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Instagram SEO: 11 Proven Tactics to Boost Your Visibility and Engagement

Instagram SEO is the process of optimizing your profile and content to rank higher in search results within the platform. Read more below!

Anda Radulescu
Anda Radulescu
Table of Contents

Ever wondered how top brands dominate Instagram and captivate millions?

The secret lies in mastering social media SEO integrated into a powerful marketing strategy.

In this article, we're going to share actionable insights and proven techniques that will transform your approach to Instagram marketing.

Start reading to learn how to use SEO on Instagram to build an innovative social media strategy, boost your visibility, and drive unparalleled engagement.

Table of Contents
What is Instagram SEO?
Why does doing SEO for Instagram matter?
Ranking factors to consider when doing SEO for Instagram
How to use SEO on Instagram
SEO tools for Instagram
FAQs about Instagram SEO

What is Instagram SEO?

Instagram SEO stands for the process of optimizing your Instagram profile and content to gain extended exposure within the platform. It is is one of the best Instagram practices for boosting your profile's visibility and reach.

It involves strengthing your profile and content with strategic use of keywords and hashtags to ensure your posts appear in relevant searches on the platform.

Just like Google SEO helps websites show up in search results, Instagram SEO helps your content appear when people search on Instagram.

By implementing SEO on Instagram, you make it easier for users to discover, follow, and interact with your account, aligning with the latest social media trends and best practices, thereby enhancing your engagement and growing your follower base.

Simply put, SEO and Instagram work together to make your profile more visible and popular on the platform.

Why does doing SEO for Instagram matter?

Doing SEO on Instagram significantly improves brand visibility and helps you gain more relevant followers.

By implementing an effective Instagram SEO strategy, you can ensure that your profile and content appear in more searches, making it easier for your target audience to find and follow you.

This can potentially increase not only your follower count but also boost social media engagement, as the followers you gain will more likely be interested in your brand.

Ultimately, a strong SEO strategy enhances your overall presence and success on the platform.

Dennis Yu - quote on social media seo

Ranking factors to consider when doing SEO for Instagram

How does Instagram SEO work?

According to head of Instagram Adam Mosseri, the platform uses a variety of algorithms tailored to different sections of the app, including Stories, Feed, Reels, Explore, and Search. These algorithms aim to enhance user experience by showcasing the most relevant and engaging content.

And understanding how the platform ranks content is crucial for effective Instagram SEO optimization.

Here's a breakdown of the key ranking factors to consider:

Ranking in Feed and Stories

Feed: The Feed algorithm prioritizes recent posts from accounts followed, focusing on:

  • Recency: The algorithm favors recently shared posts, ensuring users see the latest updates.

  • Engagement: Posts with higher likes, comments, shares, and saves are ranked higher.

  • Relationships: Interaction history plays a crucial role; posts from accounts your followers frequently engage with appear more often in their feeds.

  • Profile Searches: Regular searches for a profile increase the likelihood of its posts appearing in the Feed.

Stories: Similar to the Feed, Stories ranking emphasizes fresh content from followed accounts, considering:

  • View History: Stories from accounts frequently viewed are prioritized.

  • Engagement: Responses and interactions with Stories boost their visibility.

Ranking in the Explore page

Explore is designed for content discovery, showing posts from accounts users don’t follow but might find interesting.

So if you’re looking to optimize your Instagram account for the Explore page, key factors include:

  • Engagement: Popularity signals are crucial here. Instagram considers how many and how quickly people are liking, commenting, sharing, and saving a post. These signals are more significant in Explore than in Feed or Stories.

  • The History of Interacting with the person who posted: While Explore mainly shows content from unfamiliar accounts, any past interactions with the an account can increase the likelihood of the content posted to appear in the users’ Explore feed.

  • User Activity: Instagram looks at past interactions in Explore, such as posts liked, saved, shared, or commented on. If a users engages with a specific type of content, the algorithm will show them more similar posts.

