How to Leverage Instagram for SEO

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By Boris Dzhingarov

There are several different factors that impact the way in which Google and other search engines rank your website. Link building and keyword loading are big-hitting strategies that naturally get a lot of attention from digital marketers, but social media strategies, such as Instagram SEO, are becoming more popular when it comes to how it propels your site through the rankings.

Whilst Instagram doesn’t have a direct connection to the major search engines with a direct or immediate impact on your rankings, social engagement is seen as a by-product of quality content – which, in turn, will generate more inbound links, lower bounce rates, mentions, and increased dwell time. And, these are all signals that Google and other major search engines care about and look out for. With that in mind, we’ve put together some of the best things that you can do to leverage Instagram for SEO, helping you get more eyes on your website and improving your rankings.

#1. Build Page Authority Through Backlinks:

Thanks to Instagram’s limit to a solitary link in page bios, marketers’ creativity has also been limited when it comes to trying to push traffic to websites and build page authority. And, any URLs added to posts are, unfortunately, not clickable – which can be a rather unhelpful limitation for marketers juggling several different projects and social media marketing campaigns.

The good news is that Instagram Stories makes it easier for marketers to get links out there, with the option to add clickable links and contextual calls to action that seamlessly direct users to an owned channel, helping to accrue campaign backlinks and build page authority.

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#2. Use Popular Hashtags for Keyword Strategy:

Although Instagram is not a search engine, it does have a search function – and the most popular search is hashtags. When it comes to boosting your brand’s reach on this platform, using relevant and branded hashtags will help to give you maximum exposure. In addition, unlike keywords in website content that can look clunky and stuffed into posts, you can add as many hashtags as you like at the end of an Instagram post, and it still looks great. And, it’s easy to put together a list of high-performing hashtags for your target audience and industry.

#3. Use Content Hubs to Increase Dwell Time:

Recently, we have seen an increase in Google rewarding pages that have higher user engagement. Pages with extended dwell times, high conversions and low bounce rates are enjoying higher organic search rankings for their content. However, the problem is that today’s modern internet user tends to be less digitally naïve than previous ones. It’s not uncommon for users today to rapidly jump back from the site to the SERPs, click the next links and bounce again, continuing until they are able to find their desired page. Statistics show that on average, Instagram users spend 32 minutes per day scrolling through their feed, and the reason for this is that it is content that they are able to engage with, delivering value in exchange for their time. By embedding Instagram feeds and other live social walls into your website, brands can encourage users to stay on the page and learn more about them, thereby extending the user journey, increasing both dwell time and their organic search ranking.

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#4. Hold Contests for Prizes:

Holding contests with prizes up for grabs is a common social media tactic, so it may be something that you have already tried – whether using Instagram or another social media platform such as Facebook or Twitter. If you’ve never tried running a contest on Instagram, then it’s definitely worth a try. Prizes tend to go a long way when it comes to boosting your social media engagement, so it’s definitely worth spending some money on getting competitions and contests going. There’s a variety of different ways in which you can create a contest for social media, so it’s worth remembering exactly why users like Instagram so much and put a focus on popular hashtags and interesting, relevant images to get the highest level of engagement. For example, you could ask your users to enter the competition by sharing their own image with a hashtag that you’ve come up with or get your followers to tag their friends.

#5. Partner With a Charitable Organization:

People like to support companies that are doing something for the community or the world, so it’s worth looking into partnering with a charity or non-profit. By doing this and giving a portion of your profits to your chosen charity, you can help indirectly – and encourage engagement from users who care. And, doing this gives you a chance to post more relevant content on your Instagram profile, for example, sharing images and stories of fundraising events for the charity or cause or documenting employees on community service trips.

#6. Try Influencer Marketing:

Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular on Instagram these days, and it’s something that a lot of brands have had much success with. Influencers are power Instagram users who have a large follower count and a lot of influence over people. They can be celebrities in their own right or have become famous simply due to their Instagram use. Partnering with influencers in your niche allows you to leverage their large following and social connections to promote your brand, services, and products, and get your name in front of a larger number of users.

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#7. Utilize Instagram Stories:

The stories feature on Instagram is relatively recent and has given businesses a channel that they can use in order to bring their brand to life. Sometimes, just posting on Instagram regularly can become flat and you need something else to boost your profile views and encourage engagement. Instagram stories have more options for interaction with your users, whether it’s the option to ‘ask a question’, reply to a poll and more. Stories are also a great way to space your posts out whilst still staying active and engaging with your followers on the channel.

When it comes to boosting your page dwell rate and conversions, reducing bounce rate and encouraging engagement from users with your brand, Instagram can be a very powerful tool to use.