To increase your content reach, you need to understand the SEO ranking factors used on TikTok. To help you with that, I’ve compiled 12 questions + answers on TikTok SEO. Ready to uncover the mystery of nailing your TikTok content ranking?
It seems that people either love or hate TikTok – there is no in-between. However, should you – an online business owner – follow your personal preferences as to which platforms you turn to to publish your content?
If you happen to belong to the “hate” group, I think you should see some basic stats on TikTok:
What do these statistics tell us? It means that every 8 people (aged 18+) in 10 use TikTok actively. It also means that brands having their profiles on TikTok can reach 12.8% of all people living on Earth through TikTok Ads alone! For me, that’s pretty impressive.
Still on the fence? It’s been reported that Generation Z, so those born between the mid-1990s and mid-2010s, use TikTok as their search engine. Even though the searchers revolve mostly around pure entertainment, how-tos, and recipes, it doesn’t mean there is no place on TikTok for more serious brands.
So, if your brand isn’t on TikTok yet, or if you are already there but can’t figure out how to rank higher and get hold of your target audience – this guide is for you.
Let’s start from the very basics.
What Is TikTok SEO?
TikTok SEO refers to the process of optimizing your TikTok account and content to increase its visibility and discoverability in the TikTok app’s search results. It involves using keywords, hashtags, captions, and other SEO-related tactics to rank higher in the app’s search algorithm, making it more likely for users to find and interact with your content.
The goal of TikTok SEO is to reach a wider audience, build a large following, and drive engagement and conversions. Similar to traditional SEO, TikTok SEO is a continuous process that requires research, optimization, monitoring, and interaction.
Why Is It Important to Use SEO on TikTok?
Simply put, devising a long-time SEO strategy for your TikTok activities is an absolute must if you want to stay visible to your target audience. Without the proper optimization of your video content, you can forget about reaping the great benefits this social media platform offers to online business owners like you.
What are the benefits of TikTok SEO? For me, these 5 are the most prominent:
By optimizing your account and content for TikTok’s search algorithm, you grow your audience. The better you’re at this, the more users – a.k.a. your potential prospects – will find your brand simply by typing the keywords related to your content on the TikTok search bar.
Better User Experience
SEO helps your content surface. When your target audience can discover your video content effortlessly, they are more eager to stick with you. This eagerness gets even stronger if the audience can interact with your brand.
In other words, by improving the overall user experience, you build a loyal following.
Again, when you make your content easily discoverable through SEO, your audience is more likely to hit the like button, leave a comment or two, and share your video with their friends.
The more engagement you create, the more TikTok likes you – figuratively speaking – which translates into more followers and higher ranks.
When your content performs well on TikTok and resonates with its users, you build your brand awareness. This also facilitates positioning yourself as an expert or leader in your niche or industry.
Simply put, you become a trustworthy brand.
Finally, when you nail your TikTok SEO game and start reaching a larger audience, you automatically drive more traffic to your website. This, in turn, generates more leads and conversions, helping to grow your online business.
Overall, TikTok SEO is an important aspect of building a successful TikTok presence, helping you to reach a wider audience, improve user experience, and drive business growth.
Is It Worth Investing in SEO on TikTok?
Like with any investment, spending your time and budget on doing TikTok SEO without calculating the probability of success defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?
To make the right move, I advise you to answer the following questions to determine whether investing in TikTok SEO makes sense for a business owner like you.
QUESTION 1: What are your business goals?
If your goal is to reach a younger demographic, build brand awareness, drive more organic traffic, and increase conversions, then investing in TikTok SEO may be a smart move to make.
QUESTION 2: What’s your target audience?
If your research shows that your target audience uses TikTok actively, introducing your brand to this social platform may be pretty advantageous for your business. Just make sure you stay visible to them through a well-thought-out TikTok SEO strategy (more on that later).
QUESTION 3: What does your competition do?
If your competitors are on TikTok, and if they do well in terms of engaging with your mutual audience, then probably investing in TikTok SEO should become one of your priorities. An effective strategy will facilitate you staying competitive and taking over the attention of your prospects.
QUESTION 4: What resources do you have at your disposal?
Whether or not we like it, SEO takes time and requires sustained effort to get you the effects you expect it to deliver. This basically means that an effective TikTok SEO strategy involves having dedicated resources and a budget for the right tools. Without them, it may be pretty hard to propel your business efforts forward through TikTok.
