The Ultimate Guide to Instagram SEO

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POSTED October 16, 2023 BY Elise Darma

Do you ever feel like keeping up with social media updates is a full-time job?

You know… on TOP of the full-time job you ALREADY have as a business owner (and maybe spouse, parent, friend, child, etc.)?

“It feels like every time I log into Instagram there’s something new. I feel behind before I even start!” ← I hear something like that from students nearly every day.

The truth is, some updates are far, far more relevant for small business owners than others. That’s exactly why I only focus on what’s relevant for you right now.

(One of the pillars of my company is to do fewer things better.) 

So believe me when I say, this recent Instagram update IS something you NEED to pay attention to.

The Ultimate Guide To Instagram SEO Breaking News

Instagram is starting to function like a search engine.

Yep. Like Google.

The Ultimate Guide To Instagram SEO 5

Actually, according to Prabhakar Raghavan, the Senior Vice President of Google, “Something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.” 

Why Is This Important For Small Business Owners?

In 2022, TikTok surpassed Google as the primary source of information for Gen Z.

The appeal, according to Nailah Roberts, is that on TikTok, “You see how the person actually felt about where they ate. A long-winded written review of a restaurant can’t capture its ambiance, food, and drinks like a bite-size clip can.” (Source: New York Times)

Additionally, Facebook reported that 83% of people are using Instagram to discover new products or services. 

Instagram wants to show people content they will find engaging and relevant to their interests, so using the right keywords helps Instagram understand what your content is about and who it would be the best fit for.

Bottom line: Focusing on your business’s searchablity on social media is increasingly important.

So how do you do that without spending hours researching and revamping your entire Instagram marketing strategy?

How To Use Instagram Search (Instagram SEO) For Your Business

Before you dive in, take Instagram Search for a spin!

Open your app and tap on the magnifying glass at the bottom of the screen.

Then use the Search bar at the top of the screen to search for things that interest you. You can type in things like inspiration, travel, home DIY projects, and fashion tips.

We typed in “places to eat in Toronto” and saw these posts and accounts: 

Instagram SEO

Easy, right?

Now let’s use Instagram SEO to get your business to pop up when your target audience types in keywords related to you!

Step #1: Get keyword ideas and create a content bank. You may have already noticed this, but if you type in a keyword, Instagram will actually show you other suggestions for what to search for!

For instance, if you are a health coach, you can type in “gut health” and get other relevant prompts. You may see things like “gut health tips”, “women’s gut health”, and more.

If you sell candles, you can type in, “candles” and see things like “candle decor”, “non-toxic candles”, and more.

Use those ideas to create a bank of relevant keywords for your business.

See the screenshot below as an example (we acted as an interior designer and searched “side table”. It came up with suggestions for “side table decor”, “side table styling”, “side table design” and more).

Instagram SEO

You can also use this feature to find other relevant accounts that would be of interest to your target audience, which can give you inspiration and ideas.

Step #2: Include keywords relevant to your brand in your profile name and bio. Remember, Instagram WANTS to get your content in front of the right people. And in order for it to do that (in Suggested and Explore), it needs to have a clear understanding of who your account is for.

That means you want all of your content to speak to your niche!

Need some help with this step? Check out this Instagram Profile Makeover.

Step #3: Include keywords in your captions. After your profile has been given the ~keyword treatment~ using Instagram SEO, make sure you start including keywords in your post captions too!

And remember, those posts should all fall under your niche. I recommend choosing between 2-5 themes to share consistently in your feed.

Step #4: Use alt text. Instagram alt text is an accessibility feature designed to help visually impaired users enjoy and interact with the app. It can also improve your Instagram SEO! (That’s what we call a win-win.)

When you post an image, click “Advanced Settings” > “Accessibility” > “Write Alt Text” and you can complete the alt text box. Instagram already generates alt text automatically for your content for people who use screen readers, but you can go in and update it to include your keywords as well.

What About TikTok?

Now you might be thinking, these two apps share a lot of features and seem to mirror each other pretty closely… So does TikTok have SEO as well?!

Early signs are pointing to YES.

Social Media Today recently reported that TikTok is exploring a partnership with none other than Google to drive search traffic!

Business Insider confirmed, adding that, “A TikTok spokesperson has confirmed that the company is experimenting with third-party integrations within the TikTok app, including a test with Google. The feature, which is being trialed globally across several different markets, is not an ad unit, the spokesperson said. A Google spokesperson said the company had nothing further to share and declined to comment on whether there was a financial agreement between the two companies as part of the partnership.”

Grab a Full Month of Strategic Reels Ideas for FREE

Want some help brainstorming content ideas that work with your keywords (and niche)?! We’ve got you covered. Let Team Elise help lighten your workload and make your life easier by doing the heavy lifting.

Reels Content Calendar

Inside the free Instagram Reels Content Calendar, you can expect the following:

  • A detailed content calendar with an Instagram Reels strategy for an entire month.
  • Ideas for each week that’ll educate, engage, generate leads, and close sales.
  • No dance routines required.

Remember, all it takes is one video to bring in 1000s of views, boost your follower count, and leads who are ready to buy what you’re selling.

Sound like what you need?

POSTED October 16, 2023 BY Elise Darma
Hi, I’m Elise Darma!

I traded my 9-5 office cardigan for
that 7-figure entrepreneur life. But
I’m no overnight success. I’ve
experienced burnout, overwhelm
and ghosting Instagram for the
entire month of February 2019. I’m
probably the laziest Instagram
marketer you know, but if you want
to know how to sell more by doing
less – you’re in the right place.

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elise Darma An extroverted introvert

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