Everything You Need to Know About TikTok SEO

Published on 19th of September 2023

When they need to find information or want to learn to do something, Gen Zs aren't turning to Google anymore. These days, they rely more on TikTok to give them the answers. That's why it's crucial for brands and content creators on the platform to have a sound SEO strategy. That way, their posts will appear in searches, and they can expose their content to a larger audience.

If you don't know how to get started, here's everything you need to know about how TikTok SEO works. Learn what it is and how to leverage it for your brand or business.

What Is TikTok SEO and Why Is It Important?

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TikTok is primarily an entertainment app, but it also doubles as a search engine. It now has a suggestion feature that recommends keywords in the search bar and comments section. TikTok SEO means optimizing your content on the platform so that they have the best chance of appearing in searches and getting discovered by users.

TikTok SEO also means making the algorithm work in your favor. The algorithm presents videos it thinks would be relevant to users. It gauges your interest through the accounts you follow, the posts you engage with, and your other activities on the app. With the proper TikTok SEO strategy, the algorithm doesn't have to be an enemy.

The Best TikTok Strategies to Improve Your Search Rankings

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When you know how to optimize your content for TikTok's search engine, you can improve your posts' visibility, drive engagement, and boost conversion. Here are the top TikTok SEO strategies you should take advantage of:

  • Add Keywords to Your Videos and Captions

    Whether you're trying to rank on Google or TikTok, keywords can make a huge difference. That's why the first step in TikTok SEO is to identify and use keywords. These are words and phrases that your target audience regularly uses to search for content that interests them.

    The easiest way to search for keywords relevant to your niche is by using the search bar. When you type in a base word, TikTok's search engine will recommend various popular keywords. You can use these to make your content more discoverable.

    It's vital to place your keywords in strategic locations. Aside from putting them in your captions, you should include them in your closed captions and as on-screen text in your videos.

  • Use Broad and Niche Hashtags

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    Hashtags may be an old concept in social media, but they're still effective in getting your content in front of the right people on TikTok. While there's no limit to how many you can include in your posts, it's best to use a maximum of five. Having a ton of hashtags can distract users from your caption.

    Experiment with different hashtag combinations and see what works best for your brand. You can mix broad hashtags with millions of posts with niche hashtags that aren't as popular. That way, you can get the best of both worlds. You can also see which hashtags other brands and creators in your industry use to get inspiration.

    You can also use TikTok's geotag feature if you make location-specific content. For example, you can pin LA for a "Best Date Spots in LA" video. You'll show up in the Nearby feed and can engage users in that area.

  • Use Trending Sounds

    Sounds make TikTok videos that much more fun to watch. However, they're not just for entertainment. They also serve a purpose in TikTok SEO. You're more likely to pop up on people's feeds when you use trending audio.

    There are several ways to find popular sounds on TikTok. You can visit the TikTok Creative Center to see the all-time most popular sounds on the platform and the latest breakout hits. When you select the "Breakout" category, you'll find all the relevant information about these trending sounds, including when they started trending, interest over time, and audience demographics.

    You can also go through the "For you" page and observe which sounds creators use the most. Alternatively, you can type "viral sounds" or "trending sounds" in the search bar and tap on the "Sounds" category.

  • Dominate Your Niche by Posting Consistently

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    The competition on TikTok is stiff, with many other talented creators vying for your audience's attention. But you can dominate your niche by being consistent with your videos. When you regularly churn out high-quality content, you're more likely to appear in searches when users type keywords related to your industry.

    In addition, TikTok's algorithm rewards consistency. The more you apply best SEO practices to your videos, the more the algorithm will recognize your brand and understand your content's value.

    To help you stay consistent on TikTok, find a niche you're passionate about and focus on it. It's much easier to keep talking about a topic when it has a personal significance.

  • Use Traditional SEO to Cross-Promote Your TikTok Videos

    You don't have to stop at TikTok SEO. You can also use traditional SEO to promote your TikTok videos outside the platform. Google is the most powerful search engine, and you can use a microblog to rank in its SERPs and expose your TikTok account to a much larger audience base.

    Microblogging is publishing short articles that promote the content on your social media accounts. You can leverage this practice for your TikTok videos by crafting brief posts about them. To maximize this strategy, include the main keyword in the blog's title and the long-tail keywords in the subheadings. Of course, don't forget to embed the TikTok video you're promoting in the body of the article.

The Bottom Line

TikTok may not be a search engine, but it has an algorithm that finds content within the app. If you don't already have a TikTok SEO strategy, it's time to experiment with various practices and see which ones work the best for your brand or business. Once you've figured out your winning formula, you can get the algorithm to show your content to the right people and find more success on the platform.