10 Strategies to Take Your Instagram SEO to The Next Level

29 noviembre, 2023  

social media engagement

Social media has become a must-have tool for businesses that want to effectively reach their target audience and form a connection with them. However, there are a couple of strategies you need to implement before that can happen —starting with Instagram SEO.

I know what you’re thinking: “SEO for Instagram? Wasn’t that only for Google or Bing!?” and I have to say that no, your SEO efforts now must include this social media platform as well because millions of people actively use it! 

Don’t worry because it’s easier than it sounds. So, in this piece, I’ll go over ten different strategies for effective Instagram optimization that are bound to make your profile reach a wider audience and boost your engagement.


What Is Instagram SEO And Why It Matters

In short, SEO for Instagram is much like SEO for any other search engine: it means you need to optimize your content and profile to make it appealing to the platform’s algorithm. This will increase your chances of more people seeing and engaging with it every day.

Much of the same techniques for website SEO can be used for Instagram optimization (I’ll go over this in detail later 😉), so you don’t need to worry about learning a whole new set of strategies from scratch.

If you’re still unsure of why you need an Instagram SEO strategy, I’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at some statistics:

  • Instagram is the world’s third most-used social media platform, with 2 billion monthly users. This means that a significant number of your target audience is bound to be Instagram users, and SEO can help them find your business there!
  • According to Instagram itself, this social platform is the #1 choice for building relationships with brands. This is why an optimized profile and content is a key first step to letting your audience find you and start developing those relationships.
  • Hashtags, an Instagram SEO essential, can increase your post’s engagement by up to 12,6%.

As you can see, ignoring the benefits of optimizing your Instagram page would be, at the very least, unwise. Many of your potential and current clients are on the platform, so you need to implement some SEO techniques to reach them and get those visibility and conversion percentages up!

Instagram SEO


10 Instagram SEO Strategies to Boost Your Reach

Now that the boring (but important!) hard data is out of the way, let’s tackle the ten crucial strategies to step up your Instagram optimization game.


1. Determine Your Primary and Secondary Keywords

Even if you’ve been in the marketing industry for a short time, you’re most likely familiar with what primary and secondary keywords are and how they work. Well, just as they help your website SEO, they’ll be a key element for your Instagram optimization efforts.

For starters, you need to include your primary keyword in your display name and username. Since many users discover businesses by typing a keyword on the search bar, adding it to those two elements greatly increases your chances of being found.

The second step is to determine your secondary keywords, which can be used on your bio and captions to attract people from the Explore Page.

According to Instagram’s CEO, Adam Mosseri, all four factors (name, username, bio, and captions) are considered when indexing a profile, so be sure to add your keywords to all of them to increase your chances of ranking at the top.


2. Optimize Your Instagram Profile

An optimized Instagram profile is much more than a display name and a username. In fact, you should also have an informative bio that catches your visitor’s eye, and ideally includes a location tag. The latter is especially important if you’re a small business that depends on local clients! Additionally, your profile picture should reflect your brand design and be easy to identify even in its tiny standard size.

Last, but certainly not least, it’s essential to set your profile as a Business Account in order to access a ton of special features that’ll allow you to grow your business, like the Professional Dashboard or the location tags I mentioned above.


3. Use Hashtags as Keywords

One advantage that Instagram SEO has over website SEO is that you can add hashtags to your posts, which have a similar function to keywords and increase your chances of being found by your audience. If your content is tagged with relevant hashtags, users will be able to discover it through the Explore Page or the search bar.

However, you have to be strategic about them. Stuffing your captions with dozens of hashtags is a visual eyesore, and can look spammy. Instead, try to add 3-5 relevant ones, making sure you’re picking specific ones for each post, so you can attract a more diverse audience and broaden your target.

You’ll probably find tons of online debates regarding where to place your hashtags: should it be in the caption or in the comments? While there’s no definitive answer as to which is best, Mosseri typically goes for captions:


4. Avoid Recycling Content

Most of the time, I highly recommend recycling and repurposing content to get the most bang for your buck and reach your audience on different platforms. In fact, I’m always down for a blog post turned into a photo carousel!

However, when it comes to your Instagram SEO strategy, there’s one limitation to this tactic: Instagram advises against repurposing video content from other social platforms. 

