How to master Instagram SEO in 20239 min read

You’ve created an Instagram profile and are ready to spread your message far and wide, get followers and make good business on one of the most prominent and professional platforms out there.

But somehow, although you keep posting and posting, nothing seems to work! 

Your posts don’t get a lot of likes or comments and your follower count isn’t getting any higher…

Could it be that you’ve forgotten one key aspect of any social media strategy? 

Indeed, have you missed out on the one thing you really need to think about when trying to grow your audience and build your brand online?

Don’t panic – Hypefury to the rescue! 

As everywhere else online, on Instagram, too, you need to think about your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to guarantee that people will first see, then appreciate your posts. If you don’t, even your best posts will remain unappreciated and your content unknown to the wider world!

Keep reading to find out all about Instagram SEO and how to make it work for you in 2023!

Here’s a little summary if you want to jump to your preferred topic.

What is Instagram SEO?


Instagram search bar

As you probably know, Instagram comes with its own search engine: you can look for accounts on the platform by typing keywords or even a person’s name or username into the Instagram search bar. 

This means that, just as for any other search engine like Google, Instagram presents its search results in a certain order, with the most popular and appropriate results at the top of the list. 

Working with SEO can help you climb higher on that list, making your account more likely to be visited by users searching for content related to your niche. 

Unless you are an established celebrity with a recognizable name, SEO is the way to make yourself more visible to people online!

The Explore page

If you’re familiar with Instagram, you are well aware that the most common way in which we discover new accounts isn’t by searching with keywords, but rather by looking at the posts suggested to us on the Explore page. 

This section of Instagram displays posts of all kinds (regular posts, carousels or Reels) who revolve around the same topics as the posts you usually look at. For instance, if you follow a lot of accounts that revolve around fitness, you’ll see a lot of fitness-related posts on your Explore page.

Luckily for you, you can use Instagram SEO to help your content get on the Explore page of people in your niche even if your number of followers isn’t yet too impressive!

Read on to find out what to do to boost your Instagram SEO.

Optimize your Instagram profile for people to find it

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The results of searches on Instagram are heavily influenced by keywords – which means that associating yourself with those that speak to your niche will help you be discovered.

You can start by including your main keyword in your name and/or username. Your brand revolves around providing movie reviews on your blog? Try adding the word “movie” or “film” or “cinema” to your username or name for it to appear early on in searches!

Another approach you can use is to include keywords in your Instagram bio. Describe what you do and allow yourself to go a little more specific – secondary keywords are a great way to reach an even more defined and potentially loyal niche! For instance, if your specialty is European cinema, try adding the keywords “French New Wave” or “European” next to “films”! 

With the help of keywords right in the very skeleton of your Instagram presence, you can maximize your chances of your account being found by curious people who don’t yet know how much they’ll love your content!

Make your captions work for you

Even if your images or videos are incredibly interesting and unique, they won’t go far if you don’t give them good captions.

Beyond the basic need for clarity and context (how frustrating is it to see a post and not understand it?) captions can make your content more searchable and discoverable on the Explore page.

There are a few things to consider when it comes to captioning:

Use relevant keywords

Here again, keywords can do wonders for you. They can help the Instagram search engine understand the content of your post and make it easier for users to find your content when they search for those keywords.

Keep your captions concise – or not! 

Captions on Instagram have a character limit, so it’s important to keep your captions concise and to the point to make sure they are easily readable and make for a good user experience. 

An Instagram post isn’t meant to be a novel, but find your balance: some longer captions can prove successful if their length genuinely allows for more depth. 

In this post, psychologist Dr. Nicole LePera @the.holistic.psychologist uses the caption to give an example of a person learning to accept their parents for who they are, in order to better illustrate what she means in her picture. The post has so far received 249k likes and 2,568 comments! The text allowed the image to resonate even more.

