TikTok SEO – Tips for Better Performance

A man with a video camera and a video script for TikTok SEO behind him.

Whether you are a seasoned content creator on TikTok, or an average user aiming to boost your TikTok visibility, having an understanding of SEO for TikTok is essential for helping you succeed. But how exactly can you use it to your advantage?

In this article, we will discuss how you should go about perfecting your TikTok SEO strategy. This will involve sharing some TikTok SEO tips and strategies, while explaining what tools you should consider using to help you along the way. Ultimately, we want to provide you with actionable tips as well as practical steps you can take to perfect your TikTok SEO performance. 

What is TikTok SEO?

TikTok SEO, or Search Engine Optimization for TikTok, is a scalable and effective way to give your TikTok videos a boost so they show up more on the platform. At its core, TikTok SEO is the art and science of optimizing your TikTok videos for TikTok’s algorithm, so your profile shows up in the search results.

The ultimate goal of optimizing for SEO on TikTok is to increase the visibility and discoverability of your videos on the platform, especially among those people who are actively searching for videos that cover the content of your videos. Importantly, when you use SEO optimization best practices in your TikTok content creation process, you increase your chances of people seeing your content at the right time.

How the TikTok SEO Algorithm works

Similar to Google’s algorithm, the exact details of how the TikTok SEO algorithm works are not public. However, we can make guesses based on what TikTok has told us as well as through practical experience. To begin, we should point out that the TikTok and Google algorithms work in different ways. However, that doesn’t mean there is no connection. For instance, when you search for something on Google, you might get some suggestions of TikTok videos that help you find what you need.

The TikTok SEO algorithm is designed to look at various ranking factors, as we discuss in more detail below. These ranking factors, or  “signals”, are important data points that are calculated by the algorithm to determine what video best answers the search of a particular user. 

Of course, one of the core elements of TikTok SEO is the use of keywords that you use in your post captions and subtitles (more on that shortly). However, you should have a holistic understanding of all the ranking factors to better implement your own TikTok SEO strategy. 

So what does this mean in practical terms when it comes to thinking about TikTok and SEO? It means that in order to optimize your TikTok videos for SEO, you should label your content in different places with relevant tags that people are searching for. This can be locations (so-called geotags), hashtags and keywords, music or sounds, as well as filters and video templates you use in your video. In the future, this could even include more specific data such as restaurants, shopping addresses, and more. 

TikTok SEO Ranking Factors

Two AI robots helping with the TikTok scripts and captions for better SEO on TikTok

To optimize TikTok SEO, it’s important to understand the factors that influence how content is ranked and displayed on the platform. Here are the four key ranking factors when it comes to TikTok and SEO: 

1. User Interaction

TikTok pays close attention to how users interact with your content. This includes likes, comments, shares, follows, and the amount of time spent watching your videos (completions vs skips). 

Videos that are similar to what users have interacted with in the past will be shown to them more often. That’s why it is so important to understand what your audience likes.

You can, of course, use social media analytics tools to help you discover the TikToks your target audience interacts with the most. As you can see in the example below, with a social media tool you can select TikTok profiles that you want to analyze and learn from, and then see their best and worst performing posts as well as other relevant information

A screenshot of the "Fanpage Karma" tool that helps to discover the TikTok videos with which the target audience interacts the most.

2. Information Included in Your Video

The details you provide for your video play a vital role for SEO on TikTok: Captions, hashtags, screen-text that you place over your video, sounds and music as well as topics discussed in the comment section all play a big role. The point is that you should use everything you have control over to improve your TikTok video’s SEO.

3. Device and Account Settings

Even though harder to influence, the device settings, language preferences of the audience, and their location also play a role when it comes to which videos TikTok suggests to a user. 

4. Performance of Past Content

Your previous content’s performance can impact your current content’s visibility. Consistently creating engaging content will help you build this momentum.

Creating your Own TikTok SEO Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we know what TikTok SEO means and what it takes to rank highly, let’s talk about how to use SEO keywords the right way throughout your TikTok content. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof SEO TikTok tool that will do the work for you. However, if you follow these TikTok SEO tips in crafting your strategy, you are well on your way to better results.  

A TikTok SEO strategy should include these 3 simple steps: 

  1. Do your research
  2. Place your TikTok SEO keywords at the right spots within your TikTok profile and videos
  3. Track and analyze your progress

Below, we go into more detail about what you need to do for each one of these steps. 

