A Comprehensive Guide to TikTok SEO

The Comprehensive Guide to TikTok SEO (2023) 

The rise of TikTok has been meteoric. 

TikTok’s unprecedented growth makes it a must-have for any modern marketing strategy. With a user base spread across 160 countries and boasting over 1.1 billion users, its reach is undeniable. Monthly, TikTok sees over 1 billion active users globally, and within the U.S., that number is a significant 150 million. These users are not just scrolling; they’re engaged, with the average user spending 95 minutes daily on the platform. Moreover, its user base spans a vast age range, making it relevant for targeting audiences from teenagers to those in their 60s. 

Revenue-wise, TikTok pulled in an estimated $500 Million from the U.S. in 2020 alone. With Gen Z comprising 60% of its users and poised to become the largest generation, the platform’s influence is bound to grow. These statistics underscore the platform’s immense potential as a marketing tool. (More TikTok Stats

TikTok is more than just another social media platform; it’s a digital powerhouse. While it primarily labels itself as an entertainment platform, the addition of search engine features has expanded its horizons. Beyond its entertaining short videos, TikTok offers vast potential for marketers and brands seeking more visibility, making the concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on the platform incredibly important. Unlike traditional SEO, which focuses on search engines like Google, TikTok SEO centers on optimizing content for better discoverability within the app.

The recent introduction of TikTok Shop further elevates the platform’s significance for brands. This feature empowers creators to highlight and endorse products, forging a direct bridge between content and commerce. Brands can capitalize on the genuine influence creators hold over their followers, turning engagement into sales. With TikTok Shop, seamlessly integrating product promotions into short videos and LIVE streams becomes effortless, requiring just a few taps. This fusion of content and e-commerce not only provides an avenue for brands to reach and resonate with their target audience but also unlocks novel revenue streams, making TikTok an indispensable tool in modern digital marketing.

As more users turn to TikTok to search for content, the challenge for brands and creators is to stand out, emphasizing the importance of a robust TikTok SEO strategy. The good news is, you are still early to the party! NOW is the time to take advantage of the amazing potential available on the TikTok platform for forward-thinking brands. 

Let’s jump right into it.  

HOW to optimize your content on TikTok

Key Ranking Factors in TikTok SEO

Understanding how TikTok’s algorithm ranks videos is the foundation of SEO on the platform:

User interactions: Every like, share, comment, and follow informs TikTok’s algorithm about user preferences, and guiding content recommendations.

Video information: Captions, hashtags, and sound choices play a crucial role. Relevant keywords and trending sounds can significantly boost a video’s discoverability.

Device and account settings: The algorithm considers the user’s device type, language preferences, and even their country when suggesting content, making localization an aspect to ponder.

TikTok SEO Strategies & Tips

Understand Your Audience:

Dive deep into your followers’ preferences using TikTok’s Audience Insights tool. Cater to their interests to boost engagement and visibility.

Keyword Research & Usage:

Integrate relevant keywords into captions, closed captions, and on-screen text. Tools like TikTok’s predictive text in the search bar can help in keyword discovery.

Here are some free tools that you can use for keyword research:

Google Keyword Planner: Originally designed for AdWords users, this tool provides search volume and competition data. While it primarily aims to serve advertisers, it’s still quite valuable for TikTok SEO.

Google Trends: This tool allows you to see how search trends change over time, helping you understand seasonal variations and emerging trends.

Ubersuggest: Created by Neil Patel, Ubersuggest provides keyword ideas, search volume, competition, and even suggests content ideas.

AnswerThePublic: This unique tool visualizes search questions and suggested queries in an appealing visual format. It’s great for identifying long-tail question-based search queries.

Moz Keyword Explorer: While there’s a limit to the number of free searches you can do, Moz’s tool offers search volume, competition, and a keyword difficulty score.

Keyword Surfer: It’s a free Chrome extension that displays estimated global and monthly search volumes for any query typed into Google. It also offers related keyword suggestions.

Google Search Console: If you have your website verified here, it’s a treasure trove of information. You can see which keywords are driving impressions and clicks to your site.

AlsoAsked.com: This tool provides a visual representation of the “People also ask” questions from Google, helping you understand related questions people have about a particular topic.

Keywords Everywhere: It’s a browser extension that provides search volume, CPC, and competition data for keywords on multiple websites, including Google.

Google: Simply by starting to type in the search bar, Google’s auto-suggest will give you an idea of popular searches. Additionally, the “People also ask” and “Searches related to” sections at the bottom of search results pages can provide further keyword inspiration.

Pro Tip! If you search for something in TikTok, you can scroll down and it will recommend keyword phrases “others searched for” Try using these as titles on your videos or in your caption!  

Utilize Relevant Hashtags:

A mix of broad and niche hashtags can maximize reach. While trending hashtags can garner attention, niche ones ensure the content reaches an audience genuinely interested in it.

