SEO for small businesses on Instagram

In a pool of over a billion users of Instagram, we need our profile to stand out. For that starting with Instagram SEO is an excellent idea. Having your posts appear on the first page of search results makes you reach a wider audience organically.

If you’re a new business and are looking to gain followers first you have to understand the importance of  SEO of Instagram. Let’s get started.

What exactly is SEO?

Instagram SEO refers to the process of optimizing your content on Instagram so that it may be found on the result page after users type relevant keywords on the search box.

 Factors that determine search results

We have made a list of factors that determine which content will be shown to users when they search for it.

Text users type on the search bar

We all know that Instagram search results are based on what we type on the search box. According to the terms searched, Instagram filters photos with related captions, usernames, bios, locations, hashtags, and alt text. Now what you need to understand for your business is what people type the most when they are looking for content similar to yours. Following are the online tools that determine what terms people use the most on search bars:

  • Google Analytics
  • HubSpot.
  • Mixpanel.
  • Woopra.
  • FoxMetrics.
  • Piwik PRO Analytics Suite.
  • Gauges.
  • W3counter.
  • Clicky.
  •  Hootsuite Insights

 Activity of users

User activity is the profiles and posts of related hashtags people have viewed, followed, liked, or commented on. Instagram ranks those posts and profiles higher with which people have interacted the most. For your business see which hashtags are people searching, viewing and, interacting with the most. Then use similar hashtags to increase viewership and engagements with your posts. If a user searches for food-related content, they will be shown related content by Instagram afterwards.

The popularity of posts is also a factor

Posts that are very popular with a large number of views, likes, comments, and shares are on top of the list in the search results. For your business make sure to know what is the best time to post. If your post gets engagements early, Instagram places it on top of the search results.

We know that Instagram has become a huge marketplace as it has crossed the 1.3 billion mark of monthly active users in 2022. Its search bar is widely used by consumers to look for products so optimization of profile name and each post is very important to grow the reach of businesses.

If you have started a small business on Instagram but are unable to reach people, there are many strategies to build the presence of your business but one of them is to focus on SEO.

1. Hashtag research

Hashtags are equivalent to keywords on Instagram but even better. Below every photo, you can type as many hashtags as you want. To reach maximum people try to research highly searched hashtags that are relevant to your photos. When choosing hashtags be careful to select only those that are relevant to your post because too many hashtags that are not relevant to your post can actually decrease your reach.

Hashtags should be according to your target audience, try to think of the words that you think your target audience might use, don’t worry about typing correct spellings or formal words because the audience does not care about it while searching for products or profiles on Instagram.

A very popular hashtag is not the ideal hashtag because using that means your post will hide in an ocean of other posts using the same hashtag.

Hashtags should not be very long; they should not be too specific or too general. According to experts, hashtags used by up to 10,000 people are the best and 25 to 30 hashtags are ideal to reach a maximum number of people.

You can also use Instagram hashtag finder tools

2. Analyze KPIs

Keep a track of how your SEO measures are improving your reach. It lets you know which efforts are more fruitful. There are a few indicators that measure the exposure of your profile and posts. Inbuilt analytics tool of Instagram business account measure these indicators

  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Profile visits
  • Followers
  • Website clicks

Compare the performance of these indicators before and after taking an SEO measure.

3. Optimization of profile.

Optimization of the profile on  Instagram is the first step to take to increase the reach of your post to your target audience. Even if many people visit your profile if it is not what the user needs, it won’t be of much help in the future.

Make sure that:

  • Your profile is public with an attractive image relevant to your image preferably your logo.
  • Your username and the business name have a primary keyword that you’re targeting.
  • Your bio has important keywords that you couldn’t include in your username.

4. Optimization of each post

Individual posts can be optimized by using high-value keyword(s) in the caption. Secondly, hashtags should be used to strengthen these keyword(s) and target other supporting keywords.

Alt text

Alt text in Instagram is different from an image caption because it describes the image accurately. It helps the Instagram algorithm to understand what’s in your image and who to show it. You can write alt text by choosing the option in advanced settings. Add your targeted keyword in the alt text for SEO but make sure it makes sense to readers as well.


Producing quality content

Producing quality content consistently is also one of the most important factors. There is a higher chance of success if you maintain the quality of your content. A low-quality content has:

  • Click baits
  • Unauthentic content
  • copied content

Another factor that Instagram looks at when filtering content for search results is if the content is following Instagram recommendations guidelines and community guidelines. If your content is against these guidelines, your content will either not appear in search results or your account will be suspended or permanently blocked.

Common mistakes to avoid

  • Following too many accounts quickly
  • Buying followers and /or likes
  • Using bots
  • Stealing other peoples’ content
  • Stuffing keywords

Use all the features Instagram offers

Other than posting usual photos, regularly post stories and shorts as well. Frequently comment and direct messages as well to improve your reach to the target audience.

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