No one will doubt Google is still the main search engine, right? However, TikTok SEO is challenging it more and more.
It’s a hot brand-creator opportunity, and brands and creators need to seize this shift to climb up on this popular short-form video platform.
To do so, let’s first understand how TikTok SEO shapes the ranking landscape in 2023.
TikTok SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is optimizing your videos to increase its visibility and discoverability. This process involves using relevant keywords, hashtags, and strategies to ensure your videos appear in the search results and appear more frequently on the For You page.
Like Google SEO, where the goal is to rank your blog posts or websites higher on the search engine results page (SERP), TikTok SEO aims to get your videos in front of a larger audience on the app.
However, the difference lies in the type of content and the app’s unique algorithms. While Google mainly uses backlinks and domain authority as ranking factors, TikTok SEO is all about short-form videos. So, the key to success lies in user interaction, engagement rate, and relevance.
TikTok has grown in popularity as a search engine, especially among Gen Z users, with nearly 40% of this demographic preferring to search for information on TikTok over Google. Indeed, regarding online searches nowadays, “Google it” might soon lose relevance.
In this article, we’ll dive deep into TikTok SEO, its benefits for creators and marketers and discuss how to craft an ultimate strategy for your success.
With over 1.06 billion monthly active users as of 2023, TikTok has become a major player in the social media landscape. The United States leads the pack with 357.4 billion views and 113.3 million active users, followed by countries like Mexico, Argentina, and the United Kingdom, each boasting billions of views and millions of active users.
Understanding how the search engine works is a key factor in your strategy. It plays a significant role in determining whether your video reaches your target audience or gets lost in millions of videos uploaded daily.
Knowing how to use TikTok SEO, you can create engaging content that ranks well in the search and is shown on the FYP (TikTok feed), leading to more views and followers.
Remember, the goal is not just to create videos for the video’s sake. It’s about crafting high-quality, relevant, and engaging content that meets the search intent of the app’s active users.
And that’s where search optimization comes into play, guiding you to make your videos more discoverable and appealing to your ideal audience on this entertainment platform.
Creating a unique SEO strategy involves understanding your potential viewers, using relevant and popular keywords and hashtags, and consistently analyzing and refining your approach based on performance.
Paying attention to how the app’s algorithm works offers numerous benefits, especially for those looking to reach a wider audience. By analyzing performance and optimizing your videos for the search algorithm, you can ensure your videos are more discoverable, leading to more views, likes, shares, and followers. This can significantly boost your online presence and influence, opening up brand partnerships, collaborations, and other monetization opportunities.
Let’s talk about it in detail.
One of the benefits of TikTok SEO is the ability to reach your target audience more effectively. By understanding and using the keywords and hashtags your potential viewers are searching for, you can tailor your content to meet their needs and interests.
This increases the chances of your videos being found in search results and ensures that the viewers are more likely to engage with your content because it’s relevant to them.
TikTok has a diverse user base, with a significant portion being Gen Z and millennials. However, the app s rapidly gaining popularity among older demographics as well. Therefore, your target audience can vary greatly depending on what you post.
It could be teenagers interested in dance challenges, young adults looking for beauty hacks, or business owners seeking marketing tips. The key is understanding who your videos resonate with most and optimizing them to reach those users.
To effectively use TikTok SEO, it’s crucial to understand your audience‘s needs and interests. This involves researching what topics they are interested in, what keywords they might use in their search queries, and what trends they follow.
By aligning what you post with your potential viewers’ preferences, you can increase the chances of your videos being found and seen.
The search bar is one of the most used features on TikTok, making it a crucial area to optimize for. The search lists videos, accounts, sounds, and hashtags related to the query.
You can increase the chances of appearing in these search results by using relevant keywords in your video description, hashtags, and even your username or profile description.
Remember: the goal is to make your content as discoverable as possible. So, consider what your target viewers might be searching for, and incorporate those keywords naturally into your videos.
But avoid keyword stuffing, as it can lead to a poor user experience and may even be penalized by TikTok‘s algorithm.
Integrating with other social media platforms can significantly boost your reach and engagement. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have massive audiences that can be directed to your TikTok account. Cross-promoting your videos on these platforms can attract more viewers and followers.
For instance, you can share a preview of your TikTok video on Instagram Stories with a call-to-action directing users to watch the full video.
Similarly, you can tweet about your latest TikTok video or share it on your YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels. Such a diversified approach increases visibility and enhances your social media presence.
