TikTok SEO, that’s search engine optimization on TikTok, interests me a lot as a new TikTokker as well.
I’ve recently started to learn more about this myself and I’m sharing with you everything I’ve learned so far. Why keep it all a secret to me, ha?
SEO on TikTok (and also Instagram) is the new thing for social media content creators. Adapting to SEO will help boost your reach on these platforms in 2023 and beyond.
Last week I spoke about Instagram SEO for content creators. If Instagram is an important social media for you, don’t forget to listen to (or read) last week’s episode 132.
I repeat what I said last week: If you want to grow your talent or client audience on social media, your most important goal is to grow your reach. Reach is obligatory to get your content in front of your audiences, both existing and relevant non-followers.
Using search engine optimisation effectively on TikTok will help you to grow organic TikTok reach.
I would say, SEO on TikTok is even more important now, as I’ve heard TikTok has made it as the number one search engine for Gen Z.
In this week’s episode we switch to TikTok and I share with you four basic SEO tactics for content creators on TikTok.
My name is Susanna Rantanen, and this podcast is for those who want to learn how to use branding, marketing and communications in the HR industry!
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What is TikTok SEO?
TikTok SEO is a practice of optimising your TikTok video content to rank higher in the TikTok search.
According to Hubspot, search engine optimizing your TikTok content is the ultimate tactic to reach audiences looking for the content you share and giving your videos the visibility they deserve.
But not only that.
Did you know that social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are nowadays indexed by Google search engine? This means that when someone googles for a keyword, search results also provide relevant TikTok videos and Facebook and Instagram posts.
SEO stands for search engine optimisation
SEO stands for search engine optimisation.
If you have been blogging a lot, you probably have used search engine optimisation on your blog posts.
Or, when you type in a keyword to Google search for something you want to find on the Internet, Google delivers you the search results based on content that best matches your keyword. Those pages that Google provides you as your search results have been search engine optimised for the keyword you are looking for.
How TikTok algorithm works
There are three primary signals that contribute to your videos ranking on Tiktok.
#1 Video Information
You can add a bunch of information to your TikTok videos such as captions, sounds, hashtags, effects, and subtitles of what you say in the video.
It would be smart to use all these to help your videos to rank on TikTok.
I didn’t know this before, but I just found out you can also add searchable text to your video and move it off-screen. I’ll try this later myself.
#2 User interaction
All social media feed algorithms tend to use user interaction as a key ranking signal. What this means is that when we spend time watching a video on TikTok, like it, comment on it, save it or reshare it, and follow the account that posted it, we signal our own feed algorithm this is what we like to watch and prefer to see more on our feed.
#3 Your device and account settings
From the very beginning, TikTok showed users content based on their country settings and language. You can imagine there to be tons of content in all sorts of languages, but you don’t see them.
I see content in Finnish and English because my device is set to the Finnish language, I am in Finland but the content I post is in English.
When you plan the keywords, you use and optimize your TikTok content for search engines, it is smart to hashtag your location for locally based service and talent acquisition content.
When you implement search engine optimization to your content strategy on TikTok, not only will you help the algorithm to rank your content better, but your content is also much more likely to be found by your target audience as well.
How to search engine optimize TikTok videos
#1 Start with TikTok keyword research
I’ve started to use TikTok search function for keywords I also apply for my Instagram content these days. Not only can I use them in my hashtags, but I can also use them for ideating my content!
You always want to create content your audience wants to see and is searching for. That’s why you start with TikTok keyword research.
I typed in seo tiktok on the search bar to get the most popular videos that have been search engine optimized for these keywords.
You can do this on the app or on TikTok desktop. In the app, the magnifying glass is in the top right-hand corner. On the desktop, the search bar is at the top center of the page.
Simply type in a keyword, any keyword and see what results TikTok provides you. By the way, you don’t even need to have a TikTok account and you can still do this on your desktop.
#2 Add keywords to your TikTok content
What you want to take from the keyword research is to find popular keywords that match your content and add those keywords in-video text and caption.
Here, I want to emphasize not just the captions and not just as hashtags. But also in the actual video, inside the video.
According to the Later blog, there are three places where we need to put the relevant keywords.
- Captions – a no-brainer. Your caption can be 2000 characters so make the most of it!
- Automated closed captions
- On-screen text
Automated closed captions are not automatic for all users. I don’t get this option.
I don’t know if it’s because my account size is still so small or because those are not available for accounts located in Finland. I type in manually my closed captions, the subtitles. But this means you have to mention your keywords in your video.
Thinking about that now, I have to do my keyword research before I do my video so that I can incorporate those captions in-video too. Flash bulb!
#3 Include up to 5 relevant hashtags in your captions
I can tell you the hashtag trend of including tens of hashtags in your post captions on social media is no longer “on”. TikTok recommendation is up to five relevant hashtags.
TikTok hashtags I have found to be slightly different from Instagram hashtags.
Don’t assume the hashtags you use on Instagram are the best for TikTok.
The best way to know is to use the hashtag “suggestor”. That’s not a real word in English, apologies for coming up with my own word. I’m talking about a tool that recommends you hashtags when you start typing your hashtag.
The recommendation is to use a couple of broad ones, with billions of views and a couple of niche ones with what you stand a better chance of getting your video discovered. What is niche enough, well. I would say hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands of views.
#4 Sound is essential for TikTok SEO
This is something I need to pay more attention to as I mostly post explainer videos where I speak. I’ve not thought about adding trending music on them as I find that potentially interfering with your listening experience.
But I’m going to reconsider learning how essential sound is for SEO.
I also found a weekly TikTok Trends to Try This Week blog which I’m going to start checking out.
There is a lot to be explored and learned from the trending sounds and how to use them in your posts as TikTok content creation style can be so different with trending content than in any other social media.
Ok, that’s all for this week my friends!
Come back next week for more branding, marketing and communications’ juice to keep you going with employer branding, recruiting and personal branding!
My name is Susanna Rantanen, and I teach branding, marketing and communications for the HR Industry professionals who want to build a successful career and get the life you deserve!
Thanks for listening, and until next time, happy search engine optimisation!