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5 Little-Known Instagram SEO Techniques for Increasing Reach

5 Little-Known Instagram SEO Techniques for Increasing Reach

Are you ready to turn your Instagram account into a reach powerhouse? Do you want your posts to be seen by as many people as possible?

According to recent statistics, around 1.4 million people use Instagram monthly, and only a tiny percentage see your posts. Isn't it disappointing? 

Don't worry; we've got five little-known Instagram SEO techniques to boost your presence to reach that billion-people audience! 

From optimising your profile to using relevant hashtags, these techniques will help you climb the ranks and be seen by more people than you ever thought possible.

What is Instagram SEO, exactly?

Instagram SEO is optimising your posts and profile on Instagram to make your content more visible to users. Like any other social media platform, the more visible your content is, the more likely people will engage with it.

This includes optimising your profile, hashtags, captions, and other elements of your posts to make them more discoverable to users searching for specific keywords or topics. 

Here's an example of how Instagram SEO works:

Imagine that you're a photographer who specialises in landscape photography. To optimise your Instagram profile for SEO, use relevant keywords in your username, bio, captions, and content.

You can use captions like “landscape photographer,” “nature lover,” “outdoor enthusiast,” etc. You can add relevant hashtags like #landscapephotography, #naturephotography, and #outdoorphotography to make your content more discoverable.

By analysing your performance through Instagram Insights, you can determine which posts get the most engagement and adjust your strategy accordingly. Apart from these, use Instagram ads to target users interested in landscape photography, nature, and outdoor activities.

By implementing these Instagram SEO techniques, you can increase your visibility and reach on the platform, attract more followers, and, ultimately, drive more business to your photography services.

What makes Instagram SEO different from Search Engine SEO?

Instagram Advertising Example

Instagram SEO and traditional SEO may sound similar, but the tactics and focus required for each are highly different. 

SEO is about optimising your website to appear higher in Google's search results. This is a much broader strategy that can help you attract organic traffic from various sources, including social media pages.

The main difference between Instagram SEO and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the platform on which they are implemented.

The context differs in both SEO strategies. Instagram SEO is focused on optimising your profile and content specifically for the Instagram platform. The goal is to increase the platform's visibility, reach, and engagement. 

It involves techniques such as using relevant hashtags, posting consistently, engaging with your audience, and analysing your performance through Instagram Insights. On the other hand, SEO is focused on optimising your website and content for search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. 

SEO aims to improve your website's visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords and phrases. It involves techniques such as using relevant keywords in your content, optimising your website's structure and metadata, building high-quality backlinks, and providing a great user experience.

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While there are some similarities between Instagram SEO and Search Engine SEO in terms of using relevant keywords and providing high-quality content, they are fundamentally different in terms of the platforms they are focused on and the specific techniques used to optimise them.

On the other hand, Instagram SEO is about optimising your profile and posts to appear higher in Instagram's search results. This can be a great way to get more eyeballs on your content and attract new followers

Another key difference between SEO and Instagram SEO is the type of content you create. While SEO focuses more on text-based content, Instagram is all about visuals. 

Instagram SEO quickly becomes an integral part of any successful digital marketing strategy. It's a great way to reach out to your target audience and create engagement with them. 

Combined with traditional Search Engine Optimisation techniques, it can drive more traffic to your website or increase brand awareness

Best Techniques to Boost Your Instagram Reach Through SEO

Several little-known Instagram SEO techniques can help increase your reach on the platform. Here are some of the best:

Optimise Your Profile: 

A visually appealing and well-organised profile can increase your chances of gaining new followers and, ultimately, more engagement on your posts. 

But before diving into the nitty-gritty of optimising your profile, ensure you're set up for success. Switch to a business profile if you haven't already. This will give you access to Instagram Insights, the ability to add contact information to your profile, and the option to run ads.

Now, let's get to optimising!

Username and name: For greater visibility, it's vital to incorporate the primary keyword in your username. The Username and name of your Instagram profile are like the address to your online home, so you have to make sure it's easy for people to find it.

Moreover, for usernames, you do have to stick with your official brand name.

For instance, the image below shows if you search for the keyword “interiors”. It brings up profiles with the keyword in their name, username, or both.

Optimise Seo On Instagram

Please keep it simple, memorable, and relevant to your brand or niche. Avoid using numbers and underscores; opt for an easily searchable name instead. 

You can also include keywords in your username and name that people might use to search for your content. Adding relevant keywords to your profile name can help improve your search ranking and increase the reach of your Instagram profile. 

Take, for example, Nykaa Fashion. They have used their primary keyword, ‘Fashion,' in their profile name and username. 

