SEO is generally associated with Google and TikTok itself doesn’t consider the platform to be a search engine. But what if we told you that around 40% of Gen Z prefer to use it for search? According to research by Google, this is the number of young people that actively search for the information they need on TikTok and Instagram.
One reason for this is that they are looking for authentic user-generated content, i.e. the type of content that TikTok is built on. Another reason is that the platform works in a way that is native to Gen Z and Millennials and their user behaviour.
TikTok is aware of this and capitalises on it by adding and improving SEO features. Two main examples being search suggestions and hyperlinked keywords.
The best thing about this? TikTok is nowhere near as saturated with content as Google or even other social channels. That means it is much easier to rank for a search term. If you want to get in on the TikTok SEO action, we’ve gathered our top tips below.
- DO: Keyword research
This should go without saying: do your research. Define who you want to reach and how best to reach them.
What is your TikTok niche?
Who is your target audience?
What content are they interested in?
How is your business relevant to them?
These are just a few questions that you should be able to answer before diving into content creation. TikTok is all about authentic and engaging content, and how can you authentically engage with someone?
- DO: Optimise your profile
You (hopefully) wouldn’t publish a website with poor SEO because people wouldn’t be able to find it organically. The same goes for TikTok SEO.
If you want to show up for people who are interested in your niche, you need to make sure TikTok’s algorithm knows about you being in that niche. Otherwise, it simply won’t show your content to the people that are interested in it.
So, make your name searchable, add relevant keywords to your bio and explain what you do in a few words.
- DO: Optimise your content
This is where you get to take all those lovely keywords from your research and sprinkle them all over your content. A few places where you’ll want to include your keywords are:
✔ in-video text
✔ spoken on camera or in the voiceover
✔ in the caption
✔ as a hashtag
✔ in the automated closed captions
This again tells TikTok what your content is about, so TikTok can show it to people that are interested in it.
- DO: Learn what works for you
One of your videos received a surprisingly higher amount of views? Great, that means you found a good recipe for TikTok success. Try to recreate it but put a new spin on it. It’s always good practice to review what you’ve done well and do more of it, and vice versa with low performing content.
- DON’T: Overdo it with TikTok SEO
Just as with website SEO, there are a few things to avoid with TikTok SEO. The big one being keyword stuffing. TikTok more than any other social platform prioritises authentic content that is made for people, not algorithms. Make sure you mention your keywords where appropriate, but if it feels like you’re trying too hard, you probably are.
- DON’T: Forget about engagement
TikTok is built on engagement. There’s a reason why people are scrolling on it for hours on end; TikTok knows what users like and shows it to them. If your video doesn’t get their attention or if you don’t engage with your audience, TikTok has less reasons to push your content to its users.
One important thing in this category is to use the various features that TikTok provides. Stitch, Duet, Q&A – there are plenty of functionalities to play with. Other important things are to include a good hook for every video, create looping videos, tell a story, engage with other people’s content and collaborate with creators. To be honest, this is a blog post of its own, that we’ve just added to our to do list.
What about trends you may ask? Trending sounds and effects are a great way to get views and engagement, but they should feel authentic. If you see a trend and can straight away think of a few ways to utilise it for your niche, go for it. If you have to rack your brain for a half hour to get a half-formed video idea, skip it!
What about your other socials?
All that being said, TikTok isn’t the only social platform you should focus your SEO efforts on. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Co may not be as good at capitalising on search (yet), but they have all taken a page or two out of TikTok’s playbook before. We think it’s only a matter of time until they pick up on this as well, so it certainly won’t hurt getting your social SEO strategy in order.