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Get More Views With TikTok SEO

You can cross your fingers and try to dance your way to viral success — or you can imbue your account with a bit of strategy to boost your visibility and reach and build upon your success. TikTok SEO is the latter — a way to iteratively improve your content to connect with others on the platform. Here’s how to get started.

Apr 16, 2024

7 m read

Want to get more eyes on your content? Social media is a surefire way to do it, and TikTok ranks among the top platforms worldwide. With its popularity increasing year by year from over 655 million users in 2021 to over 1 billion in 2024, there’s a lot to gain by leveraging the platform. However, you’ll need to understand TikTok SEO to maximize this opportunity.

What Is TikTok SEO?

Like most social media platforms, TikTok uses an algorithm to decide who sees what videos. The algorithm decides whether your content shows up randomly to new people and how highly it ranks when people look for videos through TikTok’s search feature. It also affects the prominence of your content in your followers’ feeds. And with plenty of users treating TikTok like a search engine, knowing how the algorithm works can impact your reach.

Of course, major social media platforms change constantly, and TikTok’s 2022 algorithm performed quite differently from its 2023 algorithm. It’ll also change again throughout 2024. While creating quality content is part of the puzzle, there are other things you need to do to maximize your visibility. TikTok search engine optimization (SEO) encompasses all the optimizations needed to make this happen.

Why Is TikTok SEO Important?

Video content optimization is as crucial to platforms like TikTok and YouTube as regular content optimization is for your website. While it’s perfectly possible to gain a large following and reach a lot of people on TikTok without it, this is rare and typically comes down to luck. You’ll always see more success when strategy and SEO enter the mix.

There’s also more than one benefit of SEO on TikTok content performance. Beyond improving your reach, TikTok SEO:

  • Increases engagement. An engaged audience likes, comments, and shares your content, which is excellent for long-term growth. When these potential customers trickle over to your website through TikTok, they’re more likely to purchase things because they already favor your brand.
  • Optimizes content strategy. What should your next video be about? SEO gives you a clearer content roadmap because it helps you find the right audience and meet its needs.
  • Attracts collaboration. Often, the best way to grow on a social media platform is to collaborate with other brands and influencers. However, you need the solid foundation that SEO gives you to attract collaboration opportunities.

How Does TikTok’s Algorithm Work? 8 Ranking Factors

Now that you know what TikTok’s algorithm is, you’re likely wondering how it works. At its core, the platform functions a little differently from other social media giants like Facebook, where for the most part, only your followers see your content. Play your cards right on TikTok, and your videos will end up in the search and many people’s For You pages.

The TikTok recommendation algorithm decides whether someone might like your content based on their interactions with similar content. However, it also considers how your existing viewers interact with your content. 

Basically, you need to give people something they want while also optimizing your content for specific ranking factors.

TikTok has many ranking factors, but the following are believed to be the most important.

  1. User Interactions: Do people who view your content like it or leave comments? Getting a lot of user interactions extends your reach to new people while making your content more prominent among your existing audience.
  2. Video Details: Everything from the sounds you use to the caption and hashtags you write helps the algorithm understand and rank your content. Ensure you always optimize these details accordingly.
  3. Location and Language: TikTok translates content but is more likely to show its users videos matching their location and language.
  4. Engagement Metrics: The algorithm considers videos more valuable if people watch them from start to finish.
  5. Content Freshness: New content often gets a boost because it’s more relevant.
  6. Trend Participation: TikTok’s initial popularity came from dance trends. You can typically increase your reach by engaging in various trends.
  7. Posting Times: Engagement from your followers helps create the initial boost to reach new people, so post new videos when most people are online.
  8. Content Quality: Videos rank higher when they offer value to TikTok’s users and contain crisp visuals and clear audio.

10 Tips To Improve Your SEO on TikTok

Wondering how to perform SEO for TikTok account growth? Just follow these tips.

1. Back Your Strategy With Keyword Research

If you already have an idea for content, think about what people might type into the search when looking for your video. Enter these keywords into TikTok’s Creative Center or a third-party tool to discover the traffic potential plus related terms you can incorporate into your content.

tiktok seo

Alternatively, you can also perform keyword research in reverse. Start at TikTok’s Discover tab or search for popular keywords through Creative Center, then make content targeting relevant terms.

For an example of the power of keywords, take a look at VKTRY’s insole ad. The brand capitalizes on related terms such as sneakers, basketball, and Skechers to draw more traffic than the keyword insole can alone.

2. Optimize Content

Once you’ve found suitable keywords, you’ll need to integrate them into your content in specific places to use them. Some good areas to insert them include:

  • Captions.
  • Hashtags.
  • On-screen text.

Keeping captions short and direct is usually best unless you need to include detailed information. You shouldn’t include more than five hashtags, with three being the sweet spot for most videos. Try to include both broad and specific hashtags, as this will target more people.

To get more engagement from your videos, don’t be afraid to ask viewers questions to encourage comments. You can also make use of trending songs.

