5 Instagram SEO Tactics to Rank Higher in the Feed (2023)

Back in November 2020, Instagram made a pretty significant update to its search functionality. Instead of only being able to search profiles, hashtags, and locations, you can now search general keywords and it will show all posts that include those exit words.

This means two things: the first is that the Instagram algorithm has changed. The second is that Instagram SEO needs to be a part of your marketing strategy.

We’re all familiar SEO for Google, but we must remember that social media platforms have widely used search functions, too! And with this expanded search function on Instagram, optimizing your profile and posts for Insta search is a great way to to grow your reach get a leg up on your competition.

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You’ll now notice the “Top” tab for results, in addition to tags, accounts, and people.

In this guide, we’re going to cover exactly what Instagram SEO is, why it’s important, and then provide five steps to optimize your account for search. They include:understand:

  1. Identify your keywords
  2. Identify your KPIs
  3. Optimize your bio
  4. Optimize your post descriptions(captions,hashtags)
  5. Add alt text

What is Instagram SEO?

Instagram SEO is the process of optimizing your content in order to rank your profile higher in the Instagram search results. And though it may not have the same appeal as live streams or carousel ads, it’s as worthy of your time as anything else. By following Instagram SEO best practices — which we’ll discuss shortly — you improve your chances of being discovered by users who are searching keywords related to your business. That means more views, more likes, and more followers!

Let’s use gardening content as an example. Type “gardening” into the Instagram search bar and you’ll see this:

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Go ahead and click “see more,” and the list of suggested search queries will expand:

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Selecting “gardening ideas” brings you to this page:

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And if you were to click on the top result — the image in the top left corner, directly below the word “vegetable” — you’d be brought to this post:

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Nice picture, right? Well, if you were to navigate to the page that posted it, you’d see that it belongs to a small business — check out the link in the bio!

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Rather than buying an ad, this business made us aware of their merchandise simply by optimizing their content for a relevant keyword: “gardening ideas.” They did this, of course, because they know that users who search for this keyword are likely to be interested in their gardening-related products.

That’s Instagram SEO in action!

Now, before we go further, we should emphasize that buying ads on Instagram is an incredibly effective tactic for many businesses. As such, Instagram SEO should be used as a complement to Instagram advertising — not as a replacement for it.

We should also note that Instagram SEO is not exclusively about individual posts ranking for long-tail keywords (e.g., gardening ideas). Let’s take a second look at the suggestions we get when we simply type “gardening” into the search bar:

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As a user, rather than expanding the list of suggested searches, you could simply go straight to one of these gardening-related profiles. And it’s no accident that these specific profiles are at the top of the list of suggestions. Once again, this is Instagram SEO in action!

Why is Instagram SEO important?

Instagram SEO is important because it enables you to connect with people who are actively searching for content related to your business—not just anywhere, but on one of the most popular social media platforms in the world.

Think of it this way: Each time a user types in a keyword that’s related to your business, you have an opportunity to make a positive impression and drive high-quality traffic to your profile (and your website). Instagram SEO is the key to capitalizing on these opportunities — the key to engaging prospective customers who are more likely than others to convert.

That’s all well and good, but there’s a crucial question we need to address: Do people actually use Instagram to interact with businesses in this fashion? Is it really worthwhile to optimize your content in order to rank higher in the search results?

Yes and yes. According to AdEspresso, more than 200 million Instagram users visit a business profile on a daily basis. 66% of those visits come from users who do not yet follow the profiles they’re visiting. Plus, 60% of all Instagram users say they’ve learned about new products through the platform.

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Evidently, many people — your prospects included — see Instagram as a way to discover new businesses, new brands, and new products.

To be fair, searching for specific keywords is only one of several ways that users discover new businesses. Instagram ads drive discovery, and the Explore tab does, too. Instagram SEO, in other words, is not the be-all and end-all.

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It is, however, the only way to organically connect with prospects who show an active interest in your content/business. Ads are not organic, and they do not connect you with proactive prospects. Discovery via the Explore tab is organic, but, again, there is no element of proactivity.

Now that we understand the value that Instagram SEO presents to marketers, here are four tips to help you successfully execute it at your company.

4 tips to help you succeed with Instagram SEO

As we walk through these tips, keep in mind the ultimate goal: Getting your profile and individual posts to rank as high as possible for the keywords you care about.

