Say Goodbye to External Link-in-Bio Providers on Instagram

Say Goodbye to External Link-in-Bio Providers on Instagram

 

Do you remember the first time you realised that Instagram doesn’t allow you to post links in captions? We do - and let’s just say there was some swearing in our office that day. All we wanted to do was use captions to direct people to the products and services on our website - but Instagram made this simple goal impossible. Enter: the link-in-bio solution. Rather than putting links in the captions, where the links aren’t actually clickable, people realised that they could direct people to their website via a clickable link in their bio instead. There was another limitation though - Instagram only allows for one link in a bio. But what if you wanted to direct your Instagram audience to multiple places?

Enter: External Link-in-Bio Providers

These are third-party websites that provide businesses with a single landing page where they can list various links and direct their customers to all sorts of places, like their social media profiles, media mentions or website pages. Some examples of these external link-in-bio providers include Linktree, Tailwind's Smart.bio, and Later's Linkin.bio. So what’s the problem with this? Well, although these external providers are a great solution for Instagram’s lack of linkage, there are actually a number of disadvantages of using these external providers. Find out why (and what you should use instead) below:

Reasons You Shouldn't Use External Link-in-bio Providers

External Link-in-Bio Providers Are Bad for Your SEO

SEO is the process of using certain techniques to help your website rank more highly in search engine results pages. The more visitors and clicks your website gets, the more highly your website will rank in search results.

External link-in-bio providers are detrimental to your website’s SEO in a number of ways. Firstly, they take clicks away from your website. When Instagram users click the external link-in-bio, they are taken to the website of the link-in-bio provider, rather than being funnelled directly to your website. This means that the external link-in-bio website will get all the benefits of that crucial first click - and your website will get whatever secondary traffic actually follows through.

Having an external link provider is also likely to harm your website session duration, which is another important factor in SEO. When customers have to click through Instagram > external link-in-bio website > your website, they are more likely to abandon the journey or spend less time on your website. Plus, the website of the external provider is something that you can’t control - what if the external website is down? What if the external site is slow to load?

Creating many touch points increases complexity and makes it challenging to keep the branding, services and the overall customer experience consistent. The probability of a customer bouncing increases by 32% for every one to three seconds more it takes to load a website - so the more control you can have over your customer journey and website load times, the better.

Having an external link-in-bio as well as your own website is like having 2 different websites competing against each other. You are splitting your clicks, visitors and session durations between 2 websites, and basically cutting your SEO results in half. A much better option is to create a link-in-bio landing page that is hosted on your own website (more about this later). This way, you will directly receive website clicks from Instagram, with no unnecessary external website in between.

They Affect Your Google Analytics

Google Analytics tracks where and how people are getting to your website. If you use an external link-in-bio service, Google will simply report that traffic as coming from that provider (e.g. Linktree). This isn’t helpful if you are using that link-in-bio URL in multiple places (like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn), because knowing the source of your website traffic is really important. It tells you which parts of your marketing are working or not working, and what steps you should take next to meet your marketing goals. If you want to be able to access in depth results about your online performance and your audience in one comprehensive program (i.e. Google Analytics), you can’t do that by redirecting them through third-party apps. You need to be able to control the experience they have on your website, and the only way to do that is by having the link-in-bio solution running on your own site.

External Link-in-Bio Providers Aren't Free

While most external providers do have free account options, they come with very limited features and perks. The alternative is to upgrade your account to premium to access hidden features. On the one hand, their monthly subscriptions are relatively affordable. On the other hand, the costs can quickly build up - and why spend money for an external website that you don’t actually need? Especially when the external site could actually harm your marketing in the long run.

Instagram Can Perceive These Links As Spam

Instagram can ban or mark external links as spam anytime and without notice. If the link you use gets banned or reported as spam and removed from your Instagram profile, it can hurt your brand reputation and identity. What's more, without links to market your products or services, you will lose potential clients and sales.

