Instagram SEO Tips for Crazy Engagement in 2023

While working to beat the Instagram algorithm is great for maximizing the reach of your Instagram posts, it’s not sufficient in today’s social media world. Most social media platforms today are evolving their services to help users discover content they find valuable more easily.

Gone are the days when random posts show up on your Instagram feed. You may have started to notice that you see more content that you like to engage with when you’re on Instagram. It’s the same for your audience. If they’re not seeing your posts come up on their feeds, it’s difficult for them to engage with your content.

Keeping up to date with Instagram SEO practices will help you find ways to improve your brand’s content visibility, such that you consistently show up on Instagram search results, the Instagram Explore page, and most importantly, your audience’s feed.

Get ready to learn the best SEO tips that will help you get seen on relevant searches, and get your content shown to a relevant audience.

What Exactly Is Instagram SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?

Instagram SEO is the optimization practices that you carry out to ensure your content is visible on Instagram search results. If you type words related to your business or brand niche in the Instagram search bar, will your account be on the list of accounts that show up in the searches? If it’s on the list, is it among the top three to five profiles on the list? Does your content show up among the top results on relevant hashtags for your Instagram account? If the answer to all these questions is no, then your Instagram profile is not well-optimized for the platform.

When you put up a post or create an account on Instagram, the Instagram algorithm automatically runs through that content or account to determine what it is about and who it will be relevant to. Creating a strong Instagram SEO strategy will help you assist the algorithm in keeping your content or Instagram account continually among the search results of your relevant audience.

Instagram has expanded the content of its search results to include not just relevant content, but also relevant hashtags, audio, places, tags, accounts, etc. It also has keyword results pages which are indicated by a magnifying glass before the result. This keyword results page is like an explore page for the specific search results that show up when you input the search term.

You can optimize your Instagram profile for improved Instagram SEO. Let’s take a look at some of the main components that you can make adjustments to in just a few tweaks.

SEO on Your Instagram Bio

This is one of the first sections of your profile that visitors to your page will see, so, you want to make sure that it is well-optimized to answer their search query. With the right Instagram SEO tactics, you can optimize your bio for both human visitors and bots scouting to return search results.

Grow you Instagram account and other social media platforms by including relevant keywords in your bio and answering the question of what your business does, what service you provide, what type of content your account will share, and so on. See how MrBeast Burger does this in the image above, helping them show up on top results for the keyword “burger” on their primary audience’s feeds.

SEO on Your Instagram Name

Your name is one of the most distinguishing factors that sets you apart on Instagram. If you have a popular brand name outside of Instagram, that’s a good choice to use as your name, as you will immediately show up on Instagram searches. MrBeast, the popular YouTuber, employs this tactic in his brand name (see above image.)

If yours is not so popular, adding a niche-relevant keyword in your Instagram name can help you show up in relevant search results as well.

The Instagram handle in the above image includes an important, niche-relevant keyword “makeup,” to help the bots as well as humans, identify what the page is all about.

Instagram ALT Text SEO

ALT text Instagram is much like ALT text on the regular web. It’s descriptive text on Instagram content such as photos or videos, that makes the content accessible to people with visual impairments. Also, if there’s a situation where a photo or video doesn’t load, the ALT text serves as a description of the content for bots and relevant users.

ALT text helps Instagram SEO because it tells Instagram what exactly the content is about so that it can suggest the SEO-optimized content as an appropriate result to the most fitting search query. So, for instance, if a user searches “Dog training” on Instagram, the image may be among the results because Instagram deems it relevant based on the ALT text description.

What Makes Instagram SEO Important?

Before now, users could search hashtags or the Explore page to find results that were related to the primary keyword they searched for. But, right now, people expect less guesswork and more precision in results on search engines. Just like with regular search engines, such as Google, results for Instagram searches are increasingly becoming more specific to the query.

It’s as if Instagram is helping brands and other Instagram users achieve more content visibility with the latest updates to the platform. But it doesn’t come free, you must leverage Instagram SEO if you hope to reach your preferred audience via your posts.

Your content must be optimized in such a way that every time a user types search terms into the Instagram search box, you rank among the first few results. This way, you’re more visible to users searching for your products, services, or content similar to what you’re pushing out.

Again, you’ve likely stumbled across what is known as “suggested content” on your IG feed.

The suggested content feeds are Instagram’s intentional way of helping users find more of what they like while they scroll. Suggested posts are shown to your primary audience based on posts that they like, watch, and save, and accounts that they follow. If your Instagram SEO is efficiently done, your content should show up on your preferred audience’s feed.

8 Instagram Search Engine Optimization Secrets to Boost Engagement

There are a few unique but effective ways to boost your Instagram strategy and achieve a higher level of engagement on your posts. We can call them the “Instagram SEO best practices” that will help you master Instagram SEO and become the top-ranking IG account on every search.

