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Get more from search with this Instagram SEO tool

Make it easier for people to discover you via Instagram search with this handy tool that cooks up search-friendly captions lightning-fast.


Please note: This tool may display inaccurate or offensive material that doesn’t represent Hootsuite’s views. You’re solely responsible for use of any content generated using this tool, including its compliance with applicable laws and third-party rights.

What is Instagram SEO?

Instagram search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of adding keywords, hashtags, and alt text to Instagram posts to make it easier for users to find relevant content via search.

If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably started treating the search bar on Instagram like your own personal social media search engine. Our favorite photo-sharing app has become the place du jour for consumer research and discovery. 

Recipes? Product recommendations? Film reviews? Decor inspo? It’s all on the Explore page.

That’s why it’s not surprising to see the latest Instagram stats jam-packed with numbers about social search, such as:

  • 40% of Gen Z users prefer searching on Instagram over Google

  • 62.4% of social users follow and research brands or products on Instagram

  • 44% of Instagram users shop on the app at least once a week

  • 20.9% of social media users follow influencers or experts on social media

So what does this mean for us marketers? We’ve got to start making our content easier for users to find in search because we know they’re out there looking for it.

What is an Instagram SEO tool?

This free Instagram SEO tool is designed to whip up search-optimized social media captions in a matter of seconds. The reality is that you could spend hours crafting the perfect post, but it won’t go far if it’s not optimized for the platform where you plan to post it. (In this case, Instagram).

You already know the Instagram algorithm loves context and runs on relevancy. It wants to know what your content is about so it can properly categorize it and feed it to the right audience. So not only will optimizing your posts help it get more views from search, it’ll also help boost your views on the Explore page.

TL;DR: This tool will take your best content and give it a little extra fuel so it racks up more views, likes, comments, saves, and shares. 

How to use this Instagram SEO tool

Our social media SEO tools can help you cut down on the time you spend writing captions and optimizing posts. (And, let’s be honest: we all get sick of racking our brains for clever captions after a while).

Here’s how to use it to the fullest:

Step 1: Select your style

As marketers just like you, we know that you don’t only want to create posts that are easy for Instagram users to find. You also want to create ones that closely match your voice and don’t look totally out of place on your feed. Select from the list of tones in the dropdown menu to find a style that suits your brand voice. 

We’ve added a ton of options, so make sure to play around until you find one that feels right.


Step 2: Select your language

To ensure that your Instagram SEO captions speak the language of your target audience, be sure to choose your preferred language from the dropdown menu. This tool writes Instagram captions in English, Spanish, Italian, French, and German.


Step 3: Add a short description

Next: add a description. This is where you’ll add the details of your post. If applicable, include the type of post (reel, story, feed post, etc.) as well as some information about the content. Don’t overthink it — a few words or phrases is enough to get you started.


Step 4: Add your primary keyword keywords

And finally, the most important ingredient of the social SEO recipe: keywords. Keep it general and choose keywords based on what people are actually searching for to capture a wider audience. You can add more than one keyword, but be sure to list the most important one first. 

Side note: we’ve added a few tips below on how to conduct keyword research on Instagram.


Top Instagram SEO tips for 2024

1. Use Hootsuite to find what’s hot in search

Optimizing your posts with keywords and hashtags is essential to a solid social media SEO strategy, but your plan should start in the ideation phase. If you want to capture the most possible eyeballs, you have to have some idea of what people are looking for to begin with.

That’s where Hootsuite comes into play. Hootsuite Streams is a fantastic tool for identifying hot keywords, topics, and hashtags in your industry or niche. Use it to set up discovery streams to keep an eye on what people are talking about and get inspiration on what to post next.


Hootsuite also has an AI content ideas generator that knows what big events and holidays are on the horizon. That way, you’ll never miss an opportunity to capitalize off micro-trends or hot content that’s hyper-relevant at the moment.

2. Conduct a bit of keyword research

If you’re familiar with traditional SEO, you probably already know that a good search strategy starts with keyword research. And, really, your approach on social media should be no different. To find the ideal keywords for your Instagram post, start at square one — the search bar.

Begin by typing in the first few letters of a relevant keyword. Take note of all the keywords Instagram suggests and write down those that are the most relevant to your post. Beneath the search bar, you’ll also see a list of suggested keywords that are trending. Put those in your back pocket and add them to your posts or save them for later.

3. Sprinkle in relevant hashtags 

Another big ingredient in Instagram SEO? Hashtags. They were the O.G. Instagram search signal, and they’re still super-relevant. Instagram recommends tacking on three to five relevant hashtags, but we’ve found that more is sometimes better, especially when it comes to reels. 

Regardless of quantity, make sure you’re choosing quality hashtags. Explore the top posts and take note of which hashtags those posts target. Use a mix of hyper-specific and general hashtags (i.e.: #springfootwear and #springsandals).


Tip: Use Hootsuite’s built-in hashtag generator to automatically tag your images and Reels with the most relevant hashtags for your post and niche.

4. Don’t skip the alt text and subtitles

Adding alt text and closed captions to your Instagram posts is critical to helping the platform show your content in search. It can also help you get your content in front of a wider audience by making it accessible to those who use screen readers and other assistive technologies.

Pro tip: Use Hootsuite to boost your Instagram SEO 

Using Hootsuite to post is an easy way to ensure that your Instagram posts are search-friendly, with zero extra effort. Within the Hootsuite dashboard, you can monitor what people are talking about and generate trendy content fast. Plus, you can automatically generate optimized captions and hashtags based on your images or videos, so they’re easy for users to find.

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