Instagram recently rolled out a new feature making posts accessible to visually impaired users which ultimately, leads to your posts being visible to a broader audience. It also allows your posts to be crawled & indexed by search engines (SEO) like Google & Bing 🙂
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Instagram actually blocks search engines (Google, Bing etc) from indexing your Instagram images which means you get NO SEO value simply by posting to Instagram. Your Instagram profiles themselves can still be indexed, BUT the images are not.
PRO NOTES: when I first started growing my Instagram empire 2014/2015, I pulled out all the dirty tricks in my digital toolbox. All my Instagram accounts back then used Lamborghini, Bugatti, Ferrari, Porsche BIO Logos and “trademark” names as my account usernames…. In less than 2 years, all these brands new me and my accounts… Many of them tried to disable them… but I was quick to rename and re-brand them to “MadWhips” themed accounts. (I was contacted by legal teams from all the major manufacturers who for the most part allowed me to quickly rename/logo my accounts before having IG disable them… Unfortunately I lost my Audi account at 700k with no warning…). I was essentially highjacking google searches for these brands which gave me thousands and thousands of NEW web based traffic leads to my content which resulted in more sales to my eCommerce store; selling things using my BIO with a strong call to action and the URL….. well this TRICK IS BACK in stealth mode 🙂
Now, getting back to today’s learning, people who rely on a screen reader can now hear a description of the pictures they scroll through. With Instagram’s new object recognition technology, screen readers can identify this description, called ALT text, and immediately generate an audio version.
“ALT” text stands for alternative text and is replacing your photo whenever your picture can’t be loaded because of poor internet connection.
Don’t confuse the ALT text with your Instagram caption! It’s simply a description of your picture and is actually read (crawled) by Search Engines now to index your Instagram posts in their search results!
This is why adding ALT texts to your photos is extremely important:
If you don’t add ALT texts, Instagram will automatically write (a basic and useless) one for you using their (advanced but still basic) image recognition technology and users with visual impairments won’t be able to enjoy your posts… this isn’t ideal or optimal.
Regardless of the accuracy of their image recognition technology, you’re currently missing out on reaching people with visual impairments which is a total of more than 285 million people in the world!
But that’s not all!
While this feature is NEW to Instagram, this trick isn’t new to creating content on the web. This ALT description is an essential part of the data set you can optimize (for SEO) when creating a blog and uploading photos as you can see by my quick “madwhips porsche” google image search below which is delivering all the results where I have put “madwhips porsche” in the ALT description in my blog images.
Find out about the importance of the new ALT text feature when it comes to the Instagram algorithm and how to use this tool to boost your visibility beyond the Instagram realm.
- The new Instagram algorithm tries to identify and rank the quality of the content of each photo in order to show it to users that haven’t interacted with your content yet.
Adding an ALT text will show your photos to more of these people who are following your type of content.
Why missing out on this chance of boosting your visibility? Instagram is marketing your posts here for you, for free…. so use this before everyone else starts and you will have a head start!
For more pro tips on how to alert the Instagram algorithm to increase engagement and grow your following, check out my in depth post about Boosting your Instagram Income Using Analytics!
- Until now pictures on Instagram didn’t have keywords that could tell search engines what the photo is about, as they do not crawl your captions of your posts.
- Adding an ALT text will make your posts appear in search engine results on Google NOW!
- That’s Insta SEO! “SEO” stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and is a strategy to get your website/social media content ranked higher in search engines.
When you’re using Alt texts, focus on keywords people would search for on Google BUT remember to keep your desription on target with the post. Instagram will no doubt be checking for people abusing this with SPAM or keyword stuffing.
THIS Instagram SEO trick is such a revolutionary NEW FEATURE as your posts will appear beyond Instagram, giving your content the chance to get discovered by millions and millions of people searching the web! WOO HOO!
HOW TO: add an ALT text description to your picture:
- Make sure your Instagram app is up to date.
- Choose a photo that you’d like to upload, press “Next”
- Select “Advanced settings” at the bottom of the page
- Click “Write ALT text”, and you’re done
You’re probably wondering if you can add ALT texts to your old posts, and the answer is YES, you can!
- Choose an already uploaded photo and click on the three dots in the top right corner
- Select “Edit”
- Click “Edit ALT text” in the bottom right corner
- Write your text and hit “Done”
Now on to the best strategies when it comes to writing ALT texts:
- As the ALT character limit is 100 words, try to keep it very short & descriptive so that popular screen readers can recognize your description (remember, MILLIONS of people are using screen readers!)
- DO NOT STUFF IT WITH KEYWORDS – you will be penalized.
- Describe your post as short & detailed as you can.
What does the person with poor internet connection whose phone won’t load your picture want to know?
And which text is the Instagram algorithm most likely going to show users that are interacting with your type of content?
- If you post contains a quote (or any text), write it out in the ALT text.
- Use important keywords that you would also use as a hashtag. If you’re a food blogger, use the keyword “food blogger” to ensure reaching users who love to see food content.
- If colors, shapes, or something else is standing out and is the main focus in your picture, describe these extra features.
- What do you want users to remember about your post? Write that.
Adding ALT texts to your posts requires minimum effort, but the result is going to expand your reach to millions of followers if done right!
If you learned something from this article make sure you check out another NEW INSTAGRAM STRATEGY: How To Make Money with Instagram Close Friends List
You can thank me later this year, when you’ve put in the work (consistently) with this strategy and will no doubt see the results of your efforts using this strategy!
Happy Instagramming Wolf Pack!