Do you primarily market your products and services to young people?

If so, you should include TikTok search in your existing SEO efforts.

Why is that?

It’s because more and more Gen Z‘ers prefer to use TikTok over traditional search engines to find products, services, businesses, and even restaurants. In fact, nearly half of Gen Z (40%) prefer to use TikTok and Instagram. 

TikTok’s search engine is the new nut to crack for digital marketers targeting a younger audience. The tricky part is that TikTok SEO is such a new thing that marketers are still learning its ins and outs, including how to cater to its algorithm

Yet, that doesn’t mean you have to wait to start incorporating TikTok search into your SEO strategy to attract more young people

After all, by the end of 2022, TikTok is set to have 750 million monthly users, a vast audience you’ll miss out on if you don’t promote your business on the platform. That’s a ton of traffic, leads, and potential sales, which is why TikTok SEO is worth the investment. 

To help you, we’ve prepared this guide to master TikTok search in its current form. 

Read on to discover the most effective techniques for ranking higher on TikTok’s search engine

Why is TikTok Search Taking Over?

As stated before, more and more young people are using TikTok as their preferred search engine, and there are more than a few reasons for this. 

Even the SVP of Google, Prabhakar Raghavan, has noticed this trend, commenting that “newer internet users don’t have the same mindset and expectations that Google is accustomed to,” which has led the company to copy TikTok‘s model by including more visual results with an infinite scroll feature. 

It’s a clear sign that younger audiences’ search needs and desires are changing, as they prefer engaging, visual TikTok video content over text-based Google search results

Is that the only reason the TikTok search bar is taking over the world?

Beyond the engaging presentation, young people flock to TikTok because the content is socially validated by a community of like-minded creators and influencers. There’s a real sense of authenticity and a word-of-mouth vibe to TikTok‘s advertising, which users love. 

To the average TikTok user, they’d much rather discover a new restaurant through a short video from their favorite creator instead of a paid corporate ad. That’s because the former is based on real-life experience, while the latter is just self-promotion. 

There’s also a wide variety of content on TikTok, including:

  • Memes
  • ASMR
  • Duets/dancing 
  • Educational 
  • Comedy 
  • News
  • Influencer vlogs 

These are only a few of the genres you’ll run into on the TikTok app

The good news?

You can create engaging videos in all these genres to promote your business – and you don’t have to go broke to do it. 

How to Optimize Your Content for TikTok Search 

Infographic on How to Optimize Your Content for TikTok Search

Now that you know why TikTok SEO is worth the time and effort, it’s time to learn how to implement it into your digital marketing strategy. 

In essence, the best practices of TikTok SEO are similar to traditional SEO, albeit with a few tweaks. 

Here’s an overview of the process:

  • Discover your target audience and their search intent 
  • Conduct keyword research 
  • Place the keywords in your video 
  • Use hashtags 

So far, this is the most successful strategy for increasing your visibility on TikTok’s search engine

Since TikTok SEO is so new, marketers, gurus, and experts are bound to discover new techniques in the future. For now, following these steps are your best bet, so let’s take a more in-depth look at each one. 

Step #1: Uncover your target audience and their search intent 

First, you’ll need to do some demographic research on your products and services to discover who you’re trying to target. 

If you don’t have a customer persona, creating one is an excellent idea – as it will help you get to know your target customer personally. 

Who are you trying to reach with your business? Are you targeting makeup enthusiasts, gamers, skaters, or basketball players?

Also, it would be best if you determined the search intent of your users. Are they looking to make a purchase, or do they want to learn more about your service? Uncovering search intent will help you learn which type of content your audience is craving. 

Step #2: Conduct keyword research 

Just like traditional SEO, you’ll need to do keyword research for your TikTok videos

What are keywords?

A keyword or search query is what users type into a search engine to find what they’re looking for. You can use our free keyword planner tool to develop keyword ideas for your audience. Here are three components to look for in a keyword:

Infographic on three components to look for in a keyword

  • Search volume. Ideally, you want to find a keyword that has a decent search volume. That means that many users are looking for it daily, making it easy to generate lots of traffic if you rank for it. 
  • Relevance. This refers to how relevant the keyword is to your target audience. You’ll need each keyword you target to have high relevance to your audience to get the best results. 
  • Keyword difficulty. A keyword’s difficulty (KD) score refers to how much competition exists for it. The higher the KD score, the harder it will be to rank for the term. 

The best keywords will have high search volume, high relevance, and low keyword difficulty

That way, you know that lots of your audience members are searching for the term, it’s relevant to what you do, and it will be possible to rank in the top results with some optimization. 

Step #3: Place the keywords in your video 

Now it’s time to place your target keywords in strategic spots in your videos – just as you would on a webpage. 

Instead of placing keywords in meta descriptions and the body of your blog articles, you should place your TikTok keywords in:

  • The in-video text
  • Captions 
  • Speech 
  • Hashtags 
  • Auto-generated close captions 

You should place your keywords in all five spots to get the best results. 

#4: Devise a hashtag strategy 

Last but not least, you must list a series of hashtags for your videos. Here, you’ll need to use a combination of short-tail and long-tail keywords that pertain to your video. 

Do your best to cover all the bases in terms of the content of your video. Include not only the subject matter but also your target audience. 

For example, if your short video is about makeup, your hashtags could look something like #makeupenthusiasts, #makeuptutorials, #lookfabulous, etc. 

Final Thoughts: TikTok Search 

Since TikTok is becoming one of the world’s largest search engines (especially for Gen Z), TikTok SEO is now a must for most companies and websites. 

From e-commerce to entrepreneurs, TikTok has enough monthly users to cater to just about every type of business. 

Remember to research your target audience, uncover their search intent, and conduct targeted keyword research. Do that, and you should improve your TikTok rankings in no time. 

Do you need help developing an SEO strategy for your brand?

Then please don’t wait to check out our incredible managed SEO services at HOTH X.