A while back, I was searching for “sustainable shoes Instagram,” and to my surprise, the second result was a brand account that only had 7k followers. This got me thinking: how did they increase their visibility so much so as to rank above all the other brands that have hundreds of thousands of followers?
The answer? Instagram SEO.
With millions of brands using Instagram these days, you need to do everything you can to stand out, including optimizing your account for search engines. Let’s find out how!
What is Instagram SEO?
Instagram SEO refers to optimizing your profile for search engines so that it ranks on top of the list when someone conducts a keyword or hashtag search in your niche. It also helps your profile appear more in suggested content feeds.
In short, it is a tactic to increase your profile’s discoverability.
Why is SEO Needed For Instagram?
With more than 1 billion active users per month, Instagram is a great place to increase brand exposure. More than 80% of the users use the app to discover new brands, so increasing your discoverability will potentially lead to new customers.
Instagram SEO is also a great way to outrank your competition even if they have more followers than you!
Instagram SEO Ranking Factors:
Instagram has certain parameters it uses to rank profiles in search results.
- Search text relevance. If someone types in “travel” in the Instagram search bar, profiles that contain this word will be shown first.
- Popularity. Posts that have more likes, comments, and shares are boosted even more by Instagram.
- User activity. Instagram curates suggestions based on a user’s previous activity. This means that the topics, hashtags, and brands a user interacts with more will rank higher under their search results.
7 Steps To Increase Your Discoverability Using Instagram SEO
While SEO, as a concept, can seem vague and confusing, you can use these 7 steps to increase your profile’s discoverability and start boosting your sales.
#1 Optimize your username, name, and bio
Optimizing your username, name, and bio by using primary keywords related to your niche is one of the best ways of ranking at the top in search results. This is because both your username and name are searchable.
For example, when you type “magazine,” the top results consist of accounts that have the keyword ‘magazine’ in their username and/or name.
If your username is your brand name which doesn’t contain your keyword, you can simply add it to your name.
Similarly, your bio is also a great place to include both primary and secondary keywords. Take @rarebeauty, for example, with the keyword “makeup” in the bio.
#2 Use keywords in your captions and make them descriptive
Did you know that Instagram now allows people to search for content on the explore page using keywords?
How does Instagram know to rank posts under certain topics? By going through the post keywords! This means that you can increase the discoverability of your content by writing descriptive captions with keywords!
Let’s say you are a fashion brand. When you use relevant keywords in your captions, Instagram will tag your posts under those keywords, increasing the possibility of your content ranking under them. This also has an added advantage wherein people who are interested in fashion will see your posts on their explore page!
#3 Treat hashtags as keywords
Since the beginning, hashtags have remained one of the key ways to increase your visibility on Instagram. Within the app, they perform the role of keywords. So, using relevant hashtags in your captions makes your content more discoverable!
Since Instagram now allows users to follow specific hashtags as well, when you use the right hashtags, your posts will show up on the feeds of people who don’t follow you.
#4 Write descriptive alt texts
Alternative text allows you to describe, in detail, the contents of your post. This is primarily to make your content more accessible to visually impaired people.
However, using keywords in your alt text and making it as descriptive as possible can help you make your posts more discoverable as well. This is because descriptive alt texts help the Instagram algorithm better understand your content. This information will, then, be used to show your content to relevant people.
Here’s how you can add alt text while creating your new post:
#5 Encourage collaborations and tagging
The more your content gets tagged by others, the higher your chances of discoverability. To encourage tagging, you can host giveaways or simple contests for your followers. For example, recreating a fashion look and tagging you. Or you can ask them to share a close memory they have with your product.
Like this brand, for example:
You can also collaborate with other professionals or influencers and increase your visibility. This way, you readily get engagement from your followers as well as their followers as well!
#6 Be consistent
When it comes to Instagram, being consistent is key, and I cannot stress this enough. If you have ever taken a break from posting and/ or engaging on the app, you already know that your engagement tends to fall rapidly once you come back.
So, whether it be posting, or your SEO tactics, be consistent. This helps the Instagram algorithm become more familiar with what your brand is all about. Soon enough, you will see a boost in your engagement levels as your content starts being featured under specific categories.
This helps your content rank higher and also makes your profile appear under the ‘suggested profiles’ of people who follow others from your niche.
#7 Track your performance and tweak your SEO strategy accordingly
No matter how much research you have done, it is impossible to get everything right in one go. So, it is crucial to track your performance and see if your SEO practices are paying off. You can also use the data to tweak your strategy.
Make use of Instagram analytics and don’t be afraid of experimenting with new things to see which strategy works better! Look at stats like hashtag analytics, reach, impressions, and profile visits.
This will help you know where your traffic is coming from. If most of your traffic is coming from hashtags, it means that you are using the right ones. If that is not the case, you know where you need to concentrate your efforts.
Note: Steer clear from unethical practices such as buying likes and followers or using Instagram bots. The Instagram algorithm is great at tracking these things, and will negatively impact your account.
The best part of Instagram SEO is that it boosts your content in such a way that it reaches relevant people. So, now that you know how effective Instagram SEO can be, start planning out your strategy. This is your key to outranking your competition. Good luck, and don’t forget to share this article before you go!