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TikTok SEO: Your Comprehensive Guide for 2023

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Entertainment and search have now been fused into one platform—TikTok. Hence, creators must pay close attention to TikTok SEO and its best practices to optimize their content for search.

While TikTok is technically an entertainment platform, many, if not all, of its users use it to search for anything they want to know, like how they would a search engine. As TikTok’s value as a search engine gets more popular, brands, marketers, and influencers must pay serious attention to TikTok SEO to get on top of the platform’s search results. 

If you’re interested, here are some of the most important things you need to know to jumpstart your TikTok SEO efforts this year. 

What is TikTok SEO?

Google search results
TikTok is almost head-to-head with Google as a search engine.

TikTok SEO has everything to do with optimizing your TikTok content to rank better and higher in search results and be easily discoverable by more audiences. Through this strategy, you can use keywords and analytics to optimize your TikTok content to be at the forefront of search result pages, including Google and TikTok.

The TikTok algorithm uniquely functions because it serves users with content tailored to their interests based on factors like the accounts they follow and the posts they often engage with. With a TikTok SEO strategy, you can produce videos that your target audience would most likely search for. And TikTok’s algorithm will automatically bring your videos to your viewers and potential viewers’ For You page.

However, you may wonder how SEO for TikTok works when the platform isn’t technically a search engine. While TikTok is an entertainment platform and not a search engine, it has a TikTok search bar; hence, making SEO a crucial part of your success on the platform.

Why is TikTok SEO Significant?

Google’s internal research revealed that nearly 40% of young users in the US access TikTok or Instagram instead of Google Search or Maps when looking for something. This data proves that TikTok is now competitive with Google as a search engine.

TikTok SEO statistics
Many Gen Z users turn to TikTok and Instagram for search. Source: No Good

Hence, as more users turn to the platform to search for content, creators and brands must develop a well-planned and unique TikTok SEO strategy. Once you understand why and how to optimize your TikTok content, it will eventually get the visibility you desire.

Furthermore, here are some key reasons why SEO is significant for your marketing efforts on TikTok:

Attract Targeted Viewers

TikTok recently updated the character limit for content descriptions from 300 to 2,200. So, you can optimize the description box to input all necessary keywords related to your content, although you don’t have to use up all 2,200.

Placing relevant keywords on your content’s description is a part of your TikTok SEO strategy, and it pushes your content in front of viewers looking for videos related to your keywords. Hence, your content will attract a highly-targeted audience.

Boost Engagement

Once your TikTok SEO successfully attracts viewers to your content and profile, the chances of viewers engaging with your content increase. If the viewers find your content interesting and relevant, they will engage by commenting, sharing, saving, or liking your videos.

Maximize Reach

An increased engagement will improve your TikTok content’s discoverability among users with shared interests. When viewers engage with your content regularly, there’s a great chance that the TikTok algorithm will push it to the FYP of users interested in similar content. Hence, staying intentional about your TikTok SEO strategies is crucial to increase your reach.

Aside from TikTok SEO tools, one way to optimize your TikTok content is by using software to plan and schedule your posts. You may learn more about this in our Buffer review.

What are TikTok SEO Ranking Factors?

To truly understand SEO TikTok, you need to know what the platform’s algorithm looks for when ranking content it shows to users. Here are TikTok SEO core ranking factors:

Video Information

All information in your TikTok videos determines how relevant your content is for other users. The primary elements of your video information include hashtags, descriptions, and music or sound effects. TikTok’s algorithm looks for relevant keywords on your videos’ titles, descriptions, and videos that touch trending topics.

User Interaction

People’s interaction with your content and profile majorly affects your visibility on the platform. In deciding which content is relevant for particular users, TikTok’s unique algorithm accounts for videos they like and share, TikTok accounts they follow, and comments they put.

In addition, the algorithm also considers the accounts they hide, videos they tag as “not interested,” and content they add to their favorites to fine-tune their suggestions.

Devices and Account Settings

A user’s country setting, language preference, and device type minorly affections the TikTok videos they often see on their recommendations and FYP. TikTok will more likely recommend your content to users from your country with the same language preference.

What are Ways to Optimize Your TikTok Content?

Now that you know why TikTok SEO is important for your content and what factors TikTok’s algorithm considers in ranking content, you also need to get your hands on the best ways to optimize your TikTok content for search. And here’s how:

Put Relevant Keywords on Captions

If we haven’t stressed this enough, your keywords matter in TikTok SEO. The primary and most crucial step in optimizing your TikTok content for search is to put relevant keywords on your video itself and its descriptions, and these keywords must be what your target audience is after.

