When people think of search engines, they first turn to Google. Maybe, you’d think Bing. If you’re digitally-savvy, you might even suggest YouTube. Few, though, would reach for Instagram. And while search isn’t its primary function, its search box can be a way to get your brand on someone’s timeline. Instagram’s search uses a different algorithm than Google, but its key purpose is the same: to provide relevant content to its users based on search terms and previous activity.
Since Instagram introduced their keyword search tool in 2020, it’s become more important than ever for businesses to optimise their accounts.
A solid Instagram SEO strategy is part of a wider content marketing plan and can help your posts rank higher in relevant search results on the Explore page and even feature in Suggested Posts on a user’s main feed.
• Start with optimising your Instagram bio
• Remember to use keywords in your both the captions and alt-text
• Make the most of hashtags that are relevant to your company’s offering
“Your feed is personalized for you and includes a mix of posts from accounts you follow, and suggested posts from accounts you don’t follow but may be interested in. We also show you suggested posts in places like Explore, as well as the Shop and Reels tabs. Today, suggested posts in feed are one way people discover new creator accounts on Instagram and how creators reach new audiences.” – Instagram
How to optimise an Instagram account
Many businesses don’t realise the wasted SEO potential of their Name and Bio. If your Instagram handle (Username) is your company name, then you don’t need to repeat that information in your profile name (Name). Instead, be smart and optimise that 64-character line beneath your profile photo with searchable keywords.
Think of it as a tag line, where you can clarify exactly what your business does.
Tips for optimising your Instagram bio
Crafting the perfectly optimised bio for your Instagram account is trickier than you’d think. To SEO your Instagram account, your bio should:
- Tell users about your business
- Feature your main keywords
- Include a call to action
- Have a spark of personality
…all in under 150 characters.
If in doubt, keep it simple and answer these two questions:
- What do you do? Your industry, products, service offering etc
- What sets you apart? Your USPs, added extras, reasons for being.
If you’re a location-specific business, then adding your location in your bio can also make it easier for people in your area to find you.
We usually advise against using generic hashtags in your Instagram bio, as they provide no SEO value, can look spammy and take up precious characters that could be utilised elsewhere.
However, including a branded hashtag can be very useful for engaging your customers and helping you find organic user-created content of your business.
How to optimise Instagram posts
Google and Instagram operate on different algorithms, but the one thing they both have in common is the old adage of “content is king”. Posting engaging and helpful content for users is the key to optimising your Instagram business profile for growth.
Think of Instagram as an extension of your website or blog. Use your Instagram captions to share bite-sized, keyword-rich content that provides exceptional value and positions your business as an industry expert on Instagram.
Instagram values engagement over everything, so include a clear call to action in your captions to help generate more comments, saves and link click-throughs.
Don’t forget to edit your Alt-Text as well. Instagram does generate an automatic description of your photo or video for accessibility readers, but this is the perfect opportunity for you to craft a custom post description that includes your business keywords.
“For a post to be found in Search, put keywords and hashtags in the caption, not the comments.” – Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram
Tips for optimising your hashtags
Once you’ve got your perfect image, caption and alt-text, it’s time to think about hashtags.
Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags on each post. We suggest using as many relevant tags as you can – relevant being the operative word here.
Think quality over quantity. Hashtags are basically subject folders, and you want your post to be filed correctly.
Research all your hashtags before using them. Some of the larger keyword hashtags are actually banned by Instagram and some have been invaded with inappropriate images that you probably don’t want associated with your business.
Big, generic hashtags don’t always have the best engagement. Think outside the box and explore smaller lifestyle, aesthetic, location and community-based hashtags that are relevant to your business and target audience.
What you need to know
When it comes down to it, SEO for Instagram isn’t that different than SEO for Google. The aim is to to make your account more appealing to the Instagram algorithm and drive targeted visitors to your profile. We achieve this by providing relevant high-quality and high-value content that’s relevant, engaging, and keyword rich.
For help crafting the perfect post or developing an Instagram content strategy, contact Edge45® today.