Step 1: Do your Research

There are two main components that you need to look at when it comes to enhancing your TikTok SEO strategy through research: 

  1. Analyzing what content is successful (and what is not)
  2. and conducting keyword research.

1. Content Analysis: Understanding what Your Audience is Looking For

To optimize TikTok videos for search, you must understand your target audience. This includes knowing their preferences, interests, and what they share with friends. At a minimum, we recommend using TikTok’s search page to discover currently trending hashtags and topics. 

However, if you want to go a step further, you can get even better insights with social media tools that are designed to help you discover and research existing content from other profiles that perform well or you are interested in.

Another screenshot of the "Fanpage Karma" tool that helps to discover the TikTok videos with which the target audience interacts the most.

Additionally, it is helpful to monitor and analyze the most popular creators within your niche and explore their TikTok profiles. With some social media tools, you can analyze their content, the topics they address, what content formats they focus on (Q&As, entertaining content, collaborations, dances, etc.) and also dive into the audiences’ discussions in the TikTok’s comments.

A banner with graphs and social media posts "Try Fanpage Karma Today" button and bright background.

This also includes learning from their hooks and their storytelling, the words or hashtags they use in their post that correlate to high post interaction, and also from how they optimized their video for SEO. 

A screenshot of the "Fanpage Karma" tool that helps to discover keywords and hashtags for SEO on TikTok.

2. Conduct Keyword Research

Putting in popular words that people search for and using hashtags in your TikTok posts is a good way to make more people find your videos. Using these special TikTok SEO words and hashtags that match what your video is about makes your TikTok video easier to find and more people will see it.

Keyword research tools such as Keywordtool.io, AnswerThePublic and Kywrds.ai can give you additional insights into what people are searching for when looking for your product or content niche. Besides using external tools to build your TikTok SEO strategy, you can also directly search on TikTok to see what’s trending and what your audience is interested in. Go to the search bar and type in a couple of keywords that you produce content around. However, don’t hit “Enter.” TikTok will give you suggestions on what topics other users are interested in once you have entered a few words.

Lastly, make sure to look into what the title and the captions of videos that appear high up in your search results are, as well as what audio they used, etc.

Step 2: Place your TikTok SEO keywords at the right spots within your TikTok profile and videos

Now that we have discussed how to research keywords that you should integrate into our content, we should talk about how to actually do it. There are a number of different areas that you can optimize for SEO on TikTok. 

1. Using TikTok SEO keywords for your TikTok profile

First, make sure that your TikTok profile is fully SEO optimized. Include relevant keywords that describe your TikTok page in your bio, and make sure your profile picture and username are aligned with your brand. It is also important to make sure to link to your website in your profile description.

2. Craft captivating captions for your videos

When creating captions for your videos, be sure to put in the keywords that you have identified earlier. Make sure this is done in a natural sounding way and pay attention not only to what the algorithm might like, but what your actual viewers are looking for in terms of captions. 

3. Use Hashtags for better TikTok SEO

It is advisable to use a mix of popular and niche hashtags to increase your TikTok video’s reach. Along the way, you can experiment with TikTok SEO hashtags that are specific and relevant to your content. Be sure not to forget to use hashtags in your TikTok video description as well into your captions as well. 

You may be wondering how to find the right hashtags to use. While there is no TikTok SEO tool that relates directly to hashtags, you can research what hashtags performed well for others. One effective way is to use a social media benchmarking tool, where you can analyze the hashtags used by others as a means to help you find what hashtags you should use.

Generally, you want to use hashtags that will give you the highest reach per follower, and learning what hashtags have performed well for others on TikTok is a great way to get a leg up in this regard.

4. Use keywords in your speech throughout the video

Make sure to not only write your keywords in your video’s caption and bio, but also use them when you speak in the video. You can then switch on auto-captions for your TikTok post. This will ensure that TikTok ranks your video also based on your spoken words. 

And even if you don’t want the auto captions to show up on your viewer’s screens, you should still enable them. After enabling them, you can drag them off your screen. This way they won’t cover any screen space and won’t bother you or your audience, but are still being used by TikTok and benefit your TikTok’s visibility in search.

5. Use keywords on screen for better TikTok SEO

Besides using auto-captions, make sure to type out keywords and place them in your video. Create text blocks within the TikTok app and place them over your video. Again, if you don’t want your videos to be shown on screen, just slide them to the side. Now your video will be listed for every keyword you manually typed in as well.  

