TikTok SEO Guide: 6 Tips for Skyrocketing Your Performance

TikTok SEO Guide: 6 Tips for Skyrocketing Your Performance

May 22, 2023

TikTok has become more than just a social media channel. Data shows young people are increasingly using TikTok as a search engine to find answers to common questions and source product recommendations — and they’re shifting away from Google to do so.

In a recent conference, Google’s Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan stated “In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.” As a brand looking to reach potential customers, it’s clear that TikTok SEO should not be overlooked.

Read this TikTok SEO guide to boost your visibility and performance in 6 simple steps.


Ranking factors: how does TikTok’s search algorithm work?

TikTok is renowned for its adaptive algorithm. When you interact with TikTok content through views, likes, shares or following an account, the platform takes note of your activities to recommend more content based on your preferences.

As a result, each individual gets a highly customised feed showing them more of the content they enjoy. This is one of the reasons the platform is so popular!

TikTok’s ranking factors that help it decide what content to show people are:


User engagement

This is the biggest ranking factor. TikTok shows you content based on accounts you follow, likes, comments, shares and saves.



The use of keywords in video captions, hashtags and audio clips identifies what the video should rank for. For example, if someone searches for ‘hairdryer’, TikTok will show them content using that term such as hair tutorials and hairdryer product reviews.



TikTok’s SEO algorithm picks up on the visuals used in a video to help determine what to rank it for.


Account followers

Compared to other social platforms, TikTok puts less emphasis on the number of followers an account has when ranking content. This is great news for those just starting out on the platform: so long as you’re making valuable content meeting user search intent (which we’ll go into in a second), TikTok may put you in someone’s For You feed alongside some of its most-followed accounts.

That being said, having a strong account following does help to some extent with TikTok SEO. Popular accounts benefit from a base level of follower engagement, which in turn helps the algorithm understand who to push content to.


TikTok SEO guide: 6 actionable tips to supercharge your performance

1.  Understand (and fulfil) your audience’s search intent

To be a TikTok success, you’ll need to understand your audience and create content that’s relevant to them, i.e. matching their search intent.

For example, if you’re running a bakery you’ll know your target audience has an interest in cakes. With this knowledge, you can make content meeting your audience’s interests and related search terms, like ‘What cake should I make?’ and ‘Cake icing recipe’.


You can also look at videos your target customer is engaging with, the hashtags they’re using and the comments and messages they’re sending you to inspire new content ideas meeting their search intent.

If you’re feeling stuck as to who your target customer is and what they’re interested in, Hootsuite has a handy guide to finding your target market.


2. Embrace keyword research

Keyword research is an essential feature of SEO. Using keywords indicates what search terms the content should appear for, so it’s important to put care into selecting the right keywords to add to your TikTok content.

You’ll want to select keywords that your target audience searches for (like in the bakery example above) and that have a high volume without being too competitive (or you’ll get lost among the noise).

Here are a couple of ways you can find relevant keywords.


1. Use Google SEO tools

TikTok is relatively new to the scene, so there currently aren’t any TikTok-specific SEO tools. However, you can use Google SEO tools to get a grasp of what people are generally searching for across the web.

Some of the best SEO tools are:


2.  Go through TikTok manually

To see what people are searching for on TikTok specifically, you can simply do a manual search and see what suggestions come up. TikTok auto-suggests the most popular search terms related to the word you put in, giving you plenty of great keyword ideas for your content.

For example, here are TikTok’s suggestions when you type in the search term ‘fitness’:


3. Use TikTok Creative Centre

You can supplement ideas you’ve found by manually searching TikTok with data from TikTok Creative Centre to give you more specific insights.

Search the term in Creative Centre and you’ll find data on:

  • The number of posts, views and trend in interest over time
  • Related videos (which can be a great source of inspiration for your own)
  • Audience insights, like age groups, region and related interests
  • Similar hashtags



4. Think outside your niche

Branching out into content on other topics your target audience is interested in is a great way to improve your visibility on TikTok, reaching potential new followers.

For example, just because you’re a fashion brand doesn’t mean you’re confined to making content about fashion and nothing else. You could talk about tattoos, piercings, veganism — anything your target audience is interested in. This gives you a wider catalogue of content ideas to create even more value for your audience and gain a wider reach.

Here’s an example of an ASOS salad recipe video appealing to their audience’s love of healthy living and comfy clothing:

 To discover other audience interest areas, use TikTok’s Audience Insights Tool. Here, you can take a deeper dive into audience demographics such as location, device, platform activity and other interests, including ads, videos, creators and hashtags they interact with. This can help you make an informed choice of topics to branch out into.


5. Hop on TikTok trends

TikTok churns out trends at an industrial rate. Trends range from sea shanties to fashion aesthetics to Wednesday Addams dance routines.

Hopping on trending sounds, memes, challenges and hashtags is great for gaining visibility. You know people are searching for it already so, if executed well, your content will get good engagement in the form of views, shares and likes.

Keep an eye out for hashtags with high engagement but not many videos — these are a particular goldmine. As the competition for the hashtag is relatively low, all that engagement is potentially yours for the taking.

