Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, discusses how the program ranks search results and offers some Instagram SEO tips. Mosseri previously revealed the inner workings of Instagram’s recommendation algorithms, which expose material in the main feed, stories, reels, and explore sections.
Because it relies on a user entering text to provide results, Instagram ranks search results differently. The explore tab, for example, automatically populates material. Instagram wants to arrange search results based on what’s most important to each user.
Understand how Instagram ranks search results and how to improve your content to rank for your desired keywords.
“Let’s say you’re interested in finding pictures of space after seeing the blue moon. When you tap the search bar on the Explore page, the first thing you see is your recent searches. As you begin typing “space,” we show you accounts, audio, hashtags, and places that match the text of your search. In this case, results like @space and # space show up because “space” appears in their name.”
Search Ranking Signals on Instagram
Instagram’s search algorithm ranks results based on information from accounts, hashtags, and locales in addition to the text provided by the user. The following are Instagram’s top-ranking signals, in order of importance:
Your text or Hashtags
Instagram’s most significant ranking indication is the language you type into the search field. It will attempt to match the text with appropriate identities, biographies, captions, hashtags, and locations first.
This includes the accounts you follow, the posts you’ve seen, and how you’ve previously engaged with accounts. Instagram prioritizes accounts and hashtags that you follow or frequent above those that you do not.
User participation is important
Instagram will look at engagement signals and there are a lot of potential outcomes. For a certain account, hashtag, or location, these include the number of clicks, likes, shares, and followers.
Best Practices for Instagram SEO
Mosseri gives the following advice for making your Instagram post more discoverable.
Select an appropriate username and profile name
Because the text is the most significant ranking indication, you should pick an Instagram handle or profile name that is linked to your content. This is the greatest way to appear in relevant searches.
If your target audience knows you by a certain name, put it in your username or profile so that they can find you when they search.
In your bio, include relevant keywords and locales
Include relevant keywords and regions in your bio text as well. Make sure your bio includes information about yourself and your page.
If you have a location-specific account, such as a small company, including your location in your bio might help others locate you. In captions, include relevant phrases and hashtags. Put keywords and hashtags in the description, not the comments, if you want your post to be discovered in Search.
Penalties for searching on Instagram
Violations of Instagram’s recommendation standards, like Google’s, can result in your content being downgraded in search results. Individual posts, whole accounts, or entire hashtags may be penalized by Instagram.
Mosseri mentions shadowbanning without using the phrase “shadowbanning” while discussing how penalties are imposed. A shadowbanned Instagram account is akin to keeping a website up and operating while Google de-indexes it. The only way to see the material is to go straight to it.
Instagram has its own set of community rules, which are distinct from the recommendation rules. If any of these are broken, the account will be permanently deleted from the site.
Instagram Search is about to become better
Instagram is about to roll out a series of search results upgrades that will allow users to locate more than just accounts and hashtags.
According to Mosseri, the business is working on a “complete search results page experience” that would allow users to go deeper into their interests. Instagram also intends to extend the number of terms that users may search for and allow for broader subject research.
Nowadays, an Instagram search for “space” returns accounts and hashtags that contain the word “space.” In addition to accounts and hashtags, that very same search will soon be able to yield images and movies of space.