Neil Patel

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TikTok SEO: Expand Your Brand’s Reach on TikTok

A graphic saying "TikTok SEO: Expand Your Brand's Reach on TikTok."

Have you noticed how TikTok is becoming more than just a platform for entertainment? 

Google reports that 40% of young people turn to apps like TikTok and Instagram for search purposes instead of traditional search engines. They want quick, visual answers. 

With over 1 billion active users worldwide, TikTok is a goldmine for marketers aiming to boost brand visibility through smart, strategic content.

Why should this matter to you? 

If you don’t optimize your TikTok content for search, you’re missing out. So, how can you make sure your videos appear where your target audience is already searching? That’s where TikTok SEO comes into play. 

So, let’s explore how you can use TikTok SEO to boost your brand’s visibility and get your content in front of the right audience. The right strategy makes your content work smarter, not harder.

We’ll cover what you need to know about SEO for TikTok, from how it works to specific strategies to turbocharge your visibility and engagement.

Key Takeaways

  • With 40% of young people using TikTok and Instagram instead of Google for searches, optimizing your TikTok content for SEO to capture this audience is critical.
  • TikTok SEO focuses on maximizing visibility within the app, particularly on the For You page and search results. You do this by understanding and leveraging user behavior and preferences.
  • Engagements such as likes, comments, and total video views are vital. Active interaction with your audience boosts your content’s performance and visibility.
  • Use precise and trending hashtags and keywords in your video captions to enhance discoverability and categorize your content for the right viewers.
  • Trending audio can catapult your content to viral status. Choose sounds that align with your brand and respect copyright laws to maximize impact without risking takedowns.


What Is TikTok SEO?

How does TikTok SEO work? It’s all about optimizing your content for visibility within the TikTok platform and in external search results like Google. 

The ultimate goal? 

To make sure your videos land right in front of your target audience—particularly on their For You pages (FYPs) and in TikTok’s search results.

Marketing on TikTok starts with understanding how TikTok SEO works. That requires understanding the platform’s unique features.

The FYP acts as TikTok’s dynamic homepage, presenting users with a stream of videos tailored to their interests based on their interactions. This algorithm-driven feed considers user behaviors like views, likes, and comments to curate content that’s likely to engage and entertain them.

TikTok’s search function allows users to discover videos by searching specific keywords or phrases. Optimize correctly for these search terms and your content’s visibility can skyrocket. 

Here’s where the SEO magic happens. By aligning your content with what your audience is actively searching for, you can significantly increase your reach and engagement on TikTok. That applies both within TikTok and in Google’s search results, where they surface TikTok videos for certain queries.

Check out this search for “best bags for travel.” TikTok SEO maximizes your chance of showing up among the top results.

TikTok results for Best Bags for travel.

However, the benefits of SEO for TikTok extend beyond the platform itself. A Google search for “best bags for travel video” features a TikTok video as one of the first results.

A Google search for best bags for travel dideo.

TikTok videos are even starting to show up in Google’s AI Overview (SGE) results, a sign that the app’s making its mark on the AI world. 

Ranking Factors for TikTok

So, what exactly influences your TikTok SEO? Let’s break down ranking factors unique to TikTok that can make or break your content’s visibility

  • User interactions: Engagement is key on TikTok. The algorithm tracks how users interact with your videos, including likes, comments, shares, and watch duration. High engagement rates signal to TikTok that your content resonates with viewers, which can boost your placement on their For You pages.
  • Video information: Here, keywords take center stage. Embedding relevant keywords in your video captions and using trending hashtags are essential strategies for increasing your visibility. Additionally, the music or soundtracks you choose play a significant role, as TikTok also uses these elements to rank content.
  • Devices and account settings: While not as heavily weighted, these factors still influence how TikTok serves your content. For example, users are more likely to see content that aligns with their language preferences, country settings, and device type. This means tailoring your content to match the regional and technological contexts of your audience can improve your reach.

It’s important to highlight that TikTok’s approach to SEO is inclusive. Unlike other platforms, TikTok doesn’t give an advantage based on follower counts. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned creator, you have an equal opportunity to reach the FYP. 

Provided your content hits the right notes with TikTok’s algorithm, that is.

Optimize your presence on one of the most influential platforms today by focusing on these unique aspects of TikTok SEO—engagement, relevant content creation, and strategic keyword use. 

And remember, it’s not about having millions of followers—it’s about creating content that resonates with and engages your specific audience.

