The Ultimate Social Media SEO Guide for 2024

Everyone’s biggest frustration: We want to be found in the vast sea of content creators. Well, simply owning a social media account isn’t enough. Here are some of the best ways to search engine optimize your social media accounts.

KEYWORDS

Keywords are the words and phrases that people enter into search engines to find information. The search engine searches for these keywords across the internet and shows results/content containing the same keywords.

Using keywords in your content will give you exposure.

Here’s how you do it: Go to the search engine within the platform you want to be found, like TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube.* Think about your niche and what your target audience might be searching for. Then, start typing a phrase (don’t hit ENTER yet). Look at all the results that show up. These will give you ideas on what kind of content to create while ensuring that you present your keywords the same way it’s being searched.

To take a deeper dive: Hit ENTER and scroll to the bottom where it shows what  “Other Search For” and take notes for future content.

*Trends across all social media platforms mostly come from TikTok, so it’s better to search from there….at the moment….while it still exists. 🙃

How to Incorporate SEO for Each Platform

INSTAGRAM

There are 7 Places to Use Keywords in Instagram:

  1. Username – Names like “FitnessbyJane” or “CookingwithDan” make it really clear to people who you are and/or what service you offer.
  2. Display Name – The most search-friendly item on the list. This is usually where you put your name or name of the business. Check out my example below. I have my name and what I do in the same line with keywords “web designer” and “graphic designer.” Notice I didn’t put “web and graphic designer” here because people aren’t searching like that. Some people might need a “web designer” specifically. Enter keyword phrases exactly how people will search for them.
  3. Bio – Don’t worry about full sentences here because you have a character limit. State how you help your target audience with keywords and mention your key service offering here.
  4. Post Captions – For example, if you are a life coach or therapist and saw search result “how do I get over a breakup,” you are going to write a caption that says something like “Self-care is one of the best ways to get over a breakup…”
  5. Hashtags – They’re not “dead” like some people are saying. You just don’t need as many as before. It’s just 3-5 now. Hashtags should describe these 4 things: Content Topic, Content Visual, Audience, and Identity. So let’s say the same life coach in the previous example is wearing a pineapple shirt while giving their advice on how to get over a breakup. The hashtags would be something like “#getoverbreakup #pineappleshirt #brokenhearted #lifecoach.” Why? Because people will search on the topic and visual that they remember even if they can’t remember your name.
  6. Reels Text (for videos, when you add captions) – The first few words of your video need to contain those keywords! The algorithm will pick it up and it will help your SEO. TIP: For those of you who like to sigh and take your time before speaking, cut that part out. When people scroll down, those first few words have to be heard right away or you’ve lost retention. I know, that sounds ridiculous, but think about how fast we scroll. Short-form content has its own demands.
  7. Alt Text (for images) – Alt Text exists to help those who are visually impaired. If the person cannot see the image or if the image doesn’t load, the device can provide an audible reading of what the image is. Don’t “keyword-stuff” here. Just use one if it applies to the image. On Instagram, this one is kind of hard to find. Check out the screenshots below my profile example. Check out the screenshots below my profile example. When you are about to post your graphic, scroll down to “Advanced settings.” If you’re posting an image, there will be a space for alt text. For videos, that setting will ask if you want to show captions.

Note: Instagram is more niche-focused, meaning the algorithm mainly shows users accounts that are specific to their niche. The other platforms will throw in other videos for you to explore, even if you’ve never seen anything in that category before. If you don’t a niche, utilize TikTok and Short-form YouTube instead.

keri-barnett-instagram-profile-for-seo

Finding Alt Text for Images / Captions for Videos: It’s under the captions, locations, etc.

TIKTOK

There are 7 Places to Use Keywords in TikTok:

  1. Display Name (not username) – While there is not much information to prove that usernames improve SEO in TikTok, we do know that the Display Name is most search-friendly. Put how you want to be identified here. NOTE: There is much less space than IG!  See my example below. I was limited to “Web & Graphic Designer,” which means I most likely won’t show up in the “Web Designer” search. In this case, I’d rather be found as a Graphic Designer and have users see the “website” part once their in my profile.
  2. Bio – Also has less characters than IG. State how you help your target audience with keywords and mention your key service offering here.
  3. Post Captions – For example, if you train dogs saw search result “train reactive dog,” you are going to write a caption that says something like “Here are 5 tips on how to train your reactive dog…”
  4. Hashtags – Just 3-5. Hashtags should describe these 4 things: Content Topic, Content Visual, Audience, Identity. If the dog trainer giving tips on training a reactive dog in the previous example is wearing a cowboy hat, the hashtags could be “#trainreactivedog #frustratedpetparent #dogtrainer #cowboyhat.” The hashtag order doesn’t matter. Viewers will tell their friends that there’s a dog trainer giving great tips on TikTok. “Search for the one wearing the cowboy hat.”
  5. Video Captions – The first few words of your video need to contain the keywords! The algorithm will pick it up in captioning and it will help your SEO. TIP: For those of you who like to sigh and take your time before speaking, cut that part out. You only have 4 seconds to state your intention with at least 1 keyword. Oh, the pressure!
  6. Cover Title – Before you post your content, look at the video or image box on the right and click “Cover Photo/Image.” Choose the best image from your video or upload a thumbnail and add your title text which should also contain your keyword(s).
  7. Playlist Titles – Use keywords as titles of your TikTok playlist.
keri-barnett-tiktok-profile-for-seo

YOUTUBE

There are 10 Places to Use Keywords in YouTube:

  1. Channel Title – This one is very important for keywords if you can incorporate it. Your Channel Title should state who you are and/or the service you offer. For example, “Social Media Tips with Sam.” If you don’t know your niche yet, that’s ok.  Add your keywords to the next areas.
  2. Description – Who you are, what your channel is about, and your ideal audience
  3. Channel Tags – Just like you tag blog posts, you can create topic or category tags for your channel.
  4. Video Title – Super Important! The title should answer the question often searched. Remember the keyword exercise mentioned earlier!
  5. Video Description – Explain more in detail how your video helps your audience address the keyword issue using the keyword(s) again. If you can add Timestamps, even better!
  6. Video Timestamps – These are the Chapters in the Description area (see screenshot below). Don’t ignore these, especially if your video is longer than 10 minutes. Your Timestamps/Chapters helps big time on the Google Search Engine.
  7. Video Meta Data (The details behind the scenes) – Before you upload your video, make sure the file name is not something like “SM109343847247.” Search engines have no idea what that is. Rename your video file with the keyword/title so that when you upload, it will populate the correct metadata.
  8. Playlist Titles – Have enough videos to create playlists? Name them the same way people search for them. For example, if I search “20-30 minute workouts for women,” YouTube will pull up the playlists called “20-30 minute workouts” from various fitness creators. It’s a pretty cool thing.
  9. First few words of your video – Yep, same thing applies for all video content, especially for short-form content. Get to the topic (the hook, which strategically gets the listener to stay and watch) fast as every second matters. And don’t make it any more complicated than 5th grade level. Make the hook/opening simple and then you can get into your smartypants stuff after that. 😉
  10. Video Tags – YouTube folks said that it’s not as important anymore but doesn’t hurt to put some keywords in there.
youtube-timestamps-for-seo
Example of YouTube Timestamps

WASN’T THIS FUN?

You now have a wealth of helpful information that is going to improve your social media visibility over time. Of course along with this, you’ll need to post consistently even if it’s once per week. Happy updating!

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