instagram seo tips

7 Instagram SEO tips to get discovered & increase your reach on Instagram 

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Instagram SEO is now impossible to ignore.

You may have noticed that your Instagram feed has been filled with recommendations recently. There’s a good chance that the suggested content is related to a recent post you’ve liked or saved.

Recommendations are the new way to discover creators you may be interested in. 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your content was regularly suggested to other Instagram users?  

I’m confident that you’d enjoy it as much as I do seeing mine on the explore page and suggested posts.

The question remains, how do you get your content discovered on Instagram?

The answer is Instagram SEO.

What is Instagram SEO?

To understand Instagram SEO, you need first to know what SEO is. 

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, refers to a strategy that bloggers and website owners use to get their content suggested in Google results once a user searches for a relevant keyword. 

In simple terms, it’s improving your website to increase discoverability and visibility. 

So, if websites use SEO to get more views, you can also apply similar techniques on Instagram to get more profile visitors and followers. 

Instagram SEO is the process of improving your account and content so that you can be discovered in search results, and get your content suggested to relevant audiences. 

instagram SEO tips

Why is Instagram SEO important? 

  • Instagram SEO positions your account in front of people searching for content related to your niche. 
  • It helps Instagram understand what your posts are about.
  • It helps Instagram to categorize your account in terms of niche and industry and hence find the best audience to show your account and content to.
  • Instagram SEO helps you reach more people.

Here are 7 Instagram SEO Tips To Increase Your Reach

  1. Add keywords to your Instagram profile name.

Keywords are words or phrases that your target audience is most likely to type in the search bar when looking for content. 

Understand the keywords your audience uses and add them beside your Instagram profile name. 

Once you do this, you will appear higher in search results once a user searches for that keyword. 

See the example below.

Keywords ‘Social media marketing, ‘Content creator coach’

joy akatukunda instagram account

Let’s search for the keyword “social media marketing” on Instagram.

Here are the results.

social media marketing search results om Instagram

Of course, the results will vary from account to account because the creators you engage with regularly are not the same ones I engage with. 

But, you’ll notice one common thing. All the accounts that appear in your top 10 results will have the word ‘Social Media Marketing’ in their Instagram profile name. 

This is SEO in action. 

Of course, there are many more creators who talk about social media marketing on their Instagram, but there’s a reason they are not appearing in these results. 

It’s because their accounts are not optimized. 

How to identify the right keywords for your account.

Put yourself in the shoes of an Instagram user. Assume you wanted an account or content about home workouts that don’t require equipment. What would you type into the search bar?

Some words you could use include; home workouts, no equipment workout, and easy home workout.

Let’s type ‘no equipment workout’ in the search bar and see the results.

From the image above you can see that Instagram will show you videos and accounts that contain the words no equipment and workout somewhere in their post, and the accounts are in the fitness niche. 

Let’s analyze the first video on the top page. 

The video is from an account @carrotmuffinqueen, which seems to belong to a nutrition and fitness coach.

Looking at the post, the caption contains the keyword workout and has the hashtag #noequipmentworkout. 

Because of the above keyword and hashtag, this account made it to the top of the search results page.

  1. Include relevant keywords in your bio. 

The purpose of Instagram SEO is to get your account suggested to as many users as possible. 

That means you want to use as many relevant keywords in your bio. This is also called Instagram bio optimization. 

But, you have to make sure that your statement or whatever you write in your bio makes enough sense to the reader. 

As a social media coach and consultant, I create content for small business owners and creators. I made sure that my bio addressed this so that a visitor knows what I do and for whom.

By reading this, they decide whether my content will be relevant to them or not, so they follow me or not. 

You want to make sure your bio mentions;

-What your content is all about.

-Who your content is for

-A Call to Action

For example;

Joy Akatukunda’s bio 

Keywords: small business, creators, social media,  

  1. Use well-researched hashtags 

Hashtags are another important factor for Instagram SEO. 

