TikTok SEO Explained
TikTok is continuing to dominate the social media scene as we close out 2023. With its addictive short form video format and easy shopability, it’s also been a boon to eCommerce merchants looking for new ways to market their products.
Unlike other social media platforms, however, TikTok doesn’t just rely on an algorithm for serving content. There is a very strong search element on the platform, which has birthed a new form of digital marketing optimization: TikTok SEO.
Interested in how to optimize your videos so they have a better chance of appearing in TikTok search? Read on:
What is TikTok SEO?
TikTok SEO is the process of optimizing your videos and profile on TikTok to increase their visibility and reach a larger audience.
Just like SEO for websites aims to rank higher on search engines like Google, TikTok SEO is all about ensuring your videos appear in more users’ “For You” feeds and search results.
If you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of TikTok, you might be wondering about the viability of this. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all have search bars too but you don’t hear about marketers optimizing for “Facebook SEO,” right?
The difference here is in the reliable nature of TikTok search and the value of the content that gets served. TikTok searches yield results that are arguably more reliable than Google itself at this point, at least according to Gen Z. Over 50% of them would rather perform their searches on TikTok rather than Google.
TikTok promotes the creation of content that meets very specific user interests and needs, with almost no fluff. Plus many use TikTok to connect with friends and influencers, as well as brands. It’s also one of the most prolific entertainment platforms that is out right now.
When you have all of this wrapped into one app, it makes the prospect of search engine optimization quite appealing. With millions of users and a growing eCommerce aspect to the platform, it only makes sense that merchants would want to invest their time and money here.
Why is TikTok SEO Becoming Increasingly Important?
Explosive Growth of TikTok: TikTok has rapidly become one of the most downloaded apps in the world, boasting over a billion users. This means there’s a vast audience to tap into, but it also means there’s immense competition. Standing out requires a strategic approach.
Diverse Audience Demographics: Contrary to early perceptions, TikTok isn’t just for Gen Z. People of all ages and backgrounds are joining the platform, making it a potent tool for businesses and influencers alike. While Meta still skews older, TikTok is slowly catching up as the platform becomes more popular.
Algorithm Evolution: As TikTok’s algorithm becomes more sophisticated, understanding its intricacies is vital for content creators who want their videos to be seen by a wider audience.
Monetization Opportunities: With the introduction of the TikTok Creator Fund, eCommerce integrations, and brand partnerships, there’s potential for significant earnings. But to capitalize on these opportunities, your content needs maximum visibility.
Right now, TikTok is the place to be online. No other platform has as much organic buzz. YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, and other platforms are all doing what they can to stay relevant and compete, but TikTok is stealing the show for the most part. And while the algorithm is very favorable to organic content, you still have to put some thought and strategy to the content you create otherwise you won’t see much meaningful traction.
How to Optimize for TikTok SEO
Keyword Research: Just like traditional SEO, start by researching relevant keywords. Incorporate these keywords naturally into your video captions, descriptions, and even in your profile bio. It helps to perform searches in TikTok itself (don’t rely on traditional SEO tools and Google metrics here. Something that has relatively weak volume on Google may in fact have thousands of searches on TikTok, simply because the trend hasn’t left the platform yet).
Engaging Content: The TikTok algorithm favors videos that are watched to completion. Create captivating content that keeps viewers hooked till the end. A current trend involves making the very beginning and very end of a video appear connected somehow, which encourages seamless watching on a loop. This engagement hack can help dramatically improve the chance of your video appearing in search.
Consistent Posting: Establishing a regular posting schedule can help increase your visibility. The more content you produce, the higher the chances of one of your videos going viral, but more importantly, the TikTok algorithm favors consistency. Don’t go too long without posting, and try to keep to a strict schedule or cadence.
Engage with Your Audience: Respond to comments, engage with other creators, and participate in trending challenges. Engagement boosts your video’s visibility and helps foster a loyal fanbase.
Use Relevant Hashtags and Descriptions: While it’s tempting to jump on every trending hashtag, it’s crucial to use only those relevant to your content. This ensures that your video reaches the right audience. This is where you want to use your keywords – the copy in your video descriptions plays a big role in how searchable your video is. A focus should be on sounding natural however. The audience on TikTok is much more adverse to things like keyword stuffing and unnatural sounding copy. Try to be as natural as possible and always make sure the copy provides some kind of value or context for the viewer.
Analyze & Adjust: TikTok provides insights for Pro accounts. Regularly check these analytics to understand what’s working and what’s not. Adjust your strategy accordingly.
TikTok SEO Strategy With Organic TikTok Management Services
While the concept of TikTok SEO is brand new, we’re already taking it seriously. When it comes to organic TikTok management, we bake TikTok SEO into the process. As a platform, TikTok has transcended the old way of doing things on social media. While creating valuable content and engaging with other users is still important, you can’t expect to grow on TikTok if you aren’t addressing the search engine optimization side of things.
Make no mistake, TikTok is a search engine, perhaps the best one ever made. For those who haven’t experienced how incredibly accurate and useful the TikTok AI-powered search engine is, I recommend giving it a spin.
If you aren’t yet creating a strategy for your TikTok SEO, now’s the time to start. Competition is still relatively low for certain niches because so few content creators and merchants are taking TikTok SEO seriously yet.
Just remember to take the time to develop a sound keyword strategy based on your niche. Think about what your users would put into the search bar on TikTok to discover your services or products, and go from there.