Marketers tend to treat social media platforms as unique entities, and for good reason. Each one requires its own set of strategies, objectives, and content plans, all of which of course relies on the purpose or nature of the platform. Instagram, for example, is all about photos and eye candy — which is why when it comes to marketing on that medium, having a strong visual language is key.
And yet, no social medium is an island. What you post on Instagram doesn’t necessarily just stay on Instagram, which should spell great news to entrepreneurs and business owners hoping to get their brands out there and reach potential customers beyond their current following. Social media content can find its way to new audiences via Google Search — when done correctly and strategically, that is.
So, here are 7 proven strategies to boost your Instagram SEO…
Make your Account public
The first Instagram SEO strategy is the easiest and the most important: make sure your Instagram account is accessible to people reaching it through Google Search. Although private Instagram accounts are very much still searchable, locking your content to the public obviously keeps your posts from appearing on search engines.
Optimize your Instagram Name and Bio
People use search engines to find information. In fact, Google receives an average of 63,000 searches per second.
One way to take advantage of this fact is to make sure that your username and bio contain important keywords related to your brand, in order for people to stumble upon your Instagram account via search much easier.
Google automatically generates a title tag based on the information on your Instagram account to appear like this: “Your Name (@username) ● Instagram photos and videos.” This means that if your Instagram account is your bag shop, then having your username clearly establish that helps you become more discoverable to those searching Google for bags.
As mentioned, your bio should contain strategic keywords as well. Although the text on your bio doesn’t show up on Google Search, it can still help drive traffic to your page whenever people search for certain keywords (like “lifestyle” in the sample below) on Instagram.
Share Share-worthy Photos
Search engines currently aren’t allowed to index photos from Instagram, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to the quality of the photos you post.
People often share interesting photos they find on Instagram to other social media platforms like Facebook and Pinterest.
These photos then show up as results on image searches, and can, in a few clicks, lead back to your Instagram page. It’s a bit of a leap, but it works.
That’s why when it comes to choosing images to create content with, it pays to be creative and on-brand. If you are trying to showcase some of your products, try playing around with interesting angles and layout options. For example, if you’re marketing an apartment for rent in Chicago, you want to share extremely high quality photos for users to view. If you want to share some lifestyle shots, jazz up your images by applying a filter that’s cool and easy on the eyes.
Instagram has a number of in-app tools you can use, but you can download your own photo-editing app as well. Instasize, for example, has a number of layout, font, and filter options to help you create eye-catching visual content that’s creative, modern, and worthy of being shared.
Take advantage of ALT Text
Instagram is equipped with visual recognition. Photos shared on Instagram are assigned alternative text (ALT Text) or keywords that help the platform streamline searches for its users, as well as transform visuals into text that can be read out loud to visually-impaired audiences.
What’s interesting about this is that people are now allowed to refine the ALT Text of their posts, which means that you can add, edit, or specify keywords to help your audience reach your content through search.
Take advantage of Google Trends
Google Trends is a nifty tool you can use to search for what’s trending in your area, country, or around the world at any given time. Topics that are trending are those that people are searching for the most — and if your brand happens to be related to it, your page could very well come up as one of the searches.
You can take advantage of trends by figuring out which ones are related to your brand, and then optimize your profile to ride on them. If you sell clothes, for example, and a sudden cold front in the area is trending, you can revise your Instagram name to reflect the fact that you winter apparel, and create content to reflect this.
Write Captions like Title Tags
When your Instagram post appears on a Google Search, your caption automatically becomes your Title Tag like in the image below.
Keep this in mind whenever you write captions. Try to express the main message or gist of your post in the first few words, so that your audience will know what to expect before clicking through.
You could also craft your captions in a way that draws people in using intriguing copy, making them want to visit your page to learn more.
To improve engagement on your posts within the app, consider writing in a couple of strategic hashtags as well. If you have no idea how to write alt text and captions that are optimized for SEO, you should take advantage of SEO services. They will either write it for you or coach you.
Partner with Influencers
Influencer marketing was one of the first strategies entrepreneurs used when Instagram just started blowing up. A couple of years later, brand-influencer partnerships are still doing wonders when it comes to marketing on Instagram.
In fact, the right partnerships can also help you improve your brand’s SEO.
In selecting the influencers to team up with, try and find those who are right on brand with your business. Having them talk about your brand to their followers, whether it’s through their own Instagram pages or other social media platforms, can definitely help drive traffic to your account.
Compared to other social media platforms, Instagram doesn’t seem to be as SEO-friendly. But this doesn’t mean that you should abandon this medium altogether.
Sure, there are going to be a couple of challenges ahead of you, but with the right strategies like the ones listed above, and great creative thinking that goes beyond what you’ve read, you’re bound to find ways to drive traffic to your page without a hitch.
How do you optimize your posts for Instagram SEO? Which techniques have worked best for you? Please leave your comments below.
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Natasha Ponomaroff is the Senior Marketing Director of Instasize – a content creating tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile. A weekly contributor on the site’s blog, Natasha tracks social media trends and updates the millions of “creatives” who are currently using Instasize to curate awesome online content. When she isn’t writing up the latest trend, Natasha is overseeing a team of 10 over at the Instasize HQ – ensuring that the marketing content on the apps various social platforms is ready to go.