The Instagram Hashtag Search Results Algorithm: How It Works in 2019

By on Jan 31, 2019 in Social Media | 0 comments

The Instagram algorithm is like a Rubik’s cube. There are a near infinite number of possible combinations, and if you don’t have specific instructions you’re going to waste a lot of time trying to solve it.

Now, no one completely understands how it works other than Instagram, but from what Instagram and other experts in the field have told us, we put together a guide you can use to unlock the Instagram algorithm behind the hashtag search results for the most possible followers and post engagement.

How does the Instagram algorithm behind hashtag search results work?

Instagram puppy pics

When you search a hashtag on Instagram, you will see two results: Top Posts and Recent Posts.

Top Posts for hashtags are generated based on two factors:

  1. Amount of engagement
  2. Quickness of engagement

Amount of engagement

Instagram priotizes showing posts that have more engagement than other posts using the same hashtag.

Example: a post with 10,000 Likes and 200 comments is more likely to show up as a top post that a post with 500 Likes and 100 comments.

Quickness of engagement

In addition to amount of engagement, Instagram also looks at how quickly a post receives its engagement.

Example: a post that gets 10,000 Likes and 200 comments within an hour of being uploaded is more likely to show up as a Top Post than a post that gets 10,000 Likes and 200 comments within a day of being uploaded.

How do I solve the Instagram algorithm behind hashtag search results?

Now that you have the recipe, here are some ingredients, or things you can do, to get the most out of the Instagram hashtag search results algorithm:

Use at least 11 and at most 30 hashtags: research shows that engagement goes up after the use of 11 hashtags.

Include hashtags that are relevant to your channel and content: attract your target audience.

Put hashtags in your comments: packing your caption full of hashtags just doesn’t look good. Place them as a comment instead.

Include as many popular hashtags (greater than 100,000) as possible: hashtags are your main form of distribution to potential new Instagram followers – the larger and more populated the hashtag, the more people can theoretically see your content. You can use tools like AiGrow to find popular hashtags in your niche.

Include smaller, more specialized hashtags: smaller, more niche hashtags contain less competition, which makes it easier for your own content to rank higher in the search results.

This increases your chances of appearing in the “Top 9” grid results of a particular hashtag.

Geotag your posts: when you geotag your posts, other people who post photos in your region will see your posts on the location’s page which increases content visibility. The more people that can potentially see your content, the more opportunity there is for them to engage. The more engagement your posts get, the great the chance of ranking as a Top Post for your hashtags, and so on.

Create a branded hashtag: branded hashtags are an easy way for other people to share your brand, build brand recognition, and get your name on as many different feeds as possible.

Ask engaging questions in your captions: questions are an easy way to increase engagement quickly. For a vacation post, for example, you could ask something as simple as “have a friend who needs a vacation? Tag them in the comments!”

Include a clear CTA: research has shown that including the words “Like” or “Comment” somewhere in your caption results in more likes (89% more) and comments. With more likes and comments comes a higher place in the hashtag search results. This means more visibility for your content, which means more potential Instagram followers.

Place important words/CTAs at the beginning of your captions: when people scroll through their feeds, post captions get cut off after a few lines. You want to make sure that the critical information, like a CTA, is seen no matter how your posts are seen.

Include emojis in your captions: emojis make your captions stand out or emphasize particular parts of your caption. They have also been proven to lead to higher post engagement.

With your hashtags, captions, and geotags taken care of, you can focus on what really matters – creating killer content that compels people to follow your channel.

So that’s the algorithm behind Instagram hashtag search results and 11 things you can do to get the best possible results from it.

If you’re interested in how other algorithms work on Instagram, such as the feed and Explore page algorithms, and 18 more things you can do right away to get more followers and post engagement, read this comprehensive guide breaking down how to solve the Instagram algorithm in 2019.

Author bio:

This post is a guest post by Sam Morrison. Sam is Chief Editor at – a blog aimed at simplifying social media marketing practices for small businesses and everyday people.

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