  • Information about the account that posted: Instagram considers how frequently other users have interacted with an account that posted in the past few weeks. This helps surface compelling content from a diverse range of profiles.
ranking in the Instagram explore page example

Ranking in the Reels feed

When looking at how to increase views on Instagram Reels, you might want to know that Instagram Reels focus on entertaining content, often from accounts users don’t follow.

Essentially, the Instagram Reels algorithm takes into account:

  • Activity: Interactions such as likes, saves, reshares, and comments on Reels influence the content displayed in a user’s Reels feed.

  • Interaction History: Prior interactions with an account can increase the likelihood of its Reels appearing.

  • Reel Information: Content details such as the audio track, visuals, and overall popularity of the Reel play a role in ranking.

  • Creator Information: Popularity indicators like follower count and engagement levels help showcase diverse and compelling content.

When users type in specific search terms, Instagram ranks content based on:

  • Relevance to Search Query: Using matching keywords in captions, bios, and hashtags is crucial for visibility.

  • User Activity: Content from accounts users have interacted with previously is ranked higher.

  • Popularity Signals: Posts with high engagement levels relevant to the search terms are prioritized.
rank in Instagram search results

How to use SEO on Instagram

Whether you're a social media strategist, business owner, or content creator, understanding how to improve SEO on Instagram can significantly enhance your reach and attract a larger audience.

In this section, we'll delve into actionable Instagram SEO tips that will help you optimize your profile, posts, and interactions to rank higher in searches and increase your overall presence.

Use keywords in all the right places

Effectively utilizing keywords is a fundamental strategy for improving your SEO on Instagram.

By strategically placing relevant keywords in your name, bio, captions, and subtitles for videos, you can significantly enhance your discoverability.

Here’s how to do SEO for Instagram by incorporating keywords in various sections:

  • Name and bio: Ensure that your Instagram name and bio include key terms related to your niche or industry. This helps your profile appear in searches relevant to those keywords. For example, if you're a fitness brand, including terms like fitness, or wellness in your name and bio can attract users searching for fitness-related content.

  • Captions: Craft your captions thoughtfully by integrating keywords naturally. While it’s important not to overstuff your captions with keywords, using them in a meaningful context can improve your post’s visibility in search results and on the Explore page.

  • Subtitles in videos: If you create video content, adding subtitles with relevant keywords can enhance searchability. This is particularly useful for reaching users who watch videos with the sound off or who rely on subtitles for understanding.
keywords usage

Do not neglect the ALT text

Instagram alt text, short for alternative text, is a concise description used to explain the content of an Instagram post—whether it's a photo, video, Instagram carousel, or Story.

But does alt text on Instagram help SEO?


The ALT text appears when an image is slow to load or fails to display and is also read by screen readers.

And while Instagram automatically generates alt text for posts, this text may not accurately reflect the image.

Therefore, it's important to add your own custom alt text to ensure clarity and accuracy.

Using relevant keywords in alt text helps Instagram's algorithms better understand and index your content, making it more likely to appear in search results and on the Explore page.

If you’d like to add alt text to your Instagram post, simply click Next, scroll down to Advanced settings and then click on Write alt text.

how to write an ALT text on Instagram

While its direct impact on external SEO is limited, optimizing alt text can contribute to a better user experience.

Interact with accounts within your niche

If you’re wondering how to grow Instagram followers, know that interacting with accounts within your niche is a great tactic.

When Instagram sees you engaging with similar accounts, it recognizes your relevance and starts suggesting your profile to those who follow these accounts. This organic boost in visibility can significantly expand your follower base, and also help develop brand awareness.

To support this strategy, weaving niche-specific keywords into your username and bio makes your account a magnet for interested users, ensuring you show up in relevant searches.

But don't underestimate the power of Instagram Reels, either.

Instagram's latest feature—adding topics to Instagram Reels—takes this to another level.

Instagram now allows creators to tag their content with specific topics on Instagram Reels, making it easier for users to find content and creators within your niche.

Identify the interests of your audience

By identifying and focusing on specific interests, you can tailor your posts, hashtags, and content strategies to attract and resonate with the right audience.

