Instagram Algorithm Explained: How to show up on “Search”

Showing up on Instagram search is imperative for small businesses to reach a wider audience and drive traffic to their page. November 2020 Instagram released an updated search feature which allowed users to search by keyword- which until this point, the only searchable features were through hashtags or accounts. This new upgrade completely changed the game for Instagram users, especially for small businesses and creators.

  • “Your input helps us figure out what to show you”
  • “We try to organize search results by what’s most relevant to you — whether it be a close friend, a creator you love, or ideas”
  • “In addition to the text you type into search, we use information from accounts, hashtags, and places — called Signals — to rank your search results”
Signals for Search (by importance):
  1. Your text in Search. “The text you enter in the search bar is by far the most important signal for Search. We try to match what you type with relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags and places”
  2. Your activity. “This includes accounts you follow, posts you’ve viewed, and how you’ve interacted with accounts in the past. We usually show accounts and hashtags you follow or visit higher than those you don’t”
  3. Information about the search results. “When there are a lot of potential results, we also look at popularity signals. These include the number of clicks, likes, shares and follows for a particular account, hashtag or place”

So what does this mean for you as an entrepreneur?

Showing up on Search:
  1. Use a fitting handle and profile name. “Search results are matched by text. Using an Instagram handle or profile name that’s related to the content of your posts is your best bet for showing up in relevant searches. If your friends or fans know you by a certain name, include that name in your username or profile so that you can show up when they search for you
  2. Include relevant keywords and locations in your bio. “Same principle here. Make sure your bio includes keywords about who you are and what your profile is about. If your account is location-specific, like for a small business, sharing your location in your bio can make it easier for people in your area to find you”
  3. Use relevant keywords and hashtags in captions. “For a post to be found in Search, put keywords and hashtags in the caption, not the comments” 🤯 Yep, you heard it straight from the horse’s mouth!

The debate is over, we are putting hashtags in the caption!

The question of whether to put the hashtags in the caption or in the comments has been a debate since the beginning of time- and this provided insight has the Instagram world going CRAZY. 

Until now, there has never been a definitive answer as to which location works best for hashtag performance- as both the caption and comments allow the post to be discovered. Now due to the recent insight into the functionality of the Search feature, we now know that using relevant hashtags with targeted keywords is the best possible way for your content to be easily searchable.

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