What if I told you that TikTok SEO can help your content reach more people and even make your videos go viral?
If you’ve been sleeping on your social media SEO strategy, this blog is for you. We’ll walk you through all the juicy details about TikTok SEO specifically, how it works, and how you can optimize your video content to get the most out of it.
Stick with us, and you’ll be on the For You page in no time.
Bonus: Download a free social SEO checklist and follow pro tips for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn to get your posts seen by more people.
What is TikTok SEO?
TikTok SEO is the practice of optimizing your videos on TikTok to rank higher in search. Just as you would use keywords and analytics to optimize the content on your website, you can also use these tactics to help your TikTok videos show up in more search results–this includes results on TikTok, as well as Google.
But wait. TikTok isn’t a search engine, right? Maybe not technically, but it still has its own search bar, making SEO an important part of the platform. In fact, Google’s own data found that 40% of young people primarily use TikTok and Instagram for search.
And, although social media posts on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and the like were not indexed by Google in the past, they now show up in the SERPs. Fancy that!
Your TikTok SEO strategy should include both SEO for Google and SEO for TikTok search. That way, you’re giving your content a fighting chance in all of the biggest online search arenas.
TikTok SEO ranking factors
User interactions can include anything from videos you’ve liked, videos you’ve hidden, videos you’ve added to your favorites, and videos you watch all the way to the end. TikTok takes note of all of this data and uses it to determine which videos to show you.
All of the information contained in a video can affect its ranking on TikTok. This includes captions, hashtags, sound effects, and music. TikTok looks for videos that contain relevant keywords in their titles and descriptions, as well as videos that cover trending topics.
Need help optimizing captions for your audience? Try out our free AI caption generator tool.
Devices and account settings
These are settings TikTok uses to optimize performance. They include language preference, country setting (you may be more likely to see content from people in your own country), type of mobile device, and categories of interest you selected as a new user.
Note that while account settings do factor into your TikTok SEO ranking, they receive a lower weight than video info and user interactions.
What’s not included?
You’ll be happy to hear that TikTok does not factor follower count into its SEO ranking algorithm (though, if you do want to get more followers, we have you covered). This means that if you create great content that speaks directly to your target audience, you have as much chance of landing on their For You page as the biggest TikTok stars.
This is what sets TikTok apart from other platforms like Instagram. And honestly? We’re here for it.
Google SEO ranking factors
Anyone who knows anything about SEO knows that Google’s ranking factors aren’t exactly the most transparent topic. That aside, there are a couple of things we know for sure. And, *spoiler alert*, these ranking factors are also going to be a big part of your TikTok SEO tips.
Here’s what Google looks for when ranking search results.
These are the words and phrases that users type into a search engine when looking for answers. For example, someone looking for advice on keeping their hair healthy might search for “hair care.”
Google doesn’t just give anyone the top search spot. To earn it, you have to be an authority on the topic.
How do they know you’re an authority? This part is a bit tricky. But, in essence, Google looks at how many other pages link to your page (this acts as a reference and shows what you’re saying is true) and how popular those pages are. This basically means a link from Apple is going to be worth way more than a link from your brother’s local pizza parlor. Sorry, Antonio.
The good news for TikTok’ers is that social media platforms (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook) are some of the most “authoritative” sites in this world. So having a presence on these platforms, and having your content show up in Google search, can really help boost your discoverability.
A piece of content must be related to what users are searching for in order to get a good rank. No one wants to see a page on WWII history when they’re looking for makeup brush cleaning tips.
Google generally prefers new content to old, though there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, Google says, “The freshness of the content plays a bigger role in answering queries about current news topics than it does about dictionary definitions.”
How to do TikTok SEO in 5 steps
Now that we know what TikTok and Google’s search engines look for, here are our top TikTok SEO tips.
1. Start with your audience
One of the most important aspects of TikTok SEO is understanding your audience. Knowing who they are and what they’re looking for can help you create content that resonates with them.
If you’re already active on TikTok, you may have a good idea of what your audience likes. If not, consider taking some time to get to know them better. Look at the videos they’re engaging with and the hashtags they’re using. As well, look at the comments and messages they’re sending you. This can help you get an idea of their interests so that you can create content tailored to them.
Why does this matter for SEO? Well, understanding your audience can help you craft better titles and descriptions for videos, making them easier to find in TikTok searches. Similarly, you want to create content that your audience wants to see. Or the content they are already searching for. This can give you a leg up when it comes to being discovered by new audiences, too.