Identifying effective hashtags can enhance the visibility and reach of your content, especially on social media platforms like TikTok. Here are some free tools to help you identify and analyze hashtags:

Hashtagify.me: This tool allows you to search for hashtags and see their popularity over time. It also suggests related hashtags.

RiteTag: Offers instant hashtag suggestions for images and texts on desktop and mobile based on real-time hashtag engagement.

Tagboard: An aggregation tool that lets you see how a hashtag is being used across multiple social networks.

All Hashtag: It provides a hashtag generator, top hashtags, and analytics for your chosen hashtags.

TikTok Discovery: TikTok’s discovery page can give you insights into trending hashtags.

These tools can provide suggestions and analytics, but the relevance and context in which you use these hashtags are crucial. Always ensure that the hashtags you choose align with your content and are not overly saturated. Overly popular hashtags can sometimes cause your content to get lost in the vast number of posts. Mixing popular hashtags with more niche or specific ones can be an effective strategy.

Incorporate Trending Audio:

Music and sound bites can elevate content visibility. Regularly check trending sounds and incorporate them where relevant.

Incorporating trending audio into TikTok videos has become a cornerstone strategy for gaining visibility and engagement on the platform. Trending audio clips—whether they’re snippets from popular songs, sound bites from movies, or viral spoken-word content—act as a magnet for views, as they align with what the TikTok audience is currently watching and engaging with. When creators use a trending audio clip, their video is more likely to appear on others’ “For You Page” (FYP), TikTok’s personalized content feed, thereby increasing the potential for virality.

To find trending audio on TikTok, there are a few methods creators can utilize. First and foremost, the platform itself provides an insight into trending songs and sounds. By navigating to the ‘Discover’ page, users can see a list of trending hashtags and challenges, many of which are tied to specific audio clips. Clicking on the audio icon at the bottom of any TikTok video also reveals the track’s name and shows other videos that use the same sound, offering a sense of its popularity. Another approach is to watch popular creators and take note of recurring audio themes in their content. Observing and engaging with the platform frequently gives creators a natural sense of which sounds are gaining traction. External tools and websites also keep tabs on trending TikTok audio, providing lists and updates for creators eager to stay ahead of the curve.

Consistency in Niche:

Regular posts within a specific niche help the algorithm understand and categorize your content, making it easier to recommend to interested users.

Collaborate with Other Creators:

Collaborations can introduce your content to a broader audience. Partner with relevant creators to organically expand your reach.

To embark on collaborations, start by identifying creators whose content style, values, and audience demographics align with their own. TikTok has features like “duets” and “stitch,” which are built specifically to enable seamless interactions between creators. Beyond organic interactions, networking events, creator meet-ups, and direct outreach can foster collaborative opportunities.

It’s also beneficial to consider collaborations outside of your direct niche. This can introduce content to entirely new audiences. For instance, a fitness influencer collaborating with a chef can lead to unique content like “healthy recipes post-workout.” Collaborations like this not only diversify your content but also enhance the value proposition to viewers.

Pro Tip! You can also use TikTok’s stitch feature to add to other creator’s videos! Stitch popular videos that are already gaining traction in your niche 

Competitor Analysis:

Assess what top-ranking competitors are doing right. This analysis can offer insights into what works, though it’s crucial to maintain originality.

Want to know what your competitors are up to on TikTok? Time for a little detective work! 🕵️‍♂️ Start by making a list of your main rivals or folks who do stuff similar to you. Dive into their profiles and see what they’re posting. What’s getting tons of likes or shares? Any trends or cool ideas they’re hopping on? Jot down the type of content, music choices, or hashtags they’re using. But remember, it’s not about copying; it’s about getting inspired and understanding the TikTok landscape. Also, check out who they’re collaborating with and how often they post. By the end, you’ll have a better idea of what’s popping on TikTok and where you might want to steer your own content.

Active Engagement:

Engage with users, respond to comments, and participate in trends. An active profile can significantly influence the algorithm in your favor.

Pro Tip! You can also try to get “search comments.” These cant be directly added or controlled by users, but there are ways to encourage them. Learn More Here

Further strategy For TikTok

Looking to supercharge your TikTok SEO strategy? 🚀 Our founder, Brandon, dropped a  tweet with an innovative approach

Google And TikTok 

Google and TikTok appear to be collaborating in multiple ways. Optimizing your TikTok videos for search within the platform can significantly boost their visibility. But now, these videos can also make their way into Google’s traditional Search results, further expanding their reach. Google has special video search results for TikTok content that appear directly in search results. 

Likewise, TikTok is even showing Google Search results directly in the apps search pages 

TikTok SEO is no longer optional. As the platform grows and evolves, optimizing content for discoverability is paramount for anyone looking to make a mark. By understanding the TikTok algorithm and implementing the strategies outlined above, creators and brands can harness the platform’s full potential. Dive into the world of TikTok SEO and watch your content soar!


CJ Lewis

COO - Arvo Digital