Instagram is most definitely the best platform for marketing in 2019. It has officially reached over one billion active monthly users which means it’s now more popular than ever; topping the other social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter.
That’s a considerably large number of users sitting around, waiting to see your content. So how exactly can you reach all those people and allow them to see your fantastically hip new Instagram page?
The answer might surprisingly be SEO but on Instagram.
How is this possible you may ask? Well, it’s a lot simpler than you may think, Instagram has its own search engine that coincides with other functions like hashtags, the explore page and geotags, which essentially behaves like a smaller google with its own tabs of images, videos, and news.
Now, here are the 7 uncommon Instagram SEO techniques to increase your reach.
1. Optimise Your Instagram Profile
The first step would be to ensure that you have a fully optimised profile. Having this in place early on will help massively when your page starts to grow incrementally over time and provide the best possible user experience.
Here are a few tips to ensure that your page is optimised:
- Make sure your profile is public
- Choose a distinct profile image
- Select a recognisable and searchable username e.g. @nouveautycoon
- Create an easily searchable business name e.g. nouveautycoon
- Register for an Instagram Business account
- Include a relevant, yet trackable link in your bio e.g. nouveautycoon.com
These tips may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s incredibly important to lay the correct foundation for your profile before moving onto the more technical optimisation steps.
2. Include Your Primary Keyword in Your Display Name and @username
Like we mentioned before, Instagram is its own self-contained search engine; so in order to show up for the correct terms in the search bar, you need to work within the app itself and earn that sweet top position.
To get started with this, you will need to pinpoint your primary keyword. For us it was simple; we wanted to rank for ‘nouveau’. So when an Instagram user is looking for ‘nouveau’ related content, they will use the keyword ‘nouveau’ and be greeted with nouveau related pages and the hashtag for the word; therefore making your primary keyword selection really important.
As you can see here, the top pages have the term ‘nouveau’ displayed in their profile name and username. Aim to use a relevant keyword in both places to increase the chances of your page showing up to your intended keyword.
3. Use Secondary Keywords In Your Bio And Link
With the primary keywords sorted, let’s move on to the secondary keywords. Secondary keywords are terms that exactly describe your page or just relates to an area of it. Let’s use our Instagram page as an example.
The primary keyword is ‘nouveau’, and the secondary keywords can be ‘business’ or ‘tycoon’, etc.
With our name and bio layout being just right; we have managed to secure ourselves the top spot under ‘nouveau’. While using the right words in your name, username and bio it really gives Instagram an idea of where to put your page and categorise it properly.
Secondary keywords really help when your page is suggested to users who may not even be searching for your primary keyword but are possibly interested in what you offer so use these places creatively.
4. Take Advantage of Instagram alt-text
Instagram alt text is a relatively new feature that enables users to write captions for their photos. This feature was initially designed to help visually impaired users enjoy their Instagram experience, but it can also be used for SEO. Instagram usually automatically generates alt-text options for your photos if you choose to skip it; so it’s best you start filling these in yourself so that it actually matches what’s in your photos.
To access the alt text feature, you will need to select an image you wish to post and scroll to the bottom; you should see an ‘advanced settings’ tab at the bottom.
Once you’ve done that, scroll to the bottom again and select ‘write alt text’ option.
Perfect; once you’ve added the alt text, continue to post the image as normal.
The benefits of added this alt text to your Instagram images are the same gained on websites, to help posts rank higher on search results especially if they are pulled with voice search.
5. Always Use Analytics to Track Everything
If you are new to using SEO techniques to grow, we would recommend that you keep a watchful eye on your analytics as this will help identify what works and what doesn’t. Instagram does offer an in-platform feature allowing you to see most of the important insights for your page, however, the main disadvantage of this is that it typically expires after 7 days and replaced with fresh data. This can be a problem if your looking to gauge any changes over a long period and can be a hassle testing new marketing campaigns.
We would advise using reputable third-party tools, such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Sprinklr to track and analyse your analytics over time using a robust tracking service with automated reports, etc which makes all the difference especially for planning content ahead.
With any content marketing strategy; it is insanely helpful to have hard data behind your content plan. Tracking any successes of newly implemented strategies will allow you to see what you’ve got right and to fine-tune even further to perfection.
6. Treat Your Hashtags as Keywords
With your profile and alt tags optimised; you can optimise your posts even further by effectively using hashtags. This is often a repetitive and rather boring step depending on the time you put into researching hashtag for each individual post but most of the time it can really pay off in attracting crazy amounts of attention. Most users aren’t going to look for you directly, instead, they will likely discover you on certain hashtags.
This is why each of your posts should have its own hashtag strategy, a neat, limited yet selective number of relevant hashtags under each post. You should avoid going over 20 depending on how savvy you are with layouts and aesthetic but anything over 20 is generally seen as spammy.
One of our top posts uses a sweet set of selective yet relevant hashtags and it’s allowed the post to gain enough traction to push it on to the explore page, creating almost a viral snowball effect where other pages would post the same picture and help us achieve these incredibly high numbers.
Using different but relevant hashtags on your posts give users a better chance of finding you than if you used the same set over and over again on every single post you publish.
7. Avoid Black Hat SEO Techniques at all Costs
You might think that only Google is sophisticated enough to spot and punish users who try to find quick and easy solutions to grow their following but it’s not true. Instagram has quite recently been cracking down and purging many offenders off their platform.
Common Black Hat SEO techniques to stop doing:
- Stealing Content
- Using Bots and Other Automated Services
- Robot like Key-wording
- Quick and Repetitive actions i.e. following accounts too quickly
- Buying Followers and Likes
SEO, for the most part, is a long-term strategy that requires a lot of time and effort regularly and can be incredibly frustrating when you don’t see results. Making most of the Black Hat techniques listed above too good to pass up but the results tend to be disastrous if you get caught, which is getting more likely after every update.
So do it the right away and watch those followers and likes rack up slowly over time. Like I did with @nouveautycoon.