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You likely spend countless hours brainstorming and creating engaging social content for Instagram. But what’s the point of pouring your energy into something that isn’t seen by your target audience? After all, the ultimate goal is to get eyes on your content to engage your audience further, right?

Instagram was one of the top-visited sites worldwide in 2021. Meaning, it’s a great platform to get your brand noticed. Focusing on Instagram SEO is an excellent way to ensure your content is seen by the masses and stands out among the marketing noise. 

What is Instagram SEO exactly?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy marketers use to improve site visibility when folks search for your products on search engines, like Google or Bing. Instagram SEO works similarly, just exclusively on this platform. In other words, Instagram SEO is the process of optimizing your content to rank your profile higher in the Instagram search results. 

So, if you want your content to be front and center, working on an Instagram SEO strategy is likely a profitable endeavor. 

Benefits of Instagram SEO

Brand growth is about getting your products in the hands of many. Instagram SEO is your bridge to helping people find and connect your brand. 70% of shoppers turn to Instagram for product discovery, so the better you stand out in search, the better chance of being discovered. Instagram SEO is essentially like the rainbow that leads to the pot of gold at the end. 

But, some other benefits may not be so obvious when focusing on Instagram SEO: 

  • Broadens your reach so audiences near and far can discover your content 
  • Connects you with users who are actively looking for your products 
  • Allows for brand creativity and doesn’t limit the hashtags or keywords you can use for discovery
  • Simplifies your research so you can quickly identify what your competitors are doing in the space and figure out ways to help your brand stand out

5 Tips for improving your Instagram SEO

You can use many of the same strategies to improve Instagram SEO that you do to boost SEO on your site. From keywords to hashtags to alt text descriptions, here’s five tips for boosting your visibility on Instagram. 

1) Optimize to get more eyes 

Start by focusing on your Instagram profile (bio). You’ll want to include pertinent keywords and hashtags that help users find you in their search results. 

The foundation of your Instagram SEO is your handle. So, when choosing your handle and name, incorporate words relevant to your brand. If your brand is a household name, you could start there. But, if there is room for adding keywords that will boost your presence on Instagram, add them. 

Your handle and name are like your forest impression to users who aren’t familiar with your brand. So, you want to let users know what you’re able to do right away — don’t leave them guessing. 

For example, if your brand is a beauty line focusing on skincare, try adding the word skincare to your name or handle. Both handles and account names appear when searching for skincare. 

Instagram SEO

Once you have your bio don’t just leave it sitting idly. You should spend time fine-tuning your bio. Use the space to add relevant secondary keywords you want to rank for. Tell your audience who you are and what your brand is about in a few words.

For example, if your target keyword is “furniture,” your secondary word may be “wood” or “home.” 

Lastly, including your location is essential if it matters to your business. As a Business or Creator account, you can add a location tag. Adding a location tag is another way to increase viability and traffic. If you have several brick-and-mortar locations, location tags can effortlessly help consumers find your brand in the real world. 

2) Select the magic keywords 

How do you know what keywords work for your brand? 

Research what users are searching for on Instagram. If you type in a keyword relevant to your brand, several keywords will pop up below. By clicking on one of the keywords results pages, you’ll discover an entire page of pertinent content. Essentially, this page is an Explore page that’s designed around that keyword you selected. You can browse this page to identify top performing keywords.

You should also check out the Tags tab to pinpoint the best performing hashtags related to that specific keyword. 

Use them in your post captions once you have a handful of keywords to put to work. Instagram includes hashtags, relevant keywords, locations, and captions in all search results. Additionally, the Explore page algorithm identifies accounts with related topics and how accounts are relevant to each other. That said, embedding keywords in your post captions can boost visibility, even if you’re smaller brands trying to gain traction. 

Otherwise you can try Bazaarvoice Insights applications, which highlight the keywords your users are writing over and over again for you. Or, perhaps take a look at Google Analytics to identify keywords driving traffic to your site. 

3) Pinpoint hashtags that make a difference 

Like keywords, use relevant hashtags in post captions to boost visibility in search results. Instagram recently offered up some tips and tricks for getting your content seen. Some tips include:

  1. Use hashtags that are relevant to your content 
  2. Identify the hashtags your audience follows and use
  3. Combine popular and niche hashtags to extend your visibility 
  4. Avoid using generic hashtags that already have a high search volume 
  5. Stick to to three – five hashtags — using 10-20 will not increase your discoverability

Remember, the goal is to focus on your niche and identify what resonates with users. 

To find the right hashtags for your brand, take a look at the hashtags driving traffic to your account on Instagram Insights. Instagram shares the number of impressions from hashtags on any given post. While Instagram does not specify which hashtags got the most traffic, you should be able to weed out the hashtags that are the top performers if you stick to the three to five hashtag rule. 

You can also use the keywords search results strategy with hashtags. Search hashtags you’re considering and identify the activity. 

Instagram SEO

4) Put alt text to good use 

Alt text is a description of visual content that richly describes it to visually impaired folks. Not only does it help those who are visually impaired enjoy content, but it can also boost your Instagram SEO rankings. 

Since alt text helps Instagram better understand your content, it can identify relevant topics that connect your content with search results. 

If you don’t choose to use alt text to describe your posts, Instagram will do it for you. But unfortunately, the algorithm isn’t as detailed as you’d like. Also, it may incorrectly classify your photo, which is something you definitely don’t want. 

So, before you publish a post, select the “Advance setting” and edit your alt text to reflect your relevant keywords and hashtags. 

5) Keep tabs on your progress 

As with any marketing strategy, you have to throw it against a wall and see what sticks. In other words, tracking your analytics to see what’s working and what’s not will help you polish your Instagram SEO. Try regularly running an Instagram content audit to ensure your efforts are paying off. 

When conducting the audit, ask: 

  • Did our changes make a difference in the metrics?
  • Did the changes impact discoverability?
  • What could we improve to get more visibility?

Comprehensive analytics tools come with business and creator accounts. These tools allow you to measure your metrics and performance from the platform thoroughly. 

Letting social publishing tools take the Instagram SEO wheel 

Going at it alone takes a lot of trial and error. If you want to take the guesswork out of nailing your Instagram SEO, Bazaarvoice’s Social Publishing tools can do just that. From building the perfect grids and feeds to evaluating the impact of your content, to forecasting the right time to engage the most followers, BV social publishing tools simplify and streamline your Instagram SEO efforts.

On top of that, these tools go beyond tracking impressions, reach, and engagement. They highlight the conversion and revenue Instagram delivers. And, you can identify top-performing media products and social contributors to see what’s working and how you can do more of it. 

With social commerce being all the rage, it’s more important than ever to stand out on Instagram. And Instagram SEO is what’s going to get you there. But, don’t take the journey alone. Instead, use the right tools and resources to optimize your Instagram SEO effortlessly. 

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