Most businesses now implement SEO as part of digital marketing strategies. However, did you know you can apply similar techniques to Instagram?
The social media app now has over one billion users and is rapidly growing as a search platform. Instagram Shopping has been rolled out globally whilst continuous new features such as Guides and Reels are boosting engagement and the ability to sell directly to users.
According to Instagram Business, 70% of shoppers turn to the app for product discovery. And with the latest update showing captions in search results, there’s even more reason to optimize your Instagram for SEO.
But can you apply the same SEO techniques that you’d use on a website to an Instagram profile?
Absolutely! The same rules apply, just in a slightly different format.
In this post, we share 6 easy tips for implementing Instagram SEO techniques that will boost your engagement and drive social traffic.
It all starts with your profile. This is where new users check out who you are, and returning followers click through to your website. Thankfully it’s easier than you might think to publish an optimized profile. Use the below tips as a checklist:
This will reveal insights that you can use to monitor your Instagram performance including when your audience is online, where they are from and which content receives the highest engagement rate.
Unless you’re a large or corporate business, this should be a picture of you, the business owner - people like people!
Usernames and display names are shown in Instagram’s search function. As well as your first name or brand name, include your main keyword so followers can find you.
Once you’ve covered the above basics, it’s time to consider how to optimize your Instagram content.
Creating a hashtag strategy is a key part of Instagram SEO. Just like keywords, hashtags are searchable and often the first way users seek out specific content. Because of this, they must be relevant to your post.
Instagram lets you use up to 30 hashtags for every piece of content. Whilst you don’t have to reach the maximum, it’s worth generating a list of suitable terms you can add to the end of a caption.
To find relevant hashtags, begin typing your products or services into Instagram’s search function and pick a selection that has between 5,000 - 500,000 results. A mixture of popularity ensures your content will be seen - rather than lost among the millions of #cupcakes!
As previously mentioned, Instagram now operates as a self-contained search engine. In their latest update, it was announced that keywords in captions would show in search results meaning that the words you write really do matter!
As well as crafting an attention-grabbing first line, include secondary keywords into your captions to rank higher and reach a wider audience.
Similar to websites, alt text can now be added to Instagram photos. This not only improves the user experience for visually impaired followers - it benefits your Instagram SEO too.
Before you publish your image, insert a description in advanced settings. Instagram will automatically populate this option for you but it’s always best to make sure it’s accurate to help boost your ranking and show your content in voice searches.
There are thousands of fake accounts that will attempt to sell you, or even gift, a bunch of followers. This is a black hat SEO technique that is highly frowned upon and will only punish your Instagram performance.
While it’s tempting to boost your following, fake followers actually damage your engagement rate, therefore telling Instagram that your content isn’t popular.
Similarly, using bots to automatically like or comment on other accounts’ content is considered as spam and could lead to your profile being shadowbanned. Regardless of whether you’re caught or not, inauthentic behavior is obvious to other users and will never grow an account.
This might seem obvious to some, but providing a link to your website is perhaps the most crucial step in Instagram SEO. Many accounts will share a Linktree URL in their bio and whilst this means followers can be directed to more than one page, this actually negatively affects your own organic performance.
Using bio link tools means that you can’t measure how many clicks are being generated and you lose out on valuable traffic. Instead, create your own Instagram landing page that points users to your products or services.
Check out our guide to publishing a DIY linktree page on your website.
With more and more features appearing on Instagram at lightning speed, it really is just the start of Instagram SEO.
Remember these simple techniques next time you post and you’ll be guaranteed to boost your reach and your social traffic.