SEO, AKA Search Engine Optimization is a well-known and highly used set of tactics to edit your website, content, and even your social media profiles!
Yep, you read that right - SEO needs to be part of your social media strategy too!
Lets focus on Instagram for a second here, what does SEO look like for Instagram? It's more simple than it might sound at a glance, because it all really comes down to one thing - TAILORED CONTENT.
Specifically: tailoring your content to what your followers are looking for is the
best way to become more discoverable. This is mainly because if people are interested in your contents topic, people will inadvertently search for your content! Not only that, but tailored content actually plays a major role in what populates users feeds (especially with Instagram's new "tri-feed" method - find out more about that here), as the algorithms pick up on what content people are interacting with most, and populate their tailored feeds using that data. These posts can be seen sometimes as "Suggested Posts" on your home feed! (click here link to read Instagram's explanation for these)
It is pretty important to note the suggested posts section, as this is a dedicated section for people that you do not follow. Instagram creates this feed by using data from posts you have interacted with, compares those accounts to similar accounts that you don't follow, and shares these accounts to the feed.
The next item to watch for watch for when assessing Instagram SEO are the key search ranking factors!
Instagram SEO Ranking: Key Factors
1. Relevance to Search Query
The algorithms will try to match search query with top posts/accounts, audio tags & places. This is the most important discoverability factor, as you can be inadvertently discovered just because your profile is associated with a certain topic of interest.
2. User Activity
If Instagram thinks somebody is going to be more interested in one post more than another, the algorithms will prioritize that in the search results. This is all based on your previous activity & searches, and what posts/profiles you interact with.
3. Information About the Search Results
When there is a high volume of relevant search results for a search term, the number of likes/shares/follows for an account or post can influence where the search result is ranked.
Finally, let's talk about 5 of the best things that you can do to make your profile more easily discoverable on Instagram!
5 Tactics to Increase Your Discoverability
Tactic #1: Writing descriptive captions with keywords
Now on Instagram you can search for things using keywords, which means long & descriptive captions with lots of keywords can have a seriously positive impact on your discoverability! The ability to search things by keywords instead of just hashtags or profile tags means that Instagram is leveraging its search tool as a search engine, making SEO that much more important!
Tactic #2: Add Keywords to your Instagram Profile Name!
If you want to rank for a specific keyword or subject, incorporating it into your Instagram handle can make your profile very frequently searched & people will begin to associate that with your name. If it doesn't fit, you can also add it to your name field on your profile page!
Our great friend and content creation partner David MacDonald's Instagram account is a perfect example - as a photographer/videographer/director, David has included a file type in his name (.jpg) - meaning if any of his posts do well enough, or he has his own hashtag (#davemacjpg), people may come across his post/profile just by searching the term "jpg"!
Tactic #3: Include up to 30 relevant hashtags
Using relevant, targeted hashtags on posts/stories is still one of the best ways to be discovered by new audiences. Take a look at the photo below of one of the captions and hashtags from one of Marketwave's Instagram posts to see what a relevant group of hashtags can look like! (Yes we know we only used 18 hashtags....don't judge us....)
Tactic #4: Add descriptive alt text to your Instagram posts
Alternate (Alt) text is a feature which allows you to write custom alt text for a richer description of your photos. Originally designed as an accessibility feature, it can also be used for SEO as well! Auto-generated alt text occurs automatically, but you can manually edit it under the "edit/add text" button under "advanced settings" before your post! This can become a huge advantage as you can add a lot more keywords, and make a more detailed description which leverages the search engine more to your advantage!
Tactic #5: Be consistent with your niche
Consistency teaches the Instagram algorithm what you have to offer and what your account is about - this means that your profile and content will be served to relevant users as they browse through Instagram. This is essential because without your core followers having something to expect, you may not be as discoverable as you want to be!
Treating your Instagram account similarly to your website can help you reach just as many people, if not more than your website does! Social media is an ever expanding world, and just the mere exposure to a page can help to sway them to spend more time on your page, or even become a patron of yours in the future! Following these tactics when establishing your social media schedule will help you grow your reach, interaction and follower numbers!