HOW WE MAKE SURE OUR CLIENTS RANK ON TIKTOK: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TIKTOK SEO
Abbie Smyth Social Media Manager
5 min read
Monday, 16th January 2023
Ever-changing social media algorithms are the bane of every Social Media Manager’s lives, right? But, understanding how each social platform works is vital to ensure your content is fully - optimised - this is key to generating successful reach and engagement.
Social media SEO optimisations can help your content be seen by more people, ensure that you rank for key search terms relevant to your brand, and make your content evergreen. By successfully implementing strategic SEO into your Tik Tok channel, you can sit back and watch as your views continue to grow week on week - with very little extra work!
We’ll walk you through all of the important details to break down how the TikTok algorithm works and how to optimise your video content to get the most out of it. LET’S GO…
Understanding the TikTok algorithm
Firstly, you’ll need to understand that how the TikTok algorithm serves videos on the FYP and how TikTok ranks videos are two separate things - however it’s important to note that they do overlap.
The TikTok algorithm is a (spookily accurate) recommendation system that determines which videos will appear on your For You Page.
The For You Page is different for everyone, and no two users will see the exact same videos on their page. The algorithm is constantly analysing your on-app behaviour, meaning that the type of videos you receive will change depending on your viewing preferences and current state of mind.
No two users will see the same videos on their For You Page, and the videos you see might change over time based on your viewing preferences and even your current state of mind.
This is how TikTok itself defines the TikTok For You page algorithm:
“A stream of videos curated to your interests, making it easy to find content and creators you love … powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.”
How does the TikTok algorithm work?
The factors that impact the TikTok For You Page algorithm include:
- Accounts you follow
- Accounts hidden
- Comments you’ve posted
- Videos you’ve liked or shared on the app
- Videos you’ve added to your favourites
- Videos you’ve marked as “Not Interested”
- Videos you’ve reported as inappropriate
- Longer videos you watch all the way to the end (aka video completion rate)
- Content you create on your own account
- Interests you’ve expressed by interacting with organic content and ads
As well as analysing the way you interact with other users on the platform, the algorithm also analyses the content you regularly seek out on the Discover tab.
This can include details like:
- Trending topics
Device and account settings
Device and accounts settings are known to be the less interesting settings - you'll have likely used these settings when first setting up your account to ensure you’re getting served content that is relevant to both your language and country.
Some of the device and account settings included in the TikTok algorithm include:
- Language preference
- Country setting (you may be more likely to see content from people in your own country)
- Type of mobile device
- Categories of interest you selected as a new user
So, now we understand how the algorithm works… Let’s dive into TikTok SEO factors to make you rank on the platform.
What is TikTok SEO?
Put simply, TikTok SEO is optimising your video content to rank higher in search. It’s not rocket science - just as you would use keywords and analytics to optimise the content on your website, these tactics can also be used to help your TikTok videos show up in search results on TikTok and now Google too!
If you’re looking to engage with a younger audience demographic, ensuring you rank on TikTok is key. Gen Z are no longer heading to Google as their first port of call when searching for products, they’re heading to TikTok. In fact, data from Google showed that 40% of young people primarily use TikTok and Instagram for search.
Even more, TikTok videos are now indexed by Google and show up in the SERPs.
Top tip: Create your TikTok SEO strategy to hit key search terms for TikTok and Google. That way, you’re giving your content the best chance to rank on both search engines.
So, what impacts TikTok SEO ranking factors?
Text on screen
TikTok pulls out key words from on-screen text to determine a video’s contents.
Top tip: Incorporate key search terms into your video text through a video hook in the first 3-5 seconds.
TikTok also scans video captions for keywords relevant to your video contents.
Top tip: You should additionally incorporate key search terms in your captions. Research your audience's niche, as well as what they’re searching for and factor these both in.
The same applies for hashtags.
Top tip: Include up to 10 hashtags in your captions, 5 of these should be related to your audience niche and 5 more generic hashtags for added reach.
TikTok’s API analyses the sound and spoken word included in any videos, to again pull out key words and understand a video’s topic.
Top tip: Where spoken word is included in your videos, speak your key words in the intro hook of your video within the first 3-5 seconds.
So… where to start?
START WITH YOUR AUDIENCE, ALWAYS.
Think: who are you trying to reach - split this out by audience categories to give you a clear direction on your priority audience.
Then, keyword research.
Find out what words or phrases your target audience is using when searching for content like yours.
The best place to start for this is on TikTok itself. TikTok will automatically auto-populate the search bar with the most popular keywords related to your query. Insert a search term related to your products, look through what it shows you, and select any keywords that match up with your content.
Use the additional search terms as inspiration for key words to factor into your content or as insight for content creation ideas.
Implement these strategies, track your progress, optimise based on insight and over time you’ll be on track for success!
If you want to chat more about TikTok and social media SEO, feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.