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TikTok SEO Techniques: How to Dominate the TikTok Algorithm?

With 40% of Gen Z turning to TikTok as their primary search engine, creators and brands must implement a robust TikTok SEO strategy for improved discoverability. Let’s learn how to optimize your content, expand your reach, and effectively target your desired audience on the platform.

What is TikTok SEO?

What is TikTok SEO?

TikTok SEO is all about optimizing your videos to rank higher in search results, just like you would use keywords and analytics for website content. These tactics can also help your TikTok videos appear in more searches on TikTok and even on Google. 

Surprisingly, TikTok and Instagram are now the go-to search platforms for 40% of young people, and social media posts are now indexed in Google’s SERPs. Isn’t that fascinating? To maximize your available visibility, it’s crucial to incorporate SEO strategies for both Google and TikTok searches.

TikTok SEO can help you indexed in Google's SERPs
TikTok SEO can help you indexed in Google’s SERPs and TikTok’s search rank

TikTok labels itself as an entertainment platform, not a search engine — but that doesn’t mean it isn’t used as such. The platform now has search engine features — like suggested keywords in the TikTok search bar and comment sections — making it more competitive with Google. 

For example, with the keyword “asmr sleep and relax”, account @nanouasmrofficial hold 3 positions in the top 10 because she knows how TikTok SEO works. A few things we can see are her videos have high engagement (likes, follows, comments, shares), relevant hashtags, and a caption with keywords that explain video content.

How to get on top of TikTok's search rank
Source: TikTok

So, as more users turn to TikTok to search for content, brands, and creators need to develop a strong TikTok SEO strategy. Because when you understand how to optimize your content, it can finally get the visibility it deserves. 

3 things you need to know about TikTok SEO 2023

What is SEO meaning on TikTok?

While TikTok positions itself primarily as an entertainment platform, it has incorporated search engine features, such as suggested keywords and comment sections.

Example for TikTok SEO in search bar
Source: Internet

Using SEO on TikTok allows you to attract organic impressions from users interested without relying on ads. Also, optimizing your content with relevant keywords, hashtags, and descriptions can increase visibility and engage a wider audience. SEO on TikTok offers a cost-effective and sustainable way to grow your presence and make a lasting impact on the platform.

TikTok SEO in the comment section
Source: Internet

How does TikTok search algorithm work? 

The TikTok algorithm is the key to helping your videos go viral, but the TikTok SEO is the main factor that makes your videos appear in the audience’s searches. 

The TikTok SEO algorithm is a set of rules and calculations used by TikTok to determine the visibility and ranking of videos in search results. It considers factors like:

  • Keywords
  • Hashtags
  • Video Descriptions
  • Captions
  • Engagement and Interactions
  • Consistency and Frequency
  • Collaborations and Duets

Besides the TikTok search engine, it now has the feature to suggest audience search for related keywords right in the comment section. This also gives users more opportunities to surf the app for more content without switching to other platforms. Optimizing and understanding the TikTok SEO algorithm helps you increase the chances of reaching your potential customers and boosting your video visibility on TikTok.

What TikTok SEO ranking factors need to manage?

Use TikTok Trend Discovery, analyze other creators’ content, and then categorize them. The TikTok SEO ranking factors research will help you:

  • Increased discoverability
  • Improved visibility
  • Competitive advantage
  • Audience targeting
  • Long-term growth

The SEO ranking factor will determine how likely your videos are to be seen by other users. While the exact details of TikTok’s algorithm are kept secret, there are certain factors that are believed to impact your TikTok SEO ranking. These factors include:

Video EngagementThe level of engagement a video receives in terms of likes, comments, shares, and views.
Video Completion RateThe percentage of viewers who watch a video from start to finish.
HashtagsThe use of relevant and popular hashtags to increase discoverability.
Video DescriptionClear and descriptive captions that accurately reflect the content of the video.
Trending Challenges and SoundsParticipating in popular challenges and using trending sounds.
Account EngagementThe overall engagement and activity on your TikTok account.
Video QualityHigh-quality videos that are visually appealing and well-edited.

TikTok recommends content based on users’ interests, making it essential for you to understand your target audience thoroughly. By aligning your content with their preferences and staying up-to-date with the latest trends, you can enhance your chances of being recommended and connecting with a broader audience. It’s all about knowing your audience and thriving within the dynamic world of TikTok.

How to make a TikTok SEO strategy?

Step to create a tiktok seo strategy

From understanding your target audience to incorporating keywords and hashtags effectively, our guide will empower you to optimize your TikTok presence and attract more engaged viewers. Here’s how to create a TikTok SEO strategy:

Step 1: Understand your audience and their search intent

  • Identify your target audience and their specific interests and preferences.
  • Determine what they might be searching for on TikTok related to your brand or product.

Step 2: Select the right keywords for your video

  • Choose keywords with high search volume, relevance to your content, and low keyword difficulty.
  • Strive for a balance between search volume, relevance, and difficulty.
  • Here’re some guides to help you choose the right keyword:
    • Niche Community Targeting:
      • Low-medium search volume
      • High relevance
      • Low keyword difficulty
    • Bridging Content Gap:
      • High search volume
      • High relevance
      • Low keyword difficulty
    • Exposure and Awareness:
      • High search volume
      • Medium relevance
      • Low keyword difficulty
 Select the right keywords for tiktok seo strategy

Remember to balance search volume, relevance, and difficulty, while keeping your audience’s search intent in mind. Avoid prioritizing one aspect over the others and ensure your selected keyword aligns with your optimization goals.

