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TikTok SEO : new SEO strategy

Simon Lebrun
November 9, 2022
Last modified on
August 23, 2023
SEO strategy on TikTok

Social referencing is not new.

Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, social networks as search engines.

Generation Z and Millennials are always the first to adopt new ways of using technology, and are influencing other generations to follow suit. As a result, many consumers are increasingly using these channels to search for information, content, ideas and products.

And no marketer should ignore where consumers spend their time.

Above all, where they spend their time looking.

And it is TikTok that has been able to take an important place in the use of its search engine.

To the point of being dubbed the "New Google".

According to Google's internal data, nearly 40 percent of Generation Z users prefer to use TikTok and Instagram over Google search. Yet, on the surface, the social network presents itself as an entertainment platform and not a search engine, but that doesn't stop users from using it as such.

So what does this mean for your brand?

The platform is known for its TikTok algorithm, which adapts quickly and shows relevant videos to its users. But it has also grown around its search feature, used to find videos around a specific topic.

With this possibility, TikTok becomes a space for discovery and active search, a way for your prospects to find your brand. Provided your brand's TikTok referencing is solid and well optimized.

Don't panic, here's how to use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) on TikTok.

Access our guide by clicking on the image.

Why is TikTok SEO important?

What is TikTok SEO?

Simply put, TikTok SEO involves optimizing your videos so that they are easily found by users searching the platform. The same logic applies as for traditional SEO. If you've already worked out your SEO strategy on Google, it won't be too difficult to do the same on TikTok.

The main driver behind TikTok's evolution towards search is its ability to provide users with high-value content that is socially validated by the platform's community.

For Generation Z, TikTok is a discovery platform, and the way they use it is more like a search engine.

But it doesn't work completely the same as Google or Bing, as the app provides a different type of response to their searches. When you make a query on TikTok, your intention is to find content that will answer your query - so you'll type keywords into the search bar to get information.

On TikTok its information will be based on real experience content and socially validated by the platform's community, rather than on paid advertising.

TikTok SEO for my brand

With over 732 million active users worldwide, TikTok SEO is a natural fit, with many people turning to TikTok rather than Google for search. Not to mention that the social media platform relies on the authenticity and spontaneity of its creators. And that's why your brand should turn to TikTok as a way of connecting with an audience in a more direct and candid way. TikTok SEO provides an opportunity to make yourself known to an audience that is particularly interested in your business sector, since it will seek it out on its own.

This means understanding your target audience's search intent and using relevant, high-volume keywords.

Indeed, the more your video will perform, the higher it will be in the search results for the keyword you are looking for. The social network works like word of mouth: creators recommend products they like more than they promote them. TikTok is built around this logic of spontaneous and authentic video, so the trust that users will have towards content creators is important.

Download our ebook and keep at hand a clear understanding of how TikTok SEO works, as well as effective methods for improving your visibility.

Access our guide by clicking on the image.

How to reference your TikTok videos?

Let's break down the 4 marketing steps to optimize your video content for TikTok SEO:

Step 1 - Understand your audience and what they might be looking for

For any content marketing strategy, it's essential to ask yourself who you want to reach first. This is especially true when you want to optimize your SEO strategy on your TikTok videos. Understanding your audience and how your brand fits into their lives is the first step to understanding the search intent of your ideal audience. What is their search intent that you could bring to them, and under which keywords you could reference them in order to optimize your content.

Step 2 - Choose the right keywords on TikTok

Understanding your target audience and their search intent facilitates the next step in the process: selecting the right keywords to use in your video.

There are 3 things to consider when choosing your keywords:

  • Search volume: how many people are searching for content via this keyword? The idea is that the more the keyword is searched, the more relevant it is to use in general.
  • Relevance: is your content really relevant to the keyword you are searching for? If you do not deliver in the content what your keyword implies, the SEO will not be effective.
  • Difficulty: how difficult is it for your content to rank for this keyword? If it's a keyword that is already saturated, you will have more difficulty getting visibility under it.

There is no absolute magic formula, and sometimes these three characteristics contradict each other. Logically, if the volume of the keyword is high you'll run into trouble, as other brands and creators have probably already created an abundance of content to address that topic. Similarly, low keyword difficulty can coincide with low relevance. So you really have to adapt on a case-by-case basis depending on your marketing goal.

Here are two different TikTok SEO strategy templates for specific situations, depending on brand size:

To reach a niche community as a small business, you'll rely more on :

  1. Low to medium volume
  2. High relevance
  3. Low keyword difficulty

To create more relevant or higher-quality content, you should focus on :

  1. High search volume
  2. High relevance
  3. Low keyword difficulty

To raise your profile with a typical audience, you should focus on :

  1. High search volume
  2. Average relevance
  3. Low keyword difficulty 

Step 3 - Incorporate the keywords

There are 4 ways to incorporate keywords into videos:

  • Text inserts (typically as a teaser)
  • The speech
  • Subtitles (manual or automated)
  • The hashtags

The idea is to maximize the embeddings to ensure that your video is optimized from an SEO perspective, and ranked higher in the search page for that keyword.

Don't forget to mention your keyword as a written insert in the first 3 seconds of the video so that it appears as a thumbnail in your content.

Step 4 - Choose your hashtags

TikTok hashtags are also very important in your TikTok SEO strategy, but simply using as many as possible isn't necessarily the best way to optimize your videos.

The idea is to play on their breadth and depth. You can play on longer and specific keywords, and high volume keywords.

Long and specific keywords will bring you potentially more qualified users, who will surely do more than just watch the optimized video. They might become subscribers, or leave a comment, which will boost the video's performance. Conversely, high volume keywords will allow you to be seen by a maximum of people, a larger audience with a lower conversion rate.

In some cases, like when you plan to launch a video series, it can also make sense to use a hashtag with your company name followed by the name of the series.

Beyond that, we strongly encourage you to do A/B testing on the hashtags you may use, for example by re-testing the ones chosen under a video that excelled, to try to be as efficient as possible in your hashtag choices in the future and thus have the best SEO possible.


The future of SEO on TikTok

Although we've only been talking about SEO on TikTok for a short time, it's undeniably promising. Generation Z has different reflexes when it comes to consuming information and searching for it. It's another way of reaching your audience that shouldn't be overlooked.

According to a report by Cloudflare, TikTok ended Google's 15-year reign as the most visited web domain in the world in 2021.

What this highlights is that consumers are no longer just looking for information from reliable, established sources, but above all in visually appealing, socially validated formats ; video in particular is a much more entertaining option. And TikTok's short formats ensure that information is both concise and effective.

We'll support you in creating content and setting up effective campaigns on TikTok, ensuring that our actions are in line with your marketing objectives

TikTok Ads
Influence campaign
Content creation
Community Management

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