In general, TikTok SEO can be a valuable investment for businesses that are looking to:
- reach a younger audience (18-34)
- reach a specific (niche) audience
- build brand awareness
- drive more web traffic
- increase conversions
Still, it’s really important to carefully consider your business goals, target audience, competition, and resources before investing in TikTok SEO.
When you come to the conclusion that getting your branded content rolling on TikTok is a reasonable thing to do because it will help make your business grow, then you must learn how to do it correctly. First, let’s see…
How to Start Doing SEO on TikTok: The Beginner’s Guide
Luckily, doing SEO on TikTok isn’t a word apart from doing SEO on your blog. Actually, the whole process can be summarized into 7 simple steps – take a look:
STEP 1 Create an account
Sign up for a TikTok account. Make sure to fill out your profile completely with a profile picture, bio, and username. My advice to you would be to come up with a unique name that is memorable unless you simply go for your brand name, which is totally understandable and reasonable.
STEP 2 Research keywords
Use keyword research tools to find popular and relevant keywords for your niche and/or industry. Go to Google Trends or install the Google Trends Chrome extension to check your brand keyword strength and popularity.
STEP 3 Optimize your profile
While optimizing your TikTok profile bio, mind your target audience. Try to speak their language – in other words – try to use the keywords that your audience uses to discover profiles like yours. Also, do your best to come up with a username that is easily discoverable.
STEP 4 Create quality content
Focus on producing high-quality and engaging videos that align with your target keywords. Do your research to see what your audience is currently interested in. Give them some insights, be relevant and try to solve some of their problems.
STEP 5 Engage with your audience
Respond to comments, engage with your followers and participate in challenges to build a community around your content. Also, if only possible, do your best to release new TikToks regularly – best if you do this on a daily basis.
STEP 6 Follow your competitors
Observe what type of content works for your rivals. Identify what moves your mutual audience and try to adopt similar tactics to your videos. Don’t be a copycat, though!
STEP 7 Monitor performance
Use analytics tools to track your performance and adjust your strategy accordingly. Inspect the reports regularly to figure out which videos clicked with your audience, and which simply fail to do so.
Does doing SEO on TikTok differ much from optimizing blog posts for search engines? I think you’d agree with me that it doesn’t. After getting a general overview of what helps your brand get visible on TikTok, let’s break it down even further.
How Can I Optimize My TikTok Profile for Search?
You’ve created your brand profile on TikTok. Now you need to learn how to optimize it for Search.
Here are 4 steps you may find useful:
STEP 1 Use a Clear Profile Picture
My advice to you is to upload a high-quality image – this probably will be the brand logo or simply your face. Be absolutely sure your target audience recognizes your brand easily by looking at the profile picture.
STEP 2 Write a Keyword-Rich Bio
The more relevant keywords in your bio, the more likely your profile will be discovered by the target audience. Try using words that describe and reflect your content, niche, and brand accurately.
STEP 3 Make Your Account Public
Although it sounds pretty obvious, it happens that brand profiles aren’t available for everyone. That’s why double-check whether your TikTok account is set to public. Otherwise, your content will be neither shown nor discovered by anyone.
STEP 4 Add a Link to Your Website & Other Social Media
When you finally get more eyeballs on your TikTok clips, you may be sure some people will check up your profile. That’s why including a link to your official website and other social media platforms in your TikTok profile makes so much sense – it will direct your newly-obtained audience to your product or service pages.
Now, that your profile is all set and optimized, let’s analyze what practices facilitate reaching a wider audience.
How Can I Increase Visibility on TikTok & Grow My TikTok Following?
The good news is that there are at least 6 workable solutions that are likely to increase your chances of being easily discoverable on TikTok.
What are those magical tricks?
- Consistent Posting – Consistency is the key to getting your brand more visible on all social media platforms, including TikTok, of course. That’s why I encourage you to post regularly – this can be DIYs, product reviews, how-tos, expert insights, or simply some fun videos involving your brand. I also suggest establishing a posting schedule because having a well-devised content plan facilitates running the process shamelessly.
- Use Hashtags – Without the right hashtags, your TikToks will be lost among other videos with generic keywords. That’s why adding relevant hashtags to your short clips is a must if you care for increasing your brand’s visibility. Do keyword research regularly to discover what topics are trending in a given week or month.
