Instagram is known for being about pretty pics, but the platform is becoming more like a search engine and the words you’re using are just as — if not more — important as the pictures you post. Instagram SEO should be a consideration when you post. 

SEO, short for search engine optimization, can sound like a jargon term, but it essentially boils down to using the right words to get your content discovered online. Even the experts at Hubspot are encouraging using SEO techniques for Instagram. They liken Instagram to a mini-Google because the platform’s built-in search functions will drive organic growth to your account. 

You might be thinking — Can I use the same SEO methods I use to optimize a blog or website for a social media app? Yes, you can. The keyword research you use for your business’ website can guide your SEO for Instagram.

The app has added the ability to search for content with keywords rather than just hashtags. Using the search bar, you can now type in the term “Vegan Food” instead of #veganfood to find the top posts. 

Three Easy Ways to Improve Instagram SEO

There are several ways to improve your Instagram SEO. Here are three easy ways to start using Instagram SEO today — even if you have no clue where to start with SEO. 

Optimize Your Name & Username

If you haven’t refreshed your bio in a while now is a good time to give it an edit. Make sure your bio is clear and accurately states your services or products. 

The name field in your Instagram bio is searchable — that the section on bold text right below your profile picture. Include your niche/job title next to your name so you’re easier to find in searches. 

Use words that highlight what your Instagram profile or business is about to improve your chances of appearing in the top results for those services. 

You can also use a keyword in your username. For example, if you’re a vegan chef your handle could be @jesstheveganchef. 

If you’re not sure where to start with finding Instagram keywords, you don’t have to look much further than the app. You can use the search bar to find related terms for your business.  

Write Descriptive SEO Rich Captions

Captions are an important part of content strategy. The right caption can do more than just catch a user’s attention — it can also help you show up in search results. That means your ideal audience can find you easily by what you’re writing in your captions. 

Relevant keywords will improve your chances of showing up on the Explore page of users most likely to be interested in your content. Instagram will use the keywords in your post captions to determine which topics of interest align with your account.

We tend to think of writing short captions for Instagram but you’re missing out on value SEO if you only write a few sentences. You can use up to 2,200 characters in your Instagram captions, 

Just don’t overdo it with keywords. “Keyword stuffing” refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context. AKA it’s unnatural and reads strangely to your audience.

SEO is a great tool but always write for humans first. 

Add ALT Text 

ALT text is a short phrase that’s used to identify images, typically on web pages. But as social media expands, alt text is often added to images uploaded to social platforms as well. 

You can think of it as a photo caption. Software also allows visually impaired users to hear the alt text, making your posts more accessible.  

Instagram will automatically populate Alt Text options for your photos if you skip this step, according to Hubspot. So it’s better to do it yourself to ensure the caption matches what’s actually in the photo.

On a new post, tap on the Advanced Settings option on the upload screen. Then tap on the “Write Alt Text” section to access the screen to add your text. To add alt text to old Instagram posts, you need to select each post and manually edit it. To edit the post, tap on the three-dot button in the top-right corner of the post.

You don’t need to rehash your entire caption in the Alt Text section. For example, let’s use the image below. The Alt text could read: iPhone, notebook planner, and potted succulents on a white desk. 

d: Iphone, notebook planner, and potted succulents on a white desk.

These SEO for Instagram tips will help you grow your reach and find your ideal audience. 

Once you feel comfortable with the basics, you’ll need to learn how to put it all together and create social media that engages and converts your dream clients. And I’ve got the perfect online course to help you master the process in less time than it takes to watch a movie! Learn how to create content that converts in half the time in Content Creation Acceleration

Happy Creating! 

Cyndi, Owner of Ascent StoryCraft

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