1. Identify and prioritize your keywords

Which keywords do you want to rank for? An answer to this question is absolutely necessary before you make a single change to your Instagram profile/content.

Use keyword research tools

You can use regular keyword research tools to come up with Instagram keywords, such as:

Just keep in mind that what your followers search foron Instagram may not be the same as what theysearch for on Google.

In that regard, it may be best to use hashtag research tools, like

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Image source

Distinguish between broad and specific keywords

As you’re brainstorming, make sure to distinguish between relatively broad keywords — a.k.a. head terms — and relatively specific keywords — a.k.a. long-tail keywords.

  • Head terms (e.g., gardening) are searched frequently, and they typically indicate low commercial intent in the mind of the user.
  • Long-tail keywords (e.g., gardening ideas) are searched infrequently, and they typically indicate high commercial intent in the mind of the user.

Which is more important to you: increasing traffic to your profile, or driving more conversions? If it’s the former, you’re probably going to prioritize head terms over long-tail keywords. If it’s the latter, you’ll likely do the reverse.

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You could argue that these two objectives go hand-in-hand— i.e., you want to increase traffic to your profile in order to drive more conversions. It’s a fair point, and most of you will end up optimizing your profile/content for both head terms and long-tail keywords. As we’ll discuss shortly, however, not all optimizations carry the same weight — and that’s why it’s important to establish your priorities from the jump.

Pro tip: If you’re having trouble brainstorming keywords, simply open up the Instagram search bar and start typing words related to your business.

2. Establish KPIs to measure impact

There’s one more question you need to answer before you start optimizing: How are you going to measure the impact of your Instagram SEO efforts? Measuring impact is an essential part of the process, as it enables you to determine which optimizations are (un)successful.

To set yourself up for success, make sure to establish a few key performance indicators (KPIs). With Instagram Insights — the native analytics tool that comes with your business profile — you can track KPIs such as these (both at the profile level and the individual post level):

  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Profile visits
  • Followers
  • Website clicks

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Via Social Media Examiner.

Once you know which KPIs you’re going to track, you’ll be able to measure the impact yielded by your optimizations.

3. Optimize your profile (username & bio)

Now that you know (1) which keywords you’re going to target and (2) how you’re going to track your ROI, it’s time to optimize both your profile as a whole and your individual posts.

Let’s begin with your profile as a whole — we’re going to optimize your username and your bio. (Remember when we said not all optimizations carry the same weight? Well, your username and your bio are the heavy hitters; optimizing these two assets can make a huge impact). Your username is straightforward: You need to incorporate the keyword you consider most valuable. Clearly, the person who owns this profile wants to rank for “gardening ideas.”

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For some of you, this may cause concern: What if you already have a well-established business name — one that doesn’t include your primary target keyword? Fortunately, Instagram allows you to differentiate between your business name and your username:

If possible, try to incorporate both your brand name and your primary target keyword into your username. For example, if you were the owner of an ecommerce business called Nellie’s and you were trying to rank for “winter hats,” your Instagram username could be “winterhatsbynellie” or “nellieswinterhats.”

Optimizing your Instagram bio is equally straightforward: This is your opportunity to target any high-value keywords that didn’t quite make the cut for your username. The owner of this profile, for example, wants to rank for “gardening tips.”

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With your username and bio optimized, your Instagram profile as a whole should be in good shape. Now, let’s wrap up by discussing the optimization of your individual posts.

4. Optimize your individual posts (captions, hashtags)

Is optimizing each individual post as important as optimizing your username and bio? No, probably not. But let’s recall the original example we used to illustrate Instagram SEO in action.

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Had the person who posted this picture not used the caption to target “gardening ideas,” we may have never come across their profile, their website, or their products. That’s a big deal! And considering the minuscule effort required to optimize your captions, there’s no reason not to do it.

As you can see, hashtagging played a role in getting this post to rank for “gardening ideas.” However, this clearly wasn’t the only keyword being targeted by the person behind the post.

In general, when you’re optimizing an individual post, you should:

  • Use the main body of the caption to target a specific high-value keyword
  • Use hashtags to reinforce that keyword and target ancillary keywords

As an example, if you wanted to further optimize the post that ranks for “gardening ideas,” you could add a second sentence to the main body of the caption: “Gorgeous rooftop garden in New York. Check out our profile for more #gardeningideas!”

The more descriptive you are in your caption, the better optimized your post is for Instagram SEO. While the algorithm really only supports general terms right now, there’s no doubt in our minds that it will become more and more advanced over time.

