. Businesses and individuals from around the globe use the platform to market their products and services.
What’s the key to success on Instagram? More relevant eyes on your posts.
The tricky part is making your content easy to find for those relevant eyes. You know people head to the search bar to find what they want. But how can you ensure your content gets found?
In this guide, we’ll reveal seven tactics to make sure you wind up in the search results. But first, let’s define what Instagram SEO is.
What is Instagram SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is only for Google, right? Not at all.
Instagram SEO is all about optimizing your Instagram profile and content so that it appears higher in Instagram search results and suggested content feeds.
And similar to traditional SEO, Instagram SEO can help you boost visibility, increase followers, and get more engagement.
According to a Hootsuite study, posts optimized for SEO had 30% more reach and twice as many likes than those without. However, appearing higher on Instagram search results isn’t the same as Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
Instagram’s algorithm considers different factors than Google’s, including:
- The number of likes and comments on your posts.
- The blend of hashtags in your profile or captions.
- The time of day you publish your content.
Google’s algorithm, on the other hand, focuses on keywords, backlinks, and people-first content.
Now that we’ve gone through the similarities and differences between traditional SEO and Instagram SEO, let’s dig into the seven strategies to help you boost engagement and visibility.
7 Instagram SEO Strategies To Boost Your Visibility
Use these Instagram SEO strategies to improve your visibility and reach on the platform.
1. Optimize Your Instagram Profile
If you’re serious about growing your Instagram following, optimizing your profile for search is essential. And there’s no better way to do this than by adding relevant keywords to your Instagram profile.
When someone uses the keyword in your profile as a search term, your profile is more likely to appear in the search results. That way, more people can find your profile and follow you. Additionally, Incorporating an online booking system can also be a part of optimizing your Instagram profile, allowing potential customers to easily schedule appointments directly from your page.
Here are a few best practices for how to add keywords to your Instagram profile.
Use your primary keyword in your profile name and username. Think of this as the keyword you most want to rank for.
For example, if you’re a fashion influencer, you might use the keyword “fashion” in your profile name and username.
Then, use secondary keywords in your bio and captions. These secondary keywords are related to your primary keyword but aren’t as important.
For example, as a fashion influencer, you can use the secondary keywords “lifestyle,” “style,” and “luxury” in your bio and captions. More on that in a bit.
2. Write Keyword Optimized Captions
As briefly discussed in the section above, keywords are the terms or phrases people use while searching for content. So, when you incorporate the right keywords into your Instagram captions, you can boost your discoverability.
A keyword-optimized caption makes your content relevant and positions it prominently in Search and Explore.
When crafting Instagram captions, keeping your content’s objective and target audience in mind is crucial. You can search for trending and relevant keywords in your niche using Instagram’s search feature, third-party tools like Ahrefs, or Google Trends.
Here’s a simple keyword search for posts about “ChatGPT for content creation”:
And here’s what Instagram returns as one of the main results:
Likewise, AI writing tools can help you write high-quality, keyword-rich captions and descriptions optimized for search engines and personalized for your target audience.
Also, Instagram provides content recommendations based on your interests and interactions. For example, if you regularly like car-related posts, you’ll soon start seeing more car-related posts on your Explore page.
That’s why writing descriptive Instagram captions with relevant keywords is vital. You’ll improve your chances of showing up on the Explore page. And that’s the goal, right?
3. Use Hashtags Strategically
Hashtags are like magnets on Instagram. They help attract users to relevant content by showing all the posts tagged with a particular hashtag. Starbucks is the king of hashtags.
Posts with at least one hashtag get 12.6% more engagement than posts without hashtags. So, when you add certain hashtags to your post, your chances of showing up in search results for those hashtags also increase.
For example, the hashtag #fitness has over 2 million posts, while #decor has over 100 million posts. If you use these hashtags in your posts, you’re more likely to be seen by people interested in fitness or decor (respectively).