This targeted approach not only increases the likelihood that your content will appear in the feeds of genuinely interested users but also strengthens your social media branding efforts by consistently aligning your content with the interests and preferences of your target demographic.

To do so, you must first identify your target audience’s interests. Think about what topics, activities, or hobbies your ideal audience enjoys.

You may use tools like social media analytics, surveys, or audience insights to gather data on these interests.

Additionally, you can take advantage of Instagram’s hashtag suggestions for specific keywords or use Google’s auto-complete results to find popular and relevant interests.

using hashtags to select interests as an Instagram SEO best practice

When creating posts that reflect these identified interests, remember to use relevant hashtags and keywords that align with these topics to increase discoverability.

This results in higher engagement rates, more followers, and improved overall visibility on the platform, thereby fostering community growth and solidifying your brand's presence in your niche.

Understanding how to optimize your Instagram through well-defined topics ensures that your content appears in more relevant searches, leading to a better Instagram search experience for users.

By clearly defining and sticking to specific content pillars for social media, you provide a structured framework for your posts.

Moreover, this also makes it easier for your audience to find relevant content and signals to Instagram’s algorithm the nature of your posts, enhancing their discoverability.

selecting interests as an Instagram SEO best practice

Integrate relevant hashtags within your captions

Instagram as a search tool is incredibly powerful, which is why integrating hashtags into your social media content is essential for effective Instagram SEO optimization.

Hashtags function as keywords, making your content more searchable and allowing you to reach a broader, targeted audience.

By including popular and relevant hashtags in your captions, you tap into active communities and Instagram trends within your industry, enhancing your visibility and engagement.

Socialinsider, for example, offers a powerful solution with its Instagram listening feature, enabling you to discover industry-specific hashtags that can boost your content’s reach.

instagram hashtag data

As shown in the screenshot above, Socialinsider is great for creating a hashtag strategy by showing the most popular hashtags related to any given hashtag.

This can ensure your content is seen by the right audience, thereby increasing engagement and optimizing your Instagram SEO.

Engage with accounts that rank for your targeted keywords

Using SEO on Instagram enhances your profile's discoverability while also generating new Instagram post ideas to keep your content fresh and appealing to your audience.

In this sense, engaging with accounts that rank for your targeted keywords is a valuable Instagram SEO tip because it helps increase your visibility within your niche.

By interacting with these accounts through likes, comments, and shares, you position yourself within the community of users already interested in similar content.

Here’s how you can do this effectively:

  1. Identify relevant accounts: Start by searching for your targeted keywords on Instagram. For instance, if you run a fitness blog, search for hashtags like #FitnessTips, #WorkoutRoutine, or #HealthyLiving.

  1. Interact authentically: Select the top accounts that frequently appear under these hashtags. Engage with their content by liking their posts, leaving thoughtful comments, and sharing their content when appropriate. For example, if a popular fitness influencer posts a workout routine, leave a comment sharing your thoughts or experiences with similar routines.

  1. Follow and network: Follow these top-ranking accounts and actively engage with their stories and posts. This could involve responding to their stories with emojis, participating in polls, or joining conversations in their comments section.

  1. Create collaborative opportunities: Reach out for potential collaborations, such as guest posts, shoutouts, or joint live sessions. For instance, you could propose a joint Instagram Live session where you both discuss workout tips, which can attract both your audiences. This can lead to more followers, a higher engagement rate, and a stronger presence in search results.

Avoid watermarks on Reels

Avoiding watermarks on Reels is essential for effective SEO optimization on Instagram, helping you maximize your reach and impact on the platform.

It helps ensure that your content is perceived as original and high-quality, which is favored by Instagram's algorithm.

Watermarks, especially those from other platforms, can reduce the professional appearance of your videos and may lead to lower Instagram engagement.

Instagram's algorithms prioritize clean, high-quality content that retains users on the platform.

By keeping your Reels free of watermarks, you improve the chances of your videos being promoted in the Explore tab and suggested to other users.

