It‘s no secret TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms boasting over 1 Billion monthly active users. For many users (especially Gen Z and millennials) the platform often serves as a search engine, with many running to TikTok before Google to look for everything ranging from restaurant recommendations to advice from licensed health experts. With that said, TikTok is consistently making changes to ensure the platform is highly searchable. SEO or search engine optimization is a must for creators looking for people to come across their videos on the platform. In this blog post, we’ll give some helpful tips on optimizing your TikTok videos for search, within the app and beyond.
No matter the platform, keyword research is essential for increasing the discoverability of your videos. In order to post videos that your target audience is interested in engaging with, you have to know what they’re searching for to begin with.
TikTok’s Native Search Bar: The first way to figure out what people are searching on TikTok is meeting them where they currently are—the TikTok search bar. When you plug in just a few words into the search bar on TikTok, you’ll see real results displaying what people are looking for in relation to what you’ve inputted.
Google: If people are searching for it on TikTok, chances are they’re searching for it on Google as well. You’ve likely used Google enough to know that once you plug in a few words in the search bar, Google will show you the top relevant search results featuring those key terms.
Additionally, Google has “People Also Asked” and “Related Searches” features to point you in the direction of what content people are searching for online. Use this to your advantage to research ideas for content within your niche that you’d like to post on TikTok. Afterall, TikTok videos do appear in Google video search results. This is an opportunity to get even more eyeballs on your TikTok videos.
Google Trends: Another free, easy to use tool is Google Trends. This website helps you see the popularity of search terms based on region and even related queries that are worth exploring.
YouTube Native Search Bar: YouTube is the biggest search engine behind Google, which is more than enough reason why you should look to YouTube to get an idea of what videos people are searching for. Similarly to a regular Google search, you can type in a few keywords in the YouTube search bar to get an idea of what people are searching for relating to the term or your niche.
Pinterest Trends: Pinterest is another top performing visual search engine, which is a big reason why you should consider searching keywords there as well to discover trends.
Optimizing Your Videos
After you’ve discovered the perfect keywords to target and created your TikTok video (on Cross Clip if you’re looking for a simple way to convert your recorded live streams into short-form, vertical videos), it's time to post and optimize your videos for search. Below are some ways to do it.
Use on Screen Captions / Text to Add Value
Newsflash—TikTok reads the on-screen text to decipher what your video is about and to determine the relevant audience for the video. Make a habit of including text on the screen that uses keywords so TikTok knows how to categorize your video.
Pro-Tip: If you’re speaking on camera, another thing you can do is auto generate captions and edit them for accuracy. This not only helps TikTok understand more about your content but it also makes your video accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing community.
Choose a Good Thumbnail And Title
Further than SEO, if TikTok sees people are engaging with your video, the app will push out your content to more people with similar interests. In that case, you should make sure to choose an eye-catching cover and add an appropriate heading/title so when viewers are either on your page or come across your video in search, they feel compelled to watch.
Write a Compelling Caption and Use Keywords
Your caption is another place where using keywords can help TikTok better understand the context of your video so it can (hopefully) deliver it to the masses. Make sure your caption touches on the main point of your video (relevant keywords) but also adds even more value to anyone reading it after watching.
Use Relatable Hashtags
As with all other social media platforms, hashtags on TikTok are made to categorize your content for people on the app to peruse—use it to your advantage. Most experts recommend using up to five relevant hashtags in your caption (they don’t work/count when used in comments, FYI). Also, you should refrain from using general hashtags such as #fyp or #TikTok to increase your chances of getting views from people that are genuinely interested in your content.
Post TikToks on Other Platforms
By embedding or linking your TikTok video along with relevant keywords on platforms such as a blog, Twitter or Pinterest, you increase your chances of your TikTok video being shown in Google search results. Take full advantage of the opportunity to optimize your TIkTok videos for search by also catering to search outside of TikTok itself.
Measure Your Success and Adapt
When you begin optimizing your TikTok videos for SEO, start taking a closer look at how your views and engagement is impacted. If you notice increases in both, it’s a good indicator that your videos are shown in the right places on the app and are getting to the right people. If you’re not seeing much movement, try tweaking something like being more intentional with your on-screen captions or choice of hashtags. Be sure to tweak one thing at a time so you can note the impact when analyzing your insights.
Whether you’re a content creator looking to use TikTok to self-promote or a business owner looking to market your products and services, this platform can get you to your target audience as long as you follow the SEO tips that we outlined in this blog post. Happy creating!