The Instagram Search Ranking System


Instagram’s search filters millions of accounts and posts to help you find your interests.

Adam Mosseri, Instagram head, explains how the app search result is ranked.

Messeri has previously shared detailed information on how the Instagram algorithm recommends stories, reels, and discover content to users.

Search results on Instagram rely on the input of text from the user. In contrast, the explore tab automatically populate with content.

By organizing results based on what is most relevant to the individual user, Instagram aims to facilitate user discovery.

For example, let assume you saw the blue moon and are interested in finding pictures of space. Tapping the search bar on Explore page shows you your recent searches as the first result. When you type “space,” you will see accounts, audio, hashtags, and places related to your search. Due to the word “space” in their names, @space and #space appear in the search results.

Signals used by Instagram for search rankings:

Additionally to the text entered by users, Instagram uses information from hashtags, accounts, and places to rank results.

The top-ranking Instagram signals are:

  • Your text

The text you enter in the search bar is Instagram most significant ranking signal. The Instagram algorithm will match the text with appropriate usernames, bios, captions, hashtags, and places.

  • Your activity

The accounts you follow, the posts you view, and how frequently you interact with those accounts are all visible. Accounts and hashtags you visit on Instagram are typically displayed higher than those you do not follow.

  • Information about the search results

In the case of lots of possible results, Instagram looks at engagement signals. These include the number of clicks, likes, and shares for a particular hashtag, location, or account.

How the Instagram help you show up in Search Result?

You need to appear in search results when friends or fans look for you. For your photos and videos to appear in the search results, you can use the following best practices:

  • Use a fitting handle and profile name:

The results of a search matched via text. The best way to show up in relevant Instagram searches is to use an Instagram handle or profile name that relates to the content of your posts. Include your friends or fans names in your username or profile so that they can find you when they search.

  • Include relevant keywords and locations in your bio:

In this case, we’re using the same principle. Include keywords about who you are and what your profile is about in your bio. If you’re running a local business, including your location in your bio can facilitate finding you.

  • Use relevant keywords and hashtags in captions:

Use keywords and hashtags in the post caption, not the comments, to appear in Search Results.

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