Post at the right time for your audience

Posting at the right time is one of the top Instagram SEO tips because it ensures that your content reaches the maximum number of followers when they are most active.

High engagement shortly after posting signals to Instagram’s algorithm that your content is valuable, thereby boosting its visibility on your followers' feeds and the Explore page.

This improved visibility can result in more followers and potential conversions, aligning with your social media goals.

According to marketers, the best times to post on Instagram are generally:

  • Monday from 10 AM to 12 PM,
  • Tuesday from 9 AM to 1 PM,
  • Wednesday at 11 AM,
  • Thursday from 12 PM to 1 PM,
  • Friday from 9 AM to 10 AM,
  • Saturday from 8 AM to 11 AM,
  • Sunday from 7 PM to 8 PM.

These times can vary depending on your specific audience and their location, so using social media insights can help tailor them to better suit your followers.

To find out the right time to post for your brand, you may leverage Instagram analytics tools such as Socialinsider.

best time to post Instagram data

Consistently posting at peak times allows you to gather valuable data on when your audience is most responsive, helping refine your posting strategy for continued growth.

Get the Meta Verified badge

When considering how to optimize Instagram, getting the Meta Verified badge is a good option for enhancing your credibility and visibility on the platform.

A verified badge signals to users that your account is authentic and trustworthy, which can lead to higher engagement and follower growth. Verified accounts are often prioritized by Instagram’s algorithms, making your content more likely to appear in search results and on the Explore page.

Additionally, a verified badge can help protect your brand from impersonation, ensuring that users engage with the correct account.

meta verified badge

Track your analytics

Doing social media analysis is vital for Instagram account optimization because it scales various aspects of your strategy, helping you to boost social media ROI.

Starting with an Instagram audit, and analyzing your Instagram metrics, you can comprehensively evaluate your current content’s effectiveness, identifying what resonates with your audience and what does not.

instagram audit

Overall, regularly tracking and analyzing your social media analytics facilitates informed decision-making, continuous improvement, and effective optimization of your Instagram presence, ultimately boosting your SEO efforts and visibility on the platform.

And by using a social media analytics tool such as Socialinsider to do so, you can gain competitive insights and benchmark your performance against competitors to uncover opportunities for differentiation.

Additionally, Socialinsider's advantage lies in its integration with multiple platforms,  allowing for a comprehensive and unified view of your Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, X, YouTube, and TikTok analytics.

SEO tools for Instagram

Having the right Instagram SEO tool is essential to optimize your content and improve your online visibility.

Instagram SEO tools help you identify the best keywords, analyze your competition, and track your performance, ensuring that your content reaches a wider audience.

Here’s a look at some indispensable tools that can enhance your SEO strategy:

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is a powerful tool for discovering keyword ideas and analyzing their search volume and competition.

google keyword tool for seo

It helps in identifying the most relevant and popular keywords for your content, allowing you to target terms that can improve your visibility on search engines.


Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO tool that offers keyword research, backlink analysis, and content exploration.

It helps in identifying high-performing keywords, tracking your rankings, and analyzing your competitors’ strategies, giving you a competitive edge.

ahrefs tool for seo

Final thoughts

By implementing these proven Instagram SEO tactics, you can transform your profile into a powerful tool for connecting with your audience and achieving your marketing goals.

And remember, consistently analyzing your performance through insights and adjusting your strategy accordingly will keep you ahead of the curve.

FAQs about Instagram SEO

How do I know my Instagram SEO strategy is effective?

To know if your Instagram SEO strategy is effective, monitor follower growth, engagement rates, and profile visits, which indicate broader reach and better content relevance. Track hashtag performance to attract new viewers and measure post reach and impressions to ensure wider audience reach. Check if your posts appear in relevant search results. Regularly reviewing these metrics will help gauge your strategy's success and guide necessary adjustments.

Anda Radulescu

Anda Radulescu

Content writer & copywriter with a 5-year track record in digital marketing. Equal parts keen observer & committed go-getter. A proud cat mom with a passion for music & exploring the world.

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