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Instagram SEO To Boost Reach & Visibility in 2023

If building loyal followers on Instagram and reaching to wider audience is a goal of your marketing strategy – you have to plan to reach more accounts on Instagram.

Enhancing your visibility will improve your chances of getting more engagement and growing your follower base. 

One effective way to achieve this is by investing your time in getting your Instagram SEO right and optimized

What is Instagram SEO?

You might be aware of Search Engine Optimization, where you optimize your website & content to make it rank higher and appear at the top of the search query.

Similarly, Instagram SEO does the same.

With Instagram SEO, you optimize your content, profile, and overall Instagram Marketing Strategy. By doing so, you increase the likelihood of your content and your profile ranking higher at the top when someone searches on Instagram.

Or appear on the user’s Instagram explore page.

Improving your Instagram profile, content reach, and overall visibility will benefit everyone, regardless of whether you are a brand, small business, startup or content creator.  

Before I share tactics with you, let’s discuss is Instagram SEO is relevant in 2023 & beyond.

Is Instagram SEO relevant for Account Reach in 2023?

Today, for you to get discovered on Instagram has become more challenging. And wherever you go, one standard piece of advice you will get is to start posting more content on Instagram.

Like you never knew this before.

But let’s face it, posting content for the sake of it won’t cut it anymore. You need to have a strategy, a goal and a purpose. Wheather; 

  1. To Increase engagement
  2. Build followers
  3. Get sales or leads 
  4. Build brand advocates
  5. Increase your community members
  6. Or any other social media goal 
  7. Etc.

To achieve these goals, you need to enhance your profile and content reach. But let’s be real, it’s all about the numbers. As more people you reach, it will sweeten your chances of hitting 🎯 your social media goals. 

To drive more reach, an effective hashtag strategy, making viral content, and Instagram SEO are some of your best allies.

What are Instagram Search Ranking Factors according to Instagram? 

Before I share tactics to grow your account reach, let’s first find out what Instagram says about how ranking factors work on their search. 

According to Instagram (yeah, it’s their own words, not mind, don’t blame the messenger), there are three ranking factors.

Ranking Factor #1: Online User activity

Instagram promotes those posts, profiles or content that users generally like to engage in. It does this by observing the previous posts that the user engaged in, finding them exciting and searching for them online.

Ranking Factor #2: Search Text

Not surprising.

Instagram try to find what the user has searched in the search bar to bring up relevant username, bio, captions, places and hashtags.

It works like an On-Page SEO for your Instagram.

Ranking Factor #3: Other popularity signals:

Considering other popularity signals for ranking is similar to how Google gives more value to those content and websites with high authority Links and good EAT scores associated with them.

Like that, Instagram also promotes content that others like, share, and comment on.

It works like an Off-Page SEO for your Instagram.

Tactics to grow your Instagram account reach using Instagram SEO

1. Add Keyword In your Instagram Profile Name & Handle

Optimize your Instagram profile name and handle for search queries. So that if someone searches it, your profile appears on top.

For instance, if I search “Coffee” on Instagram, many brands pop up. Look at the screenhot attached. 

Now, I recognize the brand Blue Tokai coffee, which got my attention.

Blue Tokai Coffee Ranking for search query "Coffee"
Blue Tokai Coffee Ranking for search query “Coffee”

Similarly, when I searched for Yoga, Greesha’s profile on top came up, and she is a yoga teacher.

Greesha's profile ranking for the search query "Yoga"
Greesha’s profile ranking for the search query “Yoga”

2. Optimize your Instagram bio for SEO

Similar to adding keyword in your profile do add in your Instagram bio to get appear on top.

Now when I visit Blue Tokai’s profile, not only have they added good content, but I also notice they have optimized their bio by adding relevant keywords. Here is a screenshot.

Blue Tokai's Optimize Instagram Bio
Blue Tokai’s Optimize Instagram Bio

Similarly, Greesha has also done the same. Here is a screenshot.

Greesha's Optimize Instagram Bio
Greesha’s Optimize Instagram Bio

3. Include alt text in your Instagram’s Image or video

Many marketers need to learn this, but Instagram has the feature to add alt text in images and videos. The alt text feature was added to improve visually impaired users’ experience, as it lets you hear what the alt text contains.

