Updated: Sep 14, 2022
As Instagram becomes more and more sophisticated, its search optimization has followed suit. It used to be that you could only search Instagram through hashtags and Instagram handles. Now the platform is rich with keywords, usernames, alt text, and more. We're breaking down 5 ways you can up your Instagram SEO.
1. Add Keywords to Your Instagram Username and Handle
Did you know that your username is searchable on Instagram? That's why it's so important to make sure you have a keyword in that field. We've added "Social Media Agency" to our username to up our SEO. We've also added our CEO's name to our username because she is the face of our brand, and when people search for her personal account - Media À La Carte's account will pop up too.
Because our username is so keyword heavy, we leave our handle just as our company name. Adding keywords to your handle can up your SEO, but you still want to make sure that your branding remains in tact. It's very easy to add a keyword to a personal brand account. For example, if you're a fitness influencer you could make your handle @samantha.ross.fitness.
2. Utilize Keywords in Your Captions
This one is the easiest, and you might be doing it already if you're doing a good job of staying in your niche on Instagram. When you write your captions, be sure to make sure they're keyword rich. In the caption below, we used 12 key words that are important to our niche. This tells the Instagram algorithm what our content is about, which in turn shows the algorithm who to show our content to.
3. Use All Thirty Hashtags
Yes. We still think you should use all 30 hashtags. Instagram recently revealed new hashtag guidance that recommended only 3-5 hashtags per post ... but they're still allowing everyone to use 30 hashtags a post. If you want a full breakdown of our thoughts regarding how to use hashtags on Instagram, check out this blog post here. For now, we've still been getting great results for our clients from using all 30 hashtags. Hashtags are essential for categorizing content on the platform and getting your content seen by the right audience. Use all 30. They're available for a reason.
4. Always Add (Accurate) Alt Text to Your Instagram Posts
Alt text is used by screen readers to describe images for users with visual impairments. Instagram will automatically generate alt text for screen readers, but you can add your own alt text to describe your image that is rich with keywords but most importantly an accurate description of the image. There are influencers who will tell you to fill your alt text with keywords to boost your post's search-ability. Do not do this. It's harmful to visually impaired Instagram users. The example on the left is an accurate description of the post, and it also contains the keyword "TikTok". The example on the right is a mess.
5. Don't Deviate from Your Niche
We saved the most important tip for last. If you don't post consistently within your niche, you are simply confusing the algorithm. If you post about anything and everything, Instagram doesn't know what to do with your content. But, if like Media A La Carte below, you stay within your niche and keep your posts to focused brand pillars, it's easy for Instagram to tell who they should be suggesting your content to. If you want to be searchable on Instagram, pick a niche.
And remember, growth on Instagram is a slow and steady race. Yes, implement these tricks now, but remind yourself that it's going to take awhile for Instagram to notice the changes you're making. You won't blow up overnight with these tips, but if you're consistent for 3 months, we're sure your profile will start to look different.