To date, it is crucial to think like an SEO specialist to grow one's presence on Instagram. Why? Because the platform now officially has its own internal search engine, regulated by a precise machine learning-based algorithm. A revolution for the social media platform, which can prove to be a valuable resource for brands and professionals, and which introduces the need to implement strategies aimed at optimizing one's social page and thus seize the opportunities of SEO.
The new Instagram Search panel completely revolutionizes the system implemented up until now. If previously search was only possible by hashtags or usernames, today it is possible to type one or more keywords in the search bar in the Explore section. The algorithm will take into account the typed text, the engagement of the post, the publication date and your own activity, exploiting machine learning to show relevant content, searching by caption, bio, hashtag and geotag. The results will be displayed in five sections: Top, Accounts, Audio, Tags and Places. An important change, which highlights the need to implement strategies aimed at increasing the visibility and trust score of one's page from an SEO perspective.
This new relationship between Instagram and SEO changes the way we have been accustomed to using the social media platform so far. Previously, the only way to optimize posts and improve their positioning was by selecting relevant hashtags. However, with this new feature, it is now necessary to apply additional measures. Let's see what they are.
Choose the right username and nickname
The primary keyword of an Instagram account is the username, which should be considered as a search query. The username must be short, legible, unique, free of symbols and contain the keyword that best identifies the brand or company. The nickname, on the other hand, must contain (especially when the username is unclear or is the name of the company) information about the industry or profession in which one operates. This will lead to more chances of appearing in search results and breaking through the Instagram algorithm.
Write keyword-optimized bio
The bio is a fundamental element within an Instagram SEO strategy. Here, in a maximum of 150 characters, primary and secondary keywords must be entered. These are all those pertinent and relevant keywords that better describe the characteristics of one's business and that the target user could type in the new internal search engine.
Write keyword-optimized captions
Increasing the visibility of your posts has become easier, but to do so it is essential to optimize the texts of each content (photo, carousel or reel) in order to insert the best keywords. The captions will therefore need more care and a precise knowledge of how target users communicate. It is for this reason that tools such as the free Answer The Public tool will now be useful not only for the SEO of websites.
Use hashtags correctly
Hashtags have not lost their role. Today, also thanks to the possibility of following a single hashtag as if it were a profile, they continue to be fundamental. To optimize your posts, as Instagram itself suggests, they should be inserted in the captions and not in the comments. They must be relevant, made up of a good mix of niche hashtags and well-known hashtags and above all they must not exceed 3 or 5 for each post, in order to avoid hashtag stuffing, which will penalize the content by recognizing it as spam.
Use Instagram geotag
Very often one is led to think that geotags are not relevant, however they should not be underestimated. Sharing your location in your bio makes it easier for people in the same area to find you locally. Inserting geotags to your posts instead helps to optimize the content by making it appear among the first search results. In the Explore section today it is in fact possible to search for “Popular nearby” places.
If it is true that browsing on Instagram was based, almost passively, on tags and stories, today it seems that user behavior is changing. If used correctly, this new feature can be an indispensable tool in strategic choices. By using Instagram SEO correctly it is possible to obtain a better positioning in the internal search engine, an increase in the organic reach of the posts, the possibility of reaching a target audience, an increase in the number of followers and the creation of a community. At the same time, the internal search engine can be used to carry out market research, understand the needs of the target, study competitors and consequently improve one's touchpoints.