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In today’s digital landscape, Instagram has become more than just a platform for sharing photos, videos of pets, delicious meals and other memorable moments in life. It has become a powerful marketing tool which businesses and individuals alike can leverage to grow their online presence.

Most businesses of all sizes have an Instagram account, but it’s how it’s utilised which makes all the difference. To make the most of your Instagram strategy, not only will you want to share key moments in the day-to-day life of your business, but you will also need to understand how to optimise your content for search engines – a practice commonly known as Instagram SEO.

In order to curate a large following with an engaging audience, your content should be created in a way that makes it relevant to search queries to make it easy to find. In this article, we provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to optimise your Instagram posts for SEO.

Optimise Your Instagram Profile:

Your Instagram profile is part of your digital identity. Take the time to ensure that it is complete, that it conveys your brand’s message effectively, and informs the user what your business is all about. Select a high-quality logo and use keywords in your username and bio to make it easier for users to find you.

Choose the Right Keywords:

Just as you would for any web content – selecting the right keywords is the foundation of Instagram SEO. Start by identifying relevant keywords and key phrases which are related to your content. This will help your posts appear in search results and reach a much wider audience.

Craft Captivating Captions:

Instagram captions play a crucial role in engaging your audience. Use keywords naturally within your captions while maintaining readability and coherence. This not only enhances SEO but also adds value to your content.

Perhaps you’re showcasing a new product or service that your company provides. Let’s go with an example of Disney Princess Christmas Tree Skirts. You’ll find more people will find and interact with your post if you write a thought-out post mentioning the Disney Princesses featured on this Christmas tree skirt and how it could brighten a home rather than writing a quick three-word entry such as – ‘New Product Alert!’

Hashtags Matter:

Hashtags are essential for discoverability on Instagram. Research relevant hashtags for your niche and include them in your posts. Be sure to use a mix of popular and niche-specific hashtags to maximise visibility.

Try not to go overboard with how many hashtags you use. Using about 3 to 5 hashtags will keep your intentions clear and concise without looking desperate for attention. Using too many hashtags is a big red flag for Instagram and using the same hashtags in all of your posts can make you come across as spammy.

When researching your hashtags, it is also crucial to check if your hashtags have been shadowbanned. Shadowbanning refers to blocking a user’s social media content in such a way that they are unaware that it’s happening. A banned hashtag means Instagram has deemed it problematic and decided to hide or limit content that uses it. This can make your content (or account) undiscoverable, hidden, or restricted to new users. In some cases, the content may be taken down completely.

To check for banned or shadowbanned hashtags in Instagram, we like this tool at MetaHashtags.

Post Quality Content:

The quality of your content is paramount. High-quality images and videos are more likely to be shared and engaged with. Instagram’s algorithm rewards engaging content, which can boost your visibility in search results.

Visually striking lifestyle shots featuring your products, services or events are a great way to convey to your customers what your business is about and make them feel more familiar with your brand. Combined with a powerful description with the right hashtags, you’ll start to see your Instagram reach increasing.

Other ideas for great content would be meet the team posts, which introduce your employees, and honours and awards posts (go on and gloat about it, you earned it!).

Use Alt Text:

Adding alt text to your images and videos is an often overlooked but effective SEO technique on Instagram. Alt text provides a text description of your visual content, making it accessible to those with visual impairments. It also helps with improving SEO. For best results, be sure to include your targeted keywords in the alt text while describing what’s happening in your image.

Engage with Your Audience:

Engagement is a two-way street on Instagram and much like many things in life – you get back what you put in.

Be sure to respond to comments, messages, and engage with your followers. This gives your audience the feeling that someone is there and that your business cares while you’re adding additional content to your Instagram post. Active interactions improve your content’s ranking in search results and foster a loyal community.

Leverage Instagram Stories:

If you’re purely relying on regular Instagram posts and not diversifying your efforts with Instagram stories and reels, then you’re missing out on additional streams of audience interaction. Instagram Stories and Reels are a powerful way to interact with your audience in real-time. As well as using your targeted keywords in the descriptions, be sure to use hashtags and location tags in your stories to increase visibility.

Collaborate and Tag Others:

Do you see Instagram users posting about your brand, your products or your niche and they’re absolutely killing it with likes and comments? Why not collaborate with them? Tagging them in your posts can help extend your reach and improve your chances of appearing in search results for their followers. Not only that, but these users may be further inclined to tag you in their future posts and influence their users to follow your account and visit your website.

Monitor Your Analytics:

If you don’t report on your KPIs (key performance indicators), then how do you know your efforts are working? Tracking your results will help you make more informed decisions about what to post about, especially if you’re experimenting with your content. Use Instagram Insights or third-party analytics tools to track the performance of your posts. This data can help you refine your SEO strategy and identify what works best for your audience.

Consistency Is Key:

Consistency is vital for Instagram SEO. Post regularly and maintain a consistent style and voice to build a recognizable brand presence.

Stay Updated with Algorithm Changes:

Instagram’s algorithm is continually evolving. Stay informed about any updates or changes to adapt your SEO strategy accordingly. Many popular social media scheduling platforms such as Buffer, Hootsuite and Later will have regular articles which can keep you up to date on the latest updates and algorithm changes for Instagram as well as other popular social media platforms. Sign up for their newsletters and get the latest news as it happens.


Optimising your Instagram posts for search engines is an ongoing process that can significantly enhance your online presence. By simply selecting the right keywords, crafting engaging content, and staying up to date with best practices, you can increase your visibility and ultimately grow your following on this popular social media platform. Incorporate these tips into your Instagram strategy and watch your SEO efforts pay off with improved discoverability and audience engagement.

Need help with your social media or SEO strategy? Drop us a line, we’re here to help!

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Vikki Scott

Vikki Scott

Vikki is a Senior PPC and SEO Specialist and veritable digital marketing Jill of all Trades. She is also skilled in content writing and social media with a bit of photography and graphic design on the side. Away from the keyboard she is a loving hedgehog mum, a karate enthusiast, and a somewhat skilled musician.

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