Not Ranking on Instagram Hashtags?

Find out some common causes why you may not be ranking on your hashtag sets.

Josh Lemmon avatar
Written by Josh Lemmon
Updated over a week ago

Not ranking on Instagram hashtags? Although it may seem like you’ve hit a bit of a wall, don’t worry! You have actually just uncovered a potential area for improvement, and now have a benchmark that will help you start ranking.

Luckily, there’s only a few things that could possibly be causing you to not rank, and all of them can be managed or fixed.

Common Causes:

  • The hashtags you are using are too competitive for your account

  • The hashtags are not relevant enough to the post you have made

  • You haven’t given it enough time

  • You have used banned or flagged hashtags

Not sure how to fix these issues, and improve your hashtag strategy? We’ll walk you through how to combat the common causes of your content failing to rank, so you can get your account back on track.

*All of the steps listed below will be using our Analytics Suite.

Cause #1: The Hashtags You Are Using Are Too Competitive for Your Account

What do we mean by “too competitive?” If the content within a hashtag that you use isn’t similar enough in terms of engagement to your general posts, that hashtag might be too competitive.

  • If you use hashtags that have an Average Like Count that is too high in comparison to the Average Likes your posts tend to get, you are less likely to rank, because you’re competing with accounts that might have higher visibility or gain more engagement on average.

  • If you use hashtags that have a Media Count or DAPC (daily average post count) that is too high, this means you might be competing with too many accounts to get eyes on your content, which could be another reason why your posts might not be ranking.

So, how do you know if your hashtags are too competitive, and how do you fix it?

First, let’s start by checking the competition of the hashtags you’ve used by heading to ‘Collections - Hashtags Used.’

Here you can see two sets of data:

Usage & Performance Data

  • Times used

  • Times ranked

  • Rank ratio

  • Efficiency score

Hashtag’s General Data

  • Media Count

  • Average Likes

  • DAPC

First, let’s order the list of hashtags you’ve used by the ratio in which you rank on them.

If you have a low (<15%) ‘rank ratio’ it’s likely that the hashtags you’re using are too competitive for your account.

Here’s an example of what that might look like:

Although hashtags that are bigger are likely to provide a larger return, you should make sure that the majority of the hashtags you’re using are likely to provide results.

This means using hashtags with similar average likes to what you usually achieve on your posts.

💡Key info:

  • To get the best results from hashtags, you want to rank as highly as possible in the ‘top posts’ section.

  • Where/if you rank in the ‘top posts’ section is determined by your ability to rank on that hashtag. Usually this is dictated by the engagement received on your post + the relevancy of content vs the existing content on the top posts section of a hashtag.

A lot of Flick users follow a strategy that is similar to the following:

15 hashtags are not very competitive (Similar or less than your avg. likes)

10 hashtags that are more competitive (Similar or more than your avg. likes)

5 hashtags that are very competitive (Hashtags that are considerably higher than your likes)

So, if you get 500 likes per post, the hashtags you select for a post could look like this:

Cause #2: The Hashtags Are Not Relevant Enough to the Post You Have Made

Think of hashtags like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your Instagram content. If someone is discovering your post via a hashtag, it is because they have searched for that specific keyword. So, if you’re a fitness influencer posting a workout in a food-related hashtag, it’s unlikely you’ll rank. This is because people are going to that hashtag to find food-related content, so are less likely to click on, or engage with your post. Ask yourself whether the hashtags you are using on a post actually relate to the image or video. Think about what you would search, if you would want to find content like yours, and use this to frame the basis of your initial hashtag research.

💡 You might also find that broader hashtags don’t work for your posts either. If you are a fitness influencer, for example, try swapping out hashtags like ‘#fitness’ for more specific hashtags like ‘#5minuteabs.'

Cause #3: You Haven’t Given It Enough Time

If you have only used the hashtag a few times, and haven’t seen results yet, try to give it more time. It’s unlikely that you will rank on a hashtag every single time you post on it. Most of the time you will rank around 30-70% of the time if that hashtag is working well for you, so you should post using a single hashtag enough times to see initial results. We recommend at least 4 times per hashtag.

Cause #4: You Have Used Banned or Flagged Hashtags

You can use a banned or flagged hashtag without even knowing sometimes. They aren’t just the obvious ones, even #tbt is flagged! To check whether you have used a banned or flagged hashtag, these will appear under ‘untrackable’ on the Hashtag insights page.

If you’ve searched using Flick, your hashtags shouldn’t be banned or flagged, as we filter out and don’t suggest these to you.

Key Takeaways

  1. Make sure you’ve used the hashtags a few times to ensure that the fact you aren’t ranking isn’t down to chance. You will get better, more accurate results the more you use a specific hashtag, so give it time for your posts to perform!

  2. Check how relevant the hashtag is to the content you’re posting. Instagram prioritizes content that is hyper-relevant, so ensure the hashtags aren’t too broad (e.g: fitness vs 10minworkouts.)

  3. Make sure you’re not using banned or flagged hashtags. This can get your account hidden on the other hashtags you’re using.

Remember, building a hashtag strategy is a marathon not a sprint. Consistency and relevancy is key to your success!

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