Did you know that TikTok SEO is now a better way to reach your audience than using hashtags? That’s right, the young social media platform with over one billion active monthly users has quite an impressive search engine. Don’t worry, hashtags aren’t out of the picture quite yet. But if your company really wants to take advantage of TikTok’s algorithm, you’ll need to understand how search engine optimization on TikTok works.
What is TikTok Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Most people know SEO as it relates to Google. Want to rank higher than your competitors on Google? Make sure to optimize your website so it will be found easier on the search engine results pages. So what is TikTok SEO and how is it different? TikTok search engine optimization—similar to regular SEO—is optimizing your videos on TikTok in order to rank higher on TikTok’s results pages after someone has made a search query.
Why Should You Care About TikTok SEO?
People are searching on TikTok the same way they do on Google. Looking for a guide on how to grill the perfect steak? Or maybe you’re looking for the best cardio workout for weight loss. Just plug your question or topic in the search bar and you’ll be greeted with several relevant videos.
One comment made recently is that SEO on Google is becoming quite…hindering in some cases. Let’s take the search query for “how to grill the perfect steak” for instance. Put that keyphrase into Google and you will receive several results. Click on any of them. When the page loads, you’ll notice something. You have to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to actually get to the recipe, ingredients, and instructions—the stuff you actually want to read. But, due to how Google’s algorithm works, the author of that page had to write their whole life’s story before actually getting to the instructions about grilling the steak.
Now let’s take TikTok. This is a platform known for its short-form video content. If I open up TikTok and search “how to grill the perfect steak”, I’ll see several short-form videos appear on the results page. Instead of having to read an entire article, I can watch a 30 second video on how to grill my steak.
How to Rank at the Top with TikTok SEO?
Now that you know what TikTok SEO is and why it is important, let’s talk about how to rank at the top of the TikTok search results page. Here are our recommended steps:
1. Answer The Public
- Visit the website Answer The Public. Answer The Public is a great site to use for researching relevant topics for your industry and finding out what questions your audience has.
- In the search bar, type your niche (i.e. grilling, digital marketing, interior design).
- Answer The Public will generate 80 questions people commonly ask around your niche.
2. Answer Those Questions In Your Videos
- Take a question from Answer The Public and answer the question (aka keyword) in your video. This is the most important step. Be sure to create a well-thought-out video that really answers your audience’s questions and concerns. You want to create something that people will like, comment on, save, and (hopefully) share.
- Use the keyword in the text on your screen.
- Make sure the keyword is in the captions for the video.
- Be sure the auto-generated captions are using the keyword.
- Try to make your videos and captions as long as possible, without wearing your viewer out. Keep in mind, TikTok now allows videos up to ten minutes long on its platform. Some say this is to compete against YouTube—which is ironic when you consider that YouTube recently released Shorts in order to compete with TikTok. Even though your videos can be ten minutes long, most users still come to TikTok for shorter video content. We think anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute is a safe bet.
3. Use TikTok Best Practices When Posting
- Make sure your video and audio quality is good before posting. If you follow all of the above steps, but your video and/or content is low quality, your video will not rank as high as it could.
- Use a trending sound for a greater reach. Is there a song or sound you have been hearing on TikTok a lot lately and you think would work well with your video? Search the song and/or sound when creating your video or save the sound by visiting a video that uses it, clicking on the bottom right corner, and clicking “Save to Favorites.” People sometimes search videos by the song or sound, so using a trending sound will allow your video to be found more.
- Use hashtags in your caption for greater reach. TikTok, like other social media platforms, still relies on hashtags. Use relevant hashtags in your captions. Unlike Instagram, however, only use a few hashtags at a time.
- Research when your audience is most active on TikTok and post within those hours. Sprout Social has a great posting schedule you can use.
Need Help With Your TikTok Approach?
There you have it, everything you need to know about TikTok search engine optimization. If your company is active on TikTok, but you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, contact Set Fire Creative for a free consultation. We provide organic social media services, paid advertising services, and will even help advise you on your TikTok SEO strategy.
McCain is the founder and VP of Client Services at Set Fire Creative. When he isn’t busy helping his clients grow their business through digital marketing, you will most likely find him with his nose in a Stephen King book, eating spicy buffalo wings, hanging out with his wife and Blue Heeler Ozzy, or listening to Guns N’ Roses—sometimes all at the same time.