Have you ever noticed that when you go to fix a caption, or tag someone on your latest Instagram post, that little option in the bottom right hand corner that says “Edit Alt Text?” Whilst you may ignore it, it can actually be pretty useful in getting you more traction on your page, because it’s basically SEO for Instagram.
If you are already an SEO aficionado, you probably know what Alt Text is, but if you aren’t let us walk you through it. Alt Text appears when an image hasn’t loaded properly, as a way to describe the content of that image, and is also used to describe imagery to those that are visually impaired. If the Alt Text on your Instagram post is relevant and descriptive of the photo you post, then it helps improve your searchability on the platform, and therefore will increase the likelihood of your content being shown to a wider audience. This is because Instagram’s algorithm basically wants you to apply descriptive Alt Text to your posts, as it helps improve their image recognition technology (we go deeper into how this can also help improve your page here).
As we talked about above, using Alt Text helps Instagram flag what exactly your post contains, so that it can improve its image recognition software. It also improves your visibility, because it adds descriptive text to your posts. So, if you were to post a video of yourself singing a cover of Hey Jude by The Beatles, and added Alt Text to describe that content – when someone searches “covers of Hey Jude by The Beatles,” your video has an increased likelihood of appearing in that search – and an increased likelihood of going viral.
As everything is also online, it works at literal SEO, so whether someone searches “covers of Hey Jude” on Google or Instagram, your video could still appear. Alt Text increases the touchpoints for your post visibility – cool if you’re trying to grow your Instagram account or create viral content, right?
Even if you don’t add Alt Text, Instagram adds auto-Alt Text to your posts, as they aim to make their platform accessible to everyone. However, they might get it wrong, and include Alt Text that doesn’t make sense with your post (kind of like when you try and google translate something and it comes out a little jumbled), which will effectively not do too much for your visibility. If you add your own, not only do you help your own potential performance, but you also help Instagram learn how to recognize types of content more effectively and make your content more accessible to audiences who can’t physically see it. It’s a win-win-win.
First, we’ll show you how to actually add Alt Text to existing or new posts, then we’ll give you a few pointers when it comes to the best practices – next time you post, you’ll be an Alt Text pro.