TikTok SEO Tips

Ready to amp up your TikTok SEO game? These strategic tips can help you optimize your content for TikTok’s unique platform, expanding your videos’ reach and engaging your target audience. 

From using the right keywords to engaging effectively with viewers, let’s dive in to boosting your TikTok presence.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is crucial for TikTok SEO, just like with Google. However, the approach and tools differ slightly. 

On TikTok, you need to tap into the terms your target audience is actively using to search for content. These keywords are generally trendy, conversational, and tightly aligned with the visual nature of the content you’re creating. 

To get started, use traditional SEO tools like Google Ads’ Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest to generate a list of relevant keywords. Remember, these tools pull data from Google, not TikTok, so you’ll need to adapt these keywords to fit TikTok’s unique context. 

Sticking with our topic on “best travel bags,” there’s quite a bit of search volume to potentially snap up.

Ubersuggest results for "Best Travel Bags."

Source: Ubersuggest 

If you’re looking for even more potential keywords to mine, AnswerThePublic has a keyword-specific search functions. By entering in our “best travel bags” query, we can look at some of the related terms and questions that people are currently entering on TikTok specifically.

AnswerThePublic Tiktok results for Best Travel Bags

Next, head over to TikTok and use the search function. Type in your keywords and take note of how TikTok auto-populates the search bar with related terms. 

Suggested Google Keywords for best travel bags.

These suggestions are goldmines for understanding what your audience is looking for on TikTok. Integrate relevant keywords thoughtfully into your video captions, descriptions, and hashtags to enhance discoverability and reach.

Use Keywords Everywhere

One major thing to note here is that the parameters of keyword stuffing are very different for TikTok compared to written content, giving you a lot of additional implementation opportunities without falling into the trap of keyword stuffing. Here’s a quick list of areas where you can implement keywords on TikTok while still falling under Google’s best practices:

  • In the actual audio
  • In any text overlays
  • In the audio transcription
  • In the video caption
  • As part of your hashtags 

These still need to be uses that make sense in the context of the content, but there are a lot of keyword opportunities you might be missing out on.

Build Out Your Hashtags

Hashtags are critical for TikTok SEO. They help categorize your content and guide TikTok’s algorithm toward showcasing your videos to the right audience. However, remember that quality trumps quantity with hashtags. A few well-chosen hashtags are more effective than a long string of less relevant ones.

To optimize your use of hashtags, mix broad and niche-specific tags. Broad hashtags increase your reach, while niche tags connect you with specific communities and reduce competition. 

With our travel bag example, a broad hashtag might be something as simple as #TravelBag. A more niche hashtag could be #FamilyTravelBags or #BusinessTravelBags.

TikTok’s Keyword Insights tool, though primarily used for ads, can also help you choose the right hashtags by providing data on their popularity and click-through rates. 

TikTok's Keyword Insights interface.

Source: TikTok Keyword Insights Tool

You can see how popular a keyword is and how much that popularity changes based on a specific time period. These insights can help you choose the best keywords to boost your visibility and propel your content onto users’ For You pages.

Create Microblogs for Your Videos

Blending traditional blogging techniques with TikTok SEO can be a game-changer. Think of each TikTok video as a microblog where you explore topics relevant to your audience. This strategy aligns well with Google’s preference for fresh, relevant content, and it also serves the dual purpose of boosting your TikTok SEO. Why is this the case? Microblogs reach different audience types than your typical TikTok video. This creates the opportunity for more views and engagements on the platform. Think of it as another avenue to get more eyes on your content.

Embed your TikTok videos into blog posts on your website to provide additional context and depth. This keeps your content fresh and extends its life, engagement, and reach. Start with a compelling headline incorporating your primary keyword, sprinkle secondary or long-tail keywords throughout the subheadings and body, and always ensure that the content is engaging and informative.

Here’s an example of how a TikTok Embed looks within a blog post.

An embedded TikTok video in a blog post.

Source: Embed Social

Find the Content Styles Your Audience Is Sharing and Engaging With

Getting to know your audience is key to success with TikTok SEO. What drives their interactions? Which types of content resonate most with them? 

Begin by analyzing the types of videos they engage with, the hashtags they use, and the conversations they’re having. Go beyond surface-level likes and dive into why certain content captivates them. 

There are a few ways that you can get this done. TikTok has its own innate analytics tools for Pro accounts, but they are generally pretty basic. Still, when you want things like engagement metrics and demographics of your current audience, they can be handy.

