If you search for ‘Nicki Minaj’ on Google, you will see her official website listed first with Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia and Instagram directly below. Search engines push online traffic to social media platforms but Instagram accounts are particularly difficult to display in the results.
This is because Instagram blocks search engines from categorizing images. Your profile itself can be indexed, but the images cannot. This makes Instagram SEO challenging…but not impossible.
Check out the tips below for help with Instagram SEO.
1. Link Instagram
Any business using a multichannel marketing strategy recognizes that promoting an account on Instagram includes advertising outside the platform itself. Linking an Instagram profile to other social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter etc…) tells all of your followers that you’re on Instagram and allows you to ‘cross-contaminate’ media platforms with ads, events and special announcements.
Once you’ve authorized Instagram to access other media profiles, a link to your Instagram account will be added.
Because your Instagram page is only suggested via a ‘clickable’ tab, it’s best to connect your Instagram feed as well.
After allowing Instagram to feed your posts to Twitter or Facebook, users will be directed back to your Instagram profile. And, users following you on other platforms will be able to find your Instagram page more easily.
2. Change Your URL and Location (Often)
Take advantage of the option to change your URL and location with each Instagram photo you post. When you think of it as a ‘call to action’ or a bond between customer engagement and ROI, you’ll get a better idea of when, what and how often you want to change it. For example, leading people to different product pages or promotional articles.
If your business doesn’t directly benefit from posting an accurate location, go beyond business-as-usual and use the location field to reveal exciting information about your products or brand. Simply type in something you would like your followers to know. Be imaginative: inventive ‘locations’ will grab attention.
Below you can see an example of how NBA star Joel Embiid grew his following with a killer location strategy:
3. Optimise Your Photos
Instagram is a visual platform. So your SEO success will come from the type and quality of your photos. First, the content should be clearly distinguishable: is it a face, a book or a landscape? Instagram uses technology called ‘image recognition’ that classifies photos according to the content. This will help you grow your Instagram account by showing your photos to users who are already interested in similar content, but haven’t seen your account yet.
Remember, keeping your photos clean doesn’t mean they can’t be interesting or stunning. In fact, using a professional photo-editing app will help you keep your photos clear and beautiful with tools like color correction, lighting adjustment and cropping.
4. Use Image Captions As Title Tags
When Instagram creates a page for your post, the title tag includes the photo’s caption. It looks like this: Joe Smith Socks: “image caption.” Your profile name (not handle) and your caption show up in search engine results. Take a moment before you post and ensure that the caption is appropriate for the photo, and your brand.
Make a habit of looking to see where your title tag cuts off and that important information is at the beginning of the caption. For example, Ten Thousand Cookies will appear next to ‘Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day’ in search engine results. Not a bad title to have associated with your brand.
5. Use Instagram’s Newest Feature: Alt Text!
Keeping on the topic of photos, you can now add your own ALT text! Adding ALT text to your photos is a valuable SEO strategy. It allows seeing impaired people to ‘see’ your photo, and helps the Instagram algorithm to organize content. If someone searches for “cat wearing Batman costume”, and you posted a photo of your cat last Halloween WITH ALT TEXT, your photo will appear.
Alt Text is a fairly new feature so you will be ahead of the game if you start using it now. Here’s a blog post with some great tips on how to get started.
6. Research Relevant, Quality Hashtags
Hashtags expose your Instagram account to a target audience. If your hashtags are relevant and qualitative, you’re more likely to promote your brand to those with shared interests and goals.
While you’re brainstorming for the best hashtag, research to see if the hashtag is currently being used. Is the content associated with the hashtag appropriate and do you want your brand associated with it? Try using tagboard to review hashtags before you post them.
7. Set Up a Social Profile Schema for Instagram
Ask your developer to review the documentation on how to employ structured data for your social profile and ensure that your Instagram account is included.
8. Create Contests, Special Offers and Give-Aways
Contests and campaigns will attract more users to your page. For example, you can drive traffic to your website or sell your product by running a contest: ask users to ‘like’, ‘comment’, ‘hashtag’, or tag a friend. When followers tag friends, it exposes your brand to additional Instagram followers: an effective way to increase your brand’s reach.
In the above Instagram contest Simon & Schuster ask their followers: “How do you make trouble?” Fans are asked to leave a comment sharing their trouble-making antics to enter to win. *Tip: people want to talk about themselves, ask for stories!
Although SEO for Instagram can be difficult, there are a number of strategies that will increase Instagram recognition. Taking these extra steps will improve your social media strategy and help expose your Instagram profile in search results.