A guide to Instagram SEO and optimizing for discovery

A guide to Instagram SEO and optimizing for discovery

What is Instagram SEO?

Instagram SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing your Instagram profile and content in order to improve your visibility and ranking in the search results of the Instagram app.
This way, your profile appears as the top result of search engine results when people search for keywords or hashtags related to your business or content.

In Simpler terms:

Similar to how you use Google or Tikok, you can search a keyword in your Instagram explore bar to find accounts, reels, hashtags, shops and even location based on your keywords.

How does Instagram rank content in search?

Information from accounts, hashtags and places – called signals – to rank your search results. Even if two users search the same terms, you will most likely have different results because of how personalized search is.

How content is ranked in Instagram Search

  • The Test you type in the search bar : They match what you type with relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags and places.
  • Your Instagram Activity : This means accounts you follow or have interacted with in the past plus hashtags you follow or interact with, will rank higher.
  • Account/Content Popularity : This means when there are a lot of potential results, popularity signals like the number of clicks, likes, shares and follows for a particular account, hashtag or place are considered.

How to optimize your account for Instagram SEO

  • Keywords and location in your bio : If your business is not bound like location, you don’t have to add that but if you’re looking to attract people in a locality, adding location plus industry specific keywords help you show up in search.
  • Add Keywords to your handle and your name : Instagram search is heavy on text and the right words. Use a handle and/or name related to your niche or your ideal TA’s search to increase chances of discover-ability.
  • Keywords in HASHTAGS and CAPTIONS : Use relevant hashtags that relate to your niche in the captions. When writing your content, be deliberate about using descriptive words in both your CAPTION and your IMAGE to appear on the explore page.

Few things to note

Accounts that post span or violate Instagram guidelines may appear lower in search results and you may have to search their full username to find them. (I have particularly noticed with CBD Brands)
Accounts, hashtags and posts that violate Instagram Community Guidelines are removed from Instagram entirely, which prevents them from showing up in search.