How Instagram Ranks Its Search Results

Do not underestimate the power of the search box on social media sites.

Facebook has over 2 billion (yes, with a B) searches per day for posts. Instagram hasn’t released official stats yet, but it’s probably in the hundreds of millions. Even LinkedIn has wide and gaining traction.

How do you tap into that massive amount of organic search traffic?

Instagram just published a blog post explaining how their search algorithm works.

The ranking factors are:

  • Your text (what you search for)
  • Your activity (who you follow and interact with), and
  • The overall popularity of the results (likes, shares, clicks, etc.)

How to appear first in the search results, according to Instagram

Use a relevant handle and a profile name

Search results are matched by the text a user types.

If you sell phone cases, mention “phone cases” in your name or handle.

Related: Instagram Name Ideas

Add relevant keywords and locations in your bio

If you sell locally in Las Vegas, Nevada, put your location as Las Vegas.

If you sell cars, include a few vehicle models in your bio.

Use relevant hashtags and keywords in your captions

Instagram recommends putting hashtags and keywords in the caption, not the comments.

If this advice reminds you of SEO in the early 2000s, you are not alone. Few search engines are as sophisticated as Google’s. That’s what the specialize in after all.

Things were simple back then, and they worked. Accordingly, give these suggestions a shot.

Hashtags on Instagram

Somewhat surprisingly, more people than you think follow hashtags on Instagram.

The social network published a list of their top 10 most followed trending hashtags in 2021.

Here are 3 common themes that we noticed among the 10 winners:

Half of the hashtags are related to Asia or anime

#bts, #anime, #squidgame, #genshiniimpact, and #blankpink to be specific.

Two of the hashtags are B2B related

#nft and #smallbusiness were hashtags that people probably followed hoping to earn some extra money.

Two hashtags are geared towards raising awareness

#pridemonth for June’s Pride Month, and #freebritney for the singer’s conservatorship issue, which ended in early November 2021.

What we can learn from this

If you want to increase your organic Instagram reach, adding hashtags to your post is a good place to start.

How many hashtags?

There have been some recent studies trying to find the sweet spot. But generally, 3-8 is a good spot to get traction without seeming too spammy.

Also, when adding hashtags consider the themes we listed above and ask yourself:

  • Can I use any popular movie/music/singer hashtags?
  • Is there a trending hashtag trying to raise awareness of something? Can I relate my post to it?
  • Is there a popular B2B topic around my niche I can use?

Being thoughtful about these three things can definitely pay off.

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