SEO for TikTok? You heard that right. With nearly 40% of young internet users side-stepping Google in favor of using social media for search queries, it’s clear that the way we engage with information in the digital age is changing. TikTok has already de-throned Google as the most visited website—ending the tech giant’s 15-year reign. With social as the new search engine, brands must incorporate SEO best practices into their social media marketing.
What is TikTok SEO?
TikTok SEO is the process of optimizing your TikTok profile for the TikTok search engine by adding keywords to your video description, tags, and title. The goal is to increase engagement and views from organic searches.
How to Optimize for TikTok SEO
1. Understand your audience and their intent.
Who is your audience, or who do you want your audience to be? Look back at your buyer personas and consider why those buyers might be looking at your content on TikTok. Are they most interested in learning about a specific offering? Are they looking for a product demo or review? Determining your audience and their intent will help you target your TikTok content to your ideal audience.
2. Select the right keywords for your video.
What terms or phrases is your target audience using to search for content like yours? Analyze the common keywords and phrases from content similar to yours—or content reaching the audience you want—and decide which keywords accurately describe your content and will gain traction on the platform.
3. Incorporate the keywords into your content piece.
Use keywords in your content: the title, description, even in-video text are all analyzed by the algorithm. This gives you ample space to incorporate the keywords and phrases into your content and optimize it for the platform.
4. Determine your hashtag SEO strategy.
Similar to keywords, you can analyze the content your audience is consuming and develop your hashtag SEO strategy using those insights. What hashtags are your competitors using? What are the trending hashtags that influencers in your industry are using?
5. Use previous videos as learnings to refine your SEO strategy.
Much like you analyze competitor’s videos to help shape your strategy, your previous content can also help you learn and refine your B2B SEO strategy. What keywords or hashtags really helped your content take off? Use the in-platform analytics (discussed more below) to measure changes in video views, comments, likes, shares, and more. These metrics will help you map out which of your tactics were successful.
SEO TikTok Strategies to Implement
Strategy #1: Optimize Your TikTok Videos for Optimal Results.
Use trending sounds and hashtags.
We all know how important keywords are when it comes to SEO. And we agree hashtags can be vital on social media. But did you know they work together? Google indexes TikTok content, meaning that hashtags benefit not only your views and performance within the TikTok app but also on Google!
Using relevant keywords increases your brand’s discoverability, but finding the correct number of hashtags can vary from video to video; we recommend starting with three-to-five hashtags for each TikTok post and adjusting from there based on performance. To increase your visibility on TikTok, use popular hashtags suited to your content, but also include lesser-used hashtags to target your specific audience.
Long-tail keywords within TikTok captions are also a highly effective tool for getting more eyes on your content. Long-tail keywords—phrases that include three or more keywords—are effective for optimizing a TikTok SEO strategy. The platform itself can even be used as a keyword research tool to help find the right keywords for your content.
It’s also important to remember that keyword effectiveness will shift with audience preference, so experiment with and update hashtags to grow your TikTok followers. And don’t be afraid to test your hashtags until you get the ideal ones for your brand.
Ready to begin choosing hashtags? Here’s what we recommend:
- Step #1: Familiarize yourself with TikTok
To search hashtags on TikTok, open the TikTok app to the home tab and tap the search icon (a magnifying glass) at the top right of the screen. Here you’ll see your recent searches. Underneath those will be a list of “You may like” that will show you trending sounds and categories related to your preferences. And if you’ve done the work to curate a profile representative of the audience you want to reach, those preferences should align with theirs. From there, you can click on a trend, which will navigate you to a page of videos associated with that trend. At the top of the page, there will be a menu bar, so you can view users, videos, sounds, lives, and hashtags all associated with that trending topic.
- Step #2: Find relevant TikTok hashtags
When you’re browsing content from creators and rivals in your niche, note what hashtags they’re using on their most popular posts. You can also use a hashtag generator tool to find similar hashtags.
You can use the above method to search for your niche’s hashtags and videos. Then, simply watch and engage with the content by liking it or leaving a comment. As the algorithm learns your preferences, it will adapt to show you more trending videos in your engagement-led niches. Check in early and often to get in on trends. TikTok creators need to act fast and join trends before they get lost in the noise.
- Step #3: Learn what your competitors are doing
Watch the other content under your key hashtags to ensure that you’re meeting user intent and expectations. This is a great way to see if people are even talking about or interested in the topic you have searched.
- Step #4: Run keyword research
To ensure you use relevant keywords throughout your TikTok content, perform keyword research through SEMRush or Ubersuggest. These tools will help you identify the search volume of your keywords, determining how often they are searched. This will allow you to replace those low-searched keywords with better alternatives.
Keep your content short and sweet—but not too short.
TikTok is known for its brief videos that keep users engaged before they swipe away. While users could originally only record 15-second videos on the platform, TikTok has extended that to one minute, three minutes, and even announced a ten-minute video length in February 2022. According to TikTok, one in four of the best-performing videos are between 21 and 34 seconds long, averaging a 1.6% boost in impressions, so you’ll want to keep this in mind when creating your next viral video.
Keep the titles of your videos relevant.
Your title should match the intent and subject of your video for the best results. It can be annoying for users looking for particular B2B content if videos are incorrectly named, so pay special attention to the copy in your titles and captions!
Strategy #2: Keep your audience engaged.
Eye-catching and thumb-stopping videos are the name of the game on TikTok. Educational and comical videos tend to perform better than other types of content, as well as visually appealing videos that still have the “spur-of-the-moment” feel that TikTok is known for.
Add your search keywords in the text.
