How to Optimize Your Instagram Account for SEO

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By Adrian Cruce

Instagram has the potential to be of enormous value to digital marketers. All the biggest brands in the world today are active on Instagram, and with good reason. However, if you want your Instagram account to reach as wide an audience as possible, you need to optimize it for search engines. Below are some of the most effective SEO techniques you can use with Instagram.

Set Your Profile To Public

By default, your Instagram profile will be set to public, so unless you have changed this setting, you should be ok. However, it is worth understanding exactly why a public profile is preferable to a private one. With a public profile, anyone can access your Instagram page and check out your content. If you have set your profile to private, you will have more control over who is able to see your stuff but you won’t be able to reach as many people as you would with a public profile.

To double-check your profile settings and ensure that your profile is still publicly viewable, simply open up your Instagram profile and click on the hamburger menu. From here, head to the “Settings” page and then look under the “Account Privacy” tab. Ensure that the “Private Account” option is switched off.

Include Your Most Important Keyword In Your Page Name

The title tag for your page is auto generated from the information contained in your profile, particularly your name. While we would strongly discourage you from any keyword stuffing here, you can change it so that your most important primary keyword is included beneath your profile name.

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For example, if your name is Anna and your Instagram account is for your baking business, something like “Anna’s Bakery” is a better name than just “Anna”. It is only a small difference, but it can have a big impact on your Instagram’s SEO score.

Updating your Instagram name is easy – head to your profile, then look for the “Edit Profile” button. From here, you can edit the “Name” field to whatever you want to use as your name.

Write A Keyword-Rich Bio

It is hard to overstate how important your social media bios are when it comes to SEO. A well-written bio will serve a number of different purposes in improving your SEO and overall visibility. If you construct your bio in the right way, it can make a huge difference to your SEO, which will increase the number of people who find and access your page. Once they are on your page, a well-constructed bio will encourage them to stick around and investigate your business further.

In the case of Instagram, your bio is limited to 150 characters, so you need to make every one count. This is roughly the same character limit that Google places on dynamic meta descriptions – this is no coincidence. Unlike your profile name, your bio is an acceptable place to use keyword stuffing, although proper etiquette is to use hashtag keywords. Using hashtag keywords will enable users to click on a keyword and see a list of Instagram content that is marked with the same hashtag. As long as the keywords you choose are appropriate, you can include as many of them as you like.

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You can also use an @ tag to tag any influencers, people, or other businesses that you work with. Arranging to give one another a mutual shout-out in your respective bios is just one way that you can begin to work with other users to help build your brand and improve your visibility and reputation on the platform.

Your bio is just about the only body of text on your Insta profile that will be crawled by search engine bots. Needless to say, this makes optimizing your bio well worth the time and effort. It is worth undertaking some hashtag research to identify the best keywords to target. TagBlender is an excellent tool for doing this and is often cited by influencers and other Instagram professionals as the best tool for conducting detailed hashtag research.

It is best to include some non-hashtag text in your bio as well. This will provide search engines with more context and enables them to work their semantic magic. While you only have 150 characters to play with – a fairly restrictive number by any measure – you should be aiming to flesh out your bio as much as you can and provide the reader with everything they need to know about who you are and what you do.

Use Image Captions As Title Tags

A common mistake that many Instagram users make is to view their image captions as if they were meta descriptions. Writing image captions in this way misses a huge opportunity and also represents a misunderstanding of how Instagram works. When Instagram creates a new page for your post, it generates a title for the page that uses your image caption as a title tag. This also highlights the importance of the “Name” field in your profile, as your name will also appear in the title tag.

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When your pages show up in search engine results, the title tag will often be truncated in order to fit on the page. You shouldn’t worry about keeping your title tags within these limits, which would entail a title tag too small to be useful. However, it is worth working out where the tag will be cut off and ensure that all the most important information is visible.

Much like your bio, you are aiming to make your image captions clear, concise, and keyword-rich without detracting from their usefulness or quality. However, remember that a string of hashtags will look very different on a SERP compared to your Insta profile. You don’t want your page to appear too spammy.

If you want your Instagram profile and content to be visible to general internet users, you will need to work on enhancing your SEO score. Without SEO, your Instagram content will be much harder to find, especially when searching via search engines rather than the platform itself. Remember that SEO is an ongoing process, don’t undertake serious SEO only to then go right back to neglecting it afterward.