Instagram is the fourth most used social media platform in the world. It’s a great place to connect with friends, build your brand, or promote your business. However, with 2 billion users across the globe, standing out and building a following is no easy task.
If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you know we talk A LOT about search engine optimization. Often when we talk about SEO, we’re referring to Google. However, any social media platform that has a search bar has an internal search engine. And that search engine has its own algorithm. So, if you’re hoping to make it big on Instagram, you’ll need to understand how the Instagram machine works.
To help you gain organic followers from the Instagram search bar, we’ve dedicated our post today to all things Instagram SEO. Here’s how you can reach a chunk of those 2 billion users using search engine optimization:
SEO on Instagram
Instagram SEO Ranking Factors
Even if you don’t know much about SEO, you probably know that keywords are super important. What a user types into the search bar is how Instagram curates the perfect search results. The algorithm will scour the platform looking for those keywords and phrases within hashtags, usernames, bios, comments, and captions. Once it finds the most relevant content, it’ll present that to the user!
Instagram users can also expect their search results to be filtered based on past interaction. If a user liked, commented, or viewed any content from a creator in the past, that creator’s profile will pop up higher on the results list. (If you’re searching keywords related to their page, of course.)
Instagram knows the user has shown past interest in that content, so they’ll bump it up the search engine results list in hopes of giving the user exactly what they’re asking for. This ranking factor is really unique to Instagram!
Like any search engine, Instagram’s search bar wants to give you the best content it can find. So, Instagram will rank posts and profiles higher if they have more user interactions. If a post has a lot of likes, views, or comments, or a profile has a lot of followers, a user will find that content first in the search results before a newly created profile.
If a user is searching for a post, the most recent ones will populate first. The algorithm does not want to promote inactive accounts, because they’re likely not what the user is looking for. So, the recentness of activity and posting is an integral part of search ranking.
Why is Instagram SEO Important
Instagram SEO is good for one thing: building your follower base. Why you want your followership to grow is up to you, but you need search engine optimization to make those follower numbers rise significantly.
Whether you want to build your customer-base to sell your product, get bigger deals in your influencer marketing businesses, or promote your blog, SEO is the most important piece to get you to success.
In order to gain organic new followers, you need to populate high on the search results list. If someone searches for content in your niche, you want to be a top result! Because, when you do, they’re most likely to click your profile and pick your brand to follow. This is great, because once you optimize, you’ll passively gain more and more followers without any additional work!
How to Use SEO on Instagram
Switch to a professional account.
First up, to get the full kit of tools and insights, you need to have a creator or business Instagram account. Otherwise, it’ll be really difficult to know what’s performing well and why. Switch your account over anytime using this guide.
Use keywords and hashtags.
Search terms are one of the main ways your content is connected to Instagram searchers. If you use the right relevant keywords and specific hashtags, you’ll grab users in your niche every time. These keywords should be in your captions, comments, and in your videos (if posting Reels). And, of course, your hashtags should be in every caption.
Find great hashtags and keywords by studying successful posts in your niche, or by using an online research tool. Then, choose only about 11 of them to use on your post. (Instagram allows a max of 30, but too many or too few will make it hard to grab new organic followers.) Don’t reuse them too often either! Instagram doesn’t like repetitive posts!
Use location tags.
If you go on exciting vacations or frequent local eateries, location tagging is the perfect way to expand your reach. People searching the location and planning trips will see your posts if you use a location tag, which is just a type of tag Instagram specially categorizes for locations.
Additionally, travel accounts or profiles related to your niche will be searching for content at that location to repost on their page. You could be a part of a curated feed and reach an even bigger audience! How cool? The point is, use your location tags to expand your reach.
Collaborate with others.
Networking with others in your niche is a great way to build useful business relationships. Chances are, you and another user in your category don’t have exactly the same followers, so you could each benefit from the other’s sphere of influence.
Simply find another creator with about the same amount of followers as you and offer a post for a post. You create a post for their profile and they create a post for yours. You’ll each benefit from the new eyes on your content and probably gain tons of followers from the other influencer.
Post at the opportune time.
Every platform has their best posting times. This is the time when your content is most likely to get viewed by a wide audience. If you can plan your content to be posted at these hours, you’ll see much better numbers than usual! Track the rise in interactions using the insights tab! Here are the best times to post on Instagram:
Instagram favors users that post consistently. They want active influencers that are always providing new content to Instagram’s users. Luckily, unlike some other platforms, you can get away with posting just daily on Instagram! We recommend using a social media post scheduler to make sure you don’t miss a post and you’re uploading at just the right time!
Take advantage of trends.
Trends are one of the quickest ways to get your content in people’s feeds. If everyone is already looking at Reels with a certain audio clip or challenge, piggy-back on that! By using the audio, relevant hashtags, and other key parts of the trend, you’ll find your content in front of a much larger audience than ever before!
Use alt text.
What is alt text? Alt text are descriptions of images that display if the photo fails to load or if someone with visual impairments is browsing your feed. Instagram and other social media platforms favor this kind of accessibility on your profile! To learn how to add alt text to your Instagram posts, follow this guide.
Optimize all parts of your profile.
It’s not enough to just change your profile type from individual to creator or business when optimizing your profile. Ensure your username and bio both include relevant keywords. Additionally, add a trackable link to your bio. Finally, make sure you have a professional photo as your profile picture that reflects your current campaign goals. Doing all this will increase your profile visibility to searchers!
Keep an eye on analytics.
Instagram does come with some insight tools that help you see how your posts are performing, but you can always utilize a third party analytics tool as well to gain more pertinent information. Having good Instagram analytics will help you develop a marketing strategy for future posts and content!
Instagram SEO will help you gain followers by increasing your search visibility!
Understanding Instagram’s algorithm is the best way to improve your chances of going viral. With insights and SEO know-how, you’ll start posting intentionally and getting the most out of your content. Soon, you’ll be gaining more interactions, more followers, and more credibility in your niche as your brand expands using Instagram SEO!
For more tips on how to grow your digital marketing game, check out our blog! There, you’ll find tons of tips and tricks to help your business reach new heights this year. InfluencerSEO has the expertise to get you where you want to go. Let’s shoot for the stars! (Or, at least, that blue verified check.)