But how can you use it to increase your Instagram reach?

The strategy is to add relevant keywords related to your brand in the alt text. By doing so, you tell Instagram’s algorithm to understand the context of the content better.

Moreover, if you are not adding alt text, Instagram will automatically generate alt text. Nevertheless, it’s best practice to add on your own, where you clearly describe the context and add relevant keywords.

To add alt text, you can go to the Advanced setting before sharing the image; under the Advanced setting, go to “Write alt text.”

Go to Advance Setting
Go to write alt text

Write your description; add relevant keywords, but remember not to stuff it.

Write your own Alt text.

 4. Write relevant keywords in your Instagram Caption.

On Instagram’s Explore page, there are only two ways that you can search for content: first, by using hashtags, and second, through Location.

Along with that, Instagram also shows personalized content based on user’s online interactions and interests. To better understand that, a little thought on how Instagram’s explore page algorithm works;

For example, if you regularly engage with content related to pets’. Your explore page will most likely display content that is related to it. Along with other interests you generally interact with or most likely will.

Now, the Instagram Explore page uses an account embedding feature, which helps to identify the relevant and similar statements based on what word (or keywords) is being used.

Instagram binds at how the “Words” are used in bio, captions, and usernames are similar.

That’s why writing relevant keywords in your Instagram caption is integral for getting more visibility on your Explorer page.

Look for common terms and words associated with your brand or product and services you offer, and add them in your caption.

5. Utilize Hashtags as Keywords

Ignore all the voices & people around you who say there are better strategies than hashtags in 2023. Hashtags are still the heart of social media marketing. Hashtags help you connect online, give context to your content, and enhance your chance of boosting your content reach and visibility.

And here’s the best thing – on Instagram, people use Hashtags with the intent to look for something.

So, let’s say you run a Pet Adoption Center and want to get discovered if someone searches. For that, you have to post content along with Hashtags related to it. So that if someone searches, your content appears at the top.

But wait, there’s more!

Instagram also considers other factors, such as account relevance and engagement, to show you at the top of search results. 

6. Add subtitle in your video for Instagram SEO

For better user accessibility, Instagram has an inbuilt feature to auto-generate video subtitles. But along with that, manually adding video subtitles that include your target keywords signals more context to Instagram algorithms.

When you add subtitles, it gives more context to Instagram Algorithms and crawlers to understand the content better. Here is an example: when I searched for “How to start Keto” on Instagram.

Search query result for "How to start Keto"

And I come across this video, which has the same subtitle.

Subtitle present in the Instagram video

So, don’t hesitate to add those subtitles to your video to improve your chances of getting discovered!

7. Focus on creating a specific theme or niche in the Instagram feed

Choosing and sticking up with the niche and theme of your content is the surest way to boost your account’s visibility on Instagram, as it signals to Instagram what your profile is offering through your content.

As I shared on Instagram, the algorithms’ main goal is to deliver relevant content that users have interacted with or are most likely to interact with. Posting content on the same niche and following a consistent theme signals to Instagram that you have expertise, and Instagram values that.

Some example of a brands that have nailed this strategy;

Wicked Clothes, which sells dark humour and gothic t-shirts, has built a complete niche on this.

Similarly, FinShots, a popular Indian financial news website, has established its social media page by posting finance–related content and creating a niche.

8. Add your Location in the bio for better visibility

Include a location in your bio or content if you offer something within a city or relevant to your business.

But how does this help?

When someone searches for that location, your content will appear.

It would help if you also made your business location taggable to appear on Instagram’s searchable map. To do that, connect your Instagram account with a Facebook Business page first.

9. Tag location when you post content

When you post, if it’s relevant tag location, similar to adding location in your bio this strategy also help when someone search for your that location. Your content will also appear.

Don’t stop with Instagram SEO.

Now that you know Instagram SEO, start implementing it, see the results, and boost your Instagram organic reach. But don’t stop just yet.

Instagram SEO is one part of the social media game which helps you boost organic reach. Follow other social media organic boosting practices and increase engagement for better results.

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