According to Google, 40% of Gen Zers prefer to use TikTok over traditional search engines.
Gen Z would rather do a quick search on the app and see a visual representation of user-generated content (UGC) in the form of reviews, recommendations, and tips from everyday consumers than read about it.
So, if you're ready to boost your discoverability, now is the time to level up your TikTok SEO strategy.
What is TikTok SEO?
TikTok SEO (search engine optimization) means enhancing your TikTok videos to appear at the top of search results on the app.
So, when someone searches for something in TikTok through a keyword or hashtag, you would want your video to appear near the top of the list so that you can increase your content's reach and engagement.
Marketers have planned to increase their investments in the app by running TikTok ads, improving video production, using a TikTok management tool, and collaborating with UGC creators.
Brushing up on your TikTok SEO skills will make your content more search-friendly and well-loved by the algorithm.
Why is TikTok SEO important?
TikTok has been adding more features to support increasing video discoverability on the platform.
Recently, they announced a massive expansion of their video description field from 300 characters to 2,200 — this increases the space available to add text about your clip by 730%.
The key focus is on improving the searchable element of videos and connecting it with interested users. TikTok's algorithm gathers video information to determine what the post is about and who might find it interesting.
So, with a strong TikTok SEO strategy, you can increase your discoverability on the app (i.e., appear on more For You pages) and boost engagement.
It's the ultimate tactic for reaching interested audiences and giving your videos the visibility they deserve.
TikTok SEO Ranking Factors
TikTok's algorithm uses many complex ranking signals to serve users content on the platform's homepage — the For You page (FYP).
The algorithm considers video information such as accounts you follow or have interacted with, device settings like location and language, and a ton of other ranking signals like audio and hashtags.
Although numerous details can influence the algorithm, these 3 ranking signals are the main contributors:
1. Video Information
TikTok's algorithm wants to show you content that they think you'd be the most interested in, so video information is an important factor when it comes to potential reach on the app.
TikTok determines video information by:
- Caption keywords
- Content (i.e video transcripts)
2. User Interaction
Interactions and views on a video are a key ranking signal; it basically tells the algorithm, "we want to see more of this.” So, content that gets a ton of engagement will be shown to larger audiences. Key user interactions include:
- Completions and re-watches
- Account follows
3. Device Setting
You wouldn't want to see a bunch of videos from accounts in a different language you don't understand, so the algorithm will take into account your device settings (i.e., language and location). Here are some device settings that are considered:
- Posting location
- Language preferences
- Type of mobile device
3 TikTok SEO Strategies to Increase Your Discoverability
As consumer behavior changes and social networks become used as more of a search engine, it's time to rethink your SEO strategy and merge it with social media platforms.
Understanding how to use TikTok SEO strategies to your advantage can skyrocket your visibility on the app.
From keywords to UGC creators, we're explaining how to take an SEO approach in your TikTok strategy to grow your following and build a strong TikTok community.
1. Perform TikTok keyword research.
TikTok wants to connect search keywords with content that best matches that term.
So, for example, if you search "best sunglasses" on TikTok, the videos that rank at the top have the keyword text "best sunglasses" added to the screen — proving how powerful in-video text is to the algorithm.
Next, you’ll notice that the top videos also have that keyword in the caption (i.e., video description).
So, if you can find which keyword best matches your video and add it to your in-video text and caption — it's a surefire way to increase your visibility.
How to Find Relevant Keywords for TikTok
1. Categorize your content.
Put together 5-10 topic categories (i.e., niches) you want your content to appear under. Try to come up with 3-5 broad terms and then another 3-5 more specific terms.
For example, if you’re a beauty brand, your broad terms would be summarizing what is your overall offering. Broad terms could be beauty products, beauty hacks, and beauty tips.
More specific terms focus on different product categories: foundation recommendation, foundation hacks, and foundation for dry skin.
2. Use TikTok's Trend Discovery tool.
TikTok's Trend Discovery Tool can help marketers uncover what's trending by location, hashtag, creator, audio, and more.
This can help with keyword research to see what's going viral on TikTok in real-time — and see what keywords are being used in those videos.
3. Look at other creators' content.
Type in a keyword that is relevant to your content in the search. Take note of which videos appear first — do they have that keyword on the in-video text? Is that keyword in the caption?
Uncover what other TikTok hashtags they've added to the video description or look at comments to see what people are asking to find relevant keywords that you may want to use.
2. Tap into user-generated content creators.
Gen-Z consumers are savvy shoppers — they basically merge the awareness and consideration phases of the sales funnel by discovering brands through content in the form of reviews, tips, and advice.
Now, influencer marketing on Tiktok isn't necessarily a new strategy but collaborating with a UGC creator is.
What is a UGC creator?
A UGC creator is a content creator who specifically creates content that looks like UGC—but it's been paid for.
It's a new strategy that is quickly gaining a ton of traction; on TikTok, the hashtag #ugccreator has 147.1M views and growing.
For brands, it's simple, search on TikTok for creators within your niche or accounts that may have already included your product or service (or your competitors) in a video for a collab.
If you're new to working with creators, partner up with a top-rated influencer marketing agency to support you through the process.
3. Create a hashtag strategy.
There is great debate on if "hashtags are dead," but TikTok uses hashtags to categorize content on the app.
Obviously, throwing in a bunch of random hashtags won't work in boosting engagement and can come across as spammy.
But, adding relevant TikTok hashtags (think of them as keywords) that explain the topics covered in your video can help the algorithm better understand your video’s content.
A social media hashtag tool can make hashtag suggestions based on trending keywords and help you organize your hashtags into groups, so you can easily add them to your captions for a seamless workflow.
Pro Tip: If you're jumping on a trending challenge or dance routine, be sure to add the trending hashtag to your post.
As consumer behavior changes and more people search for brands on social media, taking on an SEO approach can increase your discoverability on TikTok.
Focus on keywords and UGC creators that are relevant to your product or service, and schedule your TikTok posts to maintain a sense of consistency with the algorithm.
With the right TikTok SEO strategy, you’ll start reaping the benefits in no time.