Instagram Does Sh*t For SEO
As far as Social Media and SEO are concerned, there is absolutely most definitely a strong correlation between the two pillars of digital marketing. When combined with a content marketing strategy, the 3 pillars of digital work very well together.
Having said that, social referrals to your website aren’t all equal. Facebook, Twitter, G+, and maybe even Pinterest, may be driving a lot of traffic to your site but are they contributing to your SEO? I think so.
But what about the all powerful and popular new kid on the block, Instagram. Did you know using Instagram for SEO is a complete waste of time?
In SEO circles, there has been a lot of talk about social signals and how they affect SEO, if they affect SEO at all. Way back in December 2010, Danny Sullivan got into this topic with some serious insight on social signals and search engines.
Fast forward four years later and we’re still trying to figure out if and how social signals can improve search engine rankings.
If that’s the case, then it’s not a stretch to believe that Google uses that information in its national rankings as well. I say social signals matter. How could they not?
So if you’re publishing your content on popular social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, and if that content is being engaged with, shared, liked, commented, or re-pinned, chances are these social signals are showing Google that your optimized content is relevant to users searching for things related to your keywords, products, and services. This will only improve your SEO relevancy factors and quite possibly ranking factors as well.
This is all good stuff! But let’s not get carried away. It turns out there is one social platform does absolutely nothing for your SEO. One of the most popular social platforms today is Instagram, with well over 200 million monthly active users. It’s also the worst social platform to use if you want to improve your SEO using social signals.
Why Does Instagram Suck For SEO?
1. Google Can’t Crawl Instagram
Did you know that since Google search engine spiders can’t crawl Instagram, that Instagram photos and videos are not visible in search results. At VPDM Digital, we are diligent in making sure that all our images, and other content for that matter, is fully optimized for search.
So, it is frustrating to know that no matter how much you optimize your images for targeted searches, locations, or trends, Google is unable to fetch your data, leaving the metadata of the image (with all the SEO), only accessible by Instagrammers on Instagram.
2. Instagram Search Is Essentially Non-Existent
Would you ever search for images on Instagram as a go to source like Pinterest or Flickr? Even though Instagram makes great use of hashtags for users to search for trending topics, it’s search engine and functionality isn’t that popular.
An article on SEOdesk.org says to think twice before you spend time and effort into SEO for your Instagram account: “People root for specific questions to find answers and read valuable content written in text and not shown through pictures. Images may be effective to get information in the case of infographics. In contrast, what people can find in Instagram are mostly personal photos now.”
3. Low Click-Through Rates
Pinterest and Facebook drive a lot of traffic to our client sites. Google+ and Twitter run a close second and third respectively. You’d think that Instagram would be a little more like it’s older brother, Facebook. But this is not the case. Remember that Facebook bought Instagram and kept it essentially the same as it was before the purchase.
Many brands receive social referral traffic to their website from Instagram as marketers can send users to websites by including a link in the url field on Instagram. Sometimes we forget to add the link and with Instagram you can’t edit your post after you publish, as you can on Facebook. So, you can always add a link in the comments of your post.
The issue comes down to click through rates (CTR’s) being very low for Instagram. Some of the reason could be because Instagram users like to view, like, and comment on pictures for an awful long time. They can’t be bothered clicking out to a website when they have more photos to engage with. Hopefully they are at least interacting with your content on Instagram even if they are not clicking through.
Conversions on Instagram are difficult because of these reasons. Your other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and your website blog and/or landing pages is where you should focus your attention on conversions. Keep your Instagram page and feed fresh and current, just don’t expect to convert directly.
So Why Use Instagram?
Just because Instagram is a waste of time for SEO and conversions, it doesn’t mean the network should be ignored. Don’t forget, it’s a super popular mobile application that can be used to promote branding, new product releases, and for engagement. If your photos and videos are compelling, relevant and useful, you should have no problem.
While it may not affect your SEO and search engine rankings yet, you at least have the opportunity to build relationships and nurture leads. Be sure to interact and engage on Instagram daily. Don’t just “broadcast” and post photos. Reach out to influencers and those that fit your buyer personas. This is the best way to organically build your following. Never buy Instagram followers.
Find a way to make Instagram your digital marketing tool as opposed to using it for SEO gains. Focus that SEO energy on creating content, sweepstakes, contests, or anything that will allow you to interact and engage with your audience and nurture leads to help your business grow.
If you’re looking for some help with your social media marketing strategy or your SEO, contact us for a complimentary hour of consultation, or a website marketing and SEO audit.
How do you use Instagram? Share your thoughts in the comments.