SEO for Instagram: Tips to Boost Your Reach

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We’ve all been there before. You post what you think is an awesome, creative photo on Instagram and wait, hoping that your followers will like it, share it, and comment.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen.

If you feel like your Instagram account is only full of selfies and pictures of your lunch, you aren’t alone.

Did you know there’s an SEO strategy for Instagram?

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram has a pretty unique SEO strategy that allows bloggers and Instagram users to post photos and videos to the platform with attached hashtags. These hashtags help people discover your content and get more reach, fast!

If you want to improve your Instagram reach, there is a lot you could do. However, the best way to gain followers is to first focus on creating engaging content.

After all, Instagram is a social media network where people want to browse through photos just like they could on Facebook or Twitter. In this article, we will explore more closely the facets of growing your Instagram business audience with SEO practices.

What is SEO?

When you search for a product with a certain keyword on Google, there are millions of sites to choose from.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of improving the visibility of websites on organic (non-paid) search engine result pages (SERPs).

When people search for something, they often use different words and phrases to describe their needs. This is where SEO comes into play; it’s the art and science of optimizing your content and website so that it attracts more relevant traffic and potential customers.

For example, if you’re selling running shoes online, you could optimize your website by using keywords such as ‘Nike running shoes’ or ‘running shoes reviews’ in your content. These keywords must be relevant to the product you’re trying to sell to attract more visitors to your site.

"SEO" printed on woods alphabetically

What does SEO have to do with Instagram?

If you plan to use a business Instagram account, you need to know some basics of Instagram SEO. At its core, Instagram is an engagement platform. Its strength is in how it helps brands connect with their followers and fans.

A lot of people think that Instagram is just a social media platform, but it has all the same characteristics as Google or Facebook.

Websites such as Facebook, Google, and YouTube are a great way to drive people to your website.  However, there is a more effective way to do this.  By using hashtags and captions on Instagram, you can increase your social media traffic. 

Just like those platforms, Instagram has its internal search engine that can be used to find posts based on hashtags and keywords.

That means if you’re using hashtags on your product photos, and using those hashtags consistently across all of your posts, then you can use Instagram to grow your organic traffic.

Instagram SEO: Hashtags and Captions Search Boost traffic

The use of hashtags is one of the most popular ways of increasing the visibility of a post.  This has led to the birth of a new form of SEO called Instagram SEO.

Instagram SEO is the process by which you use hashtags and Captions on Instagram to increase social media traffic on your website.

Hashtags are a form of metadata that can be attached to any post or picture that allows for others to search for it and find it through their own Instagram accounts.  With over 300 million active users, this is an easy way for businesses to get the word out about their products and services. 

hashtags and Captions - A way of reducing reach stress on Instagram

The first step in becoming successful with Instagram SEO is picking the right hashtags that are relevant to your audience and brand.  This will help ensure that you reach the correct audience and help you gain followers who want to see what you have to offer. 

The second step is making sure that you have enough text in your caption along with the picture so that people know exactly what you are selling. This will help them to like your post and reduce the bounce rate. Instagram rewards you by bringing your post in front of people with the same likes and interests.

Using hashtags, keywords search, and captions are essential to get followers and engagement on Instagram.

Hashtags on Instagram allow users to search for posts based on their interests and discover more content they enjoy. Captions are what make your posts pop. With the right caption, you can grab the attention of new followers while providing valuable information about your products or services.

However, there have been a few big changes within Instagram that are making this platform much more SEO-friendly.

One of the changes is related to how people use hashtags.

Hashtags are one of the most powerful tools in your Instagram marketing arsenal. They allow you to connect with people who share similar passions and interests, and they help your content get discovered on Instagram’s Explore page, which is arguably one of the best places to reach new followers.

Moreover, hashtags have been the main way people have been able to locate content on Instagram.

But now users can search for any specific term or phrase by simply entering it into the search bar at the top of their feed (as pictured below). This means that if your post contains a certain keyword or phrase, your post will surface in their feed regardless of whether or not it has hashtags.

Captioning Instagram photos

Now, that’s good news for an Instagram business owner since you can always add hashtags that are related to people’s search to your Instagram captions.

For example, if a user wants to find posts about Thanksgiving decorations ideas, the user could simply enter ‘Thanksgiving decorations’ in the search bar, as shown below:

This would bring up a result of images that had been geo-tagged with ‘Thanksgiving decorations’. If the user wanted to find an image of a turkey, what to do is to filter the search further and specify the word ‘turkey’ in the caption.

When compared to the traditional SEO that relies on keyword search on the Search engine, Instagram search is quite similar and also an easy way to generate organic traffic. With the right keywords in your hashtags, you can always put your product in front of an audience with pre-intentions for that product.

Instagram Hashtag Best Practices

Using the right hashtags on Instagram can be the key to getting your posts seen by new people and growing your account. But using too many hashtags can hurt you.

Treat your hashtags like a spice – a little bit goes a long way.

Here are some tips on how to use Instagram hashtags effectively:

a.     Don’t use more than two to three hashtags per post

 Too many hashtags can look spammy and annoying. Using two or three relevant hashtags will help you get your post in front of more eyes without looking like you are trying too hard.

b.    Use different hashtags for each post

If you use the same hashtag over and over, it will start to get old fast. Even if your audience isn’t very big, they won’t want to see the same thing over and over again and will start to unfollow you because of it. So make sure that you are using different relevant hashtags with each post so that people don’t get bored of seeing them on every one of your pictures.

c.     Use hashtags that have the most traffic

 You need to remember that there is always going to be a ton of competition whenever you share something on social media, so it is always the most popular one.

d.    Use Hashtags with Context

You don’t have to fill every single space on your post with a hashtag if the others don’t make sense in context. If you’re using a popular hashtag, most people are probably going to see your post anyway. So don’t bother using the same popular hashtag multiple times if one will do just fine.