And speaking of time, you may want to consider posting at the right time to gain favor with the Instagram algorithm.

5. Add alt text to images

You know about alt text for website and blog image optimization, but you may not know that you can add it for your Insta images too. Once you’ve added an image and are brought to the caption screen, head to the bottom and select “Advanced Settings”.

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Image source

Scroll down to the “Accessibility” section and add your alt text from there.

Not only does this make your postsaccessible, but it also enhances your Instagram SEO.

Don’t neglect Instagram SEO!

Instagram SEO is a no-cost, high-impact tactic for anyone who wants to grow their reach, increase traffic to their profile/website, and drive more conversions. It may not yield the same volume of results as paid advertising, but the potential ROI is staggering. If you’re committed to using social media as an engine of growth for your business, Instagram SEO is a no-brainer.

(Video) Instagram SEO tools 2022||Instagram SEO tips & technique ||Instagram tools website


What is the most effective SEO tactic? ›

One of the most effective SEO tactics that can help your rankings is extensive competitor research and analysis. The first step is simply to identify your key competitors, either by industry, geography, keywords, or any other relevant factors.

Is Instagram good for SEO? ›

Instagram is perfect for optimization because it works like a small search engine so SEO is valid there as well. Instagram ranks well-optimized pages higher and this attracts more active followers, drives engagement and improves page trust score. In turn, all this leads to an even higher ranking.

How do you do SEO on Instagram? ›

5 Instagram SEO Tactics to Increase Your Discoverability
  1. Tactic #1: Write Descriptive Captions With Keywords.
  2. Tactic #2: Add Keywords to Your Instagram Profile Name.
  3. Tactic #3: Include up to 30 Relevant Hashtags.
  4. Tactic #4: Add Descriptive Alt Text to Your Instagram Posts.
  5. Tactic #5: Be Consistent With Your Niche.
16 Mar 2022

How do I get my Instagram post to the top of the feed 2022? ›

6 Ways to "Beat" the Instagram Algorithm in 2022
  1. #1: Consistently Share Instagram Reels.
  2. #2: Encourage More Interactions with Instagram Stories Stickers.
  3. #3: Drive Conversations with Engaging Captions and Comments.
  4. #4: Add Hashtags and Keywords to Your Posts.
  5. #5: Cross-promote Your Instagram Content.
28 Nov 2021

What are new SEO techniques? ›

  • 12 SEO Techniques You Need to Be Using in 2022. ...
  • Find Your Competitors' Best Performing Pages. ...
  • Inform Your Content Strategy Using a Keyword Gap Analysis. ...
  • Use Digital PR to Earn Authority Backlinks. ...
  • Improve Your Organic CTR Using PPC Testing. ...
  • Optimize for 'People Also Ask' ...
  • Steal Your Competitor's Broken Backlinks.
18 Feb 2022

What are examples of SEO? ›

SEO strategy examples: 9 examples of what a good SEO strategy includes
  • Keyword optimization. First is keyword optimization. ...
  • Optimizing on-page elements. ...
  • Improving the backend of your site. ...
  • Creating user-friendly pages. ...
  • Creating content. ...
  • Building links. ...
  • Analyzing your competition. ...
  • Optimizing for voice search.
5 Dec 2020

What is SEO for social media? ›

Social SEO refers to the idea that social media links and interaction play a considerable part in a website's search rankings. Basically SEO is all about optimizing content—whether it's on your website or on a social media platform—in order to appear higher in search rankings.

What is the most searched word on Instagram? ›

#photooftheday (797.3M) #beautiful (661.0M) #art (649.9M) #photography (583.1M)

What is Instagram optimization? ›

If you're using Instagram to market your business, the best way to guarantee success is by boosting your following first. The more people you manage to reach, the higher your chances of driving sales. So, Instagram optimization is a must. In order to boost your following, you need to get found on the platform.

How are Instagram search results ranked? ›

In addition to the text you type into search, we use information from accounts, hashtags and places — called signals — to rank your search results. The most important signals we use, in order of importance, are: Your text in Search. The text you enter in the search bar is by far the most important signal for Search.

What are keywords on Instagram? ›

Instagram keyword search works by allowing users to type in a keyword such as “home office inspiration,” rather than being limited to a hashtag like #homeofficeinspiration. Search results should then surface posts about home office inspiration even if they're not specifically tagged as such.