3. Understand Your Audience

Your audience defines what your content should look like on TikTok, so it’s important to understand it. Fortunately, the platform provides analytics to help with this, located within the Creator Tools in your profile.

Navigate to the Followers tab to learn more about the people following your account. The available information includes demographic details such as gender, age, and location, as well as information about when your audience is most active.

For deeper insights, consider also checking what your followers like and comment on by visiting their profiles.

4. Post Consistently

TikTok’s algorithm rewards active accounts, and consistency ensures your content remains in front of viewers. Some ways to improve your posting consistency include:

  • Following a content calendar.
  • Planning and recording content in batches.
  • Using TikTok’s built-in scheduling features.
  • Keeping aware of trends for future content ideas.
  • Investing in editing software to streamline content production.

TikTok recommends posting new content one to four times daily to maximize reach. If you’re ever stumped for ideas, you can always repurpose content from your blog into videos.

5. Participate in Trends

Want more exposure? Jump on a trend. Luckily, you won’t necessarily need to dance, as many kinds of content trend on TikTok.

For example, the Cat on the Counter Trend shows people allowing their pets to sit on the kitchen counter when their partners aren’t home. Duolingo puts a personal spin on the trend to capitalize on its popularity. When legal isn’t home, the massive Duolingo owl sits on the break room counter.

6. Make Shareable Content

Shares signal value to the TikTok algorithm, so aim to make your content as shareable as possible. Part of this comes down to knowing your audience, but you can increase the overall shareability by making your content:

  • Relatable. Focus on common challenges and everyday situations.
  • Emotional. Evoke joy, laughter, and other strong emotions.
  • Valuable. Provide useful advice and tips.
  • Entertaining. Use humor and creativity.

Another option is to start a trend or challenge. Your followers will share your content when challenging others to participate, helping you reach new audiences organically.

7. Engage With Your Community

TikTok thrives on engagement, but engagement is a two-way street on the platform. Here’s what you should be doing to build a more active audience.

  • Respond to comments. You don’t have to respond to every comment, but you should reply to as many as possible. Focus on the more detailed comments and personalize your response to make your audience feel noticed and valued.
  • Use Q&A features. Answer questions through TikTok’s Q&A feature or make videos responding to viewer comments that warrant further information. Doing this also helps fill out your content calendar.
  • Hosting live sessions. Consider hosting regular live sessions if suitable for your account.
  • Encouraging duets and user content. Ask your followers to duet your videos or create their own content using branded hashtags.

8. Collaborate With Other Creators

Collaborating with other content creators on TikTok lets you tap into their audience. It also boosts engagement dramatically, making TikTok more likely to show your content to new people. To organize a collaboration:

  1. Identify relevant creators within your niche that fit your content style.
  2. Reach out through a direct message or other contact form listed on the creator’s profile.
  3. Pitch an idea that offers value to both parties and plan the collaboration.
  4. Engage with the other creator’s audience through comments on their videos and cross-promote them to your own viewers.

Finding relevant creators is the trickiest part of the process. Checking hashtags or performing a user search on TikTok can work, but another option is to use an online influencer database.

9. Track Your Analytics

TikTok’s Creator Tools (accessible within your profile) gives you access to detailed analytics. The Overview tab shows you a snapshot of follower growth, video views, and the number of likes, comments, and shares your content has attracted over various time frames.

You can also see more detailed metrics of individual videos within the Content tab. This data is most important because it’ll show you what ideas resonate with your audience, allowing you to optimize future content.

10. Leverage Your Success on Other Platforms

If you’ve amassed a large following on TikTok, now’s the time to put your audience to work by encouraging followers to interact with your blog and other social media channels. This not only helps increase website traffic but also diversifies your online presence.

Ideal ways to leverage your followers include:

  • Linking to other platforms in your account bio.
  • Offering exclusive offers to TikTok users.
  • Sharing video teasers of content on your other platforms.

FAQs About TikTok SEO

Is TikTok a Search Engine?

TikTok isn’t a search engine. However, it has a search function and also uses an algorithm to decide whether users see your videos, making SEO essential. In any case, many people search TikTok for information and news, just like they do Google, so whether it’s considered a search engine in the traditional sense is a moot point.

How Many Keywords Do I Use on TikTok?

Aim to include your primary keyword once in the caption, hashtags, and the first five seconds of your content (in the audio/in-video text). You get up to 4,000 characters in the caption, so you can fit many secondary keywords if needed. Just ensure everything reads naturally.

How Do You Rank on TikTok?

To rank on TikTok, create engaging content, use relevant hashtags, and take advantage of current trends to increase visibility and interaction. The platform’s algorithm prioritizes factors such as engagement metrics, video information, and device settings to determine whether your videos are right for specific users, so tailor everything to your desired audience.

Will TikTok Videos Show up on Google?

TikTok videos show up in Google Search. Embedding your videos in your blog and other places may help Google notice and understand them for ranking purposes.

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