Written byJulia Cohen
You have probably heard marketing gurus refer to using an SEO strategy on social media, or implementing SEO-based tricks in order to increase Impressions and Reach on Instagram. But you may be thinking what is SEO, what are the basic principles, and how can it help improve your performance on Instagram? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Today we’ll take you through everything you need to know about using SEO on your Instagram account, what it actually is, and a couple of tips and tricks that you can easily implement without too much legwork. Let’s go!
What is SEO? 📖
Traditionally, SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization’ – this is the practice of using keywords to tweak web pages in order to help them rank highly on search engines like Google. So, if you are a website selling homeware, you might optimize your website with specific keywords in mind like, ‘interior decorating’, ‘cute pillows’, or ‘decor ideas’. If you are successful, when someone searches for one of these keywords, your page will be amongst the first few results on Google. To do this, you would work with an expert to make sure you are picking keywords that have the right potential and easiness to rank for your webpage, and also seek out opportunities for relevant keywords that might be trending, that your page could potentially capitalize on.
You can apply these same basic principles to your Instagram account, in order to help your content effectively rank, and be seen by more people. And, there’s more than one way to do this…
The first, and most obvious is hashtags. Hashtags are Instagram’s way of allowing users to search for specific content. In the same way you want your webpage to rank on a keyword on Google, you want your content to rank on a hashtag on Instagram. Think of Flick as the expert who is here to help, as our search tool provides you with the exact hashtags that are suitable for your account size and engagement, based on your individual niche.
Similarly to Google, if you rank on a hashtag, your content will be one of the first pieces that is seen when someone searches for that hashtag, meaning more Impressions, Reach, Engagements and potential Followers. So, in order to have an effective SEO strategy on Instagram, the first thing you’ll want to lock-down is a solid hashtag strategy. If you use the right hashtags, you will not only increase your potential for ranking by paying attention to how strategic the hashtags you choose are, but you will also likely reach more people who are interested in your content and are actively searching for it. A hashtag strategy should be nurtured and built over time, much like website SEO, and you can read more about how to properly use, understand and implement hashtags in our guide, here.
Once you have your hashtag strategy built, half the battle is already won, as you should start to see an increase in organic growth when you do rank on a hashtag. You should always be analyzing and adjusting the hashtags you use, based on their performance – which you can do by viewing exactly which hashtags you rank on, in our Analytics Suite.
So, what else can you do? 👇
Optimize your bio 📝
Another way to incorporate an SEO strategy into your Instagram account is by making a few simple tweaks to your general profile. First, determine what your niche is, and what message you want to get across to people when they view your Instagram account. Think about what your unique selling point is, and why people might want to follow you. Pick a few keywords that are related to this as your anchor points, and feed these out throughout your bio and profile section.
If you put your keywords in the first few words of your bio, when someone searches those keywords, there is a potential that your account could appear. So, if you were a grooming service for pets, based in New Jersey you might put ‘Pet Grooming Service, New Jersey’ as the first few words in your profile/bio. You can also optimize your profile by including as many cues as possible, like changing your title to reflect your service or profile, adding a website button, plugging in contact details and popping a link in your bio. The more relevant information, the better.
Update alt text 👀
You can also potentially increase your Impressions and Reach by utilizing Instagram’s alt text function on your posts. This requires a little more manual work, but some accounts have really seen it pay off. Alt text stands for alternative text, and this is what will be displayed if your image cannot load due to a connectivity issue. It also helps signal to Instagram what exactly your content is showing, so those who are visually impaired can still understand what is in your photo or video. Finally, Instagram uses this information to help improve their machine-learning technology, by categorizing content through image recognition.
When we optimize a website for SEO purposes, we try and optimize as much as possible, which includes adding alt text to all images. Usually, the alt text we add reflects the keyword we want to rank on, whereas on Instagram, it benefits to use as many keywords as possible to describe your image or video in the best way possible. In order to add alt text to your content, select a post on your feed, and click the ‘…’ button. Head to Advanced Settings, click edit alt text, and then type in descriptor keywords of your image before saving. This is a handy SEO-tip that you can easily add to your posts on Instagram, but it is better to add alt text when you post, rather than later on, to increase your chances of performing from the get-go.
From small tweaks to full on strategies, using SEO-based thinking can really take the performance of your Instagram account to new heights. Your content is probably already great, but getting it seen by the right people can be tricky, so use strategic thinking on Instagram in order to see the success you deserve. If you want to learn a little more about how hashtags can help your content reach 40% more people, just take a look at our resources section for all our tips, tricks and advice.
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