This is another crucial part of your strategy. It involves analyzing your competitors’ videos, hashtags, keywords, and engagement strategies. Doing so lets you gain insights into what works well in your niche, identify gaps in your strategy, and discover new growth opportunities.
When analyzing competitors:
You may ask: “Should I really watch all the videos?”. The answer is – not really. You can use tools like TokAudit to get full information on a competitor’s account: views, used hashtags, engagement rate.
And here is a trick that can help you get more views: with TokaAudit, you can download all the competitor’s information as a Excel file, then feed it to Chat GPT’s Code Interpreter and ask questions about competitor’s videos.
It will help you avoid using random hashtags, will help you find relevant content ideas and popular trends withing your niche.
Look at their most popular videos, relevant hashtags and keywords they use, and how they engage with their audience. This information can help you refine your content strategy, improve your TikTok SEO, and ultimately, gain a competitive edge on the platform.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Retention rate is a metric showing how long your viewers spend watching your video. This metric is crucial and it determines how much the platform promotes a video.
TikTok only considers video clips to be of high-quality and interesting content if over 70% of viewers watch for more than 3 seconds.
High retention rate prompts the algorithm to boost the video, increasing its visibility and reach among potential viewers.
So, it’s important to grab and keep people’s attention quickly to make sure they stay interested and get the most out of your video.
It’s not a secret that hashtags play a crucial role in TikTok SEO. They help to categorize your content, making it discoverable to users interested in specific topics.
Using popular hashtags can expose your videos to a large audience. However, these hashtags are often saturated with millions of videos, making it hard for your content to stand out.
According to most creators, the days we could use several dozens of hashtags under a video are gone in 2023.
Instead of stuffing your video description with irrelevant hashtags, try one of these strategies:
That’s where niche hashtags come in. These are specific to a particular topic or community and have fewer competing videos. By using niche hashtags relevant to your content, you can reach a more targeted audience likely to be interested in your videos.
Most creators claim that in 2023 choosing relevant keywords for your Tiktoks has become even more critical than using proper hashtags. Identify words or phrases your intended audience commonly uses when searching for similar content.
A clever trick to enhance reach is to add keywords outside the visible screen area. This can be done by adding a text box in your video editor, typing your keywords, minimizing the box, and then dragging it off the visible screen. The algorithm can still read this text, helping your video to rank for those keywords.
There is an opinion that the algorithm should “hear” your keywords for better ranking. If you make a video about vacations in Greece, for example, make sure to say exactly this phrase 5-10 times in your content and use original in-app captions for TikTok to consider your main keyword.
In addition to using popular keywords, consider incorporating long-tail ones. These are more specific and often less competitive than generic keywords, making ranking for them easier. For instance, instead of using a generic keyword like “beauty,” you might use a more specific long-tail keyword like “beauty hacks for oily skin.”
Language preferences can also impact the reach of your videos. The platform uses language preference and location data to show users the content they will likely understand and enjoy. Therefore, using the primary language of your target audience can help increase your reach.
Geographical location also impacts TikTok’s algorithm, particularly in shaping the content on the user’s For You page. Often, users find connecting with others within their own country or city easier than reaching a global audience.
The algorithm displays videos primarily from the user’s country for new accounts that haven’t interacted with the content. But as you begin to engage with content and follow accounts, the influence of location diminishes.
That’s good news for local marketing, as the platform can effectively target a local audience. If local reach is your goal, you should produce content that resonates with your potential customers.
The first 200-500 people who see your video will likely be from your city or region, but the app will boost it further if the video is engaging enough. This is why it is vital to create engaging content. TikTok’s algorithm prioritizes content that the user understands and interacts with.
So, if what you create resonates with your viewers and prompts them to engage with it (by liking, sharing, commenting, or watching it multiple times), it’s more likely to be shown to users with similar intrests, increasing its reach.
TikTok‘s algorithm prioritizes content that the user understands and interacts with. So, if what you create resonates with your viewers and prompts them to engage with it (by liking, sharing, commenting, or watching it multiple times), it’s more likely to be shown to similar users, increasing its reach.
In 2022, Google officially started showing TikToks, Facebook and Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts, on the search results page. This suggests that Google recognizes the popularity and relevance of TikToks and has integrated them into its search engine. So this is what you could do:
I analyzed the most viewed videos of TikTok’s algorithm “gurus” and tried some approaches you might want to consider to improve your TikTok’s reach.
Live streaming on social media apps is an excellent way of boosting your presence. It offers a dynamic real-time space to connect with viewers, ensuring genuine interactions and deepening relationships.
