5 simple tips to optimise your Instagram profile for search engines

Social platforms and search engines don’t always make comfortable bed-fellows. The two digital marketing channels are typically run by competing parent organisations. There’s little reason for Microsoft’s Bing to point its users toward Twitter. The one attempt to combine search and social came from Google. The expectation was for Google+ to have the best of a social network while having the weight of a search engine behind it. Alas, that dream never became a reality.

Instagram is a powerful visual platform and for digital marketers, by applying a few simple tweaks, that social platform reach can extend beyond Instagram itself. Before getting into the tips, know that Instagram actually blocks search engines from indexing your images, meaning that your profile can be seen in search results but the photos are not indexed.

Tip number 1:

This is the most straightforward, make sure your profile is set to public. If you’re not sure, go to “Settings” then “Account Privacy” and check that “Private Account” is set to “Off”.

Tip number 2:

Think about how to include your most important keyword in your Instagram name. By doing this, you’ll ensure that your primary keyword is included in your title tags. Keep it to one or two words at most, you don’t want to have a ridiculous looking Instagram name.

Tip number 3:

Have a keyword rich bio. This is the area where there’s a bit more leniency with regard to “keyword stuffing”. Bear in mind that you have a limit of 150 characters, but this is a good place to use relevant hashtags and @handles of complementary profiles. The bio is crawlable by search engines and so this is where a large part of the optimisation takes place.

Tip number 4:

Consider where your title tag regularly cuts off in search results and write image captions with the most important information at the start. You can still have a long caption post but by having the keywords and the primary message at the forefront, you’ll have greater visibility in the search results.

Tip number 5:

Include post links on as many as your platforms and owned sites as it is sensible to do so. Simply take the URL on your Instagram post and embed that link on your website or blog. This is effective as the Instagram web app has a large amount of JavaScript and that means the links to your individual Instagram posts don’t count as real links for Google. If you want your posts to index, you’ll need to link to them on a more SEO-friendly platform.


If you apply these tips you should be able to boost the overall reach of your Instagram profile as part of your digital marketing activities. For more detail on search optimisation for Instagram you can find the full Search Engine Watch post here.

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