It’s no secret that social media has kindled a digital marketing phenomenon. Indeed, social media channels have surged forth into our lives and, for many, take up a decent portion of our day. In turn, that presents terrific marketing opportunities.
Unless you’re a digital marketer, you may not be aware of precisely how optimizing for it works beneath the surface. For example, SEO (search engine optimization) is used to delve only into, well, search engines. But as many platforms adopt similar search features and infrastructure, it now applies to them as well.
While the concept applies to many platforms, Instagram has a unique place in this discussion. Between influencer marketing and the function of hashtags, it almost has to. This article will delve into how to improve your Instagram SEO for better visibility and increased reach.
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Why Instagram SEO matters
The answer to this fundamental question begins with Instagram’s statistics. According to SproutSocial and Statista, it boasts some terrific numbers:
- Instagram reports a steady 1 billion active users
- About 60% of all users log in at least once per day
- Users spend on average 53 minutes a day on Instagram
However, those numbers, impressive as they are, only answer the question of whether Instagram is a viable marketing platform. Having established that it is, why does Instagram SEO matter?
Put, SEO is the fuel on which your marketing hinges. Consider how Instagram Stories drive brand marketing or how business juggernauts boast terrific outreach. That’s why it matters; it lets you tap into this vast audience effectively.
Ways to improve your Instagram SEO
So, perhaps your digital marketing efforts are concluding. You do your research, make the right choice of social media channels, budget, and set your strategy in motion. Yet, visibility seems to be insufficient. So how exactly can you improve your Instagram SEO for better visibility?
The core answer is simple; keywords. Have all aspects of your presence function as keywords, the way SEO strategies would. With that core philosophy in place, here are some critical steps to take.
1. Optimize your profile
Naturally, optimization begins with your very profile. Consider the two fundamentals; your name and username (which are different) and your bio.
Your name and username
To make this distinction first, these are indeed different. Your username is typically your brand’s name, although you may manage to use it creatively. Your name, however, can be whatever you want – within reason and your niche, of course. So, you can incorporate valuable keywords into your nameto increase visibility for searches related to them.
This is where you can be more creative. Your bio typically serves as a way to describe your brand. However, it can also help improve your Instagram SEO in much the same way. Add valuable keywords to your bio, as well as secondary keywords and synonyms, to increase your potential reach.
2. Use keyword-rich captions
Captions are where the algorithm begins to take hold. As Facebook AI helpfully explains, Instagram’s Explore page hinges on many factors. Among them are captions, and for a good reason; they provide great hints as to what you’re all about.
So which boxes should your captions tick? There are two basics here as well.
The algorithm will determine which profiles align with yours thematically. Captions play a huge role in this, so being descriptive is very important. “Less is more” doesn’t fully apply here; you do need to be digestible but also thorough.
In line with Facebook AI’s above explanation, the algorithm uses “word embedding” to determine account subjects and focus. Thus, that’s a safe bet to improve your Instagram SEO for better visibility; use keywords. This is a fundamental point, but it does bear repeating; you need to treat your captions as SEO spearheads.
3. Refine your hashtags
While on the subject of keywords, you can now safely treat your hashtags as keywords. All Instagram users should know how vital hashtags are for searches, as they function very similarly to keywords already.
That’s not to say you should needlessly stuff your hashtags, of course. You can use up to 30 per post, but there’s an ideal hashtag density – much like keyword density in SEO. Instead, it would be best to refine them; find which specific hashtags adequately describe your content and perform best. Use synonyms and different variations of your common hashtags to find what works for you.
4. Use alternative (alt.) text
Similarly, alt. text (or alt. tags) can help improve your SEO. Instead of merely letting Instagram auto-generate descriptive alt. text for you, you can create your own. Why? For better SEO, of course.
Alt. text is primarily used to ensure accessibility to visually impaired users. It’s thus both a practical and moral imperative. What’s more, writing your own alt. text ensures better accuracy and enables better SEO. Use your keywords in your alt. text to improve your Instagram SEO for better visibility and inclusivity.
5. Focus on keywords
Instagram has started to implement a change where you can search using keywords instead of hashtags. The Verge reported on this shift recently, and the feature is seeing success. If Instagram SEO overlapped with traditional SEO before, this is where the two begin to fuse.
This change is massive, but text economy is also an issue. To be brief, then, this is the ultimate clue that all of the above steps are crucial. Focus on keywords wherever possible; short or long-tailed, primary or secondary, and synonyms. Keywords are the pillar of SEO, and they’re also the best way to improve your Instagram SEO for increased reach and visibility.
Supplementary ways to improve your Instagram SEO
Finally, let’s conclude by briefly examining other vital steps and factors to keep in mind.
- Encourage tagging: Tagging your profile leads to more profile associations – and thus more visibility.
- Avoid black hat SEO tactics: They don’t work beyond short-term benefits, and Google may penalize you for it.
- Monitor and readjust: As with all such strategies, a keen eye and readjustments along the way are always necessary.
Coupled with the steps above, you should now be on the right track to refining your Instagram SEO. Use all areas that lend themselves to keywords, remain informed, and avoid underhanded tactics to ensure success.