Boost Your Instagram Reach: A Guide to Getting Found in Instagram Search

With over a billion active users, standing out on Instagram can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. But fear not, because I'm here to share some friendly tips on how to get found in Instagram search. 

Instagram users now have the convenience of searching for content simply by entering keywords, eliminating the need to rely solely on hashtags or account names. Though these traditional methods still work, this new feature streamlines the search process, making it more intuitive and efficient.

Instagram search

How Instagram Search Works

Ever wondered how Instagram decides what pops up when you search? Here's how:

  • The text you use: Instagram matches the text you type in the search bar with usernames, bios, captions, and hashtags.
  • Your activity also plays a pivotal role:  Instagram tracks your actions on the platform - your likes, comments, follows, and more - to suggest content. This same algorithm helps rank your search results.
  • Popularity of content:  In cases where it's not clear what content you prefer. Instagram uses likes, comments, and clicks to decide the best fit for you. 

How to optimise your content for Instagram Search

Using the right keywords can increase your discoverability on Instagram.  Get your keywords right and it's an effective way to attract new users, followers, and customers to your profile.

Step 1: Identify your Content Pillars

Content pillars are three to five topics your brand will consistently discuss, amplify, and create content for on social media. They are also known as content categories or content buckets, these topics form the foundation of what you'll post. In other words, they are the fundamental themes that your audience can consistently expect to see from you.  

Step 2. Identify Keywords within your Content Pillars

Begin to brainstorm possible keywords and key phrases within your content pillars. It’s key to list both keywords and key phrases because one-word keywords can lack specificity and be competitive - making it harder to come up under a search for those terms.  

content pillars

Here’s an example:

A coworking space could use the following content pillars: Workspace Environment, Community Events and Networking, Member Spotlights and Testimonials: and Entrepreneurial Tips and Resources.

A set of keywords under the heading workspace environment might be: Coffee, coworking, wifi, Workspace, Freelancers, Networking, Productivity, Entrepreneurs

A set of keyphrases for that content pillar might be: meeting rooms, bean-to-cup machine, unlimited hot drinks⁠, ultrafast broadband, Affordable co-working space, Collaborative workspace, Shared office space, Flexible co-working membership, hosting networking events, Productivity-boosting co-working space, Affordable co-working options for freelancers and small businesses.

Step 3. Optimise your Instagram Profile

Craft a compelling bio that tells people who you are and what you're all about. Don't forget to include the relevant keywords that you’ve identified from the previous steps....these keywords will help Instagram understand what your account is about and improve your chances of showing up in Instagram search results.

Here’s how you can do so:

Your Username and Name

If you’re looking to rank under a specific keyword, use that word in both your name and username! This will help you improve your chances of appearing at the top of the search when people type in the specific keyword you optimised for.

Your Instagram Bio

Like your name and username, your bio should also be optimised for keywords for your business and brand. Not only will this help your followers know exactly what your business and brand are about, but it will help you get on a search like you’re wanting

Example: Space2work could improve its profile as follows:


Space2work before


Improved Instagram bio with search terms

Step 4. Optimise your Instagram Captions

Using your keywords and phrases in the captions of your Instagram posts could help you land on the explore page.  The Explore page shows you content that Instagram thinks you’ll enjoy based on things you’ve liked and engaged with in the past. if you write well-written and descriptive captions, Instagram’s algorithm will pick up on that and group you in with accounts that use similar keywords in their profile.

Step 5. Add Alt text to your images

Make sure the alt text is descriptive and accurate, not only to help your account but also to help those who are visually impaired to know what is in the photo or graphic. Ensure you add in your keywords where relevant.

Add alt text to your images

Step 6. Optimise your hashtags

When used strategically, hashtags can help your posts reach a wider audience and attract new followers. Do some research to identify popular hashtags in your niche, but don't just stick to the most generic ones. Get creative and mix it up with niche-specific hashtags that are less competitive but still relevant to your content. And remember, quality over quantity; aim for a mix of popular and niche hashtags that truly reflect the essence of your post.

Taking a little time to research your keywords and use them to optimise your Instagram account will help increase your reach and visibility.

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Getting Found in Instagram Search
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