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Instagram SEO: Best Practices to Boost the Visibility of Your Small Business

Updated: 2 days ago

As a small business owner, you must maximize your time and effort on Instagram. With over a billion active monthly users, Instagram has undoubtedly become one of the most popular and effective social media platforms for businesses. But, with all that competition, it can be hard to stand out. That's where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in. By applying best practices for SEO for Instagram, you can boost your chances of being found by your ideal customer. 

Instagram SEO: How Does the Instagram Algorithm Work?

According to Instagram, besides words users might type into Search, the platform also uses specific search signals to deliver relevant content. 

"The most important signals we use, in order of importance, are: 
  • Your text in Search. The text you enter in the search bar is the most critical signal for Search. We try to match what you type with relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags, and places. 

  • Your activity. This includes accounts you follow, posts you've viewed, and how you've interacted with accounts in the past. We usually show accounts and hashtags you follow or visit higher than those you don't. 

  • Information about the search results. When there are a lot of potential results, we also look at popularity signals. These include the number of clicks, likes, shares, and follows for a particular account, hashtag, or place."

Knowing this, you can begin to think about how you interact with people and how you find them – and with that understanding, you can develop a more comprehensive understanding of how you can be located.

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Instagram SEO for Small Businesses

SEO for Instagram: Methods to Improve Your Discoverability on Instagram

There are a few key best practices for SEO, which easily translate to best Instagram SEO practices.

  1. Create relevant, natural, and unique content incorporating your keywords to help give context to your content when evaluated by the algorithm.

  2. Use your keywords in your prominent content – for Instagram, think early in your caption, bio, and hashtags.

  3. Enrich your content for users and the algorithm – especially alt information.  To Add Alt Text to Posts On Instagram:

  • Create a post.

  • In the final step, select "Accessibility."

  • Then, include your alt text.

  1. Limit your hashtags. Yes, this is a sensitive subject. While Instagram does offer a maximum of 30 hashtags, the most recent recommendations are 3-5. Furthermore, think of hashtags as less for returning a match on the search query and more for adding context to the algorithm.

  2. Track your results – use your social media analytical tools to understand what keywords help you get found on Instagram. Regularly reviewing this information can help guide your content and keywords strategy.

Instagram SEO Strategy: Keyword Research + Keyword Strategy + Content Strategy

Keeping the best practices in mind, you can develop a thoughtful and healthy approach to your small business Instagram strategy. Considering keywords as an integral part of your approach, you can combine your keyword research and strategy to marry it seamlessly with your content strategy.

Step 1: Keyword Research:

  • Regarding SEO keyword research, it's all about finding the right words and phrases your target audience is actively searching for. 

  • Start by brainstorming a list of relevant topics related to your business or industry. Then, use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush to generate a list of keywords with high search volume and low competition. 

  • Narrow your list by selecting keywords that are not only relevant to your business but also align with your content goals. 

Step 2: Keyword Strategy:

  • Now that you've built a solid list of keywords most relevant to your target audience, it's time to strategize how to use them best to deliver maximum reach. 

  • Use your research and any insights from previous use or competitive analysis to guide your keyword strategy and identify what words or phrases might work best with each of your buyer personas and content types. 

Step 3: Content Strategy:

  • Now that you have a robust list of keywords, you know how you plan to use each of them and when it's time to turn to your content strategy. 

  • Create valuable content oriented around your audience and what they are searching for you (that you can solve). A great piece of advice on what that CAN mean to you is from Ahrefs,

"High-quality is subjective. Everyone’s definition will be different. At Ahrefs, we value content with R-E-A-C-H:
  • Real – Authentic and original. Brings something new to the table.

  • Experienced – Written by someone with topical knowledge and expertise.

  • Accurate – Facts backed up by trustworthy sources and opinions clearly expressed.

  • Clear – Explained well without fluff or jargon. Illustrations where needed.

  • Helpful – Truly solves the problem at hand. Not just words for the sake of words.

Using SEO best practices on Instagram will help your content have the best chance of discoverability. Creating a strategy of relevant keywords and content and naturally integrating your keywords into your bio, captions, and hashtags helps to bring your SEO Instagram strategy together, boosting your discoverability and bringing you closer to your ideal audience among the noise. 


Too much to do to worry with social media marketing? We can help!


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