Instagram Seo Example

Bio: Your Instagram bio is your first impression of potential followers, so make it count! A perfectly optimised bio can help you stand out, showcase your personality, and attract the right audience.

Check out the example from Mamaearth:

Optimise Instagram Seo

Mamaearth's bio starts with its tagline, “Spreading #GoodnessInside one little choice at a time!” which effectively communicates its brand identity and message. It also includes several search-optimised keywords and a call to action, encouraging followers to take action and engage with the brand.

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Here are some best practices for writing a compelling Instagram bio:

  • Keep it concise: Your bio should be brief and to the point, ideally at most 150 characters.
  • Use keywords: Use relevant keywords to describe yourself or your business. This will help people find your account when searching for specific topics.
  • Include a call-to-action: Encourage people to visit your website, check out your latest product, or sign up for your newsletter.
  • Use emojis: Emojis can help break up text and make your bio more catchy and engaging.
  • Profile photo: The photo you add should be compatible with your business. For example, if you're an internet company, use your brand's logo, but if you're a solopreneur, you can use your portrait or a professional pic for branding.  
  • Show personality: Use your bio to showcase your personality and give people a sense of who you are as a brand. Make the most of your first sentence.

Contact Information: Under your profile, you can add important information such as your email, phone number, and location. This allows your potential customers to reach you and start a conversation. Have a look at the @slowriseslicehouse profile below:

Location Seo On Instagram

They have included ‘Woodway' and ‘Texas' in their profile. This tells the users where they do their business and outlines a specific area where they will most likely capture their audience. 

Note: This feature is available exclusively for Instagram business and creator accounts. 

Use Relevant Hashtags: 

Hashtags are like the magic words that make your posts discoverable on Instagram. But, like with search engine keywords, ensure you use the right ones.  

Research popular hashtags in your niche and include them in your posts. Look at the hashtags your competitors or similar accounts in your niche use. You can do this by searching for generic keywords, visiting the profiles ranking for that keyword, and observing the hashtags they use in their posts.

For example, if you are running a business related to finance, search for the keyword ‘Finance' on Instagram and notice the profiles ranking for this keyword, as given below:

Finance Seo On Instagram

As you can see, all the profiles above have included the keyword ‘Finance' in their name or username, which is why they rank. Now you can open and analyse these profiles and check out their posts to see what hashtags they are using:

Take a look at the @nehanagar posts. She uses her branded hashtags #nehanagar and #finance in her posts and other secondary hashtags supporting her post content. 

This helps build a community of followers interested in her specific insights and expertise and reach an even more targeted audience. 

Instagram's “Explore” Tab is another excellent way to discover popular hashtags in your niche. Type in a relevant hashtag and see what other hashtags appear most frequently.

Instagram Seo Strategies Hashtags


For example, when you search for #finance in the Instagram explore tab, you can see a long list of related popular and niche-specific hashtags that you can use for your posts. 

You can also use hashtag research tools like Hashtagify to search for hashtags related to your niche and see their popularity, reach, and usage. 

Hashtagify Related Hashtags

Finally, remember only to use hashtags relevant to your niche and brand and not to overuse hashtags which may appear spammy to your followers. 

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The more specific the hashtags, the more targeted the audience.

Remember to do your hashtag research. Research and identify the best hashtags to use for your content. You can also use tools like Hashtagify or Instagram's direct search function to find relevant and popular hashtags.

 Look for hashtags with a moderate number of posts and engagement and those your target audience will likely use.

Always use a mix of popular and niche hashtags to reach a broader audience while targeting specific audience segments. Popular hashtags have a lot of competition, but they can also help you achieve a large audience. Niche hashtags, on the other hand, may have less competition but can help you reach a more targeted audience.

Last, include branded hashtags unique to your brand or business. Ultimately, this will help you build your brand's identity and encourage user-generated content.

Use Instagram Alt Text: 

Adding alt text to your Instagram posts is like giving your post a secret superpower! Not only does it make your content more accessible to people with visual impairments, but it also offers Instagram's algorithm a better understanding of your post.

It helps your readers, and even Google search engines identify your Instagram posts' content. Also known as alternative text. By adding alt text, you can make your Instagram content accessible and searchable.

At present, Instagram automatically generates alt text for your images using object recognition technology. However, it's always recommended to add the alt text manually by describing the image content with focus keywords and other details. 

But continue beyond just describing the image plainly. Instead, get creative with your Alt Text.

For example, for the image above, alt text that says a photo of a little boy looking through the window' will give little clarity. It's better to write it this way: A short little boy standing in a pink suit and grey cap looking out of the window and pressing his nose to the fence. 

