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TikTok SEO: How to Optimize Your TikTok Posts

What if we told you there was a way to make sure your video content gets in front of more people and gets more views? If you haven’t made social media SEO part of your TIkTok strategy, take this as your sign to optimize your posts.

What is SEO? Search engine optimization or SEO, is the process of optimizing and improving content to encourage better performance in search results. Just as you would use keyword research and optimization to encourage better website performance, you can encourage better performance from your social media posts with a little SEO. At the end of the day, social media platforms are themselves search engines. Each platform’s algorithms are looking for something a little distinct from each other. In this post, we’ll go over how to optimize your content for TikTok.

TikTok SEO

Millennials and Gen Z are turning to TikTok more and more to answer questions and learn how to do something. Almost 40% of young people are turning to TikTok and Instagram to discover content. This means that learning how to play well with TikTok’s algorithm is going to become more important. Before we learn how to optimize TikTok content for search, first we should understand TikTok’s ranking factors.

TikTok Ranking Factors

#1 Video Information

TikTok wants to show its users content they think would be interesting and relevant. Therefore, information about what your video is about and what users can expect from watching your video is a very important optimization signal.

TikTok can determine video information by looking at: 

  • Keywords you use in your caption 
  • Keywords in the content of your video (transcripts, for example)
  • Hashtags
  • Sounds you use
  • Video effects

#2 User Interactions

TikTok also takes into consideration views, likes, and comments on a particular video when making the choice to serve it to more users. Videos that get a ton of engagement basically tell the TikTok algorithm that users want to see more of this video and therefore will make it more likely to serve it more.

User interactions that affect TikTok ranking include:

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Profile follows
  • Watch completion and rewatches

#3 Device Settings

The TikTok algorithm takes users’ account settings when deciding which content to serve them. Location and language settings, for example, can help TikTok decide whether a user will see your content or not. Because of this, users who are in the same country with the same language spoken as you will more likely see your videos.

These ranking signals are not weighted the same, however. Video information and user interaction signals carry more ranking power than device settings.

How to Optimize TikTok Content

Now that we know what TikTok is looking for, how do we optimize our content? We can break down TikTok SEO into three steps: user research, keyword research, and implementation.

#1 User Research

Like in website optimization, the most important research phase you must do is to identify your target audience. Who are you trying to reach? How old are they? Where do they live? What problem areas do they have?
Get very specific about the people you’re trying to reach. This information is crucial because it can inform what kind of content you’re going to make, the style you make it in, and what kinds of questions you answer or information you share.
If you are already on TikTok, you might be more familiar with what types of content your target audience gravitates toward. If you’re just starting out, take some time and browse through the top videos in your niche or in your industry. What are these videos talking about? What do the users talk about in the comments? What are they asking for? These types of user research are very important when you get down to creating content.

#2 Keyword Research

While there are many tools to do keyword research for website SEO or Google optimization, there currently aren’t any tools that give you keyword data for TikTok itself. While not an exact science, we can take signals from the TikTok platform itself when doing keyword research.
When you start your keyword research, start with TikTok’s search bar itself. Once you start searching a keyword, TikTok will auto-populate with suggestions of what you can be looking for. This is a great signal of what users are typically looking for when they search your keyword.

Next, you’ll also want to search your niche or industry keywords are hashtags. TikTok hashtags are a great place to see how popular certain keywords are. Not only will you get different varieties of keywords when you search hashtags, TikTok will also give you a metric for how popular that search term is. The number to the right of each hashtag suggestion tells you how many users have viewed a video containing that hashtag.

Once you’ve done your keyword research and collected key phrase relevant to your niche or business, you can categorize these into keyword families. You can use these as content buckets and make the decision of what types of content to film easier.

#3 Implementation/Optimization

Once you’ve researched and compiled a list of keywords and hashtags you want to use for your niche or business, it’s start to implement them and add them to your content. Make sure you implement your keywords in your profile bio, video descriptions, in your cover titles, in your hashtags, and in any text that appears on screen (subtitles, text overlays, etc.).

Make sure you weave your keywords into the actual content of your video. If you’re talking or chatting in your video, naturally weave in your keywords and their variations in the scripting of your video. There are marketers who suggest including your keywords in the first 3 seconds of on-screen text or the first 3 seconds of voiceover.

Areas to keyword optimize include:

  • Profile bio
  • Video description
  • Hashtags
  • Cover titles
  • On-screen text like subtitles, on-screen captions

Once you’ve started optimizing your content for ranking, it’s important to track your progress. Use TikTok analytics to measure if certain content optimized for certain keywords perform better than others.

As you get more comfortable with optimizing your TikTok content, you’ll learn more about the types of content that work for your audience and which keywords get you the exposure that you want. Continuously research and optimize your videos and you’ll be on your way to improving your performance in TikTok search.

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Aurora Sanchez

Aurora Sanchez is the SEO Specialist at PLANOLY. When not optimizing the PLANOLY website, she spends her time creating beauty content and loves the intersection of beauty, creativity, and character play.

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