How do you rank high in a hashtag? ›

It's unlikely that you will rank on a hashtag every single time you post on it. Most of the time you will rank around 30%-70% of the time if that hashtag is working well for you, so you should post using a single hashtag enough times to see initial results – we recommend at least 4 times per hashtag.

What is the best time to post on Instagram? ›

More videos on YouTube

Brayden Cohen, Hootsuite's Social Marketing and Employee Advocacy Strategist, told us: “Typically, we like to post early in the morning and mid-afternoon. For Instagram, that means we try to post anytime between 8 AM – 12 PM PST or 4-5 PM PST on weekdays.”

What is the right time to post on Instagram? ›

So, around 7-8 a.m. can be a great time to post in the morning. Another time when people are often on their phones is when they take their lunch break. Posting around 11-1 p.m., when people are likely to be breaking for lunch, can help ensure that your post will make it closer to the top of their feed.

What is the new Instagram algorithm 2022? ›

In 2022, Instagram re-introduced the ability to see your feed chronologically, as well as the ability to view a curated list of recent posts from your favorite accounts.

How do you increase your Instagram algorithm? ›

9 strategies and tactics to outsmart the Instagram algorithm
  1. Step up your photo quality. ...
  2. Keep publishing consistent Stories. ...
  3. Publish more video content. ...
  4. Go live more often. ...
  5. Craft more compelling captions. ...
  6. Run a contest or giveaway. ...
  7. Harness the power of your hashtags. ...
  8. Post during peak hours.

What is the best time to post on Instagram 2022? ›

Best Times to Post on Instagram
  • Best times to post on Instagram: Monday at 11 a.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Thursdays and Fridays 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Best days to post on Instagram: Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  • Worst days to post on Instagram: Sunday.
13 Apr 2022

Why my Instagram posts are not reaching? ›

When people follow you, Instagram knowns they would like to view your content. So even if Instagram doesn't show your posts to a majority of your followers at first, it may get picked up by the algorithm and end up on your followers' feeds later on. So try waiting a day or two before posting again.

How many types of SEO techniques? ›

The three kinds of SEO are: On-page SEO – Anything on your web pages – Blogs, product copy, web copy. Off-page SEO – Anything which happens away from your website that helps with your SEO Strategy- Backlinks. Technical SEO – Anything technical undertaken to improve Search Rankings – site indexing to help bot crawling.

What are the two techniques of SEO? ›

SEO techniques are classified into two broad categories: White Hat SEO - Techniques that search engines recommend as part of a good design. Black Hat SEO - Techniques that search engines do not approve and attempt to minimize the effect of. These techniques are also known as spamdexing.

What is the best SEO strategy in 2022? ›

The best SEO strategies for 2022
  • Check your Core Web Vitals and invest in improvements.
  • Target long-tail question keywords for People also ask.
  • Create keyword clusters to rank for more queries with one page.
  • Use AI content tools, but as a supplement.
  • Try out content optimization software.
25 Jan 2022

How can I improve my SEO 2022? ›

Here are seven ways you can improve your search engine optimization strategy and rankings for 2022:
  1. Optimize your website. ...
  2. Target accurate keywords. ...
  3. Create longer, better content. ...
  4. Track your website traffic. ...
  5. Start link-building. ...
  6. Stay away from black hat SEO. ...
  7. Set up a Google My Business profile. ...
  8. Conclusion.
24 Jan 2022

Why SEO strategy is important? ›

In short, SEO is crucial because it makes your website more visible, and that means more traffic and more opportunities to convert prospects into customers. Check out the SEO tools you can use for optimal ranking.

What are SEO tools? ›

What Are SEO Tools? SEO tools provide data and alerts about the overall health and success of your website. They help uncover areas of opportunity and identify weaknesses or issues that may prevent you from ranking and earning visibility in the SERPs.

How do I plan keywords for SEO? ›

How to do keyword research
  1. Step 1: Study your niche. ...
  2. Step 2: Define your goals. ...
  3. Step 3: Make a list of relevant topics. ...
  4. Step 4: Create a list of seed keywords. ...
  5. Step 5: Use good keyword research tools. ...
  6. Step 6: Study the search intent. ...
  7. Step 7: Identify long tail keywords. ...
  8. Step 8: Find out about your competitors.

Do Hashtags help SEO? ›

One question people often ask is: do hashtags help with SEO? The answer is yes because hashtags are essentially keywords. They help you to categorize your content and help social media users find it.

