Optimize Instagram for SEO with Alt-text

Alt-text is everywhere on the Internet, you might not see it, but it’s there, and now it’s on Instagram! Instagram recently updated its platform to allow users to search by keywords to find content. Being able to search by keyword is a relatively big change for surfacing content, especially from a platform that has been notoriously frustrating with its limited ability to perform keyword searches.

Previously, users were only able to search the platform for hashtags or accounts. So if you wanted to search for something such as “inspirational quotes” you could only search it through hashtags such as “#inspirationalquotes” and the posts that are tagged with the hashtag would appear in the search results. By using the alt-text feature, you can increase your reach and have your content be discovered easier! 

Instagram Keywords in Image Alt Tags

The platform already uses object recognition technology, so when alt text is provided, it acts as a helpful relevance signal for the search engine or, in the case of Instagram, the algorithm which “understands” more clearly the target keyword behind the image. When it comes to Instagram, the Alt-text works pretty much like similar tags you see implemented on websites. The short snippet of text aims to help visually impaired users discover what’s on the image before them and fully experience the web. And, just like with traditional SEO, you can use the tag to enrich your keyword targeting.

When adding a new photo to Instagram, you’ll likely have chosen a filter and edited the image, you’ll click next and scroll down, to tap on “Advanced Setting” at the bottom of the screen. Select the “write alt text” option to add your tag. Describe what’s on the image, and include at least the main secondary keyword. This will help Instagram understand the content of the post better and have it in relevant user searches.


More Ways to Optimize Instagram for SEO

Instagram SEO aims to make the content you share, such as stories, photos, and videos discoverable, but you have to begin by optimizing the profile.

Add Keywords to Instagram Bio & Post Captions
Your bio is also the best place to include the primary target keyword or phrase that describes your business or brand category the most. Users were always able to use keywords to find other Instagram profiles. As long as an account includes those keywords in the Instagram profile name, username, bio, or a hashtag, it will be found with the keyword. By adding keywords to your captions, you’re ensuring your post will appear in the search results.

Keywords in Hashtags
Hashtags allow you to optimize your posts and add additional search-optimized keywords without a long drawn-out caption. The additional benefit of optimizing hashtags for SEO is that they allow you to include keywords and phrases that, possibly, wouldn’t fit naturally in a caption.

Boost the Discoverability of Your Brand on Instagram

Instagram Alt-text can be seen as an extension of SEO. Although Instagram’s SEO capabilities aren’t as advanced as those of Google or other search engines, it is still enough to help your brand grow exponentially given the right keyword optimization. Instagram has said there are a number of factors that play into search discovery, in addition to machine learning algorithms. Those factors include the type of content shared, captions, the date it was posted, and the relevance of the content to the users. This may sound too good to be true, but fear not –  big tech has added some fine print around the search parameters. Instagram says only certain terms will be searchable, “The search is limited to general interest topics and keywords that are within Instagram’s community guidelines”. 

 Grow your brand by taking advantage of the Instagram feature yourself. After all, you are the one who knows exactly what’s in the photo, what’s important is for other people to be able to find it!