6. Don’t Forget to Think about Content Quality and Community Building

Even though you want to improve the visibility of your TikTok videos by optimizing it for SEO, don’t focus exclusively on keywords and hashtags.

Ask questions, run polls, and engage with your audience in the comments section. Mention other accounts that people are already searching for, do Stitches of popular videos in your niche, or start joined collaborations with other TikTokers. All of this will make your account seem more relevant and help the SEO value of your TikTok videos.  

You should also focus on building a community with your audience. Having a strong community that engages with your content will boost your reach and discoverability, as TikTok interprets high interaction rates and share counts as something people are interested in. In the end, the TikTok algorithm will share what people like and what they engage with. 

A woman who monitors her social media performance to improve her SEO on TikTok

Step 3: Track and Analyze your Progress

Success on TikTok doesn’t come overnight. Being consistent and tracking your progress is key when it comes to TikTok SEO. Here’s a good way to do this is:

1. Select your Goals / Metrics Carefully

Every creator on TikTok has his or her own goals.Some want to build a tight and highly engaged community. Others want as big of an audience as possible. And still others want to sell their products or maximize their ROI. 

Whatever it is, you should never lose track of your goal. There are various metrics you can choose to reach including, reach/impressions, your follower growth rate, post interaction rate, and so much more. Be sure to understand what your metrics are telling you before you select them, so you can better understand your performance. 

2. Track and Study your Results

One of the most powerful features of social media tools is that they allow you to track your performance and benchmark it against similar profiles. This is the primary way for you to judge your success and to see how it matches up against others. Along these lines, it is important to compile enough data from your own performance and your competitors to gain meaningful insights. For this reason, it can be beneficial to look for social media tools that allow for unlimited profile tracking.

3. Review (and perhaps Adjust) your Approach

Doing TikTok SEO right is a process, and along the way you may have to refine and adjust your approach. Just because you don’t immediately see the results you expect, it doesn’t mean that TikTok SEO optimization is a waste of time. Keep at it, refine your strategies, use your SEO keywords on TikTok videos consistently, and watch your TikTok presence flourish with time.

Concluding Thoughts on TikTok SEO

Mastering TikTok SEO is an ongoing journey. By understanding the platform’s algorithm and goals, you can significantly boost your videos’ visibility on TikTok. In turn, the TikTok audience will boost the SEO value of your posts more than you could ever do yourself.

If you are interested in improving your TikTok performance and increasing your reach, Fanpage Karma offers a free 14-day trial of their all-in-one social media tool which can help you gain the insights you need. 

Additionally, Fanpage Karma offers a free webinar that is designed to show you how you can improve your overall social media performance.  

Common Questions and Answers about Making Your TikTok Videos Easier to Find

Below are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to TikTok SEO. 

What does SEO mean on TikTok?

SEO on TikTok is all about tweaking and improving your TikTok videos so that more people can find and watch them. This involves figuring out which hashtags to use, picking the right keywords, and jumping on board with the latest trends.

And guess what? Your TikTok videos can even show up on Google search results! So, if you play your cards right with SEO, you’re looking at grabbing the attention of even more people.

But isn’t TikTok SEO just about using the right Hashtags?

Using hashtags has been a proven way to increase reach and engagement rates on social media. However, one of our first TikTok SEO tips is to not focus solely on hashtags. There are ways that you can find out how to find what hashtags work and result in higher interaction rates, but don’t rely simply on using the right hashtags. 

How can I make my TikTok videos show up more?

To boost your TikTok video’s chances of being seen, start by doing your homework on keywords. Look for popular words and phrases that relate to your video, and make sure to include them in your video’s captions and the audio.

Don’t forget to stay on top of TikTok’s hottest trends and use hashtags that make sense for your video. This can really help your video stand out in TikTok searches, upping its visibility.

How do keywords make a difference on TikTok?

Keywords on TikTok act just like they do anywhere else – they’re the words and phrases people use when they’re searching for stuff. Using the right keywords in your area of interest can help TikTok’s system notice your video and show it to more potential viewers.

Is TikTok considered a search engine?

While TikTok isn’t a search engine like Google, it does have its own way of helping you find content. It looks at how many views, likes, and comments a video gets, and also pays attention to what users are searching for. In this way, TikTok can show each person content that matches their interests based on their past activity on the app.

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