If you’re a marketer, it’s likely that you’ve heard the SEO stat that’s sent the industry into a frenzy: that 40% of Gen Zs prefer searching on TikTok and Instagram instead of Google (Tech Crunch).
And who can blame them? Short form, user-generated content can help users find what they’re looking for in an instant, providing a relatable source they can see and trust. By adopting this medium, brands are able to broaden their online reach even further.
The statistic spread like wildfire after Google’s senior vice president, Prabhakar Raghavan, announced the growing preference at this year’s Fortune Brainstorm conference. It has us all asking: Is TikTok SEO the future?
The powers at Google have certainly been asking similar questions, because the new data is causing them to rethink the types of search results they display. According to Raghavan, Google’s SERPs will start to steer towards more visual content to keep up with users’ changing demands. They’re even in negotiations with TikTok so that they can start indexing and displaying individual TikTok videos.
We already know that TikTok can facilitate digital PR with incredible TikTok reactive campaigns, but now it looks like the ever-growing social media platform is sneaking into SEO overall. So, how does it affect your strategy?
In this guide, we’ll share everything we know about TikTok SEO, so you can figure out how to appear in TikTok searches and get in front of your audience.
What is TikTok SEO?
TikTok SEO refers to optimisation tactics used to increase the visibility and discoverability of short form video content on the social media platform, TikTok. TikTok SEO involves utilising relevant hashtags, compelling captions, and creating engaging content that resonates with the platform’s algorithms and user base.
TikTok SEO is particularly impactful because it extends the lifespan of content, allowing it to remain discoverable in TikTok search results long after its initial appearance on the For You Page. Strategic optimisation ensures that videos continue to surface in relevant searches, reaching a broader audience over time and contributing to a brand’s sustained visibility on the platform.
How Does TikTok SEO Work?
TikTok SEO operates through a combination of factors that influence the platform’s algorithms and determine the visibility of content. One key element is the strategic use of hashtags, as they serve as a primary method for categorising and indexing videos. Creators often employ trending and niche-specific hashtags to increase the discoverability of their content. Creating engaging captions with relevant keywords also contributes to the optimisation process.
The TikTok algorithm also considers user engagement metrics, such as likes, comments, and shares, in determining a video’s popularity and, consequently, its visibility. Staying attuned to trending challenges, music, and effects further enhances a creator’s chances of appearing on the For You Page and the search results page.
How to Do TikTok SEO
To optimise your TikTok videos and help them appear in the platform’s search results, begin by conducting keyword research to work out what your audience are searching for.
When you have found keywords that are relevant to your video, incorporate these into the content. You can implement keywords in:
How to Optimise TikTok Hashtags For SEO
Hashtags are key to getting your TikTok videos discovered, so make sure you utilise these to the fullest. Carefully think about what keywords your audience is searching for and add these to your hashtags. Always make sure each tag is as relevant as possible too.
A common misconception is that creators should only use the most popular hashtags in their videos. Sure, joining these trends helps you get involved in conversations that your audiences are interested in, but when it comes to search visibility, these hashtags can be very saturated.
Instead, adding long-tail keywords to your hashtags can help you appear in results that aren’t as populated, so you have a bigger chance of cutting through the crowd. For example, if you’re styling a linen shirt, don’t just use hashtags like #FashionTikTok, be more specific with things like #linenshirts or #stylinglinen.
How to Optimise TikTok Captions For SEO
Captions and hashtags count towards the same character count, but don’t be tempted to replace one with the other. Keep your captions short to allow plenty of room for hashtags, but still add something that summarises your video and includes your keywords.
In TikTok SEO, optimising captions is your chance to get in specific keywords when your hashtags don’t allow – so our ‘linen shirt’ video might be captioned ‘How to style a linen shirt’.
How to Optimise Video Text For SEO
Adding text to your video can have a lot of rewards. A clear title cover can show searchers exactly what your video is about and encourage click-throughs, so where possible, add one with your keywords.
Similarly, adding text throughout not only ensures your video is optimised for search, but it also promotes accessibility and is a great storytelling tool.
How to Rank TikTok Videos in Google’s Search Results
Now, Google ranks individual TikTok videos in its search engine results pages (SERPs) for certain keywords. Only available in SERPs on mobile devices, Google now displays a carousel of short-form video content, including videos from both TikTok and YouTube Shorts.
To boost your Google visibility even further, you can now optimise your social media videos to rank for target keywords too. You can find which terms have mobile TikTok carousels via search tools such as SEMRush. Here, you can filter your keyword research by SERP features and click ‘video carousel’ (like in the image below). Finding these opportunities allows you to broaden your reach and capture users with a whole other intent.
Once you find which keywords have these SERP features, you’ll be able to create TikTok content accordingly and implement these keywords throughout the video.
TikTok SEO Tools
While TikTok itself does not provide SEO tools, there are external tools and resources you can leverage to enhance your TikTok SEO strategy.
Keywordtool.io – This is a keyword research tool that provides estimated TikTok search volume, as well as rising trend data.
SEMRush – SEMRush shows which Google SERPs feature a TikTok carousel, so you can rank here too.
Ahrefs – Ahrefs shows YouTube search data, which is proven to have a similar search intent as TikTok
TikTok Creative Centre – TikTok’s Creative Centre is designed to help businesses with content inspiration. Here you can find trending hashtags and insights.
Google Analytics – You can track how many users are referred from TikTok to your site. Simply go to Traffic Acquisition and filter by Organic Social, then view by Source/Medium
To find out how TikTok can benefit SEO strategy, get in touch with a member of our team today.