When creating a video, you can include text on the screen. TikTok then scans this text and serves the viewer your content based on any relevant keywords mentioned. We recommend including keywords within the first one to two seconds of the video.
Make sure to also take advantage of the increased 2,200-character caption limit (now the same length as Instagram) by including keywords and phrases you know your customers will be searching for. Keep your captions natural, placing the keyword in a sentence rather than keyword stuffing.
For example, if we search “best marketing strategies,” the video ranking highest is one where “best marketing strategy” is in the title (the text header on the video). The poster also used the phrase in the description and in the hashtags on the post.
When comparing this video against the other videos ranking for the same keyword, it’s obvious that the likes and views aren’t influencing the ranking as much as in-text keywords. Videos further down in the results list have 97.8K and 19.4K likes, while the first video only has 1393.
Don’t be afraid to get creative.
The most successful TikTok SEO-friendly videos incite emotion in the watcher and inspire them to engage on a personal level. In the brainstorming phase, picture how your target audience might respond to your video and film/direct accordingly.
The majority of TikTok users look for entertainment. If you want to make your business relatable on the platform, get in on the trends, but be sure that your content is also optimized for search engines and engagement.
Open-ended questions encourage your audience to engage with your content. After you post, browse through your profile and listen to what your audience says. Build customer loyalty by responding to comments with relevant information.
Strategy #3: Use cross-promotion in your TikTok SEO strategy
Don’t forget the power of cross-promotion when it comes to your TikTok SEO strategy. It can be an effective tool for driving people to the next stop on their purchase journey. Cross-platform promotion also capitalizes on the specific strengths and communities on each platform. Brands should cross-promote between social channels and between social media and their website.
Redirect your audience to your social channels.
If you’re at a loss for how to repurpose your TikTok SEO content, here are a few ideas to help jumpstart your cross-promotion campaign:
- Use your TikTok videos as Instagram Reels.
- Repost your TikTok videos on your website and Facebook.
- Promote your TikTok videos in social media groups.
- Promote your TikTok videos on Pinterest.
- Compile your TikTok videos into playlists or round-up videos on Youtube.
- Use your TikTok videos on LinkedIn to point users to your profile or website.
Redirect your audience to your website.
It would be a waste to build a good TikTok following without redirecting them to your website. Your TikTok user account must include a short introduction—that should tell your audience what problem you solve for them—and the link to your website in your profile.
Other ways to cross-promote between TikTok and your website include teasing new website content (like a new blog or free ebook) in a video. Or you can pair your product or service with the latest trend for a unique spin on the platform’s latest craze.
Strategy #4: Use TikTok analytics to drive better results over time
As with any social media platform, analytics serves as your blueprint for B2B marketing. TikTok analytics provides in-depth information about your audience and their behavior, showing which content gets the most interaction, clicks, and visits to your profile.
Without analytics, you can’t have a TikTok SEO strategy. Measuring and testing is a huge part of improving your TikTok SEO strategy over time, so you’ll want to work to ensure you’re tracking engagement, visibility, and your efforts over time to find out exactly what’s working, what needs to be changed and what needs to be eliminated from your strategy or content plan entirely.
Here are some of the best metrics to pay attention to, according to Zen’s SEO experts:
- Video views
Looking at this bar graph, you can easily pick out viewing trends on your channel and customize the period of time you view.
- Profile views
Here, you will see the number of likes, comments, and shares for each video you’ve posted over a given period of time.
The number of likes your videos receive in a selected date range
The number of comments your videos receive in a selected date range
The number of shares your videos receive in a selected date range
The number of videos you share in a selected date range
The total number of users that follow your account and how that number has changed within a selected date range
When you scroll down on that same overview page, you’ll next see that you can click on your “followers” analytics (also found as a tab at the top of your screen, as shown above).
Here you’ll be able to see:
- How many followers your account has
- Your follower growth percentage since the previous period you selected
- Demographic information about your followers, such as gender and location
- The hours your followers are most active
- The days your followers are most active
- The sounds your followers have listened to
TikTok SEO: Frequently asked questions
1. How frequently should I be posting on TikTok?
TikTok recommends posting one to four times per day. To find a posting schedule that will please both the TikTok algorithm and your fans, keep a close eye on your performance until you find a frequency that works.
2. What is TikTok Q&A, and how can it be used for SEO?
TikTok Q&A is a question-and-answer feature that allows you to ask or answer questions on the app. Once you see a suggested question that interests you, you can tap on it to view other people’s answers as well as provide your own answers. This can be used for SEO by optimizing answers with relevant keywords. Your optimized answer can bring more traffic to your page.
3. Why can’t I see my TikTok analytics?
You can only see analytics if you open a pro account, so it’s important to remember this if you’re on the platform for business. Already set up a personal account? Go to your profile settings and tap the Manage My Account option. On the next screen, tap Switch to Pro Account. Simple.
Brand tip: If you’re seeing high levels of engagement with a region you are not actively targeting, consider supporting it with additional marketing resources.
4. How can I use my TikTok analytics to help develop my TikTok strategy?
Your profile overview on analytics will summarize total videos posted, profile views, and follower count with an analysis of these views based on the time constraints you set up. This information can also be found on a day-by-day basis. By digging into follower insights, you can see which videos on which days aligned with follower growth more clearly. This will help you inform your user engagement strategy and learn where you’re going wrong.
Content insights are also extremely helpful for brands. With these, you can see post-specific views from the last seven days, and it even shows you which of your videos have made it on the ‘For You’ page within this period. By clicking on a specific post, you can find the total ‘likes’ and comments received, total shares, video views, playtime, traffic sources, and audience territories.
Are you ready to dive head-first into the world of TikTok SEO? Reach out. We’d love to help you master your TikTok presence.