How to Master Instagram SEO in 2021

September 16, 2021
5 min read

Staying up to date on the latest Instagram SEO updates can give your business profile a serious boost in discoverability and engagement.

This post will tell you everything you need to know about Instagram SEO in 2021. We teach you what Instagram SEO is, and introduce the latest keyword search feature. Lastly, we give you some tips for optimizing your Instagram searchability.

What is Instagram SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. On Instagram, users can search for specific posts or profiles. SEO ensures that your posts are more likely to show up in the search results of your target audience.

Mastering SEO is all about knowing what keywords and hashtags your audience is searching for, and then using them in your profile to increase discoverability.

And it’s not just about showing up in search results. Instagram’s algorithm uses SEO to curate a user’s feed. Optimizing your post can signal to Instagram’s algorithm that your post may be of interest to a user, and your post will end up on their Explore page.

Instagram Introduces the Keyword Search

Last November, Instagram introduced an update to their search function that completely changed how businesses can optimize their posts on Instagram.

Searching on Instagram used to be limited to hashtags, locations, and usernames. But this update has expanded Instagram’s search function to include general keywords too.

You can now search for just about any keyword and results will show all posts or profiles that use that keyword anywhere in their caption or bio.

This broader search function greatly increases your profile’s discoverability. Combining relevant keywords with hashtags in your posts doubles your chances of reaching your target audience!

Tips For Improving Instagram SEO

Instagram’s new SEO update now calls for you to take a look at your profile and make some changes to improve your searchability.

Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

Let’s cover five tips for optimizing your Instagram SEO.


Identify Relevant Keywords

There are tons of free and easy-to-use keyword research tools out there to help you determine what sort of keywords and hashtags your target audience is searching for.

We recommend being as specific as possible. General keywords can be too broad and using them will throw your post into a huge pool of other posts. It’s likely your post will get lost in the masses.

Aim to use more specific keywords, such as “soy candle” versus “candle,” to narrow down the search results and increase your post’s discoverability.


Write Descriptive Captions

Instagram’s search function doesn’t just look at hashtags now – it looks at your whole caption.

This means it’s important for you to write more descriptive captions. And now that you know what keywords your audience is searching for, you can optimize your captions by using those keywords and phrases in your caption.

Check out this great post from Roasti Coffee Company. They’ve optimized this post to reach users interested in coffee and espresso with a descriptive caption.

Roasti also consistently discusses coffee or espresso in their post captions. The Instagram algorithm then picks up on these signals and promotes Roasti’s posts to users who have shown an interest in these keywords!


Update Your Instagram Profile

Optimizing your Instagram profile is a key practice in improving your searchability. Instagram analyzes the keywords in your profile to determine what your brand is about. The algorithm will use this information to deliver your posts to interested users.

To further improve your profile’s searchability, we recommend updating your Instagram profile to include relevant keywords. This includes your Instagram handle or profile name, and your bio.


Keep Using Hashtags

Just because hashtags aren’t the sole method of searching on Instagram anymore, doesn’t mean you should stop using them.

Instagram’s new keyword search function isn’t perfect yet. Only a limited number of keywords offer search results. For example, searching “small dog” currently does not bring up any keyword recommendations. Meanwhile, searching “chihuahua” brings up recommendations for “chihuahua,” “chihuahua life,” and more.

This means hashtags are still a key tool for improving your discoverability.

Our friends over at La Bosco Bakery & Cafe sure know how to use a hashtag! They optimize their posts to reach local users with their YEG-centric hashtags. And they have clearly done their research on top-performing hashtags that are relevant to their industry.


Write Alternative Text

Instagram’s alt text is an accessibility feature that allows you to write a rich description of your photos. It was primarily developed to accommodate users with visual impairments, but it can also be used for SEO.

Instagram automatically generates alternative text for your photos. But you can go into “Advanced Settings” and write custom alt text to create a richer description of what is pictured in your post using relevant keywords!

Did You Find This Post Helpful?

Spark & Pony is a creative marketing agency dedicated to making custom marketing solutions for small businesses. Follow us on Instagram for more social media tips!

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