TikTok generates more than three billion results in a fraction of a second from a simple keyword search in Google.
If you could imagine ranking on the first search engine results page (SERP) page, that would be a jaw-dropping moment. It would be great if you could create your TikTok marketing strategy.
TikTok SEO is the answer.
There has been a lot of buzz around it lately, but what and why is it getting so much attention?
Did you ever wonder why some videos appear at the top of TikTok search results?
As TikTok becomes an increasingly popular search engine, optimizing your videos for search results is more important than ever.
The TikTok SEO (Search Engine Optimization) process involves optimizing content so that TikTok users can easily find it using the platform’s search feature.
TikTok SEO is similar to traditional SEO in that it uses relevant and high-volume keywords that users are likely to search for.
There is, however, a difference between TikTok SEO and traditional SEO. TikTok SEO is a relatively new concept for brands and creators to leverage the platform’s unique audience behaviors.
Little information is available about TikTok SEO, but based on established practioces that work on the platform, it is worth considering these steps on how to rank for TikTok’s searches.
TikTok SEO: Why is it important?
Despite being marketed as an entertainment platform and not a search engine, TikTok is often used as the latter by many consumers.
According to Google’s internal data, nearly 40% of Gen Z users use TikTok and Instagram rather than Google search.
A recent Google report indicates TikTok is eating up a significant part of the search business, especially in the age group that values community-validated content and authenticity.
TikTok has moved into search because it offers users valuable and engaging content that a community of like-minded creators and individuals has socially validated.
With TikTok being a platform that focuses primarily on authenticity, the platform functions much like word-of-mouth . As a result, the platform amplifies the already high percentage of consumers who trust testimonies over all other forms of advertising.
Whether users are looking for customer reviews of a hip pop-up restaurant or to learn where to go for a date night in Chicago or New York City, users are going to TikTok for information based on actual experiences, not on paid advertisements or large corporate sponsorships.
TikTok has been making waves in the search engine space, and more and more brands are turning to the platform to reach out to their audiences more directly and candidly due to the platform’s inherent culture of authenticity.
(Take a look at the most popular brands on TikTok for 2022 based on the number of followers on the platform – figures are represented in millions). Source: Statista
There is no question that TikTok SEO plays a significant role for brands and content creators for their TikTok content to be seen by the right audiences during their search process. This is precisely what TikTok SEO offers.
Check out our blog on how you can leverage your brand on TikTok.
Tips for optimizing videos for TikTok SEO
You can optimize your videos for TikTok SEO by following this simple five-step formula:
1. Identify your target audience and their search intent
Identify your target audience and what they might search for on TikTok before creating your content piece.
For instance, you’re a sausage brand looking to attract consumers searching for the best protein-rich sausages for meals following a gym workout.
Do you offer a product that helps gym owners find ways to innovate their service offerings, or are you looking to establish a market among gym members or bodybuilders?
The first step in understanding the search intent of your ideal audience is to know how your brand fits into their lives.
User intent determines the kind of content they’re likely to find relevant based on the information they’re searching for.
Another example, you may find an audience among marketers when you share humor or topics related to growth marketing tips and industry news.
The search intent of marketers searching “affiliate marketing TikTok” would be to find content that analyzes what brands are doing on TikTok to diversify their business to achieve their goals.
2. Choose the right keywords.
Identifying your target audience and their search intent helps you select the keywords for your video. When choosing keywords for SEO, consider these three factors:
Search volume = number of searches
Search relevance = how relevant your content is
Keyword difficulty = means that it’s a more competitive topic to rank for.
There is no universal, foolproof formula for choosing the right keyword. These three priorities of volume, relevance, and difficulty can sometimes appear at odds with one another.
Your keyword difficulty increases if you aim for a high search volume because other brands and creators have already created a lot of content that answers that question.
In the same way, low keyword difficulty does not necessarily indicate high relevance. For example, a keyword that is easy to rank for might not be relevant to your content.
What is the best TikTok SEO strategy? The answer depends on your preferences and desired outcomes. For different stages of growth and optimization goals, here are some additional methods for specific circumstances:
For example, if you’re a smaller brand, choose a keyword with relevance at a high level, search volume is low to medium, and keyword difficulty is low.
To reach a top-of-funnel audience, pick a keyword with high search volume, medium-level relevance, and more general keywords.
The key to selecting the right keyword is to balance volume, relevance, and difficulty, as well as keep in mind the ultimate goal of your optimization.
Your chosen keyword should always be related to your audience’s search intent, so avoid overprioritizing one aspect over the other.
3. Incorporate the keywords into your video
Your TikTok videos can incorporate keywords in five ways:
- Closed captioning automated
- Text within the video
- Text captions
- Using hashtags
Ideally, you should use all five options.
Optimizing your video to appear on the top of search engine results for your targeted keyword means using a variety of ways to display your target keyword.
You’re likely to have your video considered as relevant to your keyword the more times you mention it, within commonly set boundaries, of course.
Remember, you should mention your keyword within the first three seconds of your video and appear on your cover slide.
This allows your video to be easily recognized by high-intent searchers seeking information to answer their search queries by TikTok by indicating the topic of your video.
4. Develop a hashtag strategy
For TikTok SEO, hashtags aren’t just about volume or frequency.
It is crucial to incorporate a mix of long-tail and high-volume keywords in a hashtag strategy to achieve both breadth and depth.
Keywords with long tails are longer, more specific, and high-intent, which users are more likely to find later in their search.
Instead of casually browsing, these searchers are entering keywords with specific actions in mind, such as visiting a location, buying something, or asking a question.
A high-volume keyword is typically a short, more general term that is searched for by a large number of users.
High-volume keywords can increase your visibility to a large audience, but their search intent is less relevant to your content, and their conversion rates are likely lower.
Higher volume keywords like #tiktokmarketing target a broad audience for exposure and reach. In contrast, keywords with lower view count can target audiences to learn about a particular niche, such as “affiliate marketing tik tok.”
Additionally, indexing allows you to use your hashtags more effectively and make specific content series more discoverable.
For example, you could use the hashtag #(account name)tiktokaffiliatemarketing to group videos that discuss a single topic if you write a series about TikTok affiliate marketing content tips.
5. Use previous videos to improve your SEO strategy.
As a general tip, the last step does not necessarily relate to any particular video but refers to using previous videos to improve your TikTok SEO strategy.
For example, repurpose hashtags from successful videos, create sequels to topics that resonated with your audiences, or even look at the comments of previous videos to understand what they want.
A/B testing similar hashtags or hashtag sets is another way to determine which is driving traffic to your content.
The audience might enjoy your customized content recommendations if those videos perform well.
The first three seconds of a video are crucial to hooking users in, and hashtags consistently bring in audiences searching for relevant content.
There is no single audience base or brand that is the same. So while following a tried-and-true formula for success is excellent, the best learnings and specific insights will always come from your account’s historical data. So take advantage of that whenever you can.
As social media managers and creators realize the importance of SEO, the future of TikTok SEO is bright.
A fundamental change in how people look for and consume information can be seen in TikTok’s rise to the top.
It’s no longer just about the biggest or most established brands; it’s about authentic, trustworthy, socially validated, and engaging visual content.
Your brand may just be getting started on TikTok, but with the proper perspective on TikTok SEO, you can take your business to the next level.
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