- Participate in Challenges – Naturally, you won’t be able to take part in all challenges that are promoted on TikTok, so don’t worry if you can’t find the right one at the moment. My advice, however, would be to participate in popular challenges only when they are somehow connected with your brand. No doubt, TikTok challenges are a great way to get your videos seen by a wider audience, but doing it at a push may not be worth the effort.
- Engage with Other Users – Think how much time you can devote to commenting, liking, and sharing the content of other creators and regular users. No matter if you decide to do this on a daily or weekly basis, engaging with other users on the app facilitates an invisibility boost and builds you a following.
- Collaborate with Others – Undoubtedly, working with other established TikTokers boosts your reach on this platform. Collaborate with other TikTok users, especially those with larger followings because this gives you access to a whole new audience. I suggest partnering with the creators that help you connect with people you wouldn’t be able to connect with on your own.
- Use Captivating Thumbnails – Without eye-catching thumbnails, your video will be just one of the crowd on the TikTok feed. Whenever possible, create thumbnails that draw in your prospects’ eyes to make them click on the video.
Actually, there is another way that promotes a higher number of followers on TikTok. It’s a paid one, though, therefore I don’t think it was a good idea to include it in the above list. Yet, paid advertising may help you bridge the gap between your content and your new audience.
Let’s see how it works and what results it may actually give you.
Can I Use Paid Advertising to Improve My TikTok SEO?
Paid advertising on TikTok, also known as TikTok Ads, will surely help you reach a larger audience and promote your brand and content on this platform. What it won’t rather help you with is improving your TikTok SEO. It’s worth realizing though that the more people interact with your TikTok content, the wider reach it has. This, in turn, can indirectly improve your SEO performance.
Let me put it this way: When users engage with your TikTok Ads, they are more likely to follow your account and get interested in your organic content. Once that happens, you improve your overall SEO performance on TikTok. Having said that, you may now be wondering…
What Kind of Content Performs Best on TikTok?
To perform well on TikTok, you should consider creating short, entertaining, and engaging videos that are either educational, behind-the-scenes, challenge-based, or collaborative. I wholeheartedly encourage you to try out different video formats because this way you see what type of content resonates best with your target audience.
What’s immensely important is that publishing only promotional content won’t get you far. For me, the 70:30 ratio is the most optimal, where 70% of your posts provide entertainment or value to your audience, and only 30% focus explicitly on promoting your brand.
I believe coming up with promotional advertising ideas isn’t that hard for you, so let’s see how you can fill this 70% up.
- BE FUNNY – Stories and situations that make us laugh stick with us for long. How to be funny if you’re a brand? Ask your customer service about the most common issues being brought up by your customers, and try to present the core of the problems in a humorous way. Delayed delivery? Create a story depicting all adversities a package must face up to in order to be delivered to the recipient.
- BE INSIGHTFUL – Educate your audience on topics related to your brand. If you sell beauty products, show them how to take care of hair during summer. If you sell kitchen appliances, give them some easy-to-follow recipes for late dinner. If you sell sports equipment, show them which stretching exercises help relieve back pain. Giving your audience tips and hacks makes your brand more trustworthy and relatable.
- BE NATURAL – You don’t always have to do something extraordinary to stand out. There are many TikTokers who become popular simply by posting moments from their daily life. How to do this when you’re a brand? For example, you may record a short clip of your production line. You may also show how much love and effort you put into each and every package you prepare for your online customers.
- BE TRENDY – Use the discovery section to find out what topics that are currently trending among your audience. However, my advice would be to take part only in those trends that make sense when it comes to the service you provide or the products you sell. There is no need to jump on every single trend because in the long run, the cost may exceed the benefits. Nevertheless, get more visible by using popular songs or adding trending hashtags to your content. Since I brought up the hashtag issue, let’s find out…
How Can I Use Hashtags & Keywords Effectively on TikTok?
Hashtags and keywords help both TikTok algorithms and the users discover and categorize the content you spend so much time creating. You need to know how to use those elements correctly. Otherwise, getting your videos to appear on your target audience’s screens may be unachievable.
Here are my 6 tips you may consider following:
TIP #1 Research popular & trending hashtags
I can’t stress that enough: researching popular hashtags and using them in your posts is an absolute must. This helps your videos get discovered by people who are searching for and/or following those hashtags. Naturally, use only keywords that are relevant to your content.
