Search in Instagram is a place for discovery and inspiration. This article will help you see what you see when you search and why so you can play the Dr Strange game and plan what you want your audience to see. Yes, it's very Yoda and Avengers-like sounding but here we go!
How Instagram Search results are ranked
Instagram users use Search to find accounts and topics of interest. Instagram will take note of what you're searching for and figure out what to show you. No, they don't read your mind, but that would be scary, no?
Your search tells Instagram what you’re looking for, and it’s noticeable when the results aren’t useful.
Let’s say you’re interested in finding pictures of space after seeing the blue moon. When you tap the search bar on the Explore page, the first thing you see is your recent searches. As you begin typing “space,” Instagram shows you accounts, audio, hashtags, and places that match the text of your search. In this case, results like @space and #space show up because “space” appears in their name.
In addition to the text you type into search, Instagram uses information from accounts, hashtags and places — called signals — to rank your search results. The most important signals Instagram use, in order of importance, are:
Your text in Search. The text you enter in the search bar is by far the most important signal for Search. Instagram tries to match what you type with relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags and places.
Your activity. This includes accounts you follow, posts you've viewed, and how you've interacted with accounts in the past. Instagram usually shows accounts and hashtags you follow or visit higher than those you don’t.
Information about the search results. When there are a lot of potential results, Instagram also looks at popularity signals. These include the number of clicks, likes, shares and follows for a particular account, hashtag or place.
How Instagram helps you show up in Search
Instagram knows how important it is that you show up in search results when friends or fans are looking for you so here are a few best practices that you or your brand can use to help show up in search results:
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. So if you're selling pizza, make sure you have an Instagram handle that's something like this @pizzalovershut @hotpizzamalaysia
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.
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. Remember CAPTIONS not COMMENTS.
How Instagram plans to make Search even better
The keywords you can use to search for content is expanding. Instagram is currently focused on getting keyword search results right in English, and will add support for other languages in the future.
Instagram is also making search results better for exploration. For example, your search for “space” will show you space-related photos and videos, too. This is especially helpful when you don’t have an exact username or hashtag in mind when searching for a certain topic.