Properly utilizing hashtags on Instagram is really important for organic growth. Whether you’re using one or all 30, it’s vital that what you use actually works. I’m not talking about working strategically, I mean literally.
There are a plethora of hashtags on Instagram that are banned. You can “use” these tags in your post and they do still count as one of the 30 you’re allowed to use. However, your post won’t be seen.
How will I know if a hashtag is banned?
Finding banned hashtags is a grueling task. There is no list published by Instagram, so the work is up to you. The best way to see if the hashtags you commonly use are banned is to create a list of those tags and just search for them on Instagram.
A banned hashtag will give you a notice that says “Recent posts for #x are hidden because some posts may not follow Instagram’s Community Guidelines.”
If you don’t want to take the time to search a list of your commonly used tags, you could do the easy thing and go to your search engine and type in “banned hashtags on Instagram”.
The downside of this is that these lists of tags commonly change.
Why do hashtags get banned?
There are a number of reasons why hashtags will get banned. The simplest reason? Too many people are posting against Instagram’s user guidelines under that hashtag.
Oftentimes, a hashtag will get banned because of bot activity. These accounts typically want you to buy likes or followers, while others have more malicious intentions. Most of the time, when these types of accounts post, they will all use the same random hashtags. Instagram is in the process of cracking down on bot accounts and trying their best to rid the platform of them.
In a statement Instagram said, “We want the content you see on Instagram to be authentic and to come from real people, not bots or others trying to mislead you.”
These types of tags may eventually have their ban lifted if Instagram sees they are no longer flooded with bot activity. Most bans last around a month, so if you find a tag that seems like it may have been banned for bot activity, check on it every once in a while, it may come back.
Other hashtags have obvious reasons for being banned. Tags that are obviously harmful or overtly sexual are permanently banned. These will never become available for use.
Some tags that have been banned for promoting harmful behavior will look a little different than other banned tags. Take the tag #loseweight for example. If you search this tag, you will be prompted with this popup, asking if you’d like resources to get help.
Why shouldn’t you use banned tags?
Using banned tags defeats the purpose of using a hashtag at all.
A good hashtag strategy will increase your reach, impressions and hopefully your engagement. Using banned hashtags won’t affect any of those things as your post won’t be found within the “recent” section of that tag, because it no longer exists for the time being (or permanently depending on the tag).
This could really hurt your reach if you’re only using one or two hashtags and one or both are banned. It will seem as if you didn’t use any tags at all. If you’ve checked your insights and it seems like you’re not reaching accounts from your tags, you may be using banned tags.
The obvious way to avoid this problem is to simply not use that hashtag. Substitute it with a tag that is still active!
Current banned tags:
As we mentioned earlier, banned tags are changing almost constantly. We’ll keep you updated with this list of banned tags!