When it comes to hashtags, it’s less about the number and more about the relevance.

You can use 30 poor hashtags and get no results, but use 10 relevant hashtags and get mind-blowing results.

Most of my post impressions come from hashtags. 

How to find the best hashtags for your Instagram posts.

I use a tool called IQHashtags. It has a free and paid version. I have never paid for it, but I’m still able to get great results after using this tool for my hashtag research.

Here is the exact step-by-step process I use to generate my hashtags;

  • Understand what my post is about. For example; social media tips for small business owners.
  • Define keywords that a user would search for if they wanted these tips. E.g. social media tips, small business owners, social media marketing, social media marketing tips
  • Type each of these keywords into IQhashtags and hit search.
Joy-akatukunda - 1dWrZtCd s feVy7Wgr4grr61RRZrpYZFZWaCEBrnYr3GehHLV4Xmy3cYtpmVsL4nrE D6gzKzVrUCysa8isrukHqB58rsxMfgcwxJ8wzT3cHiIEvlR5pSVhHVMC2IdyyKndV8
Joy-akatukunda - iGt5wprmIpFw7YhGNflh9wEhTIxiYJZ8XNDDqVtTREDWD12XwUwD kjWu8tzoaYi WAxXzCmT79PFuhDe8qRBeidH Ez u3q Pa
  • I then select the results that have similar likes compared to my posts.

I do this because since my account is small, I don’t want to use large hashtags that have 5 million or 10 million posts. That would mean my post would have very little to zero chance of ranking on such a hashtag. 

  • After selecting the hashtags, I copy and paste them at the bottom of my Instagram caption.
Joy-akatukunda - VXTabeei2N31FN dSQVRQWdY8kHAM4TOHZuu vFZS6LtnKjx610ZP7jsCevKtaIQHdRmtBU3pGnq9kcXf pB 32v hWHcMwgsHTj0CaKPLqYeHBJgWTrhEe3htiJcy2g0NtDd1zIgsr 6OhCTIaF4iAg1U5
  1. Optimize your captions 

Just as you need to add keywords to your bio, they are relevant in your caption too.

The Instagram algorithm is able to pick up content only by reading the words in your caption. Using its intelligence, it then suggests this content to people who are most likely to engage with it.

Let’s take an example; 

Type ‘social media tips’ in the search bar.

instagram post from search results of social media tips search term

This post from @desertmarketingagency appears on the search results page.

Analyzing the post we see that;

-Post design contains the words ‘social media.’

-Keywords in the caption; tips, social media

– Hashtags; #socialmedia #socialmediamarketingtips #socialmediamarketing

  1. Use ALT text to rank your images. 

Alternative (Alt) text is meant to convey the “why” of the image as it relates to the content of a document or webpage. 

ALT text, also Alternative text tells the why of the image as it relates to the content. It tells the algorithm what your post is about. 

How to add Alt text to your Instagram post

  • Click the + button at the top of your profile.
  • Add your picture and caption.
  • Scroll down and tap Advanced Settings.
  • Select write ALT text
  • Add a description that suits the post (this is a great place to add a relevant keyword), then press done, and upload your post.
  1. Use the location tag

Location tags are great, especially if you want to target customers or followers in a specific location.

Don’t use a location tag because it is where you currently are. I mean, if you’re into travel and want to show off the places you’re visiting, go ahead. 

But for a business owner, you want to use the location where your potential clients are, and not where you are. 

The world is digital now, I could be in Gulu or New York, yet my clients are in Kampala or Sydney. 

To target the people who are more likely to buy from you or make an inquiry, use the location of your potential client. 

This is the trick I use to reach the people who are more likely to take up my services. 

instagram SEO
Instagram post with location tag ‘Los Angeles, California’


There are so many opportunities to get discovered on Instagram, I just presented all of them to you. Take advantage of these different tactics and explode your reach on Instagram.