Mar 8, 2024

TikTok SEO Strategies: How to Rank for TikTok Search Results in 2024

Kaylee Foral
Media Strategist

TikTok has transcended its status as a mere social media platform, emerging as a formidable search engine. The pivotal role of the For You page and the TikTok algorithm in shaping the platform's value proposition is well known. However, the significant development lies in TikTok's evolution into a potent search engine. This transition is underscored by the fact that approximately 40% of Generation Z users now prefer TikTok over Google for online searches, as reported by The New York Times. This shift has prompted TikTok to rebrand itself as a search engine, a paradigm shift that demands our attention. This article delves into the emerging trend of TikTok as a search engine and provides a comprehensive guide to leveraging TikTok keywords to enhance video views.

TikTok's Emergence as a Search Engine

The transformation of TikTok into a search engine is no longer an abstract notion; it's a reality that requires acknowledgment. The branding shift is evident in advertisements that explicitly endorse searching with TikTok. The platform's interface also reflects this evolution, with related search suggestions popping up under videos and a prominent search function located at the top of the comment section. The amalgamation of user behavior and platform design leaves no room for doubt: TikTok is a video search engine. This realization demands that content creators embrace the role of TikTok as a search engine and adopt a TikTok SEO strategy.

Unconventional Keyword Research

Keyword research lies at the heart of effective TikTok SEO. While conventional SEO specialists turn to tools like SEMrush for keyword insights, TikTok presents a unique challenge. Unlike Google, TikTok data is not easily accessible through conventional tools. As of now, there are no dedicated TikTok-specific SEO tools available. Therefore, the platform itself becomes the primary source for TikTok keywords.

Finding TikTok Keywords

1. Define Your Primary Keyword: To initiate keyword research, determine the core theme of your content. Pose the question, "What is my video about?" and answer it in one word or a concise phrase. For instance, if you're curating book recommendations for a small bookstore's social media account, your primary keyword might be book recommendations.

2. Utilize TikTok's Search Function: Open TikTok and navigate to the search function, represented by a magnifying glass icon. While on your For You page, input your primary keyword. TikTok will generate a list of related search terms. Examine these suggestions and note down relevant keywords.

3. Expand Your Keyword List: Click on suggested keywords to uncover even more specific and niche terms. These insights directly reflect user search behavior and provide valuable keywords that resonate with your content.

Incorporating TikTok Keywords

Once you've assembled a robust list of TikTok keywords, integrating them strategically into your content becomes paramount for optimal SEO.

1. Incorporate Keywords in Speech: During video creation, seamlessly incorporate keywords into your speech. The platform often scrapes video transcripts, especially when auto-captions are enabled. This enhances the chances of your video being recommended.

2. Embed Keywords in Text: After producing the video, insert keywords into the video's text elements. Use them as part of the video title, making it explicit and eye-catching for potential viewers. 

3. Hidden Keyword Placement: An innovative approach involves hiding keywords within the video. Insert text with keywords and shrink it down to an inconspicuous size. Position it on the edge or corner of the video frame to ensure it doesn't clutter the content.

Enhancing Engagement Through Keywords

Optimizing your TikTok SEO goes beyond video creation; it extends to engagement strategies.

1. Keywords in Description: Use keywords in the video description to further reinforce its relevance. Experiment with variations of keywords to attract a wider audience. Also, incorporate relevant hashtags to increase discoverability.

2. Strategic Comments: Engage with your own video by commenting using additional keywords. Offer contextual information that resonates with your content. However, avoid overwhelming the comment section with irrelevant text.

TikTok's evolution from a social media platform to a search engine demands that content creators adapt their strategies to harness its potential. Understanding the significance of keywords and their strategic integration within the TikTok ecosystem is the cornerstone of enhancing video views. By embracing this new facet of TikTok and implementing a well-thought-out TikTok SEO strategy, creators can effectively position their content in front of a larger, more engaged audience. As TikTok continues to redefine its role in the digital landscape, creators who tap into its search engine capabilities stand to reap significant benefits. It's time to unlock the full potential of TikTok keywords and ride the wave of this innovative evolution.

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