Understanding The Instagram ‘Search’ Algorithm

As Instagram continues to evolve, understanding every part of the algorithm is as important as ever. In one of our previous blogs, we discussed everything you’ll need to know about how Instagram ranks ‘Feed’, ‘Stories’, ‘Explore’, and ‘Reels’. Today, we will help you understand how the ‘Search’ function works. Keep reading to learn all about it!

The Basics

When thinking about how a creator can ensure their content reaches a wide Instagram audience, the ‘Search’ function may be a secondary consideration to all of the aforementioned Instagram features. However, when looking to maximize your Instagram presence, no stone should be left unturned. 

The elements of the ‘Search’ function are fairly straightforward. Instagram uses the keywords you enter in the search field to provide you with the most relevant content with the specific text you have provided. To determine what is most relevant to you, Instagram combines 3 primary signals: The text you enter, your activity in the app, and the popularity of each query. 

Instagram says that the text you enter is the most important factor. They will match you with relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags, and places depending on what you search. In addition to the text, Instagram also bases the relevant content on your activity in the app. This includes previous activity, accounts you follow, posts you’ve viewed, as well as how you’ve interacted with them. This is done so you are better able to find content that you’re more likely to be interested in. Finally, when determining how to rank the results that you see, Instagram looks at clicks, likes, shares, and follows to determine the order in which your results are ranked. 

Source: SocialMediaToday

Ways to Maximize Your Discovery Potential

Now that you understand how the ‘Search’ function works, it’s time to put this knowledge to the test. Instagram has provided users with three “best practices” you can implement to help show up in search results. 

Use a Relevant Handle and Profile Name

Since the primary signal to determine what shows up in someone’s search results is text, ensure that your handle and profile name include something related to your content. It also may be worth noting the importance of your name. If your friends and family know you by a certain name, include that in your handle or profile name. Including your name can make it more likely that someone you already know can find your business account.

Include Keywords and Locations in Your Bio

Your bio should include keywords to let people know who you are and what your business is all about. Additionally, including a location can be helpful for people looking for businesses within their local area. Both keywords and a location are factors that are used when determining someone’s ‘Search’ results. 

Use Keywords and Hashtags in Captions

There has been much debate on whether hashtags are better in captions or in the comments. Instagram has now provided us with much-needed guidance as to where they belong. To make sure your posts show up in ‘Search’ put your keywords and hashtags in the captions, NOT the comments. 

Learning how to utilize a social media site to its fullest potential can be very intimidating. We hope that this overview of the ‘Search’ function can be used as your final piece to the Instagram Algorithm puzzle. Happy Instagramming! 😄

Source: Instagram. “Breaking down How Instagram Search Works.” Instagram, Instagram, about.instagram.com/blog/announcements/break-down-how-instagram-search-works.
Source: Hutchinson, Andrew. “Instagram Outlines How Its Search Algorithms Work, and How You Can Optimize Your Presence.” Social Media Today, 25 Aug. 2021, www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagram-outlines-how-its-search-algorithms-work-and-how-you-can-optimize/605596/.

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