Hear me out: TikTok will be the next Google.
It’s already competing with the search engine giant among younger demographics and honestly, I’m on board. I prefer searching for certain things on TikTok—restaurant recommendations, product reviews, and simplified explanations. Why? The short-form video format makes getting simple answers much easier and more engaging.
If you’re a brand or a content creator looking to find success with TikTok, you’re in the right place. In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know to make SEO-friendly TikToks that rank in search results.
Why is TikTok SEO Important?
As far as we know, TikTok SEO is different than website SEO. For starters, those who master TikTok SEO will not see long-term benefits to their website traffic… yet.
The increasing popularity of TikTok as a search engine is exciting. We could be seeing a paradigm shift in the world of SEO and those who hop on the train early are more likely to succeed.
What's more—as platforms like Instagram continue to compete with TikTok, they could begin integrating better search functionality as well. This means that learning and adapting to this next frontier of SEO is important for staying current as we move into Web3.
Here’s why all this is important at the current moment: SEO on TikTok can help users discover content, even if it didn’t perform well on the For You Feed (FYF). It can also make your content more “evergreen” meaning it will last longer than the three months the platform typically circulates each video.
It can also help you connect with your target demographic. By providing an answer to a commonly searched question, you can attract views from people who are interested in your niche, content, products, or services.
So, any serious TikTok content creator should be implementing solid SEO techniques as a part of their content strategy. Let me tell you how.
Keyword Research for TikTok
As of now, there are no established keyword research tools I would recommend for TikTok keywords. But that is likely to change. The best strategies for understanding what might work for TikTok SEO are as follows:
- Check out the videos of your competitors. What questions are they answering?
- Take a look at your blog SEO strategy. Are there any questions that could be adapted into short-form videos? Chances are many could.
- Take a look at the comment section. Your comment section or the comment section of your competitors’ videos can offer exciting insight into the questions your customers have. Take note of all questions you think could add value to your customers’ FYFs.
TikTok SEO Hashtags
The most obvious place to employ SEO strategies is with hashtags. Hashtags on TikTok are different than they are on Instagram or Twitter, and as such, they require a different strategy.
Unlike Instagram, where hashtags were typically used as a filing system for content, TikTok uses hashtags to feed the algorithm. So, while Instagram best practices dictate that you should use a mix of trending, medium, and low-volume hashtags, TikTok prefers specific hashtags, regardless of the size. This way, it knows which users to send your video to.
If you are a local business, for example, you should always use location-specific hashtags in your caption. Go beyond just “Toronto” and add related, popular options such as “HelloToronto” and “The6”. Also, always remember to hashtag every video with your unique business name. This way people searching for you will find your content.
TikTok SEO Video Captions
TikTok uses the caption description at the bottom of your video as optimizable text. This means if your caption reads “How to cook vegan mac and cheese”, it’s more likely to rank well in search results if a user searches for that term,
TikTok recently extended its character limit for video descriptions, so creators are able to add captions up to 2200 characters long. Use your captions as a way to provide additional value (this will help it in the algorithm) and use standard on-page SEO best practices to optimize it for search.
TikTok SEO Closed Captions
TikTok also uses closed captions in determining a video’s ranking. This is great news because it means that by simply adding closed captions to your video, you can increase watch time, make your content more accessible for all users, and make your content discoverable in search.
If you’re using UGC as a part of your content strategy, include keywords in your script so the creator will use the right terms. If you create your own content, be sure to say the keywords (in a natural way) at least once during your video or voiceover.
TikTok SEO On-Screen Text
Yes, on-screen text is used in TikTok SEO. In any informational content, it's a best practice to include a title in your video using on-screen text. Make sure this title includes a keyword or partial keyword if possible.
If you include on-screen text throughout your video, consider whether it can be modified or created with SEO in mind. On-screen text is an incredibly valuable tool for engagement, however, so it should never sacrifice value for SEO.
Master SEO for TikTok With Hire a Writer
Just like with standard SEO, TikTok considers more than just keywords when selecting which videos to rank in search results. User engagement will also factor in, so always prioritize quality, valuable content. SEO should just be the cherry on top of your engaging, valuable, and exciting video.
At Hire a Writer, we specialize in all things digital marketing. To read more on TikTok best practices, subscribe to the Hire a Writer blog.