You could put your relevant keywords in three places—captions or descriptions, on-screen text, and automated close captions. Make sure to maximize all three! And if you’re unsure where to find the keywords, you may learn how to search on TikTok and use the search bar’s predictive text to find the best keywords for your content.

Use Trending Audio

TikTok is home to all things viral and trending, including music or audio. And according to statistics, 88% of users find audio essential for their overall TikTok experience. Hence, we can conclude that audio is relevant to your TikTok SEO strategy, trending audio, to be exact.

There are different easy ways to identify TikTok’s trending audio—you may search on Spotify, the TikTok creator studio, or the app itself.

Post Regularly

TikTok account
To increase your visibility, you must be active on TikTok.

A simple yet fool-proof way for your TikTok success is consistency. The more consistently you post on TikTok, the more the algorithm will know you and the content you offer. As a result, the algorithm will show your content to relevant and interested users.

One good example of a TikTok creator who posts consistently is Lauryn Merchand, a knitwear creator whose niche is DIY clothing and fashion. Lauryn consistently posts weekly #knitspo. So, whenever users look for knitwear and keywords related to that, Lauryn’s content will more likely appear as she offers many videos to engage with.

If you want to post regularly but may forget when things get busy, you will need the help of a scheduling tool. You may check out one of the best tools for this on our Postfity review.

Understand Your Audience

girl and boy watching on phone
Your audience is part of what makes or breaks you. So, it would be best if you considered them always.

It’s no new knowledge that creating content with your audience in mind is crucial if you want success in optimizing content for TikTok SEO. Regardless of your niche, you must understand who your audience is and what kind of information they often look for. You must address their needs by providing answers or solutions through your content. 

If you don’t know how to start, you may look for trending hashtags within your niche because the hashtags show what users search for. Additionally, you may visit other creators’ (still within your niche) profiles and discover what questions viewers often ask. 

Incorporate Traditional SEO

One way of incorporating traditional SEO to optimize your content for search includes setting up a platform or account outside of TikTok. Some creators have YouTube channels or Instagram accounts, while others have newsletters, and this is a double win for those who have both because the Google search engine indexes all these platforms. 

Say, blogging is a huge factor in ranking on Google SERPs. If you want to leverage blogging for your TikTok SEO, you must compose a microblog post that tackles a particular topic related to your content on TikTok. Make sure to put your main keyword on your blog’s title and the secondary keywords in the body. Then, embed your TikTok video link on the blog. 

Collaborate with Creators

influencer collaboration
One way to boost your TikTok account is through influencer collaboration.

Collaborating with other creators and TikTok influencers is one way to increase your engagement and reach on TikTok, especially if you go for creators with a decent following. The influencers may not even be in your niche; they can be well-loved influencers or creators. Doing this will increase your content’s reach and views, and, as a result, you will be popular in the TikTok “search engine.”

Aside from collaborating with others, you may also take inspiration from other sought-after creators’ accounts. By doing so, you will discover what works best for your niche as well as your niche’s most viral topics. Looking at others for inspiration is never illegal as long as your ideas remain original and you don’t copy anything from them. 

Engage with Others

One way of improving your TikTok SEO is by forging relationships with other users. Since the core to getting social media traction is your engagement with others, you must often engage with other users. 

You may search for creators and brands within your niche and place comments on their videos. Aside from engaging with brands and creators, you must prioritize engaging with your followers to develop a strong relationship with them. Engaging with others will urge them to return the favor. 

Encourage Further Action

Just because many users use TikTok as a search engine doesn’t necessarily mean you neglect all other platforms. When you have a decent number of TikTok followers, it pays to redirect them to your official website or other social media channels. 

Make sure to put the links on your TikTok bio, so they can easily find you outside of TikTok. 

TikTok SEO is Beneficial 

The main force that drives TikTok’s major shift into search is its algorithm’s impressive ability to provide users with valuable, engaging, and appropriate content. Aside from this unique ability, many users turn to TikTok for information based on first-hand experiences rather than sponsored or paid ads. Hence, more brands and marketers turn to TikTok to engage with their audience more straightforwardly and genuinely. And this is where TikTok SEO enters the scene.

TikTok SEO must be well understood, and its best practices religiously applied for content to be on top of the search results and be visible to the right audience. If you think about it, TikTok SEO benefits both creators and viewers. So, it’s definitely worth learning and applying! 

Now that you know what TikTok SEO is and why it’s critical for your massive success on the platform, you might fancy reading this “YouTube SEO: How to Optimize YouTube Videos for Search” article. 

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