How to Benefit From Instagram's Search Engine

Successfully marketing your brand on Instagram requires knowing how to optimise your posts and account to ensure that as many people in your intended target audience opportunity to see them. Although Instagram's algorithm can be more challenging to figure out than that of many other platforms, there are several steps you can take to boost your brand's engagement on Instagram. Here is an overview of how harnessing Instagram's search engine can benefit your business!

How to Benefit From Instagram's Search Engine

Benefits of Harnessing Instagram's Search Engine

Determining how Instagram's SEO works can be more complex than doing the same for Google, but adequately harnessing Instagram's search engine is well worth your time when it comes to ensuring that people who are most likely to benefit from using your brand are able to find your posts. Instagram's search engine algorithm relies on a few key pieces of information when it comes to determining what posts will show up in search results and in what order. Having a solid understanding of how the algorithm works is a must when it comes to making sure people who may be interested in your brand see your posts. 

How Do Instagram's Search Engines Work? 

Finding exactly what you are looking for on Instagram can be more challenging than it is on Google because Instagram's internal search engine focuses primarily on a few key pieces of information, rather than every aspect of your post. In order to master Instagram's algorithm it takes a lot more thought than simply inserting the right keywords to boost your content's overall SEO in Google and other search engine results. It can also be significantly easier to stand out from your competitors if you know exactly what Instagram's search engine is looking for. 

Rather than scanning your entire post for keywords and using them as the basis for indexing your search results, Instagram's search engine focuses primarily on your account name, hashtags, and location when finding results for users who are searching for posts that may be related to yours. Instagram provides results in each of these areas by default, and users can choose to filter their results to only include one of these types of information.


a laptop, clip and phone on a table

For this reason, getting these key details right is crucial when it comes to helping potential followers find your posts and growing your account. Although it is, of course, essential to post high-quality, well-thought-out photos and videos with captions that intrigue searchers enough to click on your posts and keep them interested enough to follow your account. Making Instagram's search engine work in your favour comes first.

Key Things You Need to Do to Harness Instagram's Search Engine

Instagram's search engine relies on a few distinct pieces of information when it comes to sorting search results and showing your posts to users who are likely to be interested in them, which means understanding what this search engine is looking for is essential. Here is an overview of the most important steps to take when creating posts that will successfully trigger Instagram's algorithm and show your content to the best possible users! 


Although scanning the content of your individual posts for keywords is not a key aspect of Instagram's search engine algorithm, this is not the case when it comes to your bio. Including relevant keywords in your bio, such as your business's location, the types of products you sell, or other relevant details about your brand, can help Instagram show your account and posts to people who may be interested in those keywords. 

Instagram allows a very limited number of characters for crafting the perfect bio, so determining ways to insert as many relevant keywords as possible without obvious keyword stuffing is an important step in improving your search engine results. 

Image Alt Tags

Instagram is based primarily on images, therefore, having proper image alt tags is an essential aspect of telling search engines what your photos and videos contain. These alt tags also serve other purposes, such as making your Instagram account accessible to users with visual impairments and grabbing users' attention to come back to your account to see a particular photo later if their internet momentarily fails to load images properly. However, their role in helping search engines include your photos is the most helpful when it comes to showing your posts to users who are the most likely to be interested in them. 


Your hashtags are key when it comes to letting Instagram's search engine know what your posts and account are all about. These words or brief phrases are Instagram's main selling point when it comes to organising search results to show users what they are interested in. Searching for a specific hashtag makes it possible for users to theoretically view all posts that are associated with that hashtag, and users can then sort this feed by most recent posts to connect with other users about current events or by top posts to view the most interesting and aesthetic posts that have used that hashtag over time.

Once users have searched for a particular hashtag, scrolled through the search results, and clicked on posts that utilise that hashtag, they will also begin to see posts that are connected to that hashtag in their Explore feed, which is designed to show users a selection of posts that are linked to past searches that are most likely to interest them and connect them with new accounts they may be interested in following. 

Inside the office, holding a phone browsing instagram

There is much controversy surrounding how many hashtags to use, and you are likely to find a million “guru’s” on how many you should include and how to use them most effectively. It all comes down to experimentation and discovering through trial and error what hashtags and how many work for your individual brand.

We like to take our knowledge directly from the Instagram source. You can too, simply follow the @creators account on Instagram to stay up-to-date with the newest Instagram updates and additions.      

The Creators have brought us their top tips for using hashtags, including what you need to know and what you should avoid to get the most benefit from adding hashtags to your content.

Associated Community

Understanding who is viewing your posts and what they want to see in their feeds can also help ensure that the people who see your brand's content actually want to. Posts that receive strong audience engagement metrics, such as likes and comments, tend to perform better in search results than posts that are generally scrolled past with little to no engagement. For this reason, taking the time to learn about who is seeing your posts and what interests them can help you create content that your target audience views as valuable. 

How to Trigger the Algorithm

Triggering Instagram's search engine algorithm is not necessarily a straightforward process, especially since Instagram is constantly changing what it is looking for, but following these guidelines can help you take the best possible approach to creating content that Instagram wants to show your target audience. 

At Marketing Your Brand, we prioritise helping our clients find the most modern approaches possible to sharing their content on social media sites. Contact us today to learn more about using Instagram's search engine algorithm to your content advantage!

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