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  • Writer's pictureMacauley Clifton

Ways to Increase your Instagram Discoverability!

Improving on your Instagrams search engine optimization can give your discoverability, engagement and reach a substantial boost. 

Many of the techniques used to optimize your SEO online can also be applied to improve your Instagram profile discovery and content.

From alt text to hashtags, we will explain how you can make the most of your SEO on Instagram and how this can help increase your discoverability. 

#1 Optimizing your Instagram Profiles discoverability

As part of the explore page on the app, the Instagram search is the directory into every Instagram account.

Just like how we would all use google to search for a term, you can use Instagrams search bar located at the top of the explore page to discover accounts, locations and hashtags.

Ever wondered how Instagram decides which search results to display first? 

Well According to Instagram, the search results you first see are based on a variety of different factors, such as, what photos and videos you have previously liked, the accounts you already follow and who you are connected too. 

However, the search engine results are based on keywords too!

For Example, just like Google when you search for a keyword on Instagram, the app sorts through millions of accounts to find the most relevant results for what you are searching for - Accounts that contain that particular keyword.

So it is possible to show up for specific keywords through Instagrams search. To optimize your profile using keywords, here's how;

Your Name and Username

Incorporate a keyword to suit your business into both your name and username, an example being a keyword like "books" both the accounts name and username will now be searchable on Instagram.

Of course, this might not always work for your brand, particularly when it comes to your username. 

Luckily, the name field in your Instagram bio is also searchable, wholly customizable and separate to your username. So an alternative is to, change your bio to words that would highlight what your business is all about. To do this, go onto your Instagram profile and into "edit profile" to make any changes. These are great tips for ways to improve your chances of appearing in the top results if someone searches for your target keywords. 

Your Instagram Bio

Like your name filed, optimize your profiles bio with keywords relating to your business.

You can even add in clickable hashtags to boost your chances of appearing not just in the search results for your account, but if someone searches for the hashtag too! Not only is this an excellent way for your new followers to know what your business is all about, but Instagram also crawls bios to gather more context to determine what your account is all about. 

#2 How to treat Hashtags like Keywords

One of the best ways to get discovered by new audiences on Instagram is by using relevant and targeted hashtags in stories and posts. This method can translate to more engagement, therefore more followers and more customers for your business.

In comparison, Instagram hashtags boost your discoverability, and this is a lot like how keywords can improve your SEO. 

People search for hashtags with the intent to discover new content, using the right hashtags can put your post right in front of your target audience. If your Instagram account is public and you have used a hashtag on an Instagram post, that post will then be visible on the corresponding hashtags result page. 

The great thing about hashtags is they have plenty of benefits other than improving your discoverability. They can build communities, source user-generated content, run campaigns, research your audience and much more! 

It is so important to have a clear and well thought-about hashtag strategy; without one, you could be missing out on opportunities to optimize your account and drive more engagement and followers.

Instagram hashtag strategies don't have to be complicated. I find it best to test and track your efforts, so you can see what's working for your account and what isn't. 

#3 Descriptive Captions

Currently, Instagram posts are only searchable by hashtags and location tags. However, there are other ways to increase your contents discoverability on the explore page, how you ask? By writing relevant and descriptive captions.

Like your main Instagram feed page, the explore page uses the same algorithm that is continually learning from your behaviours like what accounts you follow, what posts you like and comment on, to then determine what content you will enjoy the most. 

That's why your Instagram explore page will look completely different from anyone else's Instagram explore page. 

So how does this relate to captions? Well, we recently found out Instagram uses machine learning to determine what content to display on the explore page. We learnt that when they make content recommendations, it focuses on identifying the most relevant accounts based on individual interests rather than searching for individual posts.

According to Instagram, they identify topically similar accounts by using a machine learning method known as word embedding. 

Meaning Instagram looks at keywords that are used on accounts to determine how relevant they are to one another. And while some of those keywords come from an accounts name, username, and bio, they also come from the captions you write.


Writing captions that are descriptive of your business or industry, mean Instagram will pick up on that and put you in with topically similar accounts. 

The main point is by using relevant, descriptive keywords in your Instagram captions; you're more likely to appear on the Explore page for users who have previously expressed an interest in topics related to those keywords.

#4 Creating Alternative Text

Instagram alt text is a new feature that allows you to write alternative custom text, adding a more detailed description of your photos.

Mainly designed for Instagram users who have visual impairments, this can apply for SEO.

Currently, Instagram creates automatic alternative text so you can hear descriptions of photos through your screen reader. 

The feature uses object recognition technology to generate a description of photos for screen readers so you can hear a list of items that images may contain as you browse the app.

But you can also create alternative custom text when you upload a photo to create a more explicit description of what your post is about! Here's how to do it: 

  • To see and edit alt text for a photo before you post it on Instagram, tap Advanced Settings at the bottom of the screen before posting. Next, tap Write Alt Text. Now, write your alt text in the box and tap Done!

  • To change the alt text of a photo after you've already posted it on Instagram, go to the image, tap the ellipsis button, and tap Edit. Next, tap Edit Alt Text in the bottom right. Now, write the alt text in the box and tap Done. 

#5 Getting Tagged

Another fantastic factor that can help drive discovery of your profile on Instagram is tags and mentions. 

When another Instagram user tags your account in one of their posts or stories, other users who follow them can click through to your profile, which is a great way to drive discovery. 

Create great content that others will want to share, a popular trend on the app is to share other users Instagram posts to their stories, posts like this then become clickable stickers, creating a direct line back to the original post. Also, the original poster's username will be displayed, which is excellent for fairly crediting the contributors of user-generated content or UGC. 

Getting tagged and mentioned is like a vote of confidence, it shows Instagram that your content is valued and people have an interest in it. Overall, it could benefit how you appear on the Explore page, or people's home feeds. 

If you can find a way to get more tags and mentions on Instagram, you'll be well on your way to driving more traffic to your profile and content! 

#6 Tracking your Instagrams Account Reach

Once you change your account to a business profile, you can use Instagram Insights to learn more about the people interacting with your business on Instagram.

To see your Post Insights, open a post on Instagram and tap the View Insights button beneath it. Now scroll down to the Discovery section. In the discovery section, you will find a set of Insights around how many people saw your content and where they found it. These can include existing followers from their feed, hashtags, the Explore page, and others. The other category contains shares, saves, tags, mentions, and notifications. 

Looking at this data, you can quickly determine how optimized your content is. 

Another place to check is your Instagram Insights, access this directly from your profile. 

In the Activity tab, you'll find data around Discovery and Interactions, which highlights the number of profile visits you received. These features make it a lot easier to discover trends in your content and account's discovery.


It can be so beneficial to think about your Instagram SEO when wanting to optimize your business's Instagram account.  

Not only do many SEO concepts apply to Instagram, but it can also help you create a more organized and thoughtful content strategy.  _____

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