TikTok SEO

The places that people are searching for information online are changing, especially for GenZ. Consumers are not just looking to Google for the answers to their searches for content, information, products and ideas. Popular platforms like TikTok, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn and Reddit are all popular search locations. For that reason TikTok SEO is growing in popularity among digital marketers.

In fact, when it comes to GenZ TikTok is overtaking Google Search and Maps for discovery and informational searches, and this popularity is slowly infiltrating other age groups as well. Whether those who are turning to TikTok are looking for the best makeup products, reviews on new products or the best places to visit, the searches might seem small but they are the start of a new trend.

New trends when it comes to technology often begin with GenZ and Millennials, but other generations are never really far behind.

Why are people moving away from Google?

People searching online can be impatient so when they are looking for results, they want them fast. If the buying journey, from start to finish, is faster then that’s preferable for consumer brands. Short-form content of the type offered by TikTok provides users the answers they are looking.

Yet, traditionally, SEO uses long-form content that is rich in descriptive text in order to improve their search engine rankings. The reality is, however, that some users simply want quick answers. But are the quickest answers always the best?

TikTok results – the trust element

The problem with content on TikTok is the question of how trustworthy it is, particularly when compared to established options like Google, which has worked hard for many years to provide the most trustworthy content – especially for YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics. In countries like the US, Google is the most trusted tech giant and with recent news (April 2024) that TikTok could be banned in the US the trust element is more important than ever. The US senate has approved a TikTok ban if Chinese-owned parent company ByteDance does not sell it off to a US approved buyer. There are growing questions over the security of users’ data and TikTok’s links to the government in Beijing. Although, in reality, it could be several years before the app is inaccessible in the US.

In the meantime, TikTok content is uploaded directly by creators and whilst the trust levels may not quite be there, they are growing. Trust is necessary if TikTok is to not only grow but remain accessible to all.

What is TikTok SEO?

Most people know what TikTok is and as a video-sharing platform it works really well. More recently, it is becoming evident that there are signs it is being used as a search engine. TikTok SEO comprises short form video content and keywords, hashtags, captions and audience targeting – all of which are the strongest way currently of ensuring optimisation to make content easier to find.

The TikTok algorithm is very powerful and uses multiple factors, including the interests of the audience, details of posts they have interacted with and also any accounts they follow. This allows brands to be visible to those audiences that are highly qualified.

Increasing visibility and rank on TikTok

TikTok offers two continuous video feeds. These are those who you follow and a “For You” page. The latter is full of content that TikTok shows you and is based on your interests (what they know, and what they learn over time). The “For You” page is often where people spend more of their time, they are tailored to what each individual watches, shares and likes and are even down to their location. Whilst it is understandable that videos posted by accounts with more followers may receive more views, this count, and any high-viewed videos are not direct factors in the TikTok algorithm.

New videos appear all the time and are based on factors like trending songs, trending edits or filters and popular hashtags. There is a good chance that what you see may be similar to your friends because TikTok knows, even though everyone is unique, what people like to see.

How can you get more views and dominate the For You page?

TikTok is all about getting more views and increasing visibility and there are a number of things that content creators can do to help boost their views:

  • Jump on any current trends – These might be memes, challenges, sounds or hashtags. They act as a type of currency and can inspire lots of spin-off videos with the most popular being pushed by the algorithm.
  • Use the correct hashtags – The most popular hashtags will make you more visible.
  • Familiarity principle – A face that is attached to your brand, or faces people recognise can help you get seen, boost views and nudge the algorithm.
  • Keep people watching – You have just a few seconds to get people interested, so make sure that they count.

Looking at the trends

You need to engage with TikTok if you want to keep up with the most relevant trends. Look for hashtags, comment on videos and the “For You” page will adapt to show you more of what you have been looking at. Trends to look for include:

  • Trending sounds – You can do this through third party websites or the TikTok creator centre. Click sounds, look at the “For You” page or type “trending sounds” into the search bar.
  • Trending hashtags – In the TikTok creator centre you can see these and break them down into relevant industries.
  • Trending challenges – Search #TikTokchallenges and look for the challenges that are trending

TikTok SEO – optimising content for search

Not to be confused with understanding algorithms to get views, optimising your content to appear in search results is different. Remember, likes and views do not count as ranking factors on TikTok.

Posting content does not get you results. If you want to optimise views, you need keywords and hashtags

  1.  Add keywords and text to your videos – For optimum effect these should be added to the first few seconds of your video.
  2. Add keywords in captions/post descriptions. You have a 4,000-character caption limit (up from 2,200 since August 2023). Use this to add your keywords, variations on keywords and natural language words and phrases. Remember, write for humans and don’t keyword stuff. Also note that the first 65-70 characters only are immediately visible so place the most important message at the beginning.
  3. Use hashtags to improve search rank – these are a good TikTok SEO tools, use 3-6 and a mix of low and high volume.

TikTok and website SEO

As a tool, TikTok is very effective at driving and facilitating search demand not only on the platform but also on your website. You can integrate it into your site and also point people to it from TikTok as a way of growing your authority and obtaining analytics on how they interact.

Update 29 April 2024: It will be interesting to observe the future of TikTok if it is not sold by it’s Chinese owners ByteDance now that the USA have approved a bill to force the sale. You can read more about that if you’re interested…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.