Unless you’ve been camping out under a rock, it’s not exactly a secret that TikTok has taken the world by storm. The low-fi, raw, user-focused video platform has catapulted to over one billion active users worldwide in less than 5 years – a never-before-seen feat.
With over 90% of users accessing the wormhole of addictive video content every day, it’s safe to say that Bytedance has created an eyeball magnet like few before it.
Sure, the stats are impressive, but they’re not exactly groundbreaking news. Most marketers and business owners worth their salt have already jumped on the opportunity. We know TikTok’s the new shiny thing in social media. We know it’s got serious potential to connect with audiences on a significant scale (for free!).
And we know how to capitalise on the viral video platform: just follow the trends, let the algorithm do its thing and hope your video resonates, right? Wrong. Not anymore.
Here’s the real kicker – a stat, which, if you remember nothing else from this article, deserves to be written on a post-it note somewhere: TikTok has become the most popular web domain, overtaking Google.
(Yes, seriously. And here’s proof if you don’t believe us.)
The popularity is translating directly to search volume too. What’s that mean?
According to Google, nearly 40% of Gen Z prefer to search on TikTok (and Instagram) over Google itself. And as TikTok continues to grow, that number’s only continuing one way: up.
Say hello to the treasure trove that is TikTok SEO.
There’s a newfound skill to TikTok virality. And much like you’d curate your website’s blog with the right themes, keywords, and answer-based content to boost your ranking on Google, with the right strategy, you can springboard your TikTok videos to the top of the TikTok search page.
Virality is no longer just luck and clever trending content (sure, that’s still part of it, but it’s now far more in our control). Now, there’s a strategy to it — one that extends way beyond adapting to trends, being authentic, and curating fun and insightful content
Why is all this important? “Google it” has become “TikTok it”
Google has admitted to losing search traffic to TikTok. In other words, TikTok is becoming our new favourite search engine. 2 years ago, anyone looking for new recipes, stock tips, marketing tricks, or fashion trends would hit up Google.
But with TikTok effectively becoming a search engine, the Google monopoly is trembling.
And the fact that TikTok is promoting their own search bar, making it more prolific in your phone’s real estate, means that they’re leaning into this shift in momentum
Because people are searching on TikTok, you can actually tactically rank your videos – if you’ implement the tactics in this article, that is.
Just like you have an SEO strategy for your blog to land your website on the first Google page – long-tail keywords, images formatted with titles and alt text, internal and external backlinks, and all that jazz – your TikTok video can also appear on the first page of the platform’s organic search page.
Okay, TikTok SEO sounds great. But how do we do it?
Whether you’re looking for that overnight success or slow and steady growth, implementing SEO best practices on TikTok is a no-brainer.
It’s not rocket science either; mostly, just consider these three things:
- Captions within the video
- Audio / speech in the video
- Description of the video
Let’s use Megaphone’s TikTok as an example: let’s say we want to rank on page 1 for a video that’s called “3 Tips To Create Better Blog Articles”
Before implementing any of those three factors, pick your keyword(s).
✏️In this case, our keywords are “Better Blog Articles”.
Step 1: Captions within the video
Imagine someone watching the video on silent. Think: is my message still clear based on visuals alone? Would the viewer understand what the video is about if they (God forbid) left their headphones at home and had to scroll TikTok on silent on the train to work?
It might seem counterintuitive to think of TikTok from a silent perspective, but that concept will ensure you never forget about captions — one of the three magic keys to unlocking oh-so-powerful TikTok SEO.
✏️ Putting into practice: Make sure to have “Better Blog Articles” as a caption at least once throughout the video.
Step 2: Audio said in the video
Think about it, if TikTok is clever enough to automatically transcribe audio into text, it makes a lot of sense that they can analyse the audio for topic content, doesn’t it?
This one’s pretty self-explanatory: make sure to actually say the focus keyword(s) out loud in your video. Whether that’s your voice, or that of our beloved AI robot.
✏️ Putting into practice: Say “Better Blog Articles” out loud, in context. The simplest way is to introduce the video at the beginning with “Here are 3 easy ways to create better blog articles”.
Step 3: Description of the video
As the third piece of the pie, the description needs to include your focus keyword too.
✏️ Putting into practice: Write a description along the lines of. “Create Better Blog Articles in 3 easy steps. Step 2 will surprise you!”
And don’t forget about… Optimising your profile.
What’s your niche? Whatever it is, make sure your focus topic is evident in 1) Your username 2) your handle and 3) your ‘About Me’ section.
Since the FYP (For You Page) is the main source of content, not your actual profile, your audience needs to be able to get a sense of who you are from a glance, so make sure to include a short, keyword-rich summary in that About Me section. Besides the SEO benefits, it helps you connect with your ideal target audience.
How do I find the right TikTok keywords?
Start with a ‘seed’ keyword. What’s the most important theme of your video? Then, once you’ve got some (let’s say it’s eyeshadow), use keyword volume tools to find the areas of opportunity.
Hot tip: similar to Google SEO principles, it’s usually beneficial to niche down – your chances of ranking on a specific term like “sustainable Australian eyeshadow” are much higher than broad “eyeshadow”. Plus, it means your viewership will be more tailored to exactly what you’re all about.
With TikTok search functions still in their infancy, most people use Google as a proxy to find what people are searching for online. With tools like SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool, Google Trends, WordSteam and Google Keyword Planner, you can gauge the internet’s interest in your topic of choice!
Another great way to find the most popular terms relevant to your niche is to use the search bar on TikTok:
Using ‘ eyeshadow’ as an example, you can find more specific terms to guide your content from autofill responses.
How to use TikTok Hashtags for SEO — who says hashtags are dead?
TiKTok hashtags were clouded with uncertainty for a long time. But it’s clear as crystal now: make sure your hashtags are relevant to what you’re talking about in the video. Best practice? Use the same niche keyword you’ve used in your caption, audio and description – as well as some broad terms that can help widen the video’s reach.
Make sure you have no more than THREE hashtags in each video. See the example using the keyword ‘conversion rate’ below:
Okay, TikTok SEO seems cool. But where’s the proof?
Google says so!
In July 2022, senior vice president of Google Knowledge and Information Prabhakar Raghavan admitted that they’re seeing more and more sidestepping of Google in favour of social media searches.
“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.”
Don’t forget about the core tactics for creating great TikTok content
TikTok SEO is a potential goldmine. But it’s not your golden ticket. To grow your business on TikTok you still need to capitalise on trending sounds, create unique and engaging content, and feature appropriate call-outs.
If you’re not sure how to create the best TikTok content strategy for your business, check out Trendfm – an official TikTok partner marketing agency generating $100 million in TikTok monthly revenue for clients.
How to make money off TikTok SEO
Now that we know how to get the eyeballs, how do we turn them into dollars?
It’s all about linking TikTok into your wider digital ecosystem. Once you’ve built up your account to 1,000+ followers, add a link to something like LinkTree (which will look like this when set up), or a custom landing page (or at the very least, your website), so that once someone connects with your content, they have an easy next step.
Think of TikTok as your magnet for fresh potential customers – then let your awesome website, killer product offers, and mailing lists (which you’re growing by offering discount codes) finish the job.
Remember, you can’t fake it on TikTok. Be authentic to your brand (because authenticity is key) and show your personality. And make sure that personality is reflected in the customer journey once they’ve clicked off the TikTok platform.
The easiest way to grow your TikTok account:
The hottest dedicated TikTok agency to hit Australian shores, Trendfm is an official TikTok Gold Academy Partner, which means first access to the latest trends, techniques, scaling methods, and the top-tier customer support.