How to Rank on TikTok Search Results: Guide to TikTok SEO

How to Rank on TikTok Search Results: Guide to TikTok SEO

Picture of Ashley Monk
Ashley Monk
CEO of Onya | Marketing Growth Strategist | Marketing Consultant

How to Rank on TikTok Search Results: Guide to TikTok SEO

Picture of Ashley Monk
Ashley Monk
CEO of Onya | Marketing Growth Strategist | Marketing Consultant

TikTok has quickly become a cultural phenomenon, with users flocking to create and share short-form videos that showcase their creativity, humor, and unique perspectives. For businesses, influencers, and content creators, TikTok represents a huge opportunity to reach a wide and engaged audience. Plus, all the cool kids are over there.

However, with so many videos being uploaded to the platform every day, it can be difficult to get your content noticed. That’s where TikTok SEO comes in. TikTok SEO is now becoming the number #1 search engine on the internet, overtaking Google’s position. With the buzz around TikTok, optimizing your videos for TikTok’s search algorithm can increase your visibility, reach, and engagement on the platform’s search results.

If you have been wondering how to go about your TikTok visibility strategy and get your videos placed at the top of TikTok’s search engine results, this comprehensive guide to TikTok SEO is for you. This guide will give you all the interesting details on what TikTok SEO is, how it works, ranking factors, and how you can use SEO for TikTok to rank on the TikTok search engine.

What is TikTok SEO?

TikTok SEO, or TikTok search engine optimization, is optimizing your content to improve its visibility and ranking in the app’s search results. To put it simply, TikTok SEO is optimizing your content on TikTok’s “For You” pages so that it can easily be found by TikTok users when they use the search engine feature.

SEO for TikTok works in the same way traditional SEO (Google SEO) works. Optimizing your content with the right keywords, hashtags, and other strategies can increase the likelihood that your TikTok videos will appear at the top of search results, attracting more views, likes, and followers to your account.

Many will ask, “But TikTok isn’t a search engine, so how is it possible?” Although TikTok is technically not a search engine, it still has a search bar, making SEO an integral strategy on the platform. As a result, as SEO TikTok continues to grow into an essential aspect of any TikTok marketing strategy, creators and brands need to take full advantage of it.

Ranking Factors for TikTok SEO

To understand SEO for TikTok better, you must first understand the ranking factors. These include

User Interactions

User interactions involve likes, comments, followed accounts, shares, re-watches and completions, and videos added to favorites, which affect the ranking factors on TikTok. TikTok algorithm takes notes of these and recommends such videos or content to you. This is because it has gotten the insight that interactions with such content mean “users want to see more of those.” Therefore, if your content has lots of engagement, it will be recommended to users.

Video Information

Another factor that affects ranking on TikTok is the video information. Hashtags, caption keywords, effects, sound effects, content, and music determine video information on TikTok. To rank and optimize your TikTok video, TikTok checks if your videos contain relevant keywords in their titles and descriptions and hashtags, video transcripts, music, and more in their videos. Therefore, to boost your TikTok SEO for your videos, ensure these factors are included, as they can potentially increase user reach on the app.

How to Rank of TikTok Search Results in 4 Steps

With so much content on TikTok, optimizing your videos for search engine optimization (SEO) is important to ensure they reach the right audience. Here are six steps for TikTok SEO:

1. Understand your audience’s search intent and needs

To optimize your TikTok videos for search engines, you need to understand what your audience is searching for and their intent. Doing this can create relevant and valuable content for your viewers. To get the most out of TikTok SEO, research the popular topics and trends in your niche and use this information to create content that meets your audience’s needs. Some questions you should ask:

  • Who are they?
  • What are their interests?
  • What do they like?
  • What do they dislike?
  • What kinds of problems do they have?

Once you understand the answers to these questions, you’ll already know what your audience is naturally searching for within the app – create content aligned with that and SEO will be a breeze for you! 

2. Speak the voice of your audience

This is one strategy that many creators need to master yet find challenging to do – understanding and speaking the voice of your audience. It’s important to create TikTok videos that speak the language of your audience. Use phrases that resonate with your viewers, and try to create relatable and easy-to-understand content. This will help increase engagement and attract a wider audience to your content.

3. Keywords, keywords, keywords.

Keyword research is an essential component of TikTok SEO. Start by identifying the keywords that are relevant to your niche or industry. Consider the keywords your target audience might be searching for on TikTok, and use these keywords in your video content, description, and hashtags. Using the right keywords will make it easier for users to find your content and increase your visibility on the platform. Choose keywords relevant to your content and niche, and use these keywords in your video title, description, and hashtags. 

There are three things to consider when choosing the keywords for your SEO TikTok

  • Search Volume: This refers to the number of people searching for the keyword you want to use in your video or visual content.
  • Relevance: This refers to the amount of relevancy your keyword has to the content.
  • Keyword difficulty: This refers to how difficult it is for that keyword to rank your video. 

Therefore, it is recommended that you select a keyword with

  • High search volume
  • High level of relevance
  • Low keyword difficulty.

IMPORTANT TIP: Don’t overstuff your content with keywords. Keep the placement natural, and don’t overwhelm your viewers. You don’t need a keyword in each place mentioned on this list. Test out your placement. Switch it up and see which videos get more views.

4. Determine your hashtag strategy:

If there is a powerful strategic tool for increasing the visibility of TikTok videos, it is hashtags. Hashtags target the width, height, and depth of TikTok. To boost your searchability, find ways to determine a hashtag strategy relevant to your content and niche. Use popular and trending hashtags related to your content to increase your reach and engagement. The key is to stay relevant and consistent with your hashtags. And PLEASE: don’t use the large trending hashtags like #fyp or large event and branded hashtags. It’s tacky. 

5. Analyze and Measure Your Progress

When you are looking to grow on any platform, you need to measure your progress. Take note of the things that are doing well and replicate them. Take note of the things you didn’t see as much growth from and try different methods. TikTok gives creators access to various analytic data on its platform so that they can see how well their content performs. Analytics are separated into three main categories: Overview, Content, and Followers.

In the Overview tab, you can see video views, profile views, follower growth, likes, comments, and shares for custom date ranges of up to 60 days.

In the Content section, you can view data on each of your videos. This can help you identify the things that are working well based on which videos have the most engagement. Pay attention to metrics like average watch time and the percentage of users who watched the full video.

In the Followers tab, you can learn more about the users following your account and watching your videos. Learn where your audiences are from and the most popular times they view your content.

This only scratches the surface with TikTok SEO, but here’s what we really want you to take away – It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap on TikTok or wind up feeling more overwhelmed when browsing, but the BEST advice we have is to start posting. Unlike Instagram, TikTok appreciates “off the cuff” style videos – you can post whatever you want, and it really can’t hurt you. Start posting consistently, and gather the data you need to optimize as you grow! 

For more information on boosting your TikTok SEO, contact us at Onya – we’d love to partner with you!