Instagram SEO: 7 Tips to Boost Your Visibility

Instagram SEO - 7 Tips to Boost Your Visibility

If you’re using Instagram to market your business, the best way to guarantee success is by boosting your following first. The more people you manage to reach, the higher your chances of driving sales. So, Instagram optimization is a must.

In order to boost your following, you need to get found on the platform. This is the trickiest part because Instagram SEO is a bit different from the regular Google SEO you’re used to, so it takes a little getting used to.

This guide shows you some of the best ways to optimize for Instagram search and why you should care about Instagram optimization in the first place. Let’s jump right in.

Quick Links

Why Optimize for Instagram

What Makes Instagram SEO Different

7 Tips for Instagram Optimization
1. Optimize Your Profile for Search
2. Write Keyword-Optimized Captions
3. Consider Hashtags as Keywords
4. Make the Most Out of Alt Text
5. Encourage Tagging
6. Steer Clear of Black Hat SEO
7. Track and Optimize

Take Over The Gram with Instagram SEO

Why Optimize for Instagram?

But why do you need Instagram optimization in the first place? Why is Instagram so important that you should dedicate your time to getting found on the platform? Here are some stats to answer your questions:

  • Instagram has about 1 billion active users – 1 billion users you could potentially reach with the right Instagram SEO tactics.
  • 83% of people are using Instagram to discover new products or services. This means your brand content on Instagram could effectively help you attract prospective customers.
Instagram Facts
  • According to Facebook IQ, after seeing a product or service on Instagram, 79% of people searched for more information while 65% visited the brand’s website or app. 46% even made a purchase (either online or offline) and 31% followed the brand’s account.

What Makes Instagram SEO Different?

The above data shows you just how important it is to get found on Instagram as it could be the very thing that feeds your customer acquisition.

However, one thing to note is that getting found on Instagram doesn’t work like on popular search engines such as Google. For one, hashtags make more of a difference than keywords do, although keywords still play a small role.

At the same time, adding hashtags to your bio won’t help your account show up in searches for said hashtags. Also, incorporating keywords into your profile name and Instagram handle improves your discoverability more than adding them to your content. So, all of this can get a little confusing if you’re new to Instagram SEO.

That’s exactly why we created this post – to help you figure out the best Instagram optimization tactics so you can get found on the platform.

7 Tips for Instagram Optimization

Here are some of the best Instagram SEO ideas to improve your discoverability and reach on the platform:

1. Optimize Your Profile for Search

The Instagram search function works a bit like Google in that it delivers the most relevant profiles based on your search term. According to Instagram, the search results depend on several factors including the accounts you follow and are connected to.

Also, the posts you like on Instagram have a major influence to determine relevance. In addition to this, keywords also play a critical role.

So it helps if you can optimize your Instagram profile with keywords to show up in relevant searches. Here’s how:

  • Name and Username – Incorporating a primary keyword in your name and username is a good way to improve your chances of showing in relevant searches. For instance, see on the image below how a search for the keyword “interiors” brings up profiles that have the keyword in their name, username, or both
Using Your Handle for Instagram Optimization

For usernames, this may not always be possible as you typically have to stick with your official brand name. But you might be able to find a way to play around with the profile name in your bio as is the case with @luxemagazine and @oka above.

  • Bio – Your bio is also a great place to add in keywords that you want to rank for. You can use this space to describe your business with relevant secondary keywords. For example, let’s say you want to target the keyword “salon,” then you could also include secondary keywords like “styling,” “makeup,” or “makeovers” in your bio.
Optimize your Instagram Home Page

2. Write Keyword-Optimized Captions

On the Instagram Explore page, you can only search for content using hashtags and location tags. Besides this, Instagram also provides content recommendations personalized for each user based on their interests and interactions.

For instance, if you regularly “like” food-related posts, your Explore page will likely display content that aligns with the type of content you’ve shown interest in. That’s where your post captions come in.

The Instagram Explore page algorithm uses an account embedding framework which helps to identify accounts that are topically similar to each other. This framework learns what a word represents based on the context. Also, it identifies how certain accounts are relevant to one another based on the keywords used in bios, names, and usernames as well as captions.

That’s exactly why writing descriptive captions with relevant keywords will improve your chances of showing up in the Explore page of relevant users. Instagram will use the keywords in your post captions to determine which topics of interest align with your account.

See the descriptive caption in the following post related to nature and wildlife photography, for example.

Post Description Keywords for Instagram Optimization

3. Consider Hashtags as Keywords

On Instagram, hashtags function like keywords do in regular search engines – they help users discover relevant content. When you search for a certain hashtag, it’ll show you all the posts tagged with said hashtag. Similarly, tagging your post with a certain hashtag means that the post will show up when someone searches for that particular hashtag.