Finally, if you’re looking to gain followers, creating content that they can relate to or find interesting will help promote you better than using several different hashtags just because they’re trending at the moment.

Instagram insight analytics displayed

6 SEO Practices To Increase Discoverability On Instagram

Discoverability, according to the SEO community, is the practice of increasing your profile’s visibility within search engine results. For Instagram, discoverability means your profile is not only found when people search for your brand name, but also when they look for related hashtags and topics.

Trying to increase discoverability on Instagram can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re a small business owner. But it’s not impossible to do on your own. Here are six SEO practices that can help increase discoverability on Instagram:

1.      Keep your profile updated

The first step in successfully promoting your business on Instagram is ensuring that your profile is up-to-date. You want potential clients to be able to easily find you and seeing an out-of-date profile might discourage them from staying on your page.

 To make sure you’re ready for new clients, make sure that all of the information on your profile is correct and up-to-date. This includes:

Make sure that you fill out each field and include a link to your website or blog so that people can find out more about you or follow you online.

People who visit your page will feel more comfortable doing business with you if they know where they can find more information about you online.

2.     Optimize your Captions

Optimizing your captions for SEO is vital for improving your discoverability on Instagram.

Instagram does not have the same ability to optimize your posts with meta tags as other social media platforms. Therefore, you need to ensure that the content of your caption is relevant and optimized for search.

Additionally, you want to include a call to action in every post so that folks can easily find out more about your business and reach out to you directly.

This is particularly important because the Instagram algorithm considers a user’s engagement with a post when ranking its relevancy in search results. Thus, a well-written caption paired with an eye-catching photo will increase the likelihood that a follower will be compelled

3.     Have consistency in hashtags

The best way to get discovered on Instagram is to have a strong community already. That’s why it’s important to be consistent with your hashtags.

But what makes good hashtags for business? Here are four tips for you:

  1.  Make it easy for people to find your content. Use hashtags that are relevant to your brand, products, and audience.
  1. Create a hashtag strategy. A hashtag strategy is a set of guidelines that helps you determine the best hashtags to use depending on the situation.
  1. Use relevant and high-performing hashtags that are popular among your target audience and industry. Generally, the more popular the hashtag, the better — but always check their engagement rate before you decide to use it.
  1. Hashtag items related to your posts. You can also add relevant hashtags directly on your post by using the ‘Tags’ section in the editing panel when posting and Instagram Stories in Stories Highlights. This could help you connect with users who had similar interests as you based on their past post history.
Using hashtags consistently

4.    Create a story strategy

Instagram Stories is a feature on the Instagram app that lets you share 15-second videos and photos with your followers. The content will disappear after 24 hours, but while it exists on the platform, it will be shown to followers at the top of their newsfeeds. Your stories can include text, drawings, and Boomerangs!

The best part about Instagram Stories is that you can use them as a marketing tool to get more followers or increase engagement with your existing followers. Here are some ideas for how to do that:

1. Create an original image or video for your Story that features one of your products or services.

2. Have fun with it! Add text or call-to-action buttons if you want people to take action. You could ask people to tag their friends or say something nice about them in the comments section.

3. Share helpful information in between images and videos (like a tutorial). This will help to build trust with potential customers and they’ll see that you’re more than just another pretty picture.

4. Share behind-the-scenes content from your business (like images of your workspace or staff members). People like to see what you’re up to behind the scenes.

Creating a story strategy for Instagram SEO

5.     Post quality content regularly

Posting high-quality content regularly is one of the most important things you can do to increase the visibility of your Instagram account. Posting consistently increases brand recognition and makes people more likely to follow you.

The different types of content you post will vary depending on your business and your audience, but in general, good quality content is:

Unique – When you share the same or similar content as other Instagram accounts your posts won’t be as visible. They’ll most likely get buried in the feed and never seen by anyone. It’s essential that you maintain your unique voice, style, and brand– stand out from the crowd!

Relevant – Is what you’re posting relevant to your audience? Are you sharing valuable information that will help them? Your goal should be to provide your followers with value.

Engaging – Are people responding well to your posts? Are they engaging with your CTAs? If people see that their friends follow you, they’re more likely to follow you as well. If they see that celebrities or influencers follow you, they will be more inclined to follow you as well.

The more high-quality content you post, the more likely people are going to find you through search engines and hashtags.

6.    Add Alt Text to Images

Leveraging alt text on images is a great way to optimize your Instagram page for discoverability.

Alt text provides a text version of the image and will be read by search engines as part of their algorithms. This is a great opportunity to use keywords that are relevant to your business.

For example, if you owned a coffee shop and had an image of your best-selling espresso drink, you could use the image caption as well as the alt text to make sure the words “espresso”, “latte” and “coffee” were included.

In case you are wondering, here’s how to add alt text to your Instagram post:

Engaging target audience.

Listen to your audience to improve your Insta-bility

Ultimately, Instagram SEO marketing involves understanding your target audience and tailoring your approach to what works best for them. If you incorporate the tips above into your growing Instagram presence, you should be well on your way to a successful Instagram page. It will help you boost reach, engagement, and brand awareness for years to come.



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