Engaging live audience can lead to significant growth, amplifying your visibility and making your videos more likely to be shown to a larger audience. Even smaller accounts can leverage this strategy to grow their follower base. Remember, it’s not about the account size but the quality of connections made through live interactions.
Some TikTok marketers claim that about 90% of their sales come from these sessions. The real-time interaction builds rapport and trust with the audience. It’s a chance to answer questions and handle objections on the spot, leading to immediate conversions.
While it’s tempting to think posting more frequently will increase visibility, this is only sometimes true. In the initial stages, posting 3-5 times a day can help you gain traction, but as your skills and following grow, focusing on the quality of your posts becomes more beneficial. It’s like shoveling snow with a spoon versus a shovel.
Posting quality videos less frequently but with more thought and intention can result in more views and engagement in the long run.
Business account might seem to allow you to delve into SEO strategies more effectively, using targeted keywords to reach your desired audience. However, it’s only if you plan to use TikTok Ads. Using a personal account to post your TikToks unless you plan on consistently running ads is suggested.
Platforms like TikTok might limit organic reach for business accounts to make them pay for views and reach. If the content is valuable and solves a problem for the viewer, they’ll engage or buy, no matter if there’s a link in the profile.
The key to a successful viral video lies in the content, initial idea, and hook. The statement should be compelling, and the hook should keep viewers watching past the first few seconds. The correct categorization and understanding of SEO can also play a crucial role.
Prioritizing quality over quantity, spending more time on preparation before filming, and focusing on a solid idea and a proper hook can make your video go viral. Remember, it’s about planting the right seed and nurturing it carefully, not just throwing out content and hoping something sticks.
4×4 method for shorter videos from Paul Livefree Francis:
The first four seconds hook the viewer.
Next four seconds, dismiss disbelief or agitate pain points.
The following four seconds provide the main value or takeaway.
The final four seconds include a call to action.
A hook is a powerful part of short videos, especially on platforms like TikTok, where capturing the viewer’s attention in the first few seconds is crucial. The initial spark catches the viewer’s attention and keeps them engaged.
Here are some excellent examples from Devin Jatho:
Ask a Question: This hook engages the viewer by posing a question. It encourages them to think and become actively involved in the video, often leading them to watch till the end to find the answer.
Example: ‘Does your protein shake taste like chalk?’
Experience to Share: Sharing a personal experience or story can create an emotional connection with the viewer. It makes the content more relatable and authentic, which can increase viewer engagement.
Example: ‘I wanted to bulk up this summer, but getting enough protein was tough.’
Calling Out: This hook directly addresses a specific group or type of viewer. It makes those viewers feel seen and understood, increasing the likelihood that they’ll continue watching.
Example: ‘If you’re having trouble gaining muscle, listen up.’
Here’s How: This hook offers a solution or teaches something new. It’s effective because it promises to provide value or solve a problem, enticing viewers to keep watching.
Example: ‘Here’s how to meet your protein goals and enjoy it.’
Social Proof: This hook leverages testimonials, reviews, or endorsements to build credibility and trust. It shows viewers that others have benefited from the content, making them more likely to watch and engage.
Example: ‘Here’s why Ronnie Coleman can’t stop talking about this protein powder.’
Yes, you can. Much like website SEO, it involves optimizing your content to increase its visibility on the platform. This includes using relevant keywords in your video descriptions and hashtags, understanding your audience’s interests, and creating videos that resonate with them.
To maximize SEO on TikTok, you should understand your audience and engage with it, use relevant keywords and hashtags, post content regularly, and monitor the performance of your videos to refine your strategy. It’s also beneficial to stay updated with TikTok trends and incorporate them into your content.
While TikTok and Google are different platforms with different algorithms, there can be some indirect benefits of TikTok for Google SEO. For instance, if you have a website or blog and share your TikTok videos there, it can increase user engagement on your site, which is a positive signal for Google SEO. Additionally, if your TikTok profile or videos get linked from other websites, it can improve your backlink profile.
Yes, you can promote your website on TikTok. You can include your website link in your TikTok profile bio or mention your website in your video captions or in the videos themselves. This can drive traffic from TikTok to your website.
Wrapping up, TikTok SEO is a big deal if you want to get noticed on this popular app. Here’s how you can get better at it:
Remember, TikTok SEO is important, but the main goal is to make great videos people want to watch. If you do that, you’ll get more views and followers.
Keep an eye on how your videos are doing, tweak your strategy based on what works, and stay on top of TikTok trends. With the right plan, TikTok SEO can help you stand out and open up lots of opportunities.
And this is it! I hope you found it helpful! Happy TikToking!