Here are a few tips to help you write the perfect alt text for your Instagram posts:

  • Alt text should be brief and to the point, ideally no more than 125 characters.
  • Ensure that the alt text accurately describes the image's content, including any text or vital elements within the image.
  • Use relevant keywords in your alt text to help improve the visibility of your post in search results.
  • Avoid using “image of” or “picture of” in alt text: These phrases are unnecessary and take up valuable space in the alt text. For example, instead of “picture of a dog,” you could write “a golden retriever puppy sitting on a grassy field.”
  • If the image is part of a larger Instagram story or message, include that context in the alt text to give more meaning to the picture.
  • Use relevant hashtags and location tags to increase the chances of your post being seen by more people.
  • Test the alt text in different screen readers to ensure it is read aloud accurately.
  • Include alt text on all your Instagram posts, not just some.
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Accessing the alt text options on Instagram is super easy! When you're creating a new post, tap on the “Advanced Settings” button, which is located at the bottom of the screen before posting. 

By including relevant keywords in your ALT text, you can help your image to appear in search results when users search for those keywords. This can help your content become discoverable and searchable to new audiences.

That said, search engines use ALT text to index and categorise images. By providing a clear and accurate image description, you can help search engines understand your Instagram content and display it in relevant search results.

Users who understand the image's content are likelier to engage with it by liking, commenting, or sharing. Alt text helps you in this and signals to the Instagram algorithm that your content is valuable and should be shown to more people, increasing your post's visibility.

Instagram Alt Text Seo

Once you're in the advanced settings, you'll see a section where you can add alt text to your post, as shown. 

How To Add Alt Text To Instagram Images

To add alt text to an existing Instagram post, navigate to the post to which you want to add alt text. Tap on the three dots in the upper right corner of the post.  

How To Add Alt Text To Existing Post Instagram

Next, Tap on “Edit.”

Now click on the ‘Edit alt text' option on the post. 

Instagram Edit Alt Text

This will take you to the page where you can write an alt text for your image, and you're done.

It's important to note that the options to add the alt text may vary depending on the device you are using, like the iOS version or the Android version, so if you don't see the option, make sure to check the help centre or the Instagram guide for more information.

Write Engaging Captions: 

Captions give context and background information to your posts, helping your followers understand what they're looking at. Instagram captions are crucial in attracting and retaining followers and driving traffic to your posts. 

study by Hubspot has shown that posts with more extended captions of about 1001 – 2000 characters generate more engagement than those with under 100 characters.

And the best part? When your posts get more engagement, they are more likely to be seen on the Instagram Explore page, which is a great way to get your profile in front of a wider audience.

But what makes a caption engaging? It's all about balancing being informative, entertaining, and relatable. Try asking questions, using emojis, keywords, and including popular hashtags to make your captions stand out. 

How To Write Engaging Instagram Captions

The above example shows how Myntra uses keywords related to the product they promote in the caption, making it easier for users to find the product through search. 

One of the main reasons why captions are essential is that captions include keywords: Keywords in your caption can help your post appear in search results when users search for specific terms. This is important for SEO because it helps discover your content for new audiences.

Secondly, captions encourage engagement with the audience. Captions can enable your audience to engage with your post by liking, commenting, or sharing. This can signal the Instagram algorithm that your post is valuable and should be shown to more people.

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The brand also includes clear calls to action and relevant hashtags to increase the visibility of its posts and reach a wider audience.

Track and Analyse your Instagram Insights timely: 

Tracking and analysing your results on Instagram promptly is vital to make informed decisions about your Instagram strategy, so you can adjust your approach and improve your performance over time. 

By analysing your Instagram Insights, you can see what types of posts, hashtags, and keywords resonate with your audience. This will give you a good idea of how engaged your followers are with your content.

In addition, keep an eye on your competitors' Instagram accounts, and see what they're doing to rank higher in search results. Please take note of the hashtags they're using and the types of posts that perform well for them.

Lastly, try different strategies and see what works best for your audience. You can use different types of content, such as videos or images, or post at varying times of the day.

Wrapping Up!

As Amanda Robinson, Social Media Strategist and CEO of Digitalgirl, has recommended.

“Posting consistently and engaging with your audience is key to improving your Instagram SEO. When your content engages, Instagram's algorithm will favour and show it to more users.”

Analysing your performance, whether you're using keywords, hashtags, location or posting content consistently, is crucial for SEO. By implementing the strategies mentioned above, businesses and individuals can increase their visibility on the platform and improve their chances of being discovered by a wider audience. 

So, are you ready to grow your Instagram followers?

Author's Bio: Shweta is a growth marketing specialist working with 2xSaS. She creates content that converts website visitors into paying customers for SaaS companies. In her free time, she likes driving around the city & hanging out with her friends. You can email Shweta at  Sh****@2x***.com.

Photo of author

Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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