Every website owner, blogger, and business knows about SEO. It’s vital to driving traffic to your brand and growing your business. But what is TikTok SEO, and why is it becoming increasingly important?
In this post, we’re going over absolutely everything you need to know about TikTok SEO, including:
- How TikTok has taken the world by storm
- What SEO and TikTok SEO are
- How TikTok is competing with Google
- Why you need to take TikTok and TikTok SEO seriously
- How to optimise your TikTok content and build a TikTok SEO strategy
So, if you’re a marketer, looking to grow your brand, or want to start creating on TikTok, listen up! These insights and tips will help you get seen on this ever-growing social media app.
How TikTok Has Taken the World by Storm?
TikTok has grabbed the world by the hand and pulled it through endless amounts of information, impulse buys, and TikTok influencers. It’s a platform that is endlessly entertaining but also teaches people new things every day.
People across the globe are learning everything from how to be more spiritual, improve their golf game, and do flawless daily makeup. Basically, anything you can think of, there’s a space for it on TikTok.
BookTok lovers have been obsessed with It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. The ladies ran to get a pair of ribbed leggings. Not to mention every household now owns (and swears by) an air fryer.
Oh, and it wouldn’t be right not to mention Charli D’Amelio, Loren Gray, Zach King and Khaby Lame.
Can you even remember what life was like before the awesomeness TikTok delivered to us? TikTok has exposed us to things we would never have known about if it wasn’t for the platform. This is why the social media app has become an almighty tool in building brand awareness.
Businesses far and wide have turned their social media marketing towards TikTok and have reaped incredible benefits. But TikTok isn’t stopping at being a great way to build your business. TikTok is paving its way to becoming a place where people search.
But first, how do your content and brand get seen when it comes to search? SEO.
What Is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is exactly what it says – optimising content for a search engine. So, for example, if you want to get organic traffic to your website, you must incorporate SEO practices.
It’s a way to work with search engine algorithms so they rank your content above others. Including keywords you want to rank for on your website is one of these strategies.
What Is TikTok SEO?
In short, TikTok SEO optimises the videos you create on TikTok, ranking them in the app’s search feature. It’s the same as if you were trying to drive traffic to your website through Google.
It’s bad news for Google, but it’s great news if you’re using or thinking of using TikTok to grow your brand. So let’s dive into it.
TikTok vs Google
Did you know TikTok is giving Google Search and Maps a run for their money? Millennials may not have entirely abandoned Google Search, but Gen Z are turning to TikTok when they want to know things. The best eateries in London, reviews of the latest iPhone, and where to get the best gym gear are things TikTok is answering for Gen Z.
Yes, Gen Z are younger and more ‘in tune’ with TikTok, so it seems obvious they’d use it for more than their dose of funny videos. But 69% of Gen Z use TikTok, surpassing all other social media platforms. That means the rest of us will most likely follow suit at some point.
It’s the younger generation that drives technology and social media forward. Millennials, remember teaching your parents how to use Facebook? Now they’re on it more than you!
But the all-important question is, will TikTok take over Google? Probably not, because it wasn’t built as a search engine. However, Google is now showing TikTok videos in SERPs, so it’s well on its way to playing a significant role in how people source their information.
Almost half of 18-24-year-olds are already using TikTok over Google to look for a place to eat. But that’s not all, they’re searching for places to buy products and services, and there’s an obvious reason for this.
Gen Z Trust TikTok for Search, but Why?
This can be explained in one word: influencers. Many are still arguing whether they can trust the information on TikTok. It’s wise to consume content with an err of caution, especially if you don’t know the person providing the information.
However, once a TikTok influencer builds trust with their viewers, people are much more likely to search for their recommendations and advice. After all, you’re getting a review from a real person you connect with.
So, if the trust continues to grow in creators on the platform, TikTok could easily begin to thrive as a search engine, too.
Is TikTok a Search Engine?
The short answer is no.
However, TikTok is already rivalling YouTube and stealing attention. Now, it’s putting Google on the edge of its seat. TikTok has slowly been implementing new features that are helping the platform compete in search.
- Search bar
- Search results page including paid ads
- Suggested search terms in video comment sections
So, TikTok is not a search engine, but the platform is undoubtedly making search more accessible.
So, What Is TikTok?
TikTok is primarily a video-sharing platform focusing on short-form video content, typically 15-60 seconds. Creators share trends, advice, and funny moments to engage and entertain their audience.
