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Instagram searches help users browse through their interests by sorting out millions of posts and accounts. Search is indeed a place for inspiration and discovery. In their latest blog post Instagram has broken down how “Instagram Search” works. Let’s have a look at the detailed breakdown.

How Instagram Ranks Search Results

Search results are built to help users find accounts and topics pertaining to their interests. It is different from Feed, Stories, Reels and Explore because the user’s input helps Instagram determine what exactly to show. A user’s search tells what they wish to see thereby allowing Instagram to organize the results in accordance with what is relevant and what isn’t.

Adam Mosseri from Instagram writes: “Let’s say you’re interested in finding pictures of space after seeing the blue moon. When you tap the search bar on the Explore page, the first thing you see is your recent searches. As you begin typing “space,” we show you accounts, audio, hashtags, and places that match the text of your search. In this case, results like @space and #space shows up because “space” appears in their name.”

Source: Instagram

In addition to the typed in text. Instagram also makes use of information from accounts, hashtags and places to rank user’s search results. Below is Instagram’s ranking (and description) of signals used by them, in order of importance:

(Source: Instagram Blog

Your text in Search. The text you enter in the search bar is by far the most important signal for Search. We try to match what you type with relevant usernames, bios, captions, hashtags and places.

Your activity. This includes accounts you follow, posts you’ve viewed, and how you’ve interacted with accounts in the past. We usually show accounts and hashtags you follow or visit higher than those you don’t.

Information about the search results. When there are a lot of potential results, we also look at popularity signals. These include the number of clicks, likes, shares and follows for a particular account, hashtag or place.

How Instagram Helps You Show Up In Search

Instagram understands that it is important for a user’s name to show up when their friends are looking for them. Here are a few practices listed by Instagram which users can use to show up in search results:

Use a fitting handle and profile name. Search results are matched by text. Using an Instagram handle or profile name that’s related to the content of your posts is your best bet for showing up in relevant searches. If your friends or fans know you by a certain name, include that name in your username or profile so that you can show up when they search for you.

Include relevant keywords and locations in your bio. Same principle here. Make sure your bio includes keywords about who you are and what your profile is about. If your account is location-specific, like for a small business, sharing your location in your bio can make it easier for people in your area to find you.

Use relevant keywords and hashtags in captions. For a post to be found in Search, put keywords and hashtags in the caption, not the comments.

How Instagram Helps In Keeping Search Safe

In search results, Instagram avoids showing accounts, posts and hashtags that go against their Recommendations Guidelines. It is done in a few ways.

Accounts that post spam or violate the guidelines may appear lower in search results, and users may have to search their full username to find them. Instagram also balances searches for sensitive topics with additional safety measures to make sure it doesn’t show related content that could be harmful. Accounts, hashtags and posts that violate the Community Guidelines are removed from Instagram entirely, which prevents them from showing up in Search.

Source: Instagram

How Instagram Plans To Make Search Even Better

Search was originally created to help users navigate Instagram. Instagram says that they are soon launching “a series of improvements designed for inspiration and discovery. These changes make Instagram Search more than just a way to find accounts and hashtags.” It is moving towards a “full search results page experience” that makes it even easier to go deep on interests.

Instagram Search Works
Source: Instagram

Instagram further adds that they are “also making search results better for exploration. For example, your search for “space” will show you space-related photos and videos, too. This is especially helpful when you don’t have an exact username or hashtag in mind when searching for a certain topic.

Instagram all their features to help users find things they love. To ensure this Instagram is constantly working on improvements to help users discover new things and it is also throwing light on how exactly ‘Instagram’ works.