The power of social SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

Hello creators! Today we’re looking at the world of Social SEO. We’ve got an overview of SEO, why it’s important and then we look specifically at Instagram and Tik Tok SEO and how you can use it to leverage your social platforms. It’s a deep dive, so grab a cuppa and let’s get into it!

What is SEO?

If you’ve ever wondered how to get more traffic to your socials, then SEO is the answer.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. A search engine is where people go to look for answers to questions or hunt for inspiration – like Google, TikTok or YouTube. Optimisation is making sure your content appears when people search for things relevant to your business.

Put ’em all together and you’ve got SEO: littering your blog / socials / website with key words and phrases to do with how people are searching for your product or service.

How does SEO work?

The goal of SEO is simple: get people to your platforms so they can buy something from you. To do this, your content needs to reflect what your customers are searching for across socials or search engines.

Why is SEO important?

It’s essential for every small business to have an online presence. However, with the market becoming more and more saturated, it’s difficult to get noticed.

The good news is that if you start doing SEO right now, you can see positive results almost immediately. The better news? You don’t need to be a tech wiz to get it right on socials, or at least make some significant strides towards increasing that follower count.

Instagram SEO

Forget (endlessly) trying to beat the Instagram algorithm… it’s time to master Instagram SEO and optimise your content so it’s discoverable from the search bar. Instagram has shifted to allow users to discover content, and, whilst the algorithm will be working hard in the background, there are a few ways to boost your discoverability.

SEO optimised Insta posts get 30% better reach, and twice as many likes as their non-optimised counterparts, according to Hootsuite. Who doesn’t want more likes? Keep reading and we’ll break it down, section by section.

Currently, there are three main places for users to search: Through the search bar, hashtags and the explore page.


Goes without saying that the search tab is the key place to find a page or person. Instagram looks for relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags and locations and displays what it believes meet the searcher’s needs. The first thing to do is a basic audit of your page to make sure it’s all up to date.

Auditing your page: 

The key question you should be asking yourself here: If someone’s browsing for a card on instagram, would you rank for it? Have an audit of your page, making sure things like your bio, username and location are up to date to help with your discoverability.

Ok, your page is in tip-top shape, let’s look at hashtagging to maximise search:

Hashtag best practices:

  • Use relevant hashtags to your content and product you’re selling.
  • Don’t use generic hashtags, such as #instagram or #newpost – remember these should try to match with real searches from people, not describe the platform you’re on.
  • Without being too confusing, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever hashtag. Your best bet is a blend of specific terms to your niche (like #carddesigner) and to your product (like #colourfulcards).
  • Put your hashtags in the caption, not the comments.
  • See what hashtags your competitors are using.


A place where you can see content from accounts you don’t follow directly. Instagram says what people see is based on:
1) accounts they follow, posts they’ve liked, commented on or shared
2) reconnecting users with accounts they’ve interacted with before
3) the popularity of the posts


Your bio on Instagram (and TikTok) is really important when it comes to social media SEO. It’s where you include relevant information, keywords and search terms so potential customers can find you. Think about who you are, what your business is about and the sort of content you post. These are the key pieces of information to add in your bio – but remember to keep it short and sweet.

Instagram alt text:

Alt text, or alternative text, on Instagram acts the same as on the web – it allows the content to be accessible to those with visual impairments as it provides a description of the image or video. If the content fails to load, it’ll show the description instead, therefore giving you greater discoverability.

To add alt text, go to post, Advanced Settings before posting, click Write Alt Text and tap Done.

To add alt text for a post already shared, go to the three dots above the photo, click Edit and then click Accessibility, then write the alt text and click Done to save.


Include searchable, keywords (as well as hashtags) in the caption on both Instagram and TikTok. For TikTok, you can also add the keywords into the speech captions for better SEO reach.

Top tip: If you’re making a TikTok video speaking to camera or doing a voiceover, say the main keyword out loud and include it in the text overlay on screen. This is a great way to improve your reach.

You can also use SEO to drive your thortful sales by mastering your titles and descriptions. We have a blog post explaining how to do just that.

We hope this helps you improve your discoverability and reach.

Team thortful