This app got everyone completely hooked in 2020, and people used TikTok for almost 40 minutes daily. Of course, many of us had much more time on our hands due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But that was only 2020.
In 2021, TikTok surpassed Facebook’s all-time high of 39.8 minutes spent on the platform per day and reached 44 minutes. That’s more than YouTube and Instagram worldwide.
So, TikTok is all about video, breaking records, and now, competing in the search engine space. But if TikTok is mostly about video content, how and why is the platform including search?
Google Just Isn’t Cutting It With Consumers
When you search for the answer to a simple question, do you want to trawl through thousands of words to find it? Or would you rather watch a 15-second video? Well, that’s why consumers are getting irritated with Google, and TikTok is pushing its way into the search space.
Long-form content, optimised for search, is usually packed full of SEO keywords. Why? To improve rankings and get the content seen. But people aren’t satisfied with this anymore. The content is too obviously ‘optimised’ and can feel disjointed.
Plus, attention spans aren’t what they used to be, and quick, clear answers are what most people want.
Short-form content is King now, which is why TikTok dominates in many spaces. More and more businesses are investing in TikTok SEO to drive traffic to their brand. They know that optimising their TikTok content will increase visibility and brand awareness.
What do visibility and awareness lead to? Sales. TikTok knows this, and Google knows this, too. So, Google will have to keep up to speed and push short-form content to have a fighting chance against TikTok.
What Does TikTok Mean to Search Marketers?
TikTok videos are beginning to appear in Google search results. This is big, as these videos rank before Instagram and YouTube, which Google owns.
Granted, TikTok isn’t dominating overall, but if you want more eyes on your brand, TikTok is still the way to go. As previously mentioned, people trust creators on the platform and actively search for product and service reviews.
Plus, TikTok connects people from all over the world. So an influencer in your brand’s originating country could help put your brand on the radar in countries across the globe.
So, search marketers should take advantage of the rise of TikTok. It’s taking over social media, and not utilising its reach could be detrimental to a business.
Marketers must pay attention to platforms people use to seek products or answers. Then, deliver what the consumers are looking for. For example, look at what you sell and how TikTok helps similar brands gain traction on the platform.
After all, TikTok is shifting into a platform that doesn’t only receive content but drives traffic, too. That means a TikTok video can link directly to shopping pages where you sell your products.
But, of course, if you’re not tailoring your content to the TikTok algorithm, you could be wasting your time on the platform.
How Does TikTok’s Algorithm Work?
How any platform’s algorithm truly works can seem like one of the world’s greatest mysteries. But there are always best practices to follow to please a social media platform and increase reach. TikTok’s algorithm is no different; let’s look at it.
First, TikTok has two feeds of videos you can scroll through.
People You Follow
This feed is self-explanatory. Anyone you follow on TikTok will appear in this video feed. Exposure to new creators won’t show up here, only content from accounts you already follow.
For You Page
The For You Page is where you can find new content and new creators. But it’s not just that. The TikTok algorithm specifically caters to you. That means that if you mostly watch videos about cryptocurrency, the algorithm will show you more content on that topic.
This is the feed where TikTok learns about your interests and tailors the content to you. So, every user’s TikTok For You Page, or FYP, is entirely different. It all depends on what each person likes, shares, and comments on. Even your location plays a part in the videos TikTok will present to you.
The number one thing you need to know about TikTok’s algorithm is that it rewards watch time. So, the longer someone watches your video, the better. If they watch the entire thing, you’ve hit the jackpot!
But what sets TikTok’s algorithm apart from others is that follower count, or previously successful videos don’t come into play. But, of course, if you’re boasting an account with millions of followers and views, that helps.
However, TikTok will constantly show new videos based on current trends. So, trending sounds, hashtags and filter effects. It will also ‘test’ a video to see how well it does. So, TikTok will present your video to a small number of people, and based on its performance it will either push the content to a broader audience or, sadly, won’t.
But the good news is that even if you have a brand new account, tapping into current trends and topics can see your video go viral. So whether it’s entertainment or education, TikTok is always grafting to find the right audience for every piece of content.
So, where do you even start when it comes to finding trends and getting seen on TikTok?
How to Get More Views on TikTok?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of finding trends and putting things into practice, let’s go over the basics of getting views on TikTok.
