Instagram SEO is the process of optimizing content to increase a page's position in Instagram search results. And although this method does not seem as attractive as Instagram Live or an advertising carousel, it deserves no less attention than all the others. Instagram SEO techniques increase your page's chances of being seen by users searching for keywords related to your business.

As an example, consider searching for content about gardening. When you type "gardening" into the search bar, Instagram shows the following results:

If you click on "show more", an expanded list of possible search queries will appear. The appeared keywords will take you to a page where related posts are shown. There are many companies that take advantage of this.

Instead of using Instagram ads, this company promoted its products by optimizing its content for the relevant keyword: “gardening ideas.” Of course, such a query was chosen precisely because users who search for this keyword are likely to be interested in the horticultural products that the company offers.

This is how SEO for Instagram works!

How to increase SEO on Instagram?

As you read the tips below, keep your ultimate goal in mind: to rank your page and individual posts as high as possible in the SERPs for your given keywords.

1. Identify keywords and rank them in order of importance

What keywords do you want to rank for? Your brand keywords or your niche keywords? You should definitely answer this question before making even one change to your Instagram page/content.

In the meantime, keep in mind that there are relatively long keywords - the so-called head terms - and relatively specific keywords - the so-called low-frequency keywords.

Users often search for headline terms (like gardening), which tend to indicate a user's low willingness to buy.

Low-frequency keywords (such as gardening ideas) are used much less often and tend to indicate a high willingness to buy.

What is more important to you: increasing traffic per page or increasing conversions? In the first case, you should prefer to optimize for headline terms rather than for low-frequency keywords. If you are interested in the second option, you should act exactly the opposite.

It can be argued that these goals are interconnected. That is, the goal of increasing traffic to the page is to increase conversions. Fair remark. Ultimately, most optimize the page/content for headline terms and low-frequency keywords.

However, as you will see later, not all types of optimization are equal, which is why it is important to prioritize from the very beginning.

Pro tip: If you're having trouble finding keywords, open the Instagram search bar and start typing words that are relevant to your business.

2. Set KPI to measure results

There's one more question that needs to be answered before you start optimizing: how are you going to measure the effectiveness of your SEO on Instagram? Performance measurement is an important part of the process, as it allows you to determine which optimizations are (un)successful.

To set yourself up for success, be sure to set a few key performance indicators  KPIs). Instagram Analytics (also called Instagram Insights) allows you to track the following Instagram KPIs (both for the page as a whole and for individual posts):

  • Impression
  • Coverage
  • Page visit
  • Subscribers
  • Site transitions

By choosing the necessary KPIs, you will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the ongoing optimization.

3. Optimize the page (username and bio)

Now that you have decided (1) which keywords to optimize for and (2) how to track ROI, it's time to optimize both the page as a whole and specific posts.

Start with the profile as a whole - optimize your username and Instagram bio. (As discussed above, not all optimization is equal? ​​Username and bio are key; by optimizing these two aspects, you can achieve impressive results.)

In the case of the username, everything is simple: you need to include the key most valuable keyword in it. Obviously, this page's owner wants to get traffic for the term "horticulture ideas".

For some, this can be a problem: what if you already have a recognizable company name that doesn't contain the main keyword? Luckily, Instagram allows you to specify your business name and username separately:

If possible, try to include both the brand name and the main keyword in the username. For example, if you're promoting Nellie's online store and trying to get traffic for "winter hats", good Instagram usernames would be "Nellie winter hats" or "Nellie winter hats".

Optimizing your bio on Instagram is also easy: you can include any important Instagram keywords here that don't fit the username. For example, the owner of this page wants to get traffic for "gardening tips".

In addition to optimizing the username and bio, you need to carefully monitor the quality content of the Instagram page as a whole. And finally, the last tip concerns the optimization of posts.

4. Optimize posts (captions and hashtags)

If you want to improve your Instagram growth strategy, you should also optimize your posts. Is optimizing each post as important as optimizing your name and bio? More likely no than yes. However, the first example that showed the SEO effect on Instagram looked like this:

If the author who posted this photo had not used the optimized captions on Instagarm "ideas for gardening", many users might never have found his page, website, or products. It is very important! And given the minimal effort it takes to optimize signatures, there's no reason not to.

As you can see, the hashtags also played a role in getting this post to rank for the “gardening ideas” combo. However, this was clearly not the only keyword the author optimized his post for.

In general, when optimizing a post, you should:

Use the signature body to optimize for the most important keyword

Use Instagram hashtags to enhance the effect of a keyword and optimize for additional keywords

For example, to further optimize a post that ranks for the keywords “gardening ideas”, you can add another sentence to the caption: “Gorgeous rooftop garden in New York. More gardening ideas on our page!”

Another thing you should keep in mind is how consistent and planned your content strategy is. If you need help with that, Planly is a great tool. Planly is a social media  that enables you to organize Instagram stories and posts as well as carousels, reels, and more. This application provides convenient planning of Instagram content.

It is important that you take into consideration these two issues that may be relevant when it comes to finding what you are looking for using keywords on Instagram.

– The search for any file or material is only possible when you do it through the “Explore” option. In addition to being effective, and giving you the information you need, there are the “hashtags”, which allow you to find more precise data.

– As a general rule, the “hashtags” do not have much in common between their publications, they work in a capricious way to attract more followers in the profiles and thus increase their audience traffic.

In short, the results of searches for exact terms will be restricted for each user. This leads to dependence on the audiovisual material published by the page administrator.

So, can you bet on keywords on Instagram?

Despite the fact that there were limitations in this social network at first, the “Explore” button has empathized with users and has become more interactive with the inclusion of important terms.

In numerous investigations, the experts concluded that the numeral (#) was a great limitation, which generated filters for the discovery of information and discomfort in the public. For this reason, Instagram evaluated what the experience of its users was and came to a conclusion to add the keywords.

One of the most important points of this report is that in your business, you are able to ensure a good Instagram marketing strategy of precise expressions for your target audience. In this way, you will be clear about what your audience is looking for and the type of information you should publish.

SEO for Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels are a great way to gain visibility, even for new accounts since the platform doesn’t consider account size when suggesting Reels to users. That means with the right content, even new creators can instantly gain Instagram fame. So Instagram Reels are an essential tool for your Instagram SEO strategy.

Don't neglect SEO on Instagram!

Instagram SEO is a free, highly effective method to increase your audience reach, drive traffic to your page/website, and increase conversions. The results may not be as good as paid advertising, but the potential ROI is amazing. If you are determined to use social media to promote your business, then Instagram SEO is the obvious solution.