Write Descriptive Captions with Target Keywords

With a free keyword research tool, you can quickly find out the top keywords that your primary audience searches for on social media. You can work with Google Analytics or Google Trends for this purpose. Once that is out of the way, make a list of these terms and use them in your captions to help your posts stand out to the Instagram search engine.

The Instagram search bar is also a good way to find Instagram search engine keywords to use for your captions. In the search space, just start typing a keyword to see the suggested phrases to enrich your keyword list. You can easily generate eye-catching Instagram captions using Instagram caption generator tool.

Use SEO-relevant Hashtags

Hashtags have been exceptional at boosting content visibility since the beginning of the social media age. However, Instagram SEO has evolved its usefulness and search functions, making it a very vital aspect of every Instagram post you make.

When sharing a post on Instagram, avoid generic hashtags like #explorepage or #foryoupage that only place your content in an oversaturated hashtag zone. Instead, use relevant hashtags that contain your primary and secondary keywords. It helps you show up in results that are relevant to your audience, and perhaps, you’ll make it to the Instagram Explore page. Combine well-known, niche, and specific hashtags such as a branded or campaign-related hashtag to drive traffic to your page.

Use about 3 to 5 hashtags so that Instagram doesn’t get confused about what type of content the Instagram post is serving. This small amount of tags also helps you deduce which of your hashtags consistently drives traffic to your page.

Note: It’s important to state here that Instagram has a list of banned hashtags that could cause your posts to become shadowbanned — meaning they won’t show up on your audience’s feed. Beware of such hashtags and avoid using them in your posts so you don’t get flagged or permanently banned from the app!

Write ALT Text Before Posting

ALT text optimization is essential to Instagram SEO. Instagram works with a technology known as Object Recognition Technology to identify and create a description of what is in your Instagram posts. It helps visually impaired people who use a screen reader understand what’s in your content.

Writing your ALT text by yourself helps with a couple of things. One, your description will be richer and more accurate than any bot. Two, it sends SEO signals to Instagram with a detailed description of what your post contains so it can match it with the right audience.

Here’s how to add ALT text to your photo. Some people include theirs in the caption like the image above. Alternatively, on the caption screen when you want to post a photo, scroll down till you can tap Advanced Settings. Under the accessibility section, tap “write ALT text” then include a description for your photo with your target keywords included.

Instagram advises to include context about objects, concepts, and locations, and include any text that appears in the image. Keep it between 2 – 3 sentences maximum.

Use Location Tags for Localization

If you want to reach an audience in your local area, you’ll have to use location tags in your bio and posts, for better Instagram optimization.

One of the first things visitors look out for on a business page, is the business location, especially if they need products and services that are close to their locale.

So, improve your Instagram SEO ranking on the location search page by doing the following:

Go to the Instagram app and open your profile.

Tap Edit profile > Contact Options.

Next, type in your address as detailed as you like. For instance, if your customers frequently ask for a location to use on Google Maps, you can include your full address. If you only get FAQs like “Where are you located?” then you can use a basic city address like “New York, USA.”

Press the slide bar for Display Contact Info to turn on the feature.

Leverage Instagram Analytics for Better Insight

Never leave anything to chance — add that to the list of Instagram SEO tips you’re making. That’s right, consistently keeping track of how your new Instagram strategy is working will help you find better ways to improve and refine your content, or continue steadily.

The Instagram analytics page provides a detailed overview of how your account is performing within a specific time range. For instance, you can find out through your audience demographics insights whether you’re reaching your target audience or not. You can also gain insights into other details like top-performing posts, hashtag reach, and more.

Note, however, that this feature is only available for business or creator pages on Instagram.

Add Subtitles in Videos

Many video-driven social media platforms now have auto-generated captions for accessibility, including Instagram. While this is great, it’s essential that you go through the auto-generated captions to make sure the subtitles are accurate, as you don’t want bots to mess up your message.

Also, subtitles are a great way to include your primary and secondary keywords in the video text. It provides the search crawlers with more context for your video, helping them understand who the content is relevant for. Video subtitles are essential for both Instagram SEO, and any regular search engine on the web.

To turn on the auto-generate caption feature, take the following steps:

Go to your Instagram Profile and start creating a video or Reel, as usual. Tap the Sticker button at the top of the screen.

Next, under the sticker options tap Captions. It will auto-generate captions for your video as it plays. Be sure to edit incorrect words, or censor explicit words that may get your post banned.

If you’re done editing and are about to post the video, just tap Advanced Settings then scroll to Accessibility. Toggle on the Show Captions option, and your video will show the auto-generated captions to your viewers.

Work with a Posting Schedule for Consistency

Another secret to an effective Instagram SEO strategy is to create and stick with a posting schedule. It helps your brand build a structure that your audience becomes familiar with.

Think of it like this, you know when your favorite show comes on every week. Posting on a regular schedule helps build anticipation for your content for your followers. They start to look forward to your posts when they know they’ll see them around a certain time. So, choose specific times for posting weekly, and create content to go up at that time.