As mentioned, TikTok rewards high watch times, so always aim for that. But you need the right tools in your arsenal.
So, here they are:
Jump on Current Trends
TikTok is all about trends. You’re already losing if you create content without looking at the trends. Your video quality and message could be exceptional, but TikTok won’t care.
Trends are a surefire way to drive traffic to your brand because they’re already tried and tested. Trends are trends for a reason – they work. They keep people watching and engaged.
So, when scrolling on TikTok, pay attention to the trends, first and foremost. Notice sounds that keep cropping up, challenges, and hashtags people use.
Hook Them In
If your video’s opening is dull, no one will watch the rest. So, you need to craft the beginning of your video carefully. This is also known as the hook. Without a solid and engaging hook, TikTok’s algorithm isn’t going to favour your content.
So, learn from the best creators on the platform, and pay attention to what grabs you as you scroll.
Use Hashtags, but Use Them Properly
We’ve all seen videos about makeup with the hashtag #iphonetricks. Okay, not that exactly, but you know what we’re saying. People will find the most popular hashtags and throw them on any video they create, desperately hoping it will get them more views.
Don’t be that person.
Only use trending hashtags that are relevant to the content you’re creating. So if you’re talking about pet supplies, we don’t want to see #fashionweek in your caption!
Familiar Faces (and other things)
Do you stop scrolling as soon as you see your favourite celeb’s face? Of course, you do. Why? Because they’re familiar.
With that in mind, think about how to use a familiar face to grab people’s attention. Even consider using the same face (perhaps yours) that people will begin to associate with your brand.
But it doesn’t just have to be a familiar face. Locations and objects can create the same effect of making people stop scrolling.
Okay, now you know how to get more views on TikTok, we need to backtrack to the first point – jump on trends. This is the number one way to get eyes on your content and, therefore, your brand.
Not sure how to find trends? We’ve got you covered.
How to Find Trends on TikTok?
The top tip here is actually to use TikTok. This platform is unique, and you need to understand how it works from a first-person experience.
Yes, it’s easy to get sucked into the endless scrolling, especially once your FYP shows exactly what you want to watch. But, it’s imperative you use the app to understand it, study it, and find ideas for content within your niche.
So, follow creators in your niche, like and comment on their videos, and search for hashtags. #trendalert is a great place to start, as many creators’ accounts specifically cater to finding and sharing trends.
As you spend time on TikTok, scrolling and exploring, the For You Page will start to show you more and more videos within your niche and present you with trends you can try.
88 per cent of TikTokers want and need engaging sounds. The human brain loves sound and can evoke many memories and emotions. We all have a song or two that, when the first note gets played, our hearts beat faster, and our excitement levels go through the roof.
It’s the same on TikTok. Trending sounds get pushed by the algorithm, and people hear them repeatedly. So, they build an association with the sound and stop scrolling whenever they hear it. That means more people will watch your video if you use a trending sound.
But how do you find trending sounds on TikTok?
Type in ‘trending sounds’ or ‘viral sounds’ into TikTok’s search bar. It will appear once you click the magnifying glass in the top right of the screen. Then, click ‘sounds’, and a list of the most used sounds will show.
Scroll the FYP
You only need to spend a few minutes scrolling on TikTok’s For You Page to repeatedly come across the same sounds. Naturally, these are the trending sounds, and you want to pay attention to them.
Engage with videos (like and comment) using trending sounds, and TikTok will serve you more of the same.
TikTok Creative Centre
Go to the TikTok Creative Centre and click ‘songs’. Also, select ‘Breakout’ to see the songs and sounds that are trending right now.
The TikTok Creative Centre gives you a much broader insight into the trending sounds. For example, you can see the analytics for each sound, including audience, related sounds, region, and when the sound started trending.
Use this to understand how quickly a sound is growing and whether your target audience will respond.
TikTok’s Sound Library
Click on the + sign on the TikTok app as though you’re uploading a video. Next, click ‘add sound’ at the top of the screen and scroll to ‘playlist’.
Have a browse through playlists such as ‘TikTok Viral’ and ‘Featured’ and see what pops up.
Third-party websites such as TokBoard can keep you updated on the latest trends.
Finding trending hashtags is similar to finding sounds. You can scroll the FYP and use the search bar. But the TikTok Creative Centre will give you the most information in one place.
You can search by industry and deep-dive into your niche. Like trending sounds, you get full analytics and can see the top creators using the hashtags.
