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SEO for Instagram: Tips to Boost Your Reach

Learn all of our tips and tricks on how to optimize your Instagram posts using SEO to increase your reach and visibility!

Mackenzie Taylor

SEO: the bane of every social media, marketer, website developer, blogger, and internet person’s existence. And did you know, it applies to Instagram as well? Yes, yes, search engine optimization is something that should be applied to your Instagram bio, posts, and all content moving forward. Being able to optimize your posts with SEO to improve your content and profile’s discoverability on Instagram can help you reach new people and increase your engagement. Ready to find out how? We’re breaking down how to use SEO on Instagram and giving you tips on ways to boost your reach.

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  1. Do Keyword Searches work on Instagram?

Do Keyword Searches work on Instagram?

Last year, Instagram introduced Keyword Search where you can search for content on the platform by typing in the thing you’re looking for. Previously, keyword searches usually only brought up Instagram profiles based on usernames or bios.
Now using certain keywords effectively can bring up Instagram posts too.
How does this work? Say you want to look for some cottage core before you fall asleep (just me?), so you type in “cottage core” into the search bar. Instagram will give you several recommendations based on that keyword. Click one of the keywords and the search page will pull up posts, accounts, reels, and more related to that keyword.
If you’re wondering how Instagram chooses which photos to populate … you’re not the only one. According to Instagram, it considers things like the “type of content, captions, when it was posted” and more to bring you the most relevant content. It also uses its AI to find the most relevant and quality content for you.
So how does knowing about keyword search going to help you? Because you can start using relevant and specific keywords to optimize your Instagram posts to help get your content discovered in Instagram Search! Write descriptive captions, use alt text, describe the image in your captions, and more.
While not every single word you search for is going to pull up suggested keywords (especially the more specific you get like “velvet couch”), it’s still important to start using keywords in all aspects of your Instagram strategy.

How to use SEO on Instagram to increase your discoverability

Now that you know how important it is to use SEO, where do you even begin?

1. Use hashtags like keywords

We are Flick, did you really think you could get away from hashtags? Absolutely not. Using relevant, targeted hashtags on your posts is still the best way to get discovered by people on Instagram. However, they must be relevant to the content you’re sharing. A lot of the reason hashtags aren’t working for people is that the ones they are using aren’t super relevant to what they’re posting.
hashtags flick search
Think of it this way: You want your website to be discovered on the first page of Google, however, the only way to do that is by creating content that is optimized for your website. Instagram is the same way with its hashtags! The more you post relevant content that is optimized around the hashtags you’re using, the better chance you have at improving your discoverability and landing on the Explore Page.
This is why it’s so important to have an efficient hashtag strategy. If you’re struggling with hashtags, don’t worry. We’ve got you. We will help you find the perfect hashtags for your account and even provide you with suggested hashtags that will work best for your account. Get started with a 7-day free trial to see for yourself.

2. Optimize your Instagram profile

Instagram Search is the way you can find any and every account on the app. It’s like the Google search engine. Type in a word and you’ll get a populated list of things associated with that word. From accounts to hashtags to locations to photos, the Search will scan Instagram to bring you a curated list of the things you’re looking for.

So how does the Search feature work exactly?

Well, Instagram gives you results based on people you follow, who you’re connected to, what photos and videos you already like on Instagram, and the specific keyword you’re looking for.
When you search for a specific phrase or word (like “Christmas”), Instagram will scroll through millions (and millions) of accounts looking for the keywords that are most relevant to you and what you’re looking for.
Now that it’s possible to be found via a keyword search, it’s important to make sure your profile is optimized using the keywords you want to be found under. Here’s how you can do so:
Your username and name
If you’re looking to rank under a specific keyword, use that word in both your name and username! Say you’re a BBQ restaurant. Use “BBQ” in your username and your name, as both are searchable on Instagram.
This will help you improve your chances of appearing at the top of the search when people type in the specific keyword you optimized for.
SEO instagram username bio
Your Instagram Bio
Like your name and username, your bio should also be optimized for keywords for your business and brand.
Not only will this help your followers know exactly what your business and brand are about, but it will help you get on a search like you’re wanting. One of the best parts is that you can use hashtags in your bio, so you will show up on those specific hashtags in Search as well! If you’re struggling with creating an amazing bio, we’ve got you.

3. Use your captions wisely!

While Search won’t show you content based on keywords in a caption of a post (maybe one day!), you could end up on the Explore page if you use your caption wisely, grasshopper. #ICYMI: The Explore page shows you content that Instagram thinks you’ll enjoy based on things you’ve liked and engaged with in the past. That’s why no two Explore pages will look alike (seriously, test it out and look at your friends’ Explore page. I bet it’s different from yours!),
Now, what does this have to do with using keywords in your captions to land on the Explore page? Well, if you write well-written and descriptive captions, Instagram’s AI will pick up on that and group you in with accounts that use similar keywords in their profile. Which is what you want (what you really, really want).
how to write alt text on instagram

4. Add alt text to images

If you need a refresher on why you should use alt text on your images, you can check out our post about it here. But to give you a quick overview, alt text is a text description of an image or video that makes your content accessible for those with visual impairments, and will even provide a description of the image if your post fails to load.
It’s also a great way for you to help Instagram’s AI understand what your content is about, and ensure that they are pushing your account to the right people.
While Instagram uses its own ways to identify what’s in the image, it’s always best to use your own language for the alt image tagging to help Instagram better categorize your content.
  • To add alt text to your post, tap Advanced Settings on your new post page at the bottom of the screen.
  • Under Accessibility, tap Write Alt Text and add a photo description using super relevant keywords.
  • If you want to add alt text to an existing photo, open the photo you want to update and edit. At the bottom right of the image, tap Edit Alt Text.
Make sure the alt text is descriptive and accurate, not only to help your account but also to help those who are visually impaired to know what is in the photo.

5. Track your Instagram Reach

Now that you’ve been putting in the work with your SEO, how do you know if it’s even doing anything? Check out your Instagram analytics! (Psst: You can easily do this with a Flick account … we’ll even send you a report weekly!)
Head to your profile and click on a photo that you’ve done a lot of SEO work on. Underneath the photo click “View Insights” and scroll to the Discoverability section.
From here, you’ll see the insights into where and how people found your content: Their feed (if they follow you). hashtags, the Explore page, and “other” (i.e. shares, saves, tags, mentions, and notifications).
With this information, you can easily determine if your optimized content is actually being discovered by anyone or if you need to do some more work with being discovered.
Knowing how to use SEO and optimizing your Instagram account will really help increase your reach and visibility when it comes to Instagram. Learn even more ways to reach more accounts here, and let us know any other SEO tips you might have over on our Instagram!

Find, manage and analyze Instagram hashtags for your posts.

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