(Screenshot by Jugraj Singh)
(Screenshot by Jugraj Singh)
However, don’t overdo it with hashtags. Instagram allows you to add up to 30 hashtags per post, but too many hashtags can hurt your engagement. A good rule of thumb is to use a mix of popular and niche-specific hashtags.
According to Instagram’s creator page and recent trends, the optimal number of hashtags per post is 3 to 5. Depending on your industry and target audience, this number will vary, but it’s a good starting point.
It’s also important to remember that adding relevant hashtags isn’t the only factor that affects your ranking in search results. Engagement also plays an important role, which is our next Instagram SEO strategy.
4. Boost Engagement
Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes content with the most engagement. When people engage with your content, it tells Instagram that this post is valuable and worth ranking in search results.
In fact, posts with 20 or more comments are more likely to appear in the Explore tab than posts without comments. Glossier understands the rules of the game and makes an effort to respond to comments.
You can also encourage user engagement with polls, quizzes, and giveaways. But one of the best ways to use engagement to your advantage is by engaging with accounts in your niche that already rank for keywords you’re pursuing. This helps Instagram understand what niche you belong to, which is essential for the user activity ranking signal.
The user activity ranking signal is one of Instagram’s three main ranking signals to determine where your posts appear in the search results. So don’t ignore this tactic!
5. Use Alt Text
The alt text appears when someone taps or hovers over an image in an Instagram post. In 2023, about 2.2 billion people will have near or distance vision impairments. That’s a lot of people who could benefit from your added alt text.
By adding alt text to your images, you’re making your content more accessible to everyone. However, this feature can boost your Instagram SEO and online visibility.
Adding alt text to your Instagram post makes it easier for the algorithm to understand what the image contains and how it can be relevant for specific users. Your images with alt text are more likely to be seen by users in search results, leading to increased traffic to your profile and content.
Follow these simple steps to add alt text to your Instagram posts:
- Open the Instagram app and go to your profile.
- Tap the + icon in the top right corner.
- Select Post.
- Choose the image you want to add alt text to.
- Tap Advanced Settings.
(Screenshot by Jugraj Singh)
- Under Accessibility, tap Write Alt Text.
- Type a descriptive alt text for your image.
- Tap Done.
6. Encourage Tagging
Asking your audience to tag you is a great Instagram SEO strategy to boost engagement and reach.
When others tag your account in their posts, you gain exposure to their followers. The result? An easy way to increase your audience reach.
Additionally, the interconnected web of tagging and engagement enhances your content’s overall visibility and strengthens its connection to relevant keywords and niches.
Active user participation, such as tagging, can help you organically grow your online presence and make your content more discoverable to a broader and more engaged audience.
7. Create High-Quality Content
When you publish relatable content, it’ll resonate with your target audience and encourage them to engage with your content.
For example, Pumpkin Care is a cat insurance company that uses Instagram to create visually appealing and valuable content that resonates with its target audience.
Instead of just promoting their cat insurance services, they share informative and engaging content that cat owners and lovers will find interesting. For instance, they recently created a Reel on “kitten season” that explained this niche topic without being overly promotional.
The educational content encourages users to share with friends and families who have fur friends, boosting engagement rates. And when your engagement increases, your posts appear higher in the Instagram algorithm.
Try different content formats, including Posts, carousels, Reels, and Stories. Then, double down on the format that drives the best engagement rates.
You’re more likely to attract and engage with new followers when you consistently create visually appealing and valuable content. It’s a surefire way to boost your Instagram SEO and online visibility.
Skyrocket Your Visibility With These Instagram SEO Strategies
Over 200 million businesses and people join Instagram every year to promote themselves. But how many of them managed to stand out? Only a few.
It’s not just about creating high-quality content. Instagram’s algorithm considers many factors when boosting your profile for a relevant search. Give Instagram a reason to push your profile to the top. The 7 Instagram SEO strategies mentioned above will help you do just that.
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to boosting your Instagram presence. The best strategy for you will depend on your specific niche and social media goals.
Keep experimenting and optimizing your Instagram SEO strategy to stay on top of the game!