Just check out this list of best practices from the Creators account:

As long as your videos don’t have a visible watermark, you should be good. Still, if you don’t want to risk it, try to post original videos with music or sounds from Instagram’s library to increase your chances of being found by your audience.


5. Leverage Alt Text

Alt text should always be taken into consideration, as it helps your visually impaired followers and visitors know what your images and videos are about. 

In addition to this, alt text also represents a great SEO opportunity because you can also help Instagram’s algorithm understand your content by adding strategic keywords to your alt text. In turn, the crawlers will be able to better determine if it’s relevant to a user’s specific query.

It’s worth noting that Instagram automatically adds alt text to visual content, with varying levels of accuracy. So, there’s no guaranteeing it’ll use the keywords you want to rank for, and you’ll be missing out on the opportunity to get discovered by more people if you let the platform write the descriptions for you!


6. Write Optimized Captions

We’ve established that keywords and hashtags are essential for your captions, but they can’t do all the heavy lifting by themselves!

After all, an optimized caption is a lot more than an unreadable wall of keywords. Instead, you’ll want to try and write relevant captions that are both engaging and informative (while placing keywords strategically throughout, of course!) to intrigue users and encourage them to share and interact with the posts. The more engagement you have, the more people your content will be shown to.

Additionally, your captions are also a great place to let your brand identity shine through —whether your business has a fun and quirky tone, or a more serious one, you can take care of branding and Instagram SEO in one fell swoop with a caption that reflects your business’ voice in every post.

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7. Research the Perfect Time to Post

Back in 2022, CoSchedule conducted original research to find out the best times to post and get more interactions on social media.

Apparently, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Thursdays (yes, in that order! Wednesdays are called “hump day” for a reason 😅) are the best days to post, and 9:01 am, 7:59 pm, and 9:00 am are the best times, ranked down to the exact minute. In summary, the best moment to post content is around the time most people get to work, during the second half of the week. It makes sense when you think of it that way!

Of course, this formula isn’t set in stone and there are many factors that can alter your results, like your audience demographics and type of industry. If your target audience is composed of people who don’t abide by a traditional 9-5 office schedule, following this formula down to a T wouldn’t be the wisest choice.

I advise you to try following CoSchedule’s recommendations as a starting point, but pay attention to your engagement metrics and tweak your days and times every now and then to find out what works best for you.


8. Foster Engagement

Engagement is one of the top-ranking factors for Instagram SEO. Likes, comments, saves, and shares are the cornerstone of engagement and discoverability, so encourage them as much as possible!

To do so, try to create content that makes your followers interact with your account. For example, you can encourage commenting by asking questions in your captions or hosting giveaways. Another option is to post relatable and funny content, like memes, or informative infographics, both of which are highly shareable types of content.

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9. Avoid Black Hat Techniques

I know that it can be frustrating to launch an Instagram SEO strategy and not see positive results right away. But no matter how disappointed you feel, avoid using black hat techniques at all costs!

Black hat SEO, such as keyword stuffing, stealing content, or paying for bots that generate fake likes and followers, will do far more harm than good in the long run. They’re temporary fixes for a long-term problem, which can only be solved by organically increasing your reach and following.

On top of that, Instagram can (and will) shadowban accounts that break the rules and employ black hat techniques.


10. Keep Track with an Analytics Tool

Last, but certainly not least, is tracking your performance with an analytics tool. If you don’t, you’ll never know if your Instagram SEO efforts are working!

You can access a very comprehensive and intuitive analytics tool from Instagram itself if you set your account to Business, but you may also opt for third-party options if you’re more comfortable with them.

Whatever tool you choose, be sure to do regular audits of your account and measure your reach, impressions, and engagement to keep track of your content’s performance and determine what’s impacting your visibility and what should be tweaked for better results.

Instagram SEO


Wrapping Up

If you’re trying to kick your social media game up a notch and get more followers and engagement, implementing an Instagram SEO strategy is fundamental. It may seem like a boring or difficult task, but it’s a crucial tactic nowadays!

Luckily, these ten techniques can aid your SEO efforts for free and with minimal time investment. In the long run, you’ll be thankful you followed my advice!

Now it’s time to get to work with some keyword research and caption brainstorming. I’m sure you’ll get some awesome results 😉.