There is much more to being successful on Instagram than just having a strong hashtag game. This has been particularly true since late 2020, when Instagram upgraded its search functions to include general keywords. What this means for users is that SEO can now be applied to their social media marketing management strategy, generating a wider audience than ever before.
Instagram is constantly tweaking its algorithms, but few changes have yielded such dramatic results as the addition of keyword visibility. This update has made it possible for users to find accounts based not only on hashtags, but also on specific words used in captions, bios, and alt text.
As with Google, having targeted, well-placed keywords in your Instagram posts can help ensure that your content appears high up in search results.
SEO Ranking Factors
Whether you are using SEO strategy to rise to the top of Google or Instagram, there is some science involved. The first step is understanding what search terms a potential customer might use to look for your brand, and placing these terms in your captions, hashtags, bio, username, and location header.
As always with Instagram, your account will also rank higher based on popularity signals, such as the number of likes and clicks on your account. For this reason you can’t rely on keywords alone – you also have to continue creating very high quality content that will get noticed.
Thoughtfully Crafted Text
For Instagram’s keyword function to work for you, you have to put just as much thought into your text as you do into your images. Having descriptive, on-point captions that make use of your targeted search terms is the way to go.
Adding alt text to images is another trick that can help increase your search visibility. This is text describing an image or video so that it is accessible to the visually impaired. It has the added benefit of helping Instagram to better understand the purpose of your content and where it should be featured. You can find the alt text option in your Advanced User Settings.
Why Your Bio is Important for SEO
The bio at the top of your page is the perfect spot to prominently feature relevant search terms and keywords. Unless you have a brand name that is already widely recognized, it is better to choose other words for your handle and profile name that are more likely to come up in a search. Make sure that everything in your bio is directly relevant to your content.
If you are set up with a business account (which you should be), you will also have the option to include a location in the bio section. Adding a city is a good idea if it’s relevant to your business, and will help potential customers in your area find you. If you choose this option, make sure you turn on “Display Contact Info” in your settings.
Old Rules for Social Media Marketing Management
Many of the old rules for social media success, such as effective hashtag use, still apply. Choosing the right hashtags is important, but from an SEO perspective, where you place them also matters. Placing them directly in your caption, as opposed to adding them in a separate comment, will yield better search results.