As one of the fastest-growing social media platforms with 1.38 billion monthly active users, Instagram is one of the most effective marketing tools that help businesses of all sizes promote their products or services, reach their potential customers and start a conversation with their target audience.

According to social media marketing statistics, Instagram generates 67 percent of the 290 billion brand content interactions. Moreover, Instagram has affected consumer behavior as 83 percent of Instagrammers discover new products or services, 81 percent do research and 80 percent decide whether to buy a product or service when using the platform.

With such great sales potential, it’s no wonder that over 25 million businesses use Instagram to market their products or services. For businesses, it’s hard to cut through the noise unless they focus on Instagram SEO and its SEO techniques. 

In this blog post, we’re going to explain what Instagram SEO is and its importance. We also provide you with six proven ways to optimize your account for Instagram SEO and illustrate them with real-life examples. 

What Is Instagram SEO?

Instagram SEO is the process of optimizing your content in order to rank your profile higher in the Instagram search results. It includes using the right keywords, hashtags and geotags to make sure that your target audience sees your content when browsing Instagram.

Why Invest in Instagram SEO?

Having an Instagram presence isn’t enough to reach your target audience on the platform. To reach a wider audience of potential customers, it’s important to make the most of Instagram SEO.

Moreover, the process of optimizing your Instagram account and content for SEO is a great way to achieve the following goals:

  • Boost online visibility: When done right, Instagram SEO allows your content to rank higher in the Instagram search results and therefore increase the online visibility of your profile. The more people see your content, the more potential customers you can attract.
  • Reach out to the right audience: When doing online research, Instagrammers type their requests in the search. When your content is optimized for Insta search, the right audience sees your posts, which gives an opportunity to grow your Instagram following and turn followers into customers.
  • Stand out from the crowd: Not all businesses on Instagram bother about optimizing content for Instagram search. No matter how interesting and useful your content is, it means nothing unless your target audience sees it. With Instagram SEO tactics, not only can you reach your customers, but you can also beat your competitors.

Without a doubt, Instagram SEO techniques help your business make the most out of an Instagram presence and achieve your business goals. 

Here are six proven ways to optimize your account for Instagram SEO:

1. Write the Right Instagram Bio

Most people don’t pay attention to your content unless they are sure your business is right for them. When it comes to Instagram marketing, your bio section is the most important thing as it’s the first thing your visitors see when checking your profile. 

If you optimize your account and Instagram bio for Instagram SEO, you help potential customers find your company when browsing the platform or even grow your Instagram following.

Here are some tips on how to optimize your Instagram bio for SEO:

  • Add your selected keyword in a username, display name and bio
  • Choose the relevant profile category
  • Include relevant branded hashtags
  • Add SEO-friendly URLs

Fashionenira is a good example of an SEO-optimized Instagram account:


2. Use Hashtags and Geotags

Instagram SEO is all about making sure that your target audience can discover your content and learn more about your business on the platform. Since hashtags help social media users organize conversations and geotags help people discover the right content within their location, it’s important to use both hashtags and geotags when optimizing your account for Instagram SEO.

Let’s take a look at Hotel Avalon. When posting on Instagram, this local business adds its branded hashtag and geotag to help people who are interested in a specific area discover its business with ease.

Instagram hastags

However, using hashtags for Instagram SEO doesn’t mean focusing on branded hashtags only. For example, if you want to promote a custom merch store on the platform, you can use hashtags like #merchandise, #merch or #merchandising to reach a wider audience of potential customers.

3. Include Keywords in Captions

If you’re on Instagram, it’s likely you have noticed that the platform recommends similar content to that you typically like or comment on. As a business owner or a marketer, it’s important to optimize your Instagram content for SEO, too.

How? Write solid captions and include relevant keywords and phrases. It will allow people to find your account via the explore page.

For example, if you promote a cafe on Instagram, you should include semantic-related keywords like a cup, coffee, pastry, etc. The more creative options you have, the more potential customers you can reach.

Here’s an example:


4. Add Alt Text in Posts

Today, practically every social media platform rolls out features that help people with disabilities discover content with ease. Instagram also has features like alt text in posts that allow visually impaired users to understand the context of your images better.

Thus, adding alt texts in posts is an effective Instagram SEO technique to help all users consume accurate content on the platform. Moreover, you have an opportunity to manually add alt text and therefore provide users with more accurate content with advanced settings:

Alt text

The good news? Instagram has object-recognition technology that automatically describes your posts. But if you want to write good alt text for your posts, you can hire an experienced social media specialist who knows how to do it.

5. Create Separate Accounts for Different Locations

Instagram has become a great tool for modern customers to discover new products and services, but many people also include local keyword phrases when doing a search on the platform to find businesses within a particular geographical area.

Hashtags and geotags offer businesses that market their products/services on Instagram an opportunity to take care of local SEO. But you can also create separate accounts for different locations to deliver the right information to the right audience.

Case in point:

With around 7,070 locations in 26 countries around the globe, Taco Bell has different Instagram accounts for different countries to speak directly to their audience in a particular country.

multiple Intasgram accounts

But if you’re not a large world-known restaurant chain like Taco Bell, and managing separate accounts is hard for your business, you can learn from Over Under and tell your Instagram followers about various locations in the bio section:


6. Encourage Your Followers To Add Tags

Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tactics that help your brand get in front of the target audience and market your products without being salesy. Why? Around 92 percent of customers trust their friends and family more than brands on the internet, which means your potential customers are more likely to test your products after seeing them as recommendations from their friends on social media.

And if you want to optimize your account for Instagram SEO, you should think about adding as many branded tags and hashtags as possible. With a loyal following, you can encourage your followers to add tags and let more people discover your business on Instagram.

There are many ways to encourage your followers to add brand tags, but one of the most effective ones is to tell about your campaign in the bio section, just like in the example below:

instagram tags

7. Make the Most of Instagram Stories

Back in 2016, when Instagram introduced its ephemeral content format, Stories, people could not have predicted the growing popularity of the feature. Being limited in its lifespan, Stories creates a sense of urgency that encourages people to watch this content. Today, over 500 million daily users create or watch Stories daily. 

Not only do people love Instagram Stories but this content format also offers a great variety of features that help optimize your content for discovery on the platform. For example, if you use hashtags or geotags, your content can reach millions of potential users who don’t follow your brand on the platform but show interest in a particular topic or area.

Here’s how Sephora Canada uses Instagram Stories to promote its products:

instagram stories

8. Experiment With Instagram Reels

Want to hook the attention of your target audience? Experiment with Instagram Reels. These short yet informative videos appear on the explore page, giving you an opportunity to reach your audience.

Since video content is extremely popular among users, you can create short videos that tell your viewers about your business or products. For example, you can show off your product line, just like ASOS does it in the example below:

instagram reels

What’s more, when you optimize your Instagram Reels by adding relevant tags and hashtags, you can get in front of potential customers, making it one of the most effective lead generation strategies. You can also include product codes in your caption to turn interested viewers into paying customers as many modern consumers are likely to impulse-buy. Win-win for both parties! 

The Bottom Line

When marketing your business on Instagram, never forget about Instagram SEO and its impact on brand visibility. Luckily, Instagram has various in-app features that help marketers optimize their content and profiles for Instagram SEO. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to reach the right audience with little-known Instagram SEO tactics that work well for businesses of all sizes and niches.

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By Margaret Blank

At the moment I am an expert-analyst in the field of search engine optimization, leading several projects and consulting on website optimization and promotion, I am actively involved in various thematic seminars and conferences.

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