Search Engine Optimization, or SEO is an important strategy for anyone seeking to grow their business through social media. Instagram offers a number of opportunities to land yourself at the top of search engine rankings, and expand your audience. Most SEO articles are written in some kind of strange – possibly alien – language, presumably an effort by marketing people to make themselves sound smarter than they actually are. So, we proudly present a search engine optimization blog written in plain language, and with tips that are easy to implement.

Why Bother?

After all, Instagram’s a visual platform and search engines predominantly rank using text. The thing is, while social networks didn’t used to be important when it came to ranking, this has – at least to a certain extent – changed. It is now best practice to have links to your social media platforms in the footer of every page of your website, and many businesses sell their products directly through Instagram. Additionally, Instagram pages have the potential to rank of their own accord for certain keywords, dependent on the competition and difficulty. This means that if you have something specific you want to rank for, then your Instagram account may be a more important tool than your website or product pages.

Research Your Keywords

As search engine algorithms become more complex, ranking factors (the things that determine whether you end up at the top of the results page) become more detailed. The Google algorithm can read and analyze far better than any human and looks at every element associated with a webpage.

The best way to explain this is to look at Google AdWords, which allocates a score based on the quality of the ad, the overall experience the user has and even the quality of the landing page that a click will lead the user to. Without a high score in all of these areas, an advertisement will not compete well against competitors.

Conducted a detailed analysis of the keywords you want to rank for and the hashtags that you can compete for and combine the two. Hashtags – like keywords – should not be a guessing game.

High Quality Everything

Remember, the search engines can understand the difference between a well constructed, intentional website, add or social media profile. Make sure your bio accurately represents you or your business, your profile picture is a high-quality image and that your website and other social profiles are linked.

Next, now that you have identified your relevant hashtags and keywords, use this information to build an Instagram grid that represents those terms. For example, if you are a pet store that specialises in canaries, and you are targeting hashtags in line with this, it may be wise to post images of canaries, cages, birdseed, bird shows and relevant quotes.

Tell a Story

This is a tip for the future. Search engines are now seeking out answers to queries based on more than just generic terms. Google and company now understand not only what their users are asking, but the context of those questions. In other words, the search engine algorithms can now make (very) educated assumptions as to what you really want to know. It is becoming more important for companies to tell a story, helping their audience understand what they do, how they do it and perhaps even why they do it.

Good SEO can mean the difference between a successful business and one that never gets the exposure it deserves. By building a strategy that is sustainable you can put yourself in the best possible position to succeed.