Instagram SEO tips to increase your reach

We all know that Instagram is a major social media. Almost everyone knows about it. So setting up a page there for your business will give you exposure to millions of people across the globe. And by implementing these Instagram SEO tips you are making your page the best version it can be

What is Instagram SEO?

SEO in general means Search Engine Optimization. Where you have to optimize your content to include certain keywords so that it is easy for the search engines like Google, Bing etc. can find you. 

The same applies to Instagram. Since Instagram has its inbuilt search option you need to optimize your content so that your content gets more visible. 

For example, if you are creating content about, let’s say, dogs. Then you need to optimise for dog-related keywords

Why is it important?

I want you to do one thing before you read any further. Go search a major keyword in your niche on Instagram and go to the accounts tab. You’ll see a list of accounts there that are in a similar niche to yours. 

I’ll continue with the same example of dogs and search for “DOG” on Instagram. This is what I get.

An example of how instagram seo works for the keyword "dog"

Now, why do we have dog.lover_01 in the first place and talkingdogmila in the third place? Why isn’t talkingdogmila in the first place? The answer is SEO

But that isn’t all, other factors come into play. Let’s take a quick look at the other factors before we dive deeper into Instagram SEO


Relevance to the search query

This means the search engine usually has a good guess of what you mean when you type a particular keyword. And so the accounts appear in that order. Let me show you another example:

When I searched for “DOG” I got lots of dog-related accounts. But, if I search for “dogg” 

It shows me Snoopdogg’s account in second place. Because when I type a double “G” intentionally there’s a good chance I’m looking for Snoopdogg’s account. So think about what people would search for and include that in your profile  

User Activity

It also depends on who the person is following. For example, when I search “fitness” the first few accounts that show up are the accounts that I follow and have interacted with. And then it goes on to list out the top accounts of Instagram. So get people to follow you.

It also varies on what device you search from. So try to figure out what device your target audience uses the most and use your keywords accordingly

Instagram SEO tips

Now let’s move on to SEO tips you can use to improve your account’s visibility.


Write longer captions. And make sure you include relevant keywords. Why? Because more often than not, that’s how you end up on the explore page of people. The Instagram algorithm uses words to determine what a person likes if you keep liking posts that have the word “dog” in the caption you are going to end up getting posts with similar keywords to “dog” such as “doggy”, “dogslife” etc. 

So the more keywords you add in your caption the more exposure you get. But hey don’t do a keyword dump. Don’t write a caption that has just the keywords. Write a long caption about how you feel or what you want to share and then incorporate the keywords into it.  

Another point to note.

An example of how a post ranked higher in instagram by using just keywords and no hashtags

This post ranked fourth in #recipes without using a single hashtag. Why? Because they used the keyword recipe in their caption and also have related keywords like soup, stew, sandwich etc.

Optimise your profile 

Let’s say, you are a lifestyle coach. When I want a lifestyle coach and search for it, you should make sure your profile pops up. Because it’s always the first 5 accounts that have the highest probability of bagging a customer. 

Here’s a list of places where you should insert your keyword to rank 

  • Username
  • Profile name 
  • Bio

Here’s an example

An ideal example of how an instagram bio should be optimised for Instagram SEO

Look how they used the keyword coaching in the username, profile name and then proceeded to use related keywords like courses, life and business.

Alt Text

Make the best use of what Instagram has to offer. Alt text is a feature in Instagram introduced for people with visual impairments. The screen reader will read out loud the alt text which usually describes the image so that they can understand.

If you don’t fill out the alt-text Instagram is going to fill in it for you with auto-generated text. But you’ll lose the opportunity to insert a few more keywords in your post.

Here’s how you do that. When you are uploading a post, scroll all the way down and you’ll see advanced settings. 

Demonstration of how to use alt tags to improve Instagram visibility

When you press it you’ll see a page like this.

Demonstration of how to write alt text for instagram posts

Now click on the alt text and write down your description of the post for the screen reader. Always remember some people rely on screen readers to understand your post, so write for them and insert a few keywords along the way. Don’t do a keyword dump.

Hashtags as keywords 

This is where everything gets confusing. Some people say that hashtags are of no relevance these days and then some people claim that they get their most audience from hashtags. Just a couple of days ago I saw a reel with no caption and no hashtags whatsoever go viral and appear on my FYP page. 

So here’s what I’ve observed so far. Certain hashtags are definitely dead. Generic hashtags like #fyp and #explore are dead. They aren’t going to help you reach your audience.

Stick to niche-specific hashtags. Here’s a good example.

An example of how to use hashtags as keywords to increase instagram visibilitty

Look how all the hashtags are related to the primary topic of the post. This way it’s a win-win situation for you. One of the two things is going to happen 

  1. Hashtags aren’t dead and you get visibility through keywords
  2. Hashtags are dead but since you stuck to your niche-related ones they are going to count as keywords and end up getting you visibility

Until Instagram issues an official statement saying keywords are banned, you can keep using  them

Never do black hat SEO

I mean NEVER. Whatever we’ve talked about till now is white hat SEO which is considered ethical and then there is black hat SEO, the evil twin. Some people will say rules don’t apply to them and practice black hat SEO. You can too if you want t end up getting a ban and throw away all the hard work you’ve put into building a brand image so far. 

So if you are wondering, “What counts as black hat SEO?” Here are a few things I’ll point out to give you an overall idea

Misleading claims or content

Imagine seeing a post saying “This one technique will boost your followers by 1000%” and ends up being a shady site when you click through the link they ask you to. It might bring them some views for the time being

But there is a feature called the report button and people talk. Also remember, the Instagram algorithm can read. So doing anything misleading means you are laying the path to your own ban.

Buying engagement and followers

I know that the promise of 1000+ followers within seconds is tempting. But if it were that easy wouldn’t everyone be doing it? Let’s say you made it to 1000 followers by buying followers and you also bought some likes and comments.

What do you think is going to happen when Instagram goes on its usual spree of removing bot accounts and detecting shady accounts? You, my friend, with a majority of bot followers are going to come under the label of shady accounts. So don’t.

Fake reviews

Fake reviews saying your product is great isn’t going to fool anyone. If your product isn’t good, people are going to express their feelings and you’ll be outed.

Also, don’t post fake bad reviews on competitors’ pages. If you think that’s smart, you are the dumbest person in marketing.  


Don’t just copy from one page and post on your page. Again, the Instagram algorithm is smart enough to read. So it’ll know when content is duplicated. If you genuinely think a post is cool, there’s the remix option or at least give credits to the creator/

Your Instagram profile is the face of you or your brand on the platform, so make sure you reach the right people in the right way. 

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