Instagram has become a search engine that can benefit your business, just like Google and other similar search engines. By changing some things in your account or social media posting, you can increase your ranking when people use the search bar on Instagram.

Optimize your profile. If you haven’t optimized your profile yet, do this first. Your handle and name are directly searchable so try to include keywords where it makes sense. Instead of repeating your business name in the “name” field on your profile, you can include keywords. What you include in your bio also impacts your search ranking so use related keywords there as well. Remember to optimize for users and the algorithm. This means your bio should make sense when someone reads it while still including keywords that boost your ranking.

Use keywords in your captions. Did you know that the words you use in your captions can impact your ranking in the Instagram search or Explore page? The algorithm used for the Explore page takes note of keywords in captions and tracks how users interact with the post. This determines if your content is shared to accounts that don’t already follow you.

Hashtags are keywords on Instagram. Since its creation, Instagram has used hashtags as searchable keywords. You can use up to 30 hashtags when you post and it is best to use as many as possible. Only use hashtags that are relevant and try to avoid ones that may cause your account to be shadowbanned. This will make it harder for your account to appear in searches.

Utilize alt text. There is a way to increase your ranking through alt text for your posts. Instagram automatically generates alt text for your photos but sometimes it isn’t as accurate as what you could write yourself. Before you publish a post, click “Advanced Settings” and then “Write Alt Text.” Write an accurate description of the photo you are sharing. This feature was originally created to help sight-impaired users, but also helps Instagram sort content and push it to people who engage with similar things.

Focus on organic growth. Don’t fall prey to businesses that promise growth through black hat SEO tactics. This includes using bots to engage with your content or fake followers. Instagram is cracking down on this and it damages your ranking. 98 Buck Social offers paid and organic affordable social media plans to help your business grow its presence online!