How can social media improve SEO? ›

  • Social Media = Increased Visibility = More Links. ...
  • Social Can Help You Improve SEO Ranking Signals. ...
  • Posting on Social Gets Content Indexed Quicker. ...
  • Social Interaction Data Can Help You Improve Your SEO Content. ...
  • Social Media Helps Build Search Demand. ...
  • Social Media Helps You Identify the Audience for Your SEO Content.
9 Jun 2021

Who is No 1 in Instagram? ›

As of now, Instagram itself has the most follower profile in World and For an individual, Cristiano Ronaldo is the most-followed person. Kylie Jenner is the most-followed female on Instagram.

What makes a great Instagram profile? ›

The best Instagram profiles have a few things in common, including easily identifiable usernames, a recognizable profile picture, a steady stream of Instagram Stories and photos, an informative yet delightful bio, a link to a relevant landing page or campaign, and more.

How do you rank high in a hashtag? ›

It's unlikely that you will rank on a hashtag every single time you post on it. Most of the time you will rank around 30%-70% of the time if that hashtag is working well for you, so you should post using a single hashtag enough times to see initial results – we recommend at least 4 times per hashtag.

Can you tell if you have been searched on Instagram? ›

Instagram doesn't allow users to see who views their profile. So if you look through someone's profile and don't like or comment on a post, there's no way for them to know who sees the pictures.

How do you get to the top of a hashtag? ›

1. Engagement. While no one knows exactly how the Instagram algorithm works, we do know that Instagram favors posts that get a lot of engagement, meaning that if your post receives a ton of likes and comments, it's more likely to feature in the top posts of a trending hashtag.

Does Instagram suggest users who search for you? ›

Not at all! The user suggestions you get to follow are not based on people who view your profile or stalk you. Instead, a complete working algorithm at the back end decides the suggestion list based on complex data like mutual interests, followers, location, contacts, etc.

What is the number 1 hashtag on Instagram? ›

the trending top Instagram hashtags for 2022 are:
  • #love.
  • #instagood.
  • #photooftheday.
  • #fashion.
  • #beautiful.
  • #happy.
  • #cute.
  • #tbt.

What is the most searched word on Instagram? ›

#photooftheday (797.3M) #beautiful (661.0M) #art (649.9M) #photography (583.1M)

Can hashtags improve SEO? ›

One question people often ask is: do hashtags help with SEO? The answer is yes because hashtags are essentially keywords. They help you to categorize your content and help social media users find it. Be careful with hashtags, though; hashtag use varies from platform to platform.

Can someone see how many times you viewed their Instagram story? ›

On the bottom left, you'll see the number of people who have viewed each photo or video in your story. To see all usernames of the people who have viewed your story, tap on the profile pictures on the bottom left. Note that the number of story views includes all the replays of your story.

Can someone see that I viewed their Instagram highlight if we are not friends? ›

Can someone see if I viewed their Instagram Story or Highlights Story without following them? Yes, Instagram Stories will show anyone who views your Story, followers or not, although you shouldn't stalk them.

Who views your Instagram? ›

“There is no way for Instagram users to see who is viewing their profile the most on Instagram. The only surface in which you can publicly see who is viewing your content is in IG Stories.”

What is the best time to post on Instagram? ›

More videos on YouTube

Brayden Cohen, Hootsuite's Social Marketing and Employee Advocacy Strategist, told us: “Typically, we like to post early in the morning and mid-afternoon. For Instagram, that means we try to post anytime between 8 AM – 12 PM PST or 4-5 PM PST on weekdays.”

What are Instagram suggestions based on? ›

These suggestions are based on things like: Your activity: Who you follow and what posts you've liked, saved or commented on. Your connections: Your history of connecting with that account or similar accounts on Instagram.

Who comes up first on Instagram search? ›

Instagram usually shows accounts and hashtags you follow or visit higher than those you don't. User engagement: When there are a lot of potential results, Instagram will look at engagement signals. These include the number of clicks, likes, shares and follows for a particular account, hashtag or place.

How does Instagram search algorithm work? ›

The Instagram algorithm is a set of rules that rank content on the platform. It decides what content shows up, and in what order, on all Instagram users' feeds, the Explore Page, the Reels feed, hashtag pages, etc. The Instagram algorithm analyzes every piece of content posted to the platform.


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