Having strong SEO on Instagram means you’re much easier to find by online users who are actively searching for terms related to your products, services, and business niche. It’s an extra string to your bow when marketing your business on the platform.

What is Instagram SEO?

Wordstream have defined Insta search engine optimisation perfectly, “Instagram SEO is the process of optimising your content in order to rank your profile higher in the Instagram search results.”

How Instagram search works

Since Instagram enabled its ‘search by keyword’ feature, all eyes have been fixated on enhancing SEO on Instagram to improve your business’ findability, presence, and reach. Want to see how it works? Open the ‘gram up and search for any word in the query box. You’ll find that you are given multiple search query suggestions, the same way you do when conducting a search engine query on Google, Bing, and so on.

When you’ve searched for what you want, you are then presented with pages of results – content on Instagram that the network has found which matches your search query.

There are a lot of potential customers out there to find, so let’s not waste time! Here’s how YOU can optimise your Instagram for search.

Building SEO-rich Instagram captions

When constructing a caption, consider two factors, 1) what your target customer is searching for 2) what you want to be found for. Then, embed keywords that are related to those two factors within your caption. Writing for SEO always poses the risk of losing a human approach if not done tactically, so if placing keywords in your caption doesn’t flow or fit in with what you’re writing about, incorporate your keywords within your call to action instead (and ALL your captions should have a call-to-action to tell online users what you want them to do.)

Let’s take the example of a dentist in Harrogate wanting to find local brides-to-be to sell teeth whitening treatments too. They could embed suitable keywords within their caption, or within their caption’s call-to-action, or both. Here are examples;

Caption: ‘There are going to be a lot of photographs taken on your wedding day, so if you’re a bride-to-be, make sure your teeth are as dazzling as they can be with our teeth whitening treatments, carried out in our Harrogate dental surgery. We will help you get wedding ready!’
Call to action within caption: ‘If you’re a bride to be in Harrogate or the surrounding area, drop us a message today for a teeth whitening quote to get the bobby-dazzlers of your wedding day dreams.’

Simple but effective!

Incorporating SEO in your Instagram bio

Your Instagram bio is your character-limited opportunity to hype up your business and your passion behind it to encourage your target customers to hit that follow button and have you on their radar.

Incorporate keywords that relate to what you do and what you sell within your bio to be more readily found online by potential leads and boost your awareness to your target audience.

If you want to be found in local Instagram searches, not having your local location in your bio is an absolute disaster.

An ideal bio for our trusted dental surgery example could be;

“Premium dental clinic offering teeth whitening treatments in Harrogate. Teeth whitening discounts for 2021 brides to be.”


Remember, your Instagram bio is your chance to utilise the focal keywords that you can’t fit into or don’t use in your username.

Making the most of your Instagram handle

If you can, you should use your brand name and your top primary keyword as your Instagram username. This may not always be possible, or your business might already be well-recognised and established on Instagram, but if you’re starting out it’s a good way to generate a following of the right people.

Using Instagram’s image alt text feature

A relatively new Instagram feature is the ability to add image alt text, which is a highly favourable strategy for SEO implementation. When you go through the post-publishing process (you can also add after posting when editing) you can add alt text in your advanced settings, which enables Instagram to read your visual content, meaning that it’s going to be served to online users searching for keywords that you’ve embedded in your alt text. Use this feature to describe exactly what your image is and what it depicts, and the product or service it is related to that you are trying to sell.

Remembering that Instagram hashtags still matter

Instagram users are continuing to follow and search by hashtags. Don’t use the generic, short Instagram hashtags that accumulate millions of posts, such as #instadaily – such hashtags are completely irrelevant to your company and business vertical, and whilst doing this may accrue you a few quick likes, they’re not going to yield you valuable target customers/followers.

Experiment and start by using two- or three-word hashtags that are related to your niche and have 50-200k posts. Vary them slightly each time you post, so that you can monitor which ones bring you new followers or higher engagement, and narrow them down over time.

Another handy tip is to search for (and use, if appropriate) the hashtags your competitors and online influencers, key creators, and thought-leaders within your industry are using and following.

Never forget that you are responsible for finding your customer

You need to meet your target customers where they are – they’re not going to come to you. You need to be findable, present and marketing to your defined customer personas online. Employing social SEO strategies is just one of many ways of marketing your business to the right audience on social media.

To see more strategic social media marketing tips that trim the fat, follow LOCALiQ on LinkedIn or read more of our blog.


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