Is it Time SMM's Took SEO on TikTok Seriously?

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), Google is often one of the first things we think of. The Goliath of the internet has long been the go-to source of information and answers for users around the globe. 

From finding the best gluten-free pizza restaurant in town to asking if you die from a hangover — the search engine has provided answers to some of life's most pressing (and not so pressing) questions. But it appears that there’s a young David making his way to get a bigger slice of the online search pie — and David comes in the form of the hugely popular video-sharing platform, TikTok.Just last week at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference, Prabhakar Raghavan, Senior Vice President of Google Knowledge and Information, shared the discovery that younger users (aged 18 to 24) were now often turning to apps like TikTok and Instagram instead of Google Search or Map for discovery purposes.


In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search—they go to TikTok or Instagram,” he said. 

“We keep learning, over and over again, that new internet users don’t have the expectations and the mindset that we have become accustomed to. The queries they ask are completely different.”


In a bid to keep up with this consumer trend, Google has been doing its best to engage the next generation of internet users who were born into the smartphone era. For example, the majority of TikTok user accounts are now searchable via Google with indexing and site backlinks making them visible, and the search engine is also now even listing TikTok videos in its SERPs.

Yeah, I've spotted queries where the Short Videos module has a mix of YouTube and TikTok videos. "Lewandowski":

— Juan González Villa (@seostratega) July 19, 2022


SEO for TikTok

But what does the finding that more and more people are using TikTok as a search engine mean for you as a creator, business owner, or marketer? And how can you take advantage of the benefits of TikTok SEO? It’s apparent that your audience and your customers are searching for things on TikTok right now. So, on top of creating content that helps to increase the visibility of your brand on Google, it has become absolutely essential for social media managers to incorporate an SEO TikTok strategy to increase the discoverability of your brand’s content and get it in front of your target market. But fear not all you courageous social media managers out there! This really isn’t as scary and as much hard work as it sounds. All it takes is following a few best practices which, over time, will just become second nature. Keep reading to learn how brands and creators are creating SEO-optimised TikTok content.

4 winning TikTok SEO tips

#1: Identify what is being searched in your niche 

When carrying out research for blogs, you’re likely to explore what kind of content your target audience is searching for around certain topics and keywords. Then, you write engaging content on the back of this. The same should be done when creating content for TikTok.Think about what your customers are searching for and the type of topics they’re likely to want to consume. To do this, we recommend making a list of seed keywords around your niche. Take one of these seed keywords, open the TikTok app and type it into the search box — but don’t press that search button just yet. TikTok will then show you a list of the most popular searches that include that keyword. Our assumption is that TikTok is listing the suggestions in order of their search volume.


#2: Create engaging, relevant content around that keyword

Once you have found some relevant topics to create content around during step one, you’ll then want to get the camera rolling. To really ensure the best chances of video success on the platform, you’ll need to make it as engaging as possible.  The more interactions it gets, the higher it will rank for that keyword. The good news is, TikTok has shared a pretty great blog post on transforming your videos here. A few tips include:

  • Ensuring you are providing a full-screen experience, creating videos for the 9:16 portrait mode aspect ratio

  • Sound is essential to the TikTok platform, so make some noise, whether that’s using music, voice-over, or even a mix of both.

  • Stay in tune with the TikTok community by creating content around trends. After all, 61 percent of users on TikTok like brands better when they create or participate in them.

New to the world of TikTok? Don’t worry - we got you! We’ve written heaps on TikTok marketing that you’ll definitely want to check out, including: “The 3 Pronged Strategy for Success on TikTok”, “The TikTok Algorithm and how it works” as well as which metrics to track on the platform.


#3 - Flood your content with keywords

You have a video idea in your mind that Steven Spielberg would be proud of. Now it’s time to incorporate those magical keywords! By weaving the keywords into your content, you are telling the platform exactly what the video is about, helping to increase its visibility and get it in front of those users searching for those keywords.Let’s say the team here at Slate wanted to repurpose this blog on “winning SEO tips for TikTok” into a bite-sized informative TikTok video. Here’s how we would optimize it using keywords:

  1. Include keywords in the caption of the video: Just like you would include keywords in the title of your blog post, it’s important to include them in the caption of your TikTok video for SEO purposes. In our case, we would include “Winning SEO tips for TikTok” within our caption. 

  2. Include keyphrase in native TikTok text: Here we recommend you use the “add text” feature to include the title of your video (including those vital keywords) in your actual video.

  3. Speak the keyphrase: To really alert the TikTok Gods about your video, another good SEO practice is to actually speak the phrase within your video at least one time. Better still, turn on the auto-captions feature. Not only does this make your video more accessible for viewers, but it’s also yet another handy way of weaving in those keywords.

Use hashtags: Last but certainly not least - ensure you are including your keywords as hashtags within your caption. TikTok users utilize hashtags to find content and join conversations about topics that interest them. In our case, we would be sure as heck to include hashtags such as #tiktokseo and #tiktokmarketing.


#4 Create user funnels from TikTok

So you’ve created a super engaging video optimized for keywords that your target audience is viewing by the second. It would be a total shame to miss out on converting engaged viewers into customers by not pushing them along the sales funnel. On top of including a short introduction about your business in your bio, you need to pop in the link to your website. That way, you can use CTA’s in both your video audio and captions to direct your growing community to a place where they can learn more about your product or services. Even better if you can be specific with the landing page, making sure the link used supports your ultimate goal for TikTok marketing. After all, with the bio link being one of the few places on the platform where you can redirect users, it’s pretty valuable real estate. Examples of landing pages include:

  • Promoting an online course? Link to the sign-up form

  • Selling jewelry? Link to the latest collection

  • Running a fitness camp? Link to the sales page

While still in its early stages, it is clear that TikTok SEO is making waves, even nipping at the heels of huge players such as Google. There’s no time for waiting around if you want to reap the benefits of TikTok SEO for your brand. Simply start following our tips above and let the results speak for themselves. 


Learn more about how Slate can help transform your social media content and schedule a demo today.

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