How to optimize your Instagram profile [Best Guide 2023]

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Trying to increase the visibility of your Instagram profile? Making it more search-friendly is something you might want to consider.

In other words, you want to make changes to your profile that will increase the likelihood of it appearing as a suggestion under the search field.

There are a few things you can do to increase your Instagram discoverability. Here are some advice on how to optimise your profile for search, whether you have a brand profile to promote or just want to gain a few extra followers.

In your display name and handle, include keywords

As suggested by the marketing platform Hubspot, one of the first things you should do is consider the terms you want your profile to advertise. “What are people going to type into the search field to find the goods I’m marketing?” you might wonder. If your profile is for a tattoo business (or if you’re a solo tattoo artist), for example, you’ll want “tattoo” in both your display name and your “handle” (your username that starts with @).

When I search for “tattoo shop” on Instagram, all of the top account results have “tattoo” in their display name, and most of them have “tattoo” (or a variation of it) somewhere in their handle. @livebytheswordtattoo comes as a high-ranking result partially because their account is optimised, but also because someone I follow also follows them, which could influence whose accounts show in searches by networks of people.

Having keywords in the most significant areas on your Instagram profile is a good place to start when it comes to search optimization.

Use hashtags in your posts

You have to (must absolutely gotta) hashtag your postings if you want anyone to find your profile. Hashtags are one of the most important ways Instagram tailors its search results and allows people to follow and discover the topics they care about.

Continuing with our tattoo example, if you’re a business or an artist looking to promote your work, you should use the hashtag #tattoo in your postings. Keep in mind that the larger the hashtag, the larger the audience searching for it — and thus, the more search results you’ll have to compete with.

Hashtags with a lot of characters are still useful. You’ll be able to reach a large audience this way. The difficulty is that you could get lost in a sea of posts with the same hashtag, which is why we advocate utilising many hashtags with varied levels of specificity.

Let’s imagine you have a flower tattoo that you wish to flaunt. Consider including the hashtags #tattoo and #flowertattoo in your post to reach a wider audience (to reach a more specific audience).

When I search for “flower tattoo” on Instagram, nine of the top twelve results use the hashtag #flowertattoo in their images. Flower emoji appear in the captions of the other three, suggesting that emoji have a role in increasing post engagements. In the next tip, we’ll go over that.


Another important area where you can improve your profile is the captions of your posts. Researchers looked at how elements like caption length, hashtag usage, and even emoji usage affected post interactions among Instagram users big and small in a 2019 study reported on by Social Media Today from the social analytics platform Quintly.


Posts with no captions generated the most engagement for larger profiles with more than a million followers, according to the study. The most interactions were seen on smaller profiles (between 1,000 and 10,000 followers) with caption lengths between one to 50 characters. So, if you have a smaller profile, keep your captions brief and sweet. Even for smaller accounts with 1,000 or fewer followers, interactions were roughly equal between little captions (between one and 50 characters) and long captions (more than 50 characters) (300 or more characters).

Use of emojis

Let’s talk about emojis now. Whether your profile has over 10 million followers or less than 1,000, captions with no emoji received the fewest engagements, according to the Quintly survey.

Captions with 10 or more emoji received the most engagements on average for tiny accounts with less than 1,000 followers, however captions with one to ten emoji were not far behind.

Captions with four to ten emoji received the most average engagements for larger accounts with between 10,000 and 100,000 followers, while emoji usage outside that range also received a high level of interactions – except for captions with zero emoji.

What’s the takeaway? Use emoji in your captions, dammit, whether you’re a huge or little profile. And if you have fewer than 1,000 followers, why not go all out and utilise ten or more emoji?

Use of hashtags

When it came to hashtag usage, the study discovered that when larger profiles used no hashtags, their postings received the most engagement. Why? We have no way of knowing for sure. But, if you’re Ariana Grande, we’re guessing you don’t need hashtags to receive a lot of likes on your Instagram posts. If you’re Ariana Grande and you want to get the most Instagram interaction possible, it’s generally smart not to use any hashtags.

We can also confidently presume that the majority of you reading this aren’t Ariana Grande. If you have fewer than 1,000 followers, you should use hashtags liberally. The study discovered that when these smaller accounts used 10 or more hashtags in their postings, they received the most engagement.

In the mid-sized accounts, the data becomes a little strange. When employing 10+ hashtags, accounts with 10,000 to 100,000 followers had the maximum degree of engagement. Small (but not the tiniest) accounts with 1,000 to 10,000 followers, on the other hand, had the most engagement when they utilised one to three hashtags. When utilising zero hashtags, accounts with 100,000 or more followers had the highest engagement.

The best advise we can give is to think about the size of your account and adjust your hashtag usage accordingly.

You can read the complete study here if you’re interested in learning more

  • Make the most of your bio

Don’t forget to fill it out! In your bio, Hubspot recommends adding “secondary keywords.” Consider what else people will be looking for that is related to what you’re attempting to sell.

What else would people look for when it comes to tattoos? Perhaps “piercings”? Are there any “shops” where you can make appointments? Perhaps mentioning your city or location can help you reach the people who are nearest to you! Let’s take another look at @livebytheswordtattoo.

We can find “tattoo,” “piercing,” and “store” in their bio, indicating that they use both primary and secondary keywords to help with search optimization.

They also put both Williamsburg and Brooklyn in their bio and include NYC in their display name. This, of course, informs users of where they conduct business, but it also specifies a wide area as well as a specific neighbourhood in which they’re most likely to attract the target audience.

Put up some content! After then, look at your “likes” and “views.”

Isn’t it true that the best way to learn is to practise? So, if you’re not sure what works and what doesn’t, do some trial and error.

Use a variety of strategies to distribute your work. Experiment with different lengths for your captions. Adding another term to your profile can be a good idea. Make use of additional emojis. Emojis should be used sparingly. Make use of additional hashtags. Reduce the number of hashtags you use. Then wait and watch what happens!

Which images receive the most likes and comments? Which videos are the most popular? What do the most popular posts on your account have in common?

By giving it the old college try and watching what occurs, we may learn a lot about what works. It’s almost as if you’re conducting your own “research” to figure out what’s best for your Instagram.

You may also access “insights” if you have a “creator” or “business” Instagram account to get more specific information about your post interactions and stats.

You have a solid range of tools at your disposal to help you optimise your account and track your progress. So get out there and start building those profiles and interacting! We’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines.

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