TikTok is becoming a search engine, and now is the best time to start utilizing TikTok SEO. Following these 4 easy steps will make your brand discoverable on the app.

After Google released its internal statistics showing that nearly 40% of Gen-Z prefers to use TikTok and Instagram when they need to look up something, it became clear that TikTok turning into a search engine is real.

The younger generation values authentic, personalized, and community-validated content that TikTok is all about. They would instead take recommendations and other types of information from real people who have had experience than from large corporate ads.

Is TikTok becoming a search engine?

As a result of TikTok gaining more popularity as a search engine, more and more brands are building their presence on the platform, trying to create a more genuine connection with the audience. And this is where TikTok SEO (search engine optimization) comes into play. To be seen by the right audience, brands and creators need to understand the principles of SEO.

If you are looking for your brand to be more searchable & discoverable on the app now and in the future, keep reading. This article will teach you how your business can utilize TikTok SEO in 4 simple steps.

1. Find relevant keywords

A search for relevant keywords starts with understanding your target audience, their interests and struggles, and what they might be searching for on TikTok. After understanding your ideal audience and its search intent, you will need to perform keyword research.

This is, in principle, similar to traditional SEO keyword research. For TikTok SEO, you will also need to find high-volume keywords, meaning users are likely to search for them and which are relevant to your content.

“The more high-volume the better” is not always the best tactic. Some niches are so over-saturated with high-quality content from other creators that aiming for keywords of those niches will be very challenging.

Here comes the third aspect of selecting the right keywords – the level of keyword difficulty. It is measured by how tough it is for your content to rank for that keyword. As a general rule, you want it to be low difficulty, which means it is not already oversaturated with relevant content. At the same time, you don’t want it to be too low a difficulty as this might conflict with the relevancy of your content to that keyword.

Just because some keywords seem low-hanging fruits doesn’t mean your video content will meet the searcher’s needs.

So, in principle, playing around with these three key components – keyword search volume, relevance, and difficulty is what it takes to find suitable keywords for your TikTok SEO.

Various keyword research tools might help you with the task.

2. Include keywords in all available spaces

You should incorporate the selected keywords:

  • In the screen text of the video
  • In the capture
  • In the hashtags
  • On the cover of the video
  • And it would be best if you said them out loud in the video

Using the keyword as many times as possible and making it appear in as many different places in the video will ensure that the platform’s algorithm registers your piece of content as relevant to the targeted keyword. And this, eventually, will increase your chances of being ranked at the top of the search results for that keyword.

Let’s look at a video ranked as the number one search result for the keyword “whipped soap”. As you can see below, the video has the keyword on the screen, in the caption, and in the hashtags.

Different places where you can add keywords

Some recommend adding the keyword specifically to the first 1-5 seconds of the video (either on the screen or saying it out loud). This will help the algorithm understand what is the topic of your video already in the beginning, as well as indicate to the high-intent searchers that your piece of content is relevant to them.

3. Write longer captions

In late September 2022, TikTok announced that video captions can now contain up to 2 200 characters instead of 300, which was the limit before. The app has been prioritizing longer-form videos for a while now. This announcement is yet another proof that the platform is trying to optimize all the content for discovery.

Thus, TikTok is almost directly saying that writing more extended capture is the way for brands and creators on TikTok to be more searchable and visible to the right audience.

TikTok increased the character limit for captions

An increased count of characters in TikTok descriptions means additional space for including more details and in-depth explanations about your content/product, generating more engagement and relatability, becoming more connected with your potential customers, and, of course, it means more space for including your targeted keywords. Writing longer captions should undoubtedly be part of your TikTok SEO strategy.

4. Learn from your previous videos to refine your TikTok SEO strategy

Your previous TikTok data is always the best for gaining valuable, specific insights. The learnings you get from analyzing your older videos might come in different forms. Maybe some particular keywords you used in hashtags helped draw more audience to your account? Or was it mentioning a keyword in the first 3 seconds of the videos that brought you a lot of viewers and potential customers?

In-app TikTok video analytics

You may also consider reposting your old TikToks, specifically those which performed well. You might change them by adjusting to a trending sound or converting them in another way. After a certain time, you can even repost them as they are. Since the significant percentage of the users that TikTok is displaying your content to our fresh faces, you can safely repost your old videos after about three months and be sure that new users will mostly see them.

Creating a part two to a successful video or jumping into the comments section and replying to a comment with a video are other options for maintaining the momentum of the successful video.

Alternatively, you can look at other creators’ videos. Type in the search bar a keyword and study the videos that appear on top of the search results.

Wrapping up

There is a clear shift in user behavior: consumers don’t want to get information from large established sources anymore but rather from real, authentic, personalized content, which TikTok is all about.

Although TikTok SEO is quite a new thing, the “TikTokSEO” hashtag already has over 340 million views on the app, with creators and social media managers emphasizing the importance of optimizing your content for search. With the right TikTok SEO strategy and consistency, your business can take advantage of this shift, which will elevate your business to the next level.