7 mistakes to avoid when optimizing your Instagram account for SEO
Search engine optimization is a powerful tool for increasing your website traffic. But your Instagram account is also crying out for attention and wants to appear at the top of search results.
Obviously, you work hard to make your website climb to the top of the search engine rankings. But not many entrepreneurs and marketers know that optimization techniques are useful beyond Google, Bing and other search engines.
SEO is also applicable to social media platforms, where it can aid in promoting an account, gaining new followers, boosting engagement rate, and enhancing sales. Instagram is perfect for optimization because it works like a small search engine so SEO is valid there as well.
Instagram ranks well-optimized pages higher and this attracts more active followers, drives engagement and improves page trust score. In turn, all this leads to an even higher ranking.
Though SEO for Instagram pages may seem easy to do, many marketers and business owners make several common mistakes when optimizing a profile. Below, we’ll talk about these missteps in detail and learn how to avoid them in upcoming campaigns.
1. Your Instagram page is not cohesive
One of the unwritten rules of Instagram management is to create a cohesive feed. The posts you upload on the platform should be logical in terms of visual concept, timing, captions, and hashtags.
But consistency isn’t something that can be accomplished overnight. You need to take time and think through each caption, the relevance of tags, the whole grid layout style and posting frequency. To streamline this process and plan your Instagram posts and stories, you can use Combin Scheduler, a tool for Instagram content planning.
With this app, you can create optimized captions, make different groups of hashtags and edit your current Instagram campaign — days and weeks before actual publication.
Here is a short guide on how you can create a cohesive feed with Instagram content scheduling:
To meet your business goals, publish as often as you can and maintain a consistent posting frequency. There is no ideal posting occurrence and no perfect time to distribute the content, but you can find yours while testing various approaches.
2. You don’t use relevant hashtags
A typical Instagram optimization challenge is to use hashtags that are appropriate for your post — and business. On social media, they work as search queries.
It appears rather straightforward to choose related hashtags, but in reality, brands and marketers make these two crucial missteps:
They include irrelevant hashtags
As the name implies, these hashtags match neither your business nor a specific post. If you have ever noticed the small number of impressions your post gained from hashtags, you already know what it means: your content is not what people expect to see when they are searching by a specific tag.
If you use hashtags for Instagram optimization (and you should), do some research before placing them under your posts. You can do that with Combin Growth. With this tool, you will find hashtags that reflect your current publication or the whole business and discover tags used by your competitors.
Instagram hashtag tips could fill an article all by themselves, but let us share a small hack with you here: check what hashtags your competitors or accounts with similar content choose. Don’t use popular tags — those with over 100,000 posts. Otherwise, your content will disappear in a changing feed.
To demonstrate how the tip works, let us imagine you are a coffee shop owner and you want to upload a photo with a latte cup in it. You want to be up-to-date and use some popular hashtag, #metgala2019, for instance. However, the results of this approach leave much to be desired — only a few people visit your profile, and even fewer have follow you.
What lesson should we take from this, you wonder? Find hashtags that are relevant to your business.
If you want to get the most out of the strategy, here’s one more hack for you to use: don’t put branded hashtags aside. These play the role of your domain on Instagram. When your business is large enough, people will search for it by its unique hashtag.
They don’t use hashtags at all
This is another extreme. Hashtags organize the stream of content on social media, so they are a vital parameter for Instagram page optimization. To avoid this misstep, include them and increase your profile presence on Instagram.
Hashtags help others search for your page and content on social media. And here’s another thing to keep in mind: don’t use the same group of hashtags under every post because Instagram considers such actions as spam.
3. You don’t change the location tags
Brands that run their businesses online or offer worldwide shipping make this mistake. When your work is bound to a specific area — like the coffee shop from the previous example — you probably don’t have many location tags to choose from, because you’ll attract an irrelevant audience. But still, some creative location will draw people’s attention.
In all other cases, if the business goes beyond a specific place and you’re interested in attracting the audience from different cities or countries, you should change your location tags every so often.
4. Your username is not searchable
Your Instagram username is a major keyword that should be short, readable and distinctive. Help your audience understand what the username implies and don’t include any irrelevant symbols in it. You should write the username in the language your target audience is more likely to search for it.
Think of good old SEO rules and make your username sound like a search query made by your typical target customer.
5. You don’t use Alt Text on Instagram
Another Instagram feature that you can apply for SEO purposes is Alt Text. This function was initially designed to allow visually impaired people to enjoy Instagram content. Yet, marketers now use it for optimization.
To find this tool, scroll down the screen on the page with a caption while posting your new content. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see Advanced Settings. Press it and head over to the bottom of the page until you see Write Alt Text. Tap this button and create a description of what’s in your image, for instance, “brunette long dyed hair.”
Next time, when somebody looks for brunette long dyed hair on Instagram, they will get your content in the results.
Along with this step, don’t forget to optimize your photos on Instagram. The content you publish needs to be sharp and high-quality so that the Instagram algorithm can identify what your image depicts. It’s vital since Instagram will suggest the content to people who search for similar posts.
6. You don’t include keywords in your bio
This is an additional and necessary part of your Instagram SEO strategy. Your Instagram bio is the right place to put relevant keywords — both primary and secondary. But don’t overwhelm it with too many keywords, and keep it readable.
Your profile bio helps your potential clients and followers find you on Instagram. If you optimize it properly, your page will appear among the top search results.
7. You don’t include keywords in your captions
Aside from your bio and username, place keywords in captions. But again, don’t inundate your posts with them. You can put the keywords randomly throughout the text as well as set them next to your username as title tags.
For instance, your username is Mary Lewis Jeans Store, and your new post starts with Cyber Monday Jeans Sale — up to 70% OFF! The latter part about the sale is your title tag. This is exactly how it will look in the search engine results — a username and then title tags.
The bottom line
Instagram SEO is not rocket science. All you need to master it is to avoid these mistakes and apply your SEO experience to social media marketing.
Whatever goals you have regarding Instagram marketing, you need to remember that SEO is equally significant on social media as it is on websites. The optimization influences overall Instagram page ranking and its visibility on other users’ feeds. And the Combin solutions are ready to help you achieve these goals.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.