So, it’s crucial to tag your posts with hashtags relevant to the content so that you can attract the right audience. But try not to overload the caption space with hashtags as it can be an eyesore. Although you have the freedom to use up to 30 hashtags, make sure you find the right hashtag density for your posts. You can run tests to find the perfect number for you.

For instance, the following post has about 20 hashtags relevant to the image.

Using hashtags as keywords for Instagram SEO

But keep in mind that Instagram will take other factors like engagement and account relevance into consideration when ranking your post in hashtag search results. So, the more engagement you get, the more likely your post is to show up in relevant hashtag searches.

Therefore, it is essential to consider post timing, image quality, etc., to better engage your audience and improve content visibility. Of course, you should always publish only the most high-quality content if you want to catch your audience’s eye. You can also find out the best time to post on Instagram for your brand and try to schedule your posts for the time of day when your followers are most likely to be active and engaged.

4. Make the Most Out of Alt Text

Instagram has a feature that allows you to write alternative text to vividly describe your photo in detail. The app then reads out the image description using a screen reader that lets you hear what the photo contains. This alt text feature was originally intended to help users with visual impairments to understand Instagram’s visual content.

In addition to enhancing the Instagram experience for visually-impaired users, you can also use this feature for Instagram SEO. The idea is to use keywords in your alt text to help the Instagram algorithm better understand what the image contains and how it can be relevant for certain users.

Although Instagram automatically generates alt text for your images, make sure you edit this section to make it more descriptive as the auto-generated list may not be detailed enough. To write your own alt text, select “Advanced settings” before you finish sharing an image.

Adding Alt Text on Instagram Posts

Under the Advanced settings, tap on the “Write alt text” option.

Adding Alt Text on Instagram

Then write your alt text to accurately describe the image while also implementing a few relevant keywords. Tap on “Save” and then share the post.

Alt Text on Instagram

5. Encourage Tagging

Another way to boost discoverability on Instagram is by getting tagged. When people tag your account in their posts or Instagram Stories, others will be able to click through to your profile. So, there’s a good chance you can attract an even bigger audience the more you get tagged.

For example, you could encourage people to tag you in their photos of your products for a chance to be featured in your posts. You could then repost some of their photos to show how much you appreciate them. Even if you want to maintain a consistent feed aesthetic, you could still share their posts to your IG stories.

Alternatively, you could also run promotions and giveaways that involve tagging your account. This is a great way to boost the number of tags because people are more likely to participate when there’s a chance to win something.

Check out how Benefit Cosmetics runs a giveaway, encouraging people to share the post to their Stories and tag the brand for extra entries.

Instagram Giveaway Contests - Instagram SEO

6. Steer Clear of Black Hat SEO

When you’ve been struggling to gain visibility for a while, it may be easy to get tempted by quick fixes in the form of black hat Instagram SEO tactics. But remember that these quick fixes are only temporary. They don’t offer authentic visibility on the platform, which may hurt your performance in the long run.

On top of this, Instagram continues to crack down on accounts that repeatedly employ suspicious tactics to gain visibility on the platform. This includes using bots to generate fake likes and fake following. Thus, it’s best to build genuine visibility even if it takes a bit of time and effort.

7. Track and Optimize

Just like how you analyze the impact of your regular SEO efforts, it’s also crucial that you measure how your Instagram optimization efforts are paying off. To stay on top of your game, conduct an audit on your Instagram account on a regular basis. Make sure you’re asking the right questions:

Were the changes worth it? Did they have any impact on visibility at all? What could you possibly do to make an even bigger impact? You can get the answer to all of these questions once you start tracking your Instagram performance.

If you have a business account or a creator profile on Instagram, you’ll get a comprehensive analytics tool to measure your account performance.

This built-in analytics is great for understanding individual post insights. Also, it gives you a detailed breakdown of reach and impressions as well as how you managed to attract each viewer – whether it’s from home, hashtags, profile, and so on.

Don’t forget to get a better idea of the differences between reach and impressions so that you can understand how these two metrics play a role in your overall performance.

In addition to the built-in Instagram analytics, make sure you invest in an even more comprehensive analytics tool

The Keyhole Social Media Account Analytics tool, for instance, provides you with competitive analytics and follower insights in addition to measuring performance. More importantly, it provides you with recommendations to grow your engagement – from the best time to post to the optimal post length.

Instagram SEO - Grow your engagement

Take Over The Gram with Instagram SEO

Your Instagram account could make all the difference between being a winning brand and being just another business. So, drive up visibility on the platform with effective Instagram SEO and boost your brand awareness among a relevant audience. Make the most of the Instagram optimization tips given above to get found on the platform.

Also, don’t forget to try Keyhole for free and use the automated suggestions to optimize your Instagram posts and grow your engagement.


Related Articles:

Join your fellow Marketers

Sign up for our newsletter and receive expert marketing tips to make you a better marketer!


Your privacy is important. We will not use your email for anything other than sending you this newsletter.

Life is short and the internet is vast.