Instagram Optimization For Digital Marketers

You thought SEO was only relevant for your website? Instagram has changed the game…

You may have thought Google was the only place you could rank for keywords, up until now. Instagram is joining the field of search engines and has just entered the race. When using the search tool on Instagram, you can now search more than just accounts. You have the ability to enter keywords that will reveal relevant accounts, audio, hashtags, and locations associated with the keyword.

Instagram gathers information from accounts, hashtags, and locations through what they call signals to rank your search results. Instead of using the SEO term “crawling,” Instagram has defined the term signals, through text search, user activity, and popularity of search.

How does Instagram deem these posts or pages relevant to your search?

Your keywords- text is the most important signal for search. Instagram will try to match what you type with relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags, and locations.

User activity- the accounts you follow, the posts you viewed, and how you interact with these accounts play a role in the content shown on your feed. Accounts or hashtags that you follow or visit more frequently are typically shown first over the ones you don’t.

Popularity of searches- when your search has several potential results, this is where signals really come into play. The popularity of the clicks, likes, shares, and follows for a particular account, hashtag, or location will be revealed first depending on their signal relevance to your search.

Instagram Signals

So you know how signals work… What now?

Instagram themselves suggests the following three tips:

  1. Use a fitting handle and profile name- search results are matched by text. By using a proper handle and profile name that is related to the content of your posts, you will be deemed relevant in search results.

  2. **Include relevant keywords and locations in your bio-**Along with your name, you’ll also want to include keywords related to your profile subject.

    For example, if your account is location-specific, sharing your business location in your bio can make it easier for people in your area to find you. When a user tags your business location, all of those posts will appear in one place. With the number of users who are beginning to use Instagram as a search tool, the more tags of your business location the better. You can think of these location tags as five-star reviews. A customer had such a good experience at your business, that they decided to share with their followers, who will then click on this location tag, hopefully bringing them to your page!

  3. Use relevant keywords and hashtags in captions- For a post to be found in search, put your targeted keywords and hashtags in the caption, not the comments. With the expansion of Instagram’s search engine, a post can now show up in users explore page, or show up when searching relevant keywords. For example:

Search Web Design on Instagram

Search Web Design Results On Instagram These posts or accounts that are appearing for “web design” have the keyword listed in either the post itself or in their account info, resulting in their profile showing up when a user searches “web design.”

There is a new feature to the Instagram explore page that gives users the option to choose between ten keywords. The options are generated by your interactions with past posts either on your feed or explore page. They appear like this:

Personalized keyword selection Instagram explore page

Are signals just the beginning of Instagram becoming a search results page experience?

Instagram is expanding its search tool in ways that it never has before. By providing users with more relevant search results based on the keywords they are using, perhaps users will use Instagram as their preferred search engine in the future.

In fact, according to a study done by AdEspresso, 81% of users are already using the platform to research products and services. This means that users are now relying on information about businesses and services to have an active presence on the platform. You may be shocked to learn that 90% of users follow at least one brand on Instagram, meaning you could be the one business they potentially follow! With the digital movement towards social media, it is important to present your business or service as authentically as you can.

Instagram User Data Statistics

As Instagram is advancing its platform, it is important for business owners to keep up to date with its changes. There is a lot of opportunity for keyword optimization on Instagram, and this is only the beginning for digital marketers!

Follow us on Instagram for more tips!

Instagram. “Breaking down How Instagram Search Works.” Instagram, Instagram, 25 Aug. 2021

Bond, Conor. “5 Instagram Seo Tactics to Rank Higher in 2021.” WordStream, 3 June 2021

​​Gotter, Ana. “The 29 Instagram Statistics You Need to Know in 2021.” AdEspresso, 21 Apr. 2021

Sehl, Katie, and Paige Cooper. “How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page in 2021.” Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard, 29 June 2021

Thomas, Monique. “This Is How the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2021.” Later, 9 Aug. 2021