Brush up on your Instagram SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy to begin increasing your reach on the platform!
The term Search Engine Optimisation is strongly associated with websites, but the principles of optimising content to improve rankings and discoverability can also be applied to Instagram.
We’re going to explain how to make the most out of this functionality for your business using everything from hashtags to alt text.
What Is Instagram SEO?
Instagram SEO is the process of optimising your content so your profile and posts are displayed higher on Instagram’s search page. It is an essential tool for increasing your profile’s discoverability, reach and engagement.
In the past, the platform’s algorithm was responsible for choosing content for ads and the explore page. More recently, it now uses the search function to analyse content and deliver the most relevant results to users.
Optimising your content for your business’s keyword will help put your profile and content in front of the users searching for your services.
While hashtags have long been the main method for users to find the content they’re looking for, keywords in Instagram SEO are now more important than ever.
What are keywords? Keywords are the terms users are searching for when seeking your business (e.g. services or blogs). You need to know what people are searching for when they’re looking for brands or businesses like yours.
For example, a user who wants to book a hair appointment may use the term “hairdresser in Perth”. Speaking the language of your customer is essential for success, so avoid using complicated industry jargon – it is like speaking French to an English consumer!
Discover relevant keywords for your business by using methods such as:
- Researching your high-ranking competitors
- Using an analytic tool (e.g. Google Keyword Planner)
- Using online keyword tools such as Answer The Public or Google Trends
- Contact your local marketing agency to perform an in-depth keyword search
Learning about your business’s relevant keywords will help you create content to better target exactly what your audience is looking for. But how, and where, do we use these keywords?
When possible, it’s a great idea to include your main business keyword in both your Instagram handle (username) and name.
For our Bloom Digital Instagram profile, we have avoided using our main keywords in our handle as it would make it too long and reduce searchability.
Instead, we’ve included it in our name, as well as listing our key services in our bio. This tells Instagram who we are, and what kind of content and services we offer so the algorithm can deliver us to the right users.
If your business’ location is important, be sure to include your location in your profile. To do this, you need to make sure your account is a business or professional account. As you can see, for Bloom we have included our entire office address to ensure our followers know where to find us.
To do this, simply open the Instagram app and tap on your profile in the top right corner. Tap edit profile, then contact options. Enter your address, being as specific as you like. You may prefer to include your entire address, or just your city.
Instagram captions have the potential to boost your reach and engagement when written cleverly.
Yes, they should be engaging, but they should also be written to include your business’ keyword, and any other keywords you are aiming for.
For example, Bloom Digital’s main keywords are ‘website agency’, ‘SEO’, and ‘website design’. We use these keywords where relevant in our captions, alongside other important phrases like ‘logo design’, ‘website design Perth, and so on.
We use the social media scheduling tool Loomly to bulk-create our social media posts. This ensures our brand voice stays consistent across the platforms we use while targeting the same keywords. Plus, it’s an awesome time saver and it provides helpful tips for posting on each different platform.
The OG of Instagram searching is hashtags! Using targeted, relevant hashtags can have a massive impact, and help you get your content in front of the right audience.
And, since Instagram revealed that hashtags used within captions are a much more effective strategy than hiding them in the comments section, we can make better use of their impact.
You’re able to use up to 30 hashtags within your caption, which we recommend using to its full capacity. While Instagram themselves have said 10-20 is plenty, our use of Instagram has shown us that the more relevant hashtags we use, the better.
There are a few golden rules of hashtags on Instagram that you should follow, such as:
- Stick to relevant tags – avoid using spammy hashtags such as #explorepage.
- Use a combination of local and global tags
- Use hashtags that reinforce your keyword
- Avoid copying and pasting the same hashtags across all your posts – Instagram’s algorithm will penalise your account
Struggling to find your ideal hashtags? We recommend a combination of competitor research, online hashtag generators (we use Flick), and using the explore page to see which hashtags your followers are keeping tabs on.
Learn more about how to use hashtags on social media for Instagram, Twitter, and various other social media platforms.
Instagram Image Alt Text
Originally implemented for accessibility, image alt text is also an important element of Instagram SEO.
This feature allows you to write custom descriptions of images, so it’s a great way of telling Instagram what your content is about. By using your keyword or phrase within the image alt text, the algorithm is more likely to pick it up when a user searches for it.
To add image alt text to your posts AFTER your post is published, select your post and click the three dots in the top right corner. Choose ‘edit’, and you will see your photo and caption. In the bottom right corner of your post’s photo is ‘edit alt text’. This is where you can add your image alt text to your content, and even for each photo if your post is an image carousel.
Instagram Tagging and Mentions
Tags and mentions funnel users into your account for improved discoverability. One way to encourage Instagram tagging and mentioning is to run a competition on Instagram. For example, you could offer a prize to users who mention three friends in the comment.
Bonus Tip: Avoid black hat SEO techniques which are the SEO practices that go against Instagram guidelines. Bad Instagram SEO techniques include:
- Stolen or duplicate content
- Following too many accounts at once
- Using bots or buying followers
Lastly, it’s important to stay consistent with your Instagram SEO strategy. Maintain regular posting at optimal times, change up your hashtags, and regularly interact with other accounts.
All of this together encourages Instagram to value your profile and reward your quality content and engagement.
To learn more about how our SEO agency in Perth can help with all your digital marketing needs, get in touch with us! Plus, sign up to our newsletter to keep up with our marketing tips to help you manage your own SEO, social media, and digital marketing.