Step 3: Incorporate the keywords into videos

  • Utilize keywords in the in-video text, speech, captions, hashtags, and automated closed captions to maximize keyword visibility and enhance the relevance of your videos.
  • Ensure that your selected keyword appears prominently within the first 3 seconds of the video.
how to select the right keywords

Step 4: Determine hashtag strategy

  • Develop a hashtag strategy that includes a mix of long-tail and high-volume keywords.
  • Use long-tail keywords to target specific intent and high-volume keywords to expand reach.

Step 5: Refine SEO strategy

  • Analyze the performance of your previous videos to gain insights.
  • Use previous videos as learnings to refine your SEO strategy
  • Reuse successful hashtags, create follow-up videos based on audience interest, and A/B test different hashtag sets.

5 tips to Conquer TikTok SEO

5 tips to Conquer TikTok SEO

#1 Tricks to do the keywords research

In traditional SEO, keyword research is an essential part. Conduct thorough keyword research for TikTok by leveraging established SEO tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs. Although there aren’t specific TikTok SEO tools available, you can use TikTok to explore popular keywords. Simply enter relevant terms in the search bar and pay attention to auto-populated suggestions. This approach will provide valuable insights to optimize your TikTok content effectively.

Keyword research in TikTok SEO

Another tip, select relevant keywords from the suggestions that align with your content. Because TikTok auto-populates the search bar with popular keywords related to your query. For example, with the keyword “hair care”, the search will show “hair care + a/b/c” like this:

Trick to find related keywords in TikTok SEO strategy
Example for related keywords

The last one is to discover popular hashtags with the TikTok Creative Center. It shows the top hashtags in the last 7, 90, or 120 days. Each hashtag shows posts, view counts, and the creators who used them. Simply click the “Analytics” button to find comprehensive data including usage stats, a trend graph, examples of videos with the hashtag, and related interests.

Learn More: Mastering TikTok Keyword Insights: Unveiling Ad Potential

Different audience insights from the TikTok Creative Center
Different audience insights from the TikTok Creative Center 

#2 Add keywords to the text in your videos

Once your TikTok keyword research is completed, remember to optimize TikTok SEO content by strategically incorporating keywords in titles, descriptions, captions, and on-screen text.

Keywords in videos is one of TikTok SEO tricks
Source: Internet

Not only add text, but you also need to say the keywords out loud for better algorithm prioritization. Also, add your most relevant target keywords to your TikTok profile to give potential followers know what kind of your content is and whether they should follow you.

Keywords in caption, hashtags is one of TikTok SEO tricks
Source: Internet

#3 Mix Google SEO with TikTok SEO

As you know, social media posts are now indexed in Google’s SERPs. Specifically, Google is now putting TikTok videos above YouTube for informational searches. Thus, if creators have both TikTok channels and blogs, they will have a double win because both platforms can get indexed by the Google search engine. But it’s still some differences between TikTok SEO & Google SEO you need to know. 

Google SEOTikTok SEO
Purpose & IntentAttract organic traffic, fulfill user intentIncrease visibility within the TikTok app, entertain and engage users
Content FormatText-based web pages, multimedia contentShort-form videos
Search AlgorithmFactors like relevancy, backlinks, user experienceTikTok’s algorithm considers engagement, user preferences
Optimization ElementsWebpage structure, keywords, metadataVideo titles, captions, hashtags, descriptions
Longevity Of ContentLong-lasting, can rank for extended periodsShort-lived content and quickly replaced by newer trends
Compare TikTok SEO and Google SEO

After understanding both platforms, here are some tips mixed up from Google SEO with TikTok SEO.

  • To enhance your TikTok SEO, consider creating microblog posts that delve into specific topics related to your TikTok videos.
  • Incorporate your primary keyword in the post title, and utilize secondary or long-tail keywords in subheadings and content. 
  • Remember to embed your TikTok video within the blog post for added engagement.

#4 Optimize the number of hashtags

An optimal number of hashtags to use is 3-5 hashtags. You can easily find hashtags related to your subculture on the Discover page or search bar. But on the Discover page, you’ll also be able to view trending hashtags and any videos currently using them. 

Trending TikTok hashtags
Trending hashtags on the Discover page

Finally, including both primary and relevant keywords in any hashtags you use will help people find your posts more easily. But don’t overdo it. Remember the optimal number of hashtags and a couple of essential TikTok hashtag tips:

  • Utilize a combination of subculture and trending hashtags.
  • Leave space in captions for hashtags.
  • Create a branded hashtag challenge to engage your audience and boost brand awareness.
  • Research competitors on other platforms, like Instagram or YouTube, and see what kind of keywords they use.

#5 Analyze TikTok SEO strategy 

An analysis is essential for any effective SEO marketing strategy. Implementing the right practices is a great start, but measuring success is equally important. These are how you will know if your efforts are successful or not:

  • Track your TikTok analytics to measure the success of your SEO strategy. This also helps you gain:
    • Insights on video performance 
    • Content brought engagement 
    • Areas for improvement
  • Be sure to monitor views from searches: Keep track of the number of views from search results to understand the effectiveness of your SEO efforts and allow you to make adjustments to improve for better visibility in search results.
  • Analyze progress over time: Analyze the trends and patterns to identify what is working well and what needs improvement.
  • Benchmark against competitors: Studying their strategies, content, engagement metrics, and discoverability to gain insight and ideas. 

Final Word

Amid growing competition on TikTok, operating TikTok SEO can greatly assist in increasing your chances of appearing in search suggestions. Additionally, schedule your TikTok posts strategically to maintain consistency and align with the platform’s algorithm. By implementing an effective TikTok SEO strategy, you’ll quickly begin to experience the advantages it brings. Bonus, try understanding the TikTok algorithm, it will help you get an overview of this platform and get better video results.

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Phuong Linh Linh
Phuong Linh Linh
TikTok Advertising Specialist


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