What is the Alternative to Using External Link-in-bio Providers on Instagram?

Fortunately, you can avoid all of the pitfalls above. All you need to do is create a link-in-bio landing page on your own website, and link to that from your Instagram page. This will give you full control of your site, customer journey and analytics, and boost your website’s SEO. Follow these steps to replace external link-in-bio providers with a more practical, free approach:

Step 1: Create An Instagram Landing Page on Your Website

Create a new landing page on your website, and put all of your brand’s relevant links on the page. Then, add this URL to your Instagram bio. You can see an example of this on our Instagram page bio. As you will see, our Insta links to our internal link-in-bio page, where we provide a suite of links to our social media pages, website pages, services and press mentions. You’ll notice that our link-in-bio landing page looks fairly similar to the pages provided by external companies - but with more customised branding and (we think) a better user interface.

Step 2: Consider Hiding This Landing Page from Search Results

An option that you might want to explore is hiding your link-in-bio landing page from Google search results. This way, Google won't index it as a regular page, and internet users won't stumble across it when they are looking for your website on Google (if they do find it and aren’t aware of link-in-bio pages, they might be confused by the context and bare layout of the page). If you want to turn off your landing page’s SEO and hide it from pages that appear in search engine results, you will need to follow the steps required by your particular website provider. It might be as simple as going to ‘Settings’, clicking on ‘SEO’ and selecting ‘Hide Page from Search Results’. Or, there could be a few more steps involved.

Step 3: Mimic the External Link-in-Bio Providers Visually

People are growing accustomed to seeing the external link-in-bio pages, so if you make your own link-in-bio landing page on your website, you should try to mimic the look and feel of external providers. This way, you will be able to direct traffic directly to your website, while giving your customers a familiar interface.

Your page can have buttons and call-to-actions, but remember the main goal is to direct the visitors to pages of your website or other relevant links that align with your promotional strategy. Think of this page as a navigational map - where do you want your customers to go? Why do you want them to go there? And what is the easiest way to take them there? Once you know which links you want to provide, add creatively designed buttons or links aligning with your brand or website's theme. You can customise the background and general feel to be visually appealing and match the audience's standards.

When you create your own link-in-bio page, you’re not limited to the designs of an external provider. Although we recommend you design your page in a similar and familiar way, you can get creative and add a few extra elements or visuals, to make the page more visually appealing and on-brand.

Publish Your Link on Your Bio

The new link you create can help direct organic traffic to your website with the same convenience provided by external link-in-bio tools. Receiving organic traffic to your site from Instagram will be great for your SEO, and you won’t have to worry about Instagram considering your new link as spam, because they will see that the page comes from your website URL.

Seasoned marketers, businesses, and content creators are opting out of external link-in-bio tools, because why lose SEO-rich traffic, insights and customer engagement when it can all be yours?

Define Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Instagram is one of the best social media platforms for marketers and business owners to reach a wide audience. With over 1.3 billion active users, Instagram can help you gain brand awareness and convert users into customers. Shoppers use Instagram as a social proof tool. Before they make a purchase from a new website or online store, they will look to the brand’s Instagram page to make sure that the brand is legitimate, popular, well-received and aligned with their values. Instagram is not just for finding new customers or visitors - it is an essential part of a customer’s decision making process and purchasing journey. And that’s why making sure that your Instagram page is strategic and aligned with your brand is essential, and can lead to more sales, customers and website traffic.

Marketing Your Brand Instagram account being viewed on a laptop in an office setting

Rather than using an external link-in-bio provider, which can be harmful for your SEO, customer journey, Google Analytics data and branding, we strongly suggest that you create a page on your website with buttons and links to these landing pages, products or services, then place the link to this parent page on your Instagram bio.

If you need any further assistance customising your Instagram links - or need a hand wrapping your head around this whole concept - don’t hesitate to get in touch. Contact us today and we can provide you with professional, hands-on help from our in-house social media marketing team!


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