2. Do keyword research
Keyword research is an essential part of traditional SEO, so it makes sense to use it on TikTok, too. Find out what words or phrases your target audience is using when searching for content like yours.
Keep in mind these tools are scraping data from Google itself–not TikTok. Because SEO in TikTok is so new, there aren’t currently any TikTok SEO tools that can tell you what people are searching for on TikTok.
But don’t get discouraged. The best way to figure out what people are searching for on TikTok is to use the TikTik platform directly. Simply go to TikTok, open the search bar, and enter any keywords you’ve pulled from your TikTok keyword research.
TikTok will automatically auto-populate the search bar with the most popular keywords related to your query. Look through what it shows you, and select any keywords that match up with your content.
If you want to see even more keyword ideas, try typing in your keyword followed by a single letter. TikTok will then show you all the related keywords that begin with your query and the letter you entered.
Hair care “A.”
Hair care “B.”
Hair care “C.”
You can keep repeating this process until you have a list of relevant hashtags and keywords to use in your TikTok SEO strategy.
3. Add keywords to your content
Once you have your TikTok keyword research completed, start adding them to your content in the titles, descriptions, and captions of your videos. This includes any on-screen text, such as lyrics or explanations.
Also, be sure to say the keywords out loud! That’s right, TikTok’s algorithms prioritize videos where the keywords are actually spoken.
You’ll also want to include your keywords in any hashtags you use, as this will help people find your posts more easily. Use both your main keyword and any variations of your keyword that make sense. But don’t overdo it. Make sure you know the optimal number of hashtags to use on each platform.
Finally, add your most relevant target keywords to your TikTok profile. This will ensure that your profile is more visible when people search for these keywords. It also gives potential followers an idea of what kind of content you post and whether they should follow you.
4. Add your TikTok to a microblog
This is the exciting part, where we get to mash everything we know about traditional SEO with everything we’re learning about TikTok SEO!
Blogging is a big part of ranking in Google search. Remember when we talked about Google prioritizing content that is relevant and fresh? Well, that’s pretty much why blogs exist. What better way to keep your content fresh than to publish consistently?
To leverage this technique for your TikTok SEO, create a microblog post that discusses a particular topic related to your TikTok video. Be sure to include your main keyword in the title and your secondary or long-tail keywords in the subheadings and content of the post. Also, don’t forget to embed your TikTok video in the blog, too!
5. Track your progress
Every savvy SEO marketing strategy requires continuous monitoring and tweaking. Sure, you put all the best practices in place, but how will you know if your efforts are successful?
Tracking your TikTok analytics is the best way to see if your SEO strategy is paying off. This will give you insights into which videos are performing well, what kind of engagement they’re getting, and more. It can also help you identify areas where you can improve, such as topics or keywords that don’t seem to be resonating with your audience.
Hootsuite Analytics can show you exactly how many views are coming from search, as opposed to the For You page or from existing followers.
Be sure to track this progress over time, as well as the progress of your competitors. This will give you a better understanding of what works best in terms of TikTok SEO and can help you refine your strategy accordingly.
Frequently asked questions about TikTok SEO
What is SEO on TikTok?
SEO on TikTok is the process of optimizing your TikTok content to make it more discoverable on the platform, increasing views, likes and followers. This is done by researching hashtags, targeting certain keywords, and leveraging popular trends on the platform.
TikTok videos also have the ability to rank in Google search, so optimizing your content for SEO can help you gain even more reach and visibility.
How do you increase SEO on TikTok?
Increasing SEO on TikTok starts with keyword research. This involves researching and identifying popular keywords related to your content, so you can include those keywords in your captions and in the audio of your video.
You should also be aware of popular trends on the platform and use relevant hashtags related to your content. This will make your video more visible in TikTok’s search results and maximize its chances of getting seen.
How do keywords work on TikTok?
Keywords on TikTok are the same as those for any other platform–-words and phrases commonly used to search for content. Popular keywords in your niche can help TikTok’s algorithm boost your video and make it visible to more potential viewers.
How is TikTok a search engine?
TikTok is not technically a search engine, but it does have its own algorithm that can be used to find content. The algorithm takes into account the number of views, likes, and comments a video gets, as well as what other users are searching for. This helps TikTok serve up relevant content to each user based on their interests and past interactions with the app.
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