TikTok challenges aren’t going anywhere in a hurry. People love discovering new challenges and don’t tire of watching different people attempt them.
To find challenges, head to the search bar and try #TikTokchallenge or #challenge. You’ll find the top trending challenges and can browse to see which ones you can utilise.
Trending Filter Effects
Again, similar to finding sounds, scrolling through TikTok will showcase which filters are popular. This is the best way to find filter effects, then simply click on the effect at the bottom left of the video to use it yourself.
Tips for Trends
Finding TikTok trends isn’t all that difficult. You can spend a few minutes scrolling and find sounds, hashtags, and challenges to keep you creating content for days.
But here are some of our top tips for making the most of TikTok trends:
Found a trend that’s taken off in the last day or two? Jump on it immediately. TikTok moves faster than fast, so you must join a trend as quickly as possible.
Save for Later (but not too much later)
When you come across a trend of some kind, save it in your favourites. That way, you can easily access it when you want to create a video.
But again, TikTok trends come and go incredibly quickly. So save it, but don’t leave it there for weeks unused.
Repetition Is A-Okay
Repeating a trend or challenge is perfectly okay, and we’d encourage it. If you have more than one idea for a particular trend, create them all!
Many creators use the same effect or sound over and over – it’s only going to help drive more traffic to your brand.
Now you know about TikTok and how to gain views on the platform. But as TikTok shifts into being used for search, you need to understand how to utilise that fact.
How to Optimise TikTok Content for Search?
First, getting views and optimising for search results aren’t the same thing. Think of TikTok SEO as similar to trying to rank in Google. There’s a product, answer, or service someone is searching for, and you want to be the person they find.
So, to pop up in TikTok search, you will need to do a few more things when creating your content. But if you optimise your TikTok content for SEO, it will also help drive views. Win-win. Here’s how to do it:
Include Your Keywords as Text on Your Video
Before we get to this point, it’s vital that you conduct keyword research for your niche first. Using tools such as keywordtool.io and Semrush will give you a list of keywords to target.
If you don’t figure out the keywords best for your niche, you won’t attract the right audience for your brand. So, do this before moving on to these next tips.
Most videos on TikTok have some kind of text added to the screen. Text is the perfect way to include SEO, whether it’s what the person is saying or additional information.
TikTok’s algorithm reads the text you add and uses it to serve users with the content they want. So, add your keywords as text on the screen, specifically within the first few seconds.
It’s also important to remember that views don’t influence search results. So if your video doesn’t have many views, it can still rank in search.
You can rank for a keyword just by including it as text on the screen; it’s a powerful way to optimise your video.
Add Keywords to Captions
You get 500 characters in a TikTok caption, which isn’t a lot. So you want to make the most of it!
Include your (carefully) researched keywords but like all good SEO, don’t ‘keyword stuff’. Instead, use them naturally within sentences.
Rank With Hashtags
Using hashtags is essential for TikTok SEO. Many people will follow specific hashtags on topics of their interest. So if you’re using the right hashtags for your brand, your key audience will find you.
How to Find TikTok Hashtags for SEO?
You already know how to find trending hashtags, but selecting hashtags for SEO is slightly different.
Here are our top tips for the best SEO hashtags:
- Use 3-6 keyword hashtags
- Target low and high-volume keywords
- Opt for long-tail keywords under 100K when starting out
- Use high-volume keywords for specific targets
- Update older posts with new keywords
- Use niche and broad hashtags
Other TikTok Questions Answered
Can TikTok Help Website SEO?
Absolutely. Pointing people to your website from TikTok is a must-do and will give your viewers another avenue to learn more about you. This is an excellent SEO indicator if someone clicks through to your website from TikTok. In other words, Google will see you as more of an authority in your niche.
So do not hesitate to link your TikTok and website because the two can work hand in hand beautifully.
How Do You Track Search Volumes on TikTok?
As of right now, you can’t directly track search volume on TikTok. However, many things people search for on YouTube and Google will be the same for TikTok.
So, track trending searches on Google and use them for your TikTok SEO strategy.
Jumping on TikTok
TikTok is expected to reach 1.8 billion users by the end of 2022, so it’s time to start your TikTok journey if you haven’t already. Luckily for you, at Breeze Development, we know all about creating strong TikTok campaigns to help grow your business. So, don’t hesitate to get in touch.