Instagram Guides Allows For More User-Based Content, Boosting SEO

I've said it before, I will say it again: the entire point of search engines is to provide users with highly relevant and reputable information that they may be interested in -- often before they know they want to see it. Changes in Google's algorithms over the years have only reinforced this fact, and other search engines have followed suit. Since social media sites are essentially search engines, it makes sense that networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are rolling out a laundry list of new features that allow for new methods of content creation. While each of these sites made updates to their platforms last year, Instagram has gone above and beyond.

Like most everyone else, I agree that the new layout Instagram adopted is downright annoying. From a digital and search perspective, however, it makes perfect sense. The reorganization provided additional opportunities for streamlining user-generated content with a specific conversion goal in mind. (The focus on "Shop" pages is amongst the clearest examples of this.) Because most social networks tout themselves as separate from SEO instead of what they are, integrated and an example of SEO in action, this is a pretty revolutionary move. What's more, social media posts have traditionally been intended to be short and minimal on text, focusing primarily on the visual content associated with it. They are pivoting to now provide options for more user-generated content is a phenomenal reckoning with what they should have been doing years ago.

I've said it before, I will say it again: the entire point of search engines is to provide users with highly relevant and reputable information that they may be interested in -- often before they know they want to see it. Changes in Google's algorithms over the years have only reinforced this fact, and other search engines have followed suit. Since social media sites are essentially search engines, it makes sense that networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are rolling out a laundry list of new features that allow for new methods of content creation. While each of these sites made updates to their platforms last year, Instagram has gone above and beyond.

Like most everyone else, I agree that the new layout Instagram adopted is downright annoying. From a digital and search perspective, however, it makes perfect sense. The reorganization provided additional opportunities for streamlining user-generated content with a specific conversion goal in mind. (The focus on "Shop" pages is amongst the clearest examples of this.) Because most social networks tout themselves as separate from SEO instead of what they are, integrated and an example of SEO in action, this is a pretty revolutionary move. What's more, social media posts have traditionally been intended to be short and minimal on text, focusing primarily on the visual content associated with it. They are pivoting to now provide options for more user-generated content is a phenomenal reckoning with what they should have been doing years ago.


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My favorite and, in my opinion, the most notable addition Instagram has made recently is their “Guides” feature. First announced in May 2020, Instagram’s original intent for Guides was to provide “a place where you can easily find reliable information and inspiration from your favorite accounts.” The move makes discovering recommendations, hacks, and tips from your favorite influencers a breeze while also giving local businesses extra visibility in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. I can’t say for sure if the powers that be at Instagram knew it or not, but adding Guides to their platform is dabbling in uncharted territory -- in the best way possible. Not only are they acting more like a search engine than ever before, but they are also allowing users to add more extended, more value-based content that can only boost the value and depth of their profile (and to Instagram) as a whole. What’s more, it is also possible to use hashtags, tag other accounts throughout your Guide, reinforce digital connections, and boost overall reach. At its core, this is an SEO power play -- and I am SO here for it. 

My favorite and, in my opinion, the most notable addition Instagram has made recently is their “Guides” feature. First announced in May 2020, Instagram’s original intent for Guides was to provide “a place where you can easily find reliable information and inspiration from your favorite accounts.” The move makes discovering recommendations, hacks, and tips from your favorite influencers a breeze while also giving local businesses extra visibility in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. I can’t say for sure if the powers that be at Instagram knew it or not, but adding Guides to their platform is dabbling in uncharted territory -- in the best way possible. Not only are they acting more like a search engine than ever before, but they are also allowing users to add more extended, more value-based content that can only boost the value and depth of their profile (and to Instagram) as a whole. What’s more, it is also possible to use hashtags, tag other accounts throughout your Guide, reinforce digital connections, and boost overall reach. At its core, this is an SEO power play -- and I am SO here for it. 

How Do Instagram Guides Work?

From the viewer’s perspective, Instagram guides allow one to see posts and videos that the creator account has compiled, featuring their thoughts, tricks, and advice. When creating a Guide, one can curate collections of places and products or create their own list-based “post.” Upon publishing, the Guide is automatically visible and added to the creator’s profile page. Should one want to gain extra visibility from their efforts, it is also possible to share Guides to your story or feed by tapping the share button.

Who Can Create Instagram Guides?

From the viewer’s perspective, Instagram guides allow one to see posts and videos that the creator account has compiled, featuring their thoughts, tricks, and advice. When creating a Guide, one can curate collections of places and products or create their own list-based “post.” Upon publishing, the Guide is automatically visible and added to the creator’s profile page. Should one want to gain extra visibility from their efforts, it is also possible to share Guides to your story or feed by tapping the share button.

At first, Instagram only offered this feature to creators and professional accounts. However, they started releasing it to regular users in the past few days. (If you haven’t seen it on your Instagram account yet, rest assured it is coming!)

At first, Instagram only offered this feature to creators and professional accounts. However, they started releasing it to regular users in the past few days. (If you haven’t seen it on your Instagram account yet, rest assured it is coming!)

What Does It Look LIke?

I’m a curious individual, so once I discovered this new feature, I immediately had to give it a try. Yesterday I published my first Instagram Guide, highlighting Washington DC bars that I hang out at after hours. (An utterly shocking topic, I know.) You can check it out here.

To get you started, I provided a few screenshots below where you want to look in your Instagram account to create your first guide. Remember: when creating these for marketing purposes, you want to focus on user intent rather than merely developing content for the search engines alone. And as always, the District Maven social media marketing team is here to help if you get stuck. Good luck and happy curating, fellow Instagrammers!

I’m a curious individual, so once I discovered this new feature, I immediately had to give it a try. Yesterday I published my first Instagram Guide, highlighting Washington DC bars that I hang out at after hours. (An utterly shocking topic, I know.) You can check it out here.

To get you started, I provided a few screenshots below where you want to look in your Instagram account to create your first guide. Remember: when creating these for marketing purposes, you want to focus on user intent rather than merely developing content for the search engines alone. And as always, the District Maven social media marketing team is here to help if you get stuck. Good luck and happy curating, fellow Instagrammers!


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