Use hashtags in your captions 

instagram hashtag

Hashtags are a great way to increase the visibility of your posts on Instagram and improve your SEO. On Instagram, they function much like keywords, which means that they can help people find you when they’re searching for a certain topic. 

Keep in mind that readability is always helpful, and too many hashtags can make your post less visually appealing. Find a balance!

And don’t expect miracles: using all the right hashtags won’t help much if your posts have low engagement. After all, can you imagine how many people use the hashtags #fitness or #movie? 

Use alt-text for images

Alt-text is a feature that allows you to provide a brief description of the content of your images for users who are unable to view them. Users can hear what the alt-text says and therefore have access to your post. 

To write your alt-text, select “Advanced settings” before sharing your post and type a description of your content there.

By using alt-text, you can also help search engines understand the content of your images and improve your Instagram SEO. Make sure to include keywords in the alt-text to boost your searchability!

Make your followers tag you in their posts

The Explore page as well as the Instagram search engine results take into account who the person is already following. This means that your existing followers are one avenue towards more followers: they can help your content be exposed to more people!

One way in which you can use this to your advantage is by encouraging your followers to tag your account in their post. For instance, if you offer consultancy services, ask your clients to make a story or even a post thanking you for your help.

Alternatively, run a giveaway asking people to follow your account, like and share the post to their stories and tagging a friend to be in with a chance to win a prize. Check out this post by London hair salon Butchers: it garnered 220 likes thanks to the great prize it offered.

Be smart about hashtags

As we’ve seen, hashtags can be a powerful tool to increase the visibility of your content on Instagram – but you must be strategic when using them! Here are some tips to follow:

Research popular hashtags in your niche 

As we’ve mentioned, hashtags are great but they can be a little overused and therefore not that useful. Make sure you use the right ones that will work best for the topic your posts revolve around by using tools like Hashtagify or Display Purposes to find relevant hashtags and see how often they are used within your niche.

Use a mix of popular and less popular hashtags

While it’s important to use popular hashtags to increase the visibility of your posts, it’s also a good idea to use less popular ones in order to reach a more targeted audience. Your post is specifically about music of the year 1969 and not just about music from the 60s and 70s? Why not use the hashtag #1969 to reach those particular fans!

Use relevant hashtags

It can be tempting to cast a wide net and use very popular hashtags, but results are not guaranteed. It’s important to stay relevant with hashtags that accurately reflect the content of your posts. By being more targeted, you may actually increase your chances of finding the right crowd for your content. 

Avoid using irrelevant hashtags

Don’t try to be smart and attract people to your post by using misleading hashtags – that’s just wrong and wastes everybody’s time! You will only damage your own credibility and make it difficult for users to find your content.

Be consistent with your Instagram SEO

Instagram followers

SEO works by learning from users. 

If you always search for or look at posts related to skincare, the algorithm will continuously show you posts about skincare. 

Similarly, if you consistently boost your SEO in the same ways, using the same appropriate keywords and hashtags and following the tips mentioned above, you’ll teach Instagram that your content is relevant to your chosen niche and that it has value. 

In no time, Instagram will reward your efforts and get the ball rolling for more organic growth by placing your posts higher in search results and on people’s Explore pages!

As it is everywhere else in social media marketing, consistency is key to Instagram SEO. 

Learn from your analytics

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Instagram provides you with countless tools to not only make posts, but also to check how these posts are performing. 

If you are serious about your Instagram presence and looking to work with SEO, you can’t neglect the insights that engagement, follower counts and demographics give you.

By looking at this data, you can learn what is and isn’t working in your Instagram strategy and see if your approach to SEO is bringing forth any positive results. Perhaps certain hashtags and keywords are leading to less likes than expected? Adapt your posting to this new information to keep growing your account!

By taking into account these various points , you can work with SEO to take your Instagram account to new heights!

To learn more about how to use Instagram strategically for marketing your brand or business, make sure to read our very own Ultimate Guide to Instagram Marketing! And why not use Hypefury to help you get organized and ever more effective online?

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