Instagram SEO tips to increase your reach

With over 1 billion active users on Instagram, it can be difficult to get your content to stand out amongst the ever-growing crowd. We’ve all heard of how hashtags can increase your reach, but nowadays there are a number of things you can do to optimise your Instagram content in order to reach your target audience and gain maximum engagement on your posts.

How SEO Works on Instagram

Instagram SEO, similar to regular SEO, is essentially optimizing your Instagram content to be discovered in search results by new audiences. We’re all familiar with SEO for Google, but we must remember that social media platforms have widely used search functions, too! When someone searches for relevant keywords of hashtags in the Instagram search bar, you will want your social media posts to appear at the top of the results page.


Just like website SEO, Instagram SEO isn’t an exact science. There are several methods you can use to optimise your social content. Instagram has released a blog on how they rank search results. The search function is built to help users find accounts and topics of interest. In addition to the keywords a user types into the search bar they also focus on:


  • User activity – this includes, who they follow, social posts they have engaged with or viewed and accounts that the user has engaged with in the past.
  • Information about the search results – when there are a lot of results for a specified search, Instagram will look to show the most popular content ranked on a number of factors. These include the number of clicks, likes, shares and follows for a particular account, hashtag or place


How can I improve my Instagram visibility?

1. Optimize Your Profile for Search

The specific search term that a user searches for in the Instagram search bar is the largest contributing factor that Instagram considers when showing user-relevant content. Based on the search terms, Instagram looks for relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags, and locations.  


83% of people are using Instagram to discover new products or services. In order to get your business in front of these people with your organic social media, it’s important that your business profile is sprinkled with core keywords that your audience are using to search for your products as well as using relevant hashtags to reach your target customers. Your bio is a great place to add keywords that you want to rank for. You can use this space to describe your business with relevant keywords peppered in. 80% of Instagram users rely on profiles when deciding whether to part with their cash so it’s important that your profile is clear and concise, as well as easy to find!


If possible, it will be beneficial to try Incorporating a primary keyword in your name or username is a good way to improve your chances of showing in relevant searches. That way potential customers will be more likely to see your profile appear in the search results without even knowing about you. Obviously, with your business username, this may not be possible due to branding, but don’t be afraid to get creative with your profile name.


2. Use Keyword-Optimized Captions

The Instagram explore page is a feed full of content that Instagram deems of interest to the individual user. You can also search for content on here using hashtags and location tags. The Explore Page algorithm helps to identify similar accounts. And how they’re relevant to one another based on the keywords used in bios, names, and usernames as well as captions. This is why writing descriptive captions is vital to expanding your organic reach.


Keyword-Optimized Captions will improve your chances of appearing in front of new users on the explore page. It’s important to consider your hashtags as keywords in this instance too. Using the right keywords in your social media posts can help users discover your content.  Tag your posts with hashtags relevant to your content so that you can attract the right audience. However, it’s important not to overload the caption space with hashtags as it can be an eyesore. You can use up to 30 hashtags but it’s advised to use less, more relevant hashtags.


3. Make the most of Alt text

Instagram has a feature that allows you to write alternative text to vividly describe your photo in detail. Originally used to improve accessibility for users with visual impairments to help them understand Instagram’s visual content. It is now considered one of the best ways to aid the Instagram algorithm. You can use this feature for Instagram SEO by using focus 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 individual posts, make sure you edit this section to make it as descriptive as you can 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.

4.  Encourage Sharing

Another way to boost discoverability on Instagram is by getting tagged by another account. When people tag your business 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.

Why is Instagram SEO important?

Although Instagram SEO shouldn’t be used as a replacement for paid social ads, however, it is a way that you can organically reach new audiences that are actively searching for your product or service. It’s the only way to organically connect with prospects who show an active interest in your content/business. Ads are not organic. Discovery via the Explore tab is organic, but there is no element of proactivity.


When it comes to increasing reach on Instagram, most businesses assume that putting money behind a boosted post is the only route. However, taking a little bit of time to understand the Instagram Algorithm could push you ahead of your competition and onto your audiences Instagram feeds. Got any questions, get in touch with our team today! 


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