Making Sense of Instagram Search

Instagram search is the function that allows us to type in a keyword or username in the search bar and find relevant information, accounts, and posts. You no longer have to just search by hashtags, profiles, and locations. Now you can search for specific keywords.


However, you may have noticed that your search results look different than your friends’ if you search for the same term, which may leave you wondering why.


Hand holding iPhone displaying Instagram login

Why People Get Different Search Results

By far, the most important factor when you use search is the phrase you’re searching. But there are other elements that Instagram takes into account:

  • Your activity on the platform. What types of content do you typically engage with? Instagram will more readily present you with content that it thinks you want, which may be indicated by the kinds of content you have interacted with before.

  • Information about the results. More popular content will show more readily than less popular content.

  • Whether the content is violating recommendation guidelines, and yes, these are different than community guidelines.

How You Can Show Up In Search Results

  • Use a handle and name that are relevant to how you want searchers to find you. For example, my handle is @lizannbach, and my name is Liz | Social Media & Branding because I want to show up as a social media and branding strategist.

  • Include keywords in your bio that are relevant to your product or services. An example might be a term like “social media strategy” or a location like Atlanta, GA.

  • Use relevant keywords in your caption -- THIS INCLUDES HASHTAGS. Put your hashtags in your captions instead of your comments to maximize their use for search.


Instagram is still expanding its search functionality, but it is time to start optimizing your content for search. Factoring in this shift from traditional social media to closer to a search engine will be an essential part of your social media strategy going forward.


If you are looking to develop a better social media strategy, book a consultation call today!



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