September 2021: Instagram swipe up links, getting verified, and more!


Instagram has had a few updates for September 2021 that we wanted to share today, including: 

  • story links
  • new guidelines for getting verified
  • how to rank for SEO on the platform

Story links feature 

Instagram recently announced that the swipe-up feature in Instagram Stories will now be replaced with a link sticker. The link sticker will be available for businesses and creators who are either verified or have over 10K followers. The stickers will give users more control over the design of their stories, and allow their audiences to engage with the stories. To use the story links feature, simply tap the sticker icon located in the top row of sticker options in Instagram stories, and then add your link. Learn more about the new feature here

How to get verified

Getting verified on Instagram has many benefits, including ranking first in relevant Instagram searches, and social proofing the business or creator account you run. 

Instagram has recently released criteria for verification, which states:

  • Your account must represent a real person, registered business, or entity.
  • Your account must be the unique presence of the person or business it represents. Notable entities (for example, pets or publications) are also eligible.
  • Only one account per person or business may be verified, with exceptions for language-specific accounts.
  • Your account must be public and have a bio, profile photo and at least one post.
  • Your account must represent a well-known, highly searched-for person, brand or entity.

Ranking for SEO in Instagram Search 

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, recently explained how the algorithm ranks accounts in the Instagram search results. According to his blog post on this subject, there are three primary factors – ordered by importance on how to rank in the search results. Here’s what he posted:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

To show up in the search results, Instagram recommends following best practices, including using a relevant handle and profile name, adding relevant keywords and locations in your bio, and using relevant keywords and hashtags in your captions. 

If you’re unsure of how to optimize your Instagram business profile for ranking on search, check out our guide here

Finally, Instagram stated that more improvements will be launched soon to help more users get discovered so be sure to follow our blog to stay up to date.

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