It’s essential to mention here, that you shouldn’t choose posting times randomly. Instead, work with the Analytics page for insight into the times your followers mostly engage with your posts. For instance, if your insights reveal that posts that you put up at 12 noon on Wednesdays perform better than posts that go up at 7 pm, then, 12 noon is your preferred posting time.

Posting at the right time gives you early engagement on your posts that set off popularity signals, alerting the algorithm that your post is quality, relevant content. More people will be shown your post, increasing your chances of growth and conversion — Instagram SEO is achieved!

Follow Instagram SEO Recommendation Guidelines

Like every social media platform, Instagram has some recommended guidelines in place to ensure that creators respect their audience, and rules are kept. Posts that Instagram finds in violation of these guidelines are usually removed from Instagram completely.

Keep in mind that the Community Guidelines are not as stringent as the recommended guidelines, so don’t mistake one for the other. Instagram Content Recommendations include that:

Your content must not depict or discuss self-harm, suicide, eating disorders, etc.

  • It also frowns at violence or people fighting,
  • Sexually explicit content,
  • Products promoting regulated products,
  • Clickbait content, engagement bait, promotional contests or giveaways,
  • Unoriginal content

There is so much more to avoid, so read through the guidelines to get all the details and the penalties for violation. You can also stay up to date with your account status to see if you’re in violation of any of the guidelines and rectify if necessary. To do this, on your profile, tap the Menu button > Settings > Preferences/Account > Account Status.

Does Instagram SEO Differ from Search Engine SEO?

Instagram SEO is a bit like other social media platforms. However, the search functions vary greatly from popular search engine algorithms (like Google) in two key ways.

Hashtags help with search result visibility

You don’t need to include a hashtag when you search specific keywords on Google. However, adding a hashtag to a specific keyword when making a search on Instagram is the norm. Instagram is a visual platform, and hashtags play a key role in curating visual content for the keyword search result. When your audience searches with a hashtag, if you have used that hashtag in your post or bio, you will appear in the results.

Using overly generic hashtags on your post will not help you show up among the top posts in the results. In the image above, we see that the generic hashtag #weddingmakeup has curated over 14 million posts. But the location-specific hashtag #weddingmakeupjakarta has only 250,000+.

Niche or location-specific hashtags that contain your primary keyword will help you appear prominently in relevant searches. The more specific the hashtag is, the better your chances of being among the top results. You can add your secondary keywords in your captions as well, for a more effective optimization.

Higher engagement means a higher ranking

Your content doesn’t need likes or reshares to rank highly on Google results. SEO for Instagram is quite different. The higher your likes, shares, and follower count, the higher you will rank in the results. Granted, this can be a challenge for a growing account with only a few followers. Thankfully, there’s always a solution.

A growth tool like 1394TA can help you boost your engagement organically, to get the attention of the Instagram algorithm. 1394TA provides your posts and your IG account with instant likes and genuine followers, attracting your target audience to see and engage with your post, and triggering the algorithm to rank your post higher.

Factors That Make Instagram Posts Rank Highly in Search Results

There are many other factors that Instagram optimization requires to determine how well a page will rank when a user searches for a keyword. Based on Instagram announcements, these are some of the most important Instagram SEO ranking factors:

Search text

The search terms that a user types into the search bar are the number one factor that determines what shows up on the results. Based on the search term in the box, Instagram runs through a variety of relevant usernames, hashtags, captions, bios, and locations that match. First on the list, will be the exact match to the search terms that have been inputted on the search bar. Then very close matches come next until there are no more.

You will observe that in the search results of the above image, the first item on the list is an exact match with the search term “Gordon Ramsay” that was inputted into the search box. The subsequent results are close or similar matches.

User’s activity

The accounts a user has engaged with or followed in the past also determine what ranks highly in the results. Posts, hashtags, and accounts that the user has viewed or previously interacted with will also rank higher than others, even if the user doesn’t follow the pages. If you do not have enough viewers, you can always buy YouTube views fast to grow your engaging audience which is also called cross-promoting, you can buy some for your Instagram, Faceebok, or Telegram accounts as well.

Content or accounts that your mutual connections also engage with will show up in your top results when you make a search on Instagram. In the image above, searches for “Science” and “Rihanna” reveal accounts that mutual connections also engage with, in the results.

Popular Content

If you search for a popular celebrity or influencer’s name, the chances are that they will rank first on the results, even if 20 other people have the same handle. Instagram uses signals like a high amount of likes, clicks, shares, and follows to determine whether an account or post is popular, and then places such content high on the results.

Wrap Up

Social media has become much more than a place for sharing memes and funny videos, it’s now a goldmine for businesses looking to grow and gain popularity with their target audience. Sadly, this growth and fame don’t come cheaply.

Understanding and leveraging Instagram SEO tips will take you far on the journey of growth and help you boost your reach if you follow them closely. Combining your efforts with the support of a growth tool will also give you faster results. Soon, your hard work will begin to get the recognition it deserves plus a boost in revenue!

Last Updated on December 15th, 2023