Skip to main content

Copied URL to clipboard!

instagram seo
Instagram Tips & Resources

Instagram SEO: How to Increase Your Discoverability

Updated on March 1, 2024
7 minute read

SEO has entered the chat. 🤩

Published March 1, 2024

"Can you do SEO on Instagram?" Yes.

A strong Instagram SEO (search engine optimization) strategy is one of the best ways to increase your reach on the platform. 

By brushing up on your SEO skills, you'll make your business more search-friendly, and can get more followers too.

From hashtags to alt text, we’re explaining how to take on an SEO mindset so you can connect with relevant audiences on the app.

Never Miss a Trend AgainJoin over 1 million marketers to get social news, trends, and tips right to your inbox!Email Address

What Is SEO on Instagram?

Instagram SEO is all about tailoring your content so that it appears in as many places as possible — from search results to the Explore Page.

It's an essential tactic for improving your discoverability.

The more people who discover your content, the greater chance you have at growing your following and building an engaged Instagram community.

FYI: Later's social media management platform is trusted by over 7M brands, creators, and marketers. With an array of tools and features, it can help you maximize your social media optimization. Create an account, today.

Why Is Instagram SEO Important?

With over 1.35B monthly global users on Instagram, SEO plays a significant role in both reach and discovery on the platform.

Much like you would search a term into Google, you can use the search bar on the top of the Explore Page to find and discover accounts, keywords, hashtags, places, posts, and audio.

instagram seo

By tailoring your Instagram content, you can tap into what your target audience is searching for.

But that's not all.

SEO also plays a major role in what populates on users' suggested posts — a space in the Home feed with content from accounts you don't follow.

And according to Instagram, these suggestions are, “based on posts from accounts like the ones you follow and posts similar to the ones you like or save.”

instagram seo

With a strong Instagram SEO strategy, you can ensure your posts are surfaced in relevant search results on the Explore Page and in suggested content feeds.

It's the ultimate tactic for reaching relevant audiences and giving your content the visibility it deserves.

How Instagram SEO Works: 3 Key Factors

Optimizing your Instagram posts for SEO (more on that, later) is just one part of the equation — Instagram's algorithm processes every piece of content on the app, gathering information it can use to determine what the post is about — and by proxy, who might find it interesting.

According to Instagram, "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 are:

  1. The text: The text you input into the search bar is highly important. Instagram tries to match what users type with relevant keywords, accounts, hashtags, content, and places.

  2. User activity: If Instagram thinks someone will be more interested in one post over another, it will prioritize that in the search results. It determines this based on the searcher's previous activity on the app — such as posts they've viewed, accounts they follow or interact with.

  3. Information about the search results: When there are a high volume of relevant results for a search term, it can become a bit of a popularity contest. The number of clicks, likes, shares, and follows for an account or post can also influence where the search result is ranked.

When it comes to your Instagram SEO strategy, the main thing you can do to improve your ranking is to help the algorithm to correctly identify your content.

So the next time someone performs a search, Instagram will know to include your post in the results.

5 Instagram SEO Tactics To Reach More Eyes

Knowing how to use SEO to your advantage can increase your visibility on Instagram.

Here are five ways to boost discoverability:

Tactic #1: Write Descriptive Captions With Keywords

Previously, you could only search in Instagram Explore via hashtags, location tags, usernames, and profile names. 

However, you can now search using keywords too.

instagram seo

That means writing relevant, descriptive captions using choice keywords can seriously impact your content’s discoverability.

And while some of those keywords can come from an account’s name or username, they mainly come from the captions (and hashtags) you write.

TIP: With Later's AI Caption Writer, you can create on-brand captions in seconds — no brainstorming required. Create an account now.

Tactic #2: Add Keywords to Your Instagram Profile Name 

If you want to grow your following and use Instagram search to your advantage, you need to optimize your Instagram bio.

If you’re hoping to rank for a specific keyword, it’s a good idea to incorporate that keyword into your name or username — since both are searchable on Instagram.

Take for example the outlet, Paper Magazine. Both their name and username contain the keyword “magazine.”

instagram seo

If you can’t fit a keyword into your username, adding keywords to your name field can be just as valuable.

Tactic #3: Include up to 30 Relevant  Hashtags

Using relevant, targeted hashtags on posts is still a great way to get discovered by new audiences on Instagram. 

If you have a public Instagram account and add a hashtag to a post, that post will be visible on the corresponding hashtag’s results page.

And since hashtags are used with the intent to categorize and discover new content, using the right hashtags can put you in front of your target audience — even if they haven’t connected with you before.

TIP: Later’s Hashtag Suggestion tool is an easy way to find hashtags based on the content of your post and similar hashtags in your industry.

Tactic #4: Add Descriptive Alt Text to Your Instagram Posts

Instagram alt text is a feature that allows you to write custom alternative text for a richer description of your photos.

And while the feature was mainly designed to improve accessibility on the platform, it can also be used for SEO purposes too.

But, make sure you're putting accessibility at the forefront — don't keyword stuff just for the sake of it.

At the moment, Instagram automatically generates alt text for your photos, but you can add them manually too.

How To Add Alt Text to an Instagram Post:

To add alt text to a post, tap Advanced Settings at the bottom of the screen before posting.

instagram seo

Next, tap Write Alt Text.

instagram seo

Write your alt text in the box and tap Done.

Tactic #5: Be Consistent With Your Niche 

Finally, a major (yet simple) visibility tactic is to be consistent with your Instagram SEO practices.

The more you follow the aforementioned best practices, the more the algorithm will learn what your account is all about.

This type of consistency teaches Instagram who you are and what you offer — which means your profile and content will be served to relevant users as they browse Instagram.

See how posts from Shevoke populate the Explore page when “sunglasses” is searched:

instagram seo

With just a few SEO tweaks and improvements, you can easily take advantage of Instagram searches and suggested posts.

Equipped with the above Instagram SEO tips, you can grow a following who engages with your posts — whether it's dropping a comment, sharing with friends, or clicking the link in your bio.

May the SEO odds be ever in your favor.

Use Later's social media management platform to plan, manage, and analyze your posts on Instagram (and other platforms). Sign up, today.

Never Miss a Trend AgainJoin over 1 million marketers to get social news, trends, and tips right to your inbox!Email Address

Plan, schedule, and automatically publish your social media posts with Later.

Related Articles

  • 10 Social Media Trends You Need To Know in 2024

    By Lindsay Ashcraft

  • This Is How the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2024

    By Alyssa Gagliardi

  • The Secret Formula for Instagram Success in 2024

    By Jillian Warren