For more insight, though, you will need to do some manual observation. Review the comments on your videos, notice which accounts your followers are interested in, and pay attention to any direct feedback they provide. The key here is trying to find patterns in any of those interactions. The more commonalities you find, the better a picture you can have of your ideal audience so your content can meet their needs.

Why does this matter for SEO? When you understand your audience deeply, you can create video titles, descriptions, and content your intended viewers are likely to search for and find. 

Tools like TikTok Insights are invaluable in this process, providing detailed insights into your followers’ preferences and engagement patterns.

Engage With Your Audience

Engagement on TikTok is more than just a numbers game of likes and comments. 

Every comment on your videos is an opportunity—not just for a reply, but to spark a conversation that captivates your audience and draws in more viewers. This interaction is critical in how the TikTok algorithm assesses and boosts your content’s visibility.

Look at Gymshark’s comment section:

An example of engagement on TikTok comments.

Source: Gymshark TikTok

Gymshark, a manufacturer of workout apparel, brings humor, realness, and personality to an industry that sometimes gets a bad rap. 

Follow Gymshark’s lead and make it a habit to respond to comments quickly and thoughtfully. Participate in trending challenges, collaborate through duets, and encourage your viewers to create user-generated content (UGC) related to your brand. 

The more interactive your channel, the more engaged your audience will be. This builds community and signals to TikTok that your content is engaging and worthy of featuring on more For You pages.

Understand Trending Audio

On TikTok, audio can be the heartbeat of your content. The right song or sound effect can dramatically increase your video’s reach and engagement. Trending audio tracks often feature prominently on For You pages, giving your content a better chance to go viral.

However, using audio on TikTok requires care due to copyright considerations. Always ensure that the audio you choose is cleared for use to avoid potential takedowns. Thankfully, there’s a feature within TikTok Studio that allows creators to automatically check for copyrighted audio.

Also be sure to regularly check TikTok’s trending sounds and integrate them thoughtfully into your videos, making sure they complement your content and enhance your brand’s message. 

As an added note here, TikTok trends can actually start to impact how Google search trends play out as well. This gives a great opportunity to use Google-native tools like Google Trends and Google Ads Keyword Planner to see any trends that are either growing in interest or seeing a recent interest spike based on TikTok trends. This makes sure you have relevant site content that can catch that interest.

This is especially relevant when it comes to shopping. We have evidence that shows that as people hear about a certain product brand or type on TikTok, searches on Google rise as well. This is because many users, especially Gen Z users, start their buying journeys on TikTok before going to Google to find the product they want.

Another thing to keep in mind here is that by nature, TikTok is going to be algorithm-based, as in the content that the users engage with will inform what’s put in front of them. This is why we recommend using a separate TikTok account strictly for brand research. 

On this account, you only want to search keywords and topics that are super-relevant for your own brand and audience. With a separate brand account, all you need to do is open it up and instantly see what’s trending on the platform to inform your own strategy. This will also keep from impacting your own personal or business feeds.


Does TikTok even have an SEO algorithm?

Absolutely. TikTok has a sophisticated algorithm that decides which videos are shown to each user. This algorithm factors in user interactions, video information, and device settings to personalize the content on the For You page and search results. Understanding and optimizing for this algorithm is key to enhancing your TikTok SEO.

What are some key ranking factors for TikTok videos?

Key ranking factors include user engagement (likes, comments, shares, complete views), relevance of video information (keywords in captions, hashtags), and technical aspects like device type and location settings. Focusing on these can help your content perform better on the platform.

How do I find the right keywords to target on TikTok?

Start by identifying what your audience is searching for using TikTok’s Discover feature and pay attention to trends. Use relevant keywords in your video captions, descriptions, and hashtags to improve discoverability.

How many hashtags should I use on a TikTok video?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but a good rule of thumb is to use between three to five relevant hashtags. Mix popular hashtags with more niche ones to maximize your reach without getting lost in overcrowded tags.


Nailing TikTok SEO means syncing perfectly with the platform’s rhythm and maximizing your content’s impact. By putting to use the tips we’ve covered (potentially alongside a dialed-in TikTok ad strategy), you can turn TikTok into a powerful marketing tool.

There’s no single strategy for cracking the TikTok SEO code. But targeting the right keywords and hashtags, actively engaging with users, and paying close attention to the content your audience can get you off to a great start. 

Each step you take is geared toward optimizing and elevating your presence on this vibrant platform. And that can translate to your brand landing higher in search results and on more For You pages.

Dive in, apply these strategies, and watch your TikTok success soar.

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Neil Patel