See For You page and the Discover page to find out what hashtags are currently trending.
TIP #2 Use niche-specific hashtags
Once you create a list of popular hashtags, try discovering the niche-specific keywords that – again – are relevant to your content. This is another way to reach a more targeted audience and increase engagement.
TIP #3 Add keywords to your video description
Don’t forget to insert the researched keywords into your video description. This way you not only provide authenticity and context for the algorithms but also get your videos discovered through search.
TIP #4 Use keywords in your captions
Adding keywords to the closed captioning increases the chances of your videos appearing in the relevant search results. Algorithms read the captions, so the more keywords you incorporate, the better for your TikTok SEO.
TIP #5 Don’t overuse hashtags
Using too many hashtags in your closed captioning can be risky. It’s highly possible that such keyword-rich captioning will be eventually categorized as spammy, causing reduced visibility. I’d advise you to use a maximum of 3-5 relevant hashtags per video.
TIP #6 Create branded hashtags
I saved the best for last: If only possible, try coming up with a unique hashtag for your brand or content that is both catchy and easy to remember. Encourage your followers to use the hashtag in their own posts to increase visibility and engagement.
How Do I Stay Up to Date with TikTok’s Algorithm & Search Ranking Factors?
The TikTok algorithm is a kind of recommendation system. It analyzes user interaction, video information, and account settings to later display a video that matches the preferences of a particular user. Basically, it works like any other recommendation system, including YouTube or Spotify, yet it doesn’t mean it’s identical to them.
What I’m trying to say is that: You should keep your hand on the pulse in case some changes are introduced to TikTok’s algorithm, which obviously affects search ranking factors.
Here is what you can do to stay informed:
Follow TikTok’s Official Channels
Even though it may appear obvious, not many online business owners do that. Following TikTok’s official channels on social media are one of the best ways to stay informed about the latest updates, new features, and changes to the algorithm.
Stay Engaged with the Community
I also advise you to stay active in the TikTok community. Follow other top creators, engage with their content and, whenever possible, participate in challenges. Observing what is happening on TikTok, you are in the picture – you are aware of the latest trends and best practices that are being currently used on the platform.
Keep Up with Industry News
Again, this one is often neglected mostly because it requires time, which we often lack. However, reading marketing blogs, news and articles is a great way to stay updated. I’d also recommend attending webinars related to TikTok and social media marketing.
Why? Most such online gatherings devote some time to the Q&A sessions, which makes a perfect opportunity to get some issues clarified by experts.
Experiment & Test
Sometimes testing new ideas on different types of content, keywords, and hashtags may get you really far. Do this wisely and see what works best for your audience to optimize your content accordingly.
Monitor Your Performance
Make the best of TikTok’s analytics tools to monitor how your audience behaves and reacts to the videos you publish regularly. Track how your content is performing in search results. I guess, now you’re wondering:
How Can I Track My TikTok SEO Performance?
Apart from the obvious signs of your success – the number of likes, comments, shares, and followers – you may also want to drive a bit deeper.
TikTok analytics allow you to measure things like your weekly or monthly growth and total video playtime. You may learn more about your audience by getting the information on who is actually watching your content: their gender, the sounds they listen to, and the country they access your videos from.
Not sure what is the best time to publish a new video? Check Follower activity > Hour. Indeed, the Analytics dashboard is full of pretty important information about those who interact with your content.
To track your TikTok SEO performance, you need to have a TikTok Business account. You may also consider using third-party analytics tools (e.g. Socialinsider, Analsa, TrendTok) for even more detailed insights, tracking your hashtags and monitoring your engagement rates.
Summary – The Benefits of Investing in TikTok SEO
Love it or hate it, TikTok is here to stay. With a little effort, you can utilize the possibilities TikTok offers to make your brand reach thousands of people relatively quickly.
Now, that you understand the SEO ranking factors used on TikTok, it will be easier for you to do what’s needed to get your brand the visibility it deserves.
Create a content plan, stay relevant to your target audience, and follow the prevailing trends.
Research keywords, optimize your profile, and carry on posting entertaining/educational content. Interact with your followers and fellow businesses. Stay persistent because the positive outcome of running the SEO-friendly TikTok campaigns gives you:
- increased visibility
- more engagement
- higher follower count
- brand recognition
Take into consideration the above pieces of advice and start creating SEO-friendly TikTok videos. There is no time to waste!