We also see brands use this for in-store marketing by printing messaging like ‘As seen on TikTok’ on product packaging, drawing more attention to it through association with a popular TikTok craze.

You could even try starting your own TikTok trend. If it proves to be a hit, not only will your engagement and visibility skyrocket, but you’ll also inspire spin-off videos.

How to find TikTok trends to jump on
  • Perhaps the best way to find TikTok trends is by simply using the app yourself. Play around with it and follow pages you like and that are relevant to your industry. See what people are creating and engaging with. Becoming an active participant in the TikTok community is the best way to understand what’s trending and make the most out of the app.
  • The most straightforward way to find TikTok trends is by browsing the Discover tab. There, you’ll find a variety of trending sounds or topics.
  • Follow the hashtag #trendalert for updates on what’s trending.
  • When you browse songs to add to videos, TikTok recommends popular songs for you to use. Or, if you’re scrolling and find a song or audio that’s popular, you can add it to your favourites to easily find it and include it in your own content at a later date. (Not too much later though, as it may not still be as popular!) Recently, TikTok has also added a feature where it will recommend more sounds based on your saved favourites, so you can find even more popular tunes if you use this method.



6. Add keywords to your content

After you’ve found the keywords you want to use or the trend you want to jump on, you’ll need to make sure your content is properly optimised for it. That means using the search term in your content:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Caption
  • On-screen text
  • Audio
  • Hashtags
  • Visuals
  • Automatic closed captions for speech-heavy videos


As of September 2022, TikTok post descriptions increased from 300 characters to 2,200, so you now have more text room to write a description using relevant keywords and enticing your audience.

Using the right hashtags

Hashtags are especially important for helping videos around similar topics appear for relevant terms. Adding keyword hashtags to your videos helps group videos on similar topics together. Be sure to choose hashtags that are popular and relevant to your niche, business and content and use them across your video captions and descriptions.

For example, with over 3 million followers, @lenkalul is one of the biggest TikTok makeup influencers, in part thanks to using relevant and popular makeup hashtags which boost her visibility:

 You can even integrate branded hashtags so people can directly search and find your company’s content easily.


7. Reel them in! Make sure your video has a hook

TikTok says the first 2 seconds of a video are crucial for engagement. Which isn’t very long. You’ve got mere seconds to grab a viewer’s attention and get them hooked, which is essential for your TikTok performance.

TikTok monitors every moment people watch your videos, including engagement via likes, comments and shares. The more engagement your content receives, the more likely it is to reach people on their For You page. So, every moment of your video counts!

Begin videos by luring viewers in: promise a big reveal, speak to their pain points and offer them helpful solutions. Usually, this is done with a voice-over or text overlay. Here are some hook ideas you can use:

Clearly state why viewers should watch the video.

E.g. ‘If you want _____, watch this video!’
‘How to _____ for FREE.’


Directly tell viewers to keep watching, read your caption or engage with your content in some way.

E.g. ‘Watch until the end!’ ‘Stop scrolling!’
Pique curiosity with an ambiguous and intriguing statement.

E.g. ‘I’ve got a secret.’
‘I need your help…’
‘You need to hear this!’

Use humour, storytelling or educational content to entertain and engage.


Implement eye-catching visuals to make your videos stand out.

E.g. Text overlays


8. Track your TikTok analytics

You wouldn’t throw money at your paid ads without reviewing what’s performing well and what isn’t. Why should your organic videos be any different?

Viewing TikTok’s analytics dashboard gives you key insights into how your page and content are performing, allowing you to make informed choices about what content is popular and what isn’t. This helps you curate future content topics that your audience likes.

The TikTok analytics dashboard has three key sections:

  • Overview: Here you can see overall follower growth, video views, profile views, likes, comments, and shares.
  • Content: This section shows you data for individual posts, including total views, total likes, comments, shares, average watch time, percentage of viewers who watched the entire video, traffic source and audience territories.
  • Followers: This shows you what location your audience comes from, the times of the day or week when they’re most active and your change in follower growth compared to the previous period. You can also see your profile views.


TikTok is always evolving and introducing new features, so don’t be afraid to experiment and track how your content performs to stay ahead of competitors.

As mentioned previously, TikTok’s algorithm doesn’t simply favour the most-followed accounts. This makes it the best social media platform for experimenting, having fun and trying new techniques with your content. Play around to test what works and what doesn’t — you never know when you could be onto the next viral sensation!


How to take your TikTok growth to the next level with professional SEO services

If you follow this TikTok SEO guide, you’re going to make a great start on your strategy. However, if you’re lacking the time or want some extra assistance to elevate your account to TikTok stardom, hiring an agency with tried-and-tested TikTok SEO growth methods will fast-track your progress and performance.

As a TikTok partner and SEO specialist, Push gives you the edge over your competition. For over 15 years, we’ve driven online growth for businesses across the world, with a focus on innovating and adapting to the ever-changing SEO landscape, including through access to exclusive features.

Click here to learn more about Push’s SEO services and how we can amplify your growth.

Image Sources
Photo by Nik on Unsplash

Find out if Push can help grow your business

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
We will get back to you
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.