TikTok SEO – Wait, That’s A Thing?

Written by: Sophia Giordano-Scott

What is Tiktok SEO?

The short form video hosting app Tiktok is seeing a rise in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. With over 1 billion monthly users, Tiktok is home to influencers, talented content creators, and small businesses making a living by sharing and promoting through this free-to-sign up app. Getting started is as easy as taking a picture, point the camera and press record, proving just how accessible this app can be.

After years of success stories on Tiktok, like a small family restaurant that became an overnight hit after one food reviewer gave it a chance, or an auto repair company that capitalized and filled their schedules using meme culture, businesses of every size are now seeking to get in on the next best tool in digital marketing. While taking a video is easy, Tiktok SEO is how to optimize your video for the Tiktok algorithm. This algorithm determines which videos are shown to users and in what order. By optimizing your videos, you can increase your chances of being seen by a wider audience. Optimizing content, just like on Google, helps your content rank better to pull in traffic, or views. So what does Tiktok SEO look like in practice, and how can you start optimizing your videos for business growth on Tiktok? Keep reading for more.

tiktok seo

How to Optimize Tiktok Videos

When it comes to optimizing Tiktok videos, there are several strategies you can use to give your content the best chance. On a basic level, there are three main strategies we identify as ways to optimize your Tiktok content: audio, visual, and keywords.


Did you know the audio you use for your Tiktok videos makes a difference to the algorithm? As you scroll through your FYP (for you page), which is a specially generated feed to fit your personal preferences, you may notice repeating audio. It could be a mega hit from a pop celebrity, or just a funny sound effect. 88% of Tiktok users claim sound is vital to the Tiktok experience. According to Tiktok, using music in your Tiktok advertising can give your brand a 120% awareness lift.

Tiktok identifies 4 uses of sound that can be used to optimize your videos for the best results: trends, music, narration, and sounds. Trends are the sounds that define a Tiktok meme. Think about the trending sound clip you’ve seen, maybe a few too many times that you just can’t get out of your head. Music sets the mood, and can range from homemade tracks to your favorite musicians. Narration is a tool in Tiktok’s editor mode that allows you to create your own text to voice narration or voice your own narration over selected content. While you can narrate your videos with your own voice, Tiktok now boasts many voices to choose from to mask your voice in a serious, friendly, or even silly tone. Finally, sounds amplify the actions in your content. Think about sound effects and how joining content and sound effects creates a memorable experience.


Starting with authentic and engaging visual content is always a strong start to your digital strategy. However, there are other visual additions to Tiktok videos that can improve your ranking in the Tiktok algorithm. Tiktok allows for users to add filters, effects, stickers, and transitions, but the most commonly identified way to add a visual component to your videos that makes the biggest impact on the algorithm is to use captions. Captions not only help the visually impaired, therefore increasing the accessibility of your content, but also allow for users that use the app without sound to understand content too.

Other ways Tiktok is increasing accessibility through visual components include: “an animated thumbnail that replaces animated thumbnails with static images, a creator warning that notifies creators when they produce videos with effects that could trigger photosensitive epilepsy, and a photosensitivity feature that allows users to skip photosensitive content, which can be harmful for people with epilepsy”. When content is made accessible to greater audiences, your brand target audience is also going to increase, making accessibility a key factor to any modern day digital strategy.


If you have any experience in traditional SEO, you may recognize that Tiktok hashtags operate in a similar way to keywords. In the same way one would Google “how to make a grilled cheese sandwich”, users can also use keywords on Tiktok to find their desired results. Instead of a Google search with a 1000 words blog about grilled cheeses, a simple search of ‘grilled cheese recipe” on Tiktok pulls hundreds of thousands of amateur and professional chefs and content creators making their recipe for a grilled cheese. In 3 minutes or less, you can watch a grilled cheese being made with the recipe listed in video. But listing the basic themes as hashtags of your content is not always enough to generate traffic.

When it comes to keywords (which function as hashtags) on Tiktok, they are highly competitive. In a platform where keyword stuffing won’t suffice, Fanbyts suggests “research trending hashtags that are relevant to your audience, or learn which relevant hashtags are just beginning to trend, so that you can ride the wave as they become more popular.”

Utilizing Tiktok for Business

TikTok is a great platform for promoting any type of business, from small, local startups to mega franchise systems. You can use it to showcase your products or services, share behind-the-scenes content, and engage with your audience. However, it’s important to remember that TikTok is a social media platform, not an advertising platform. This means you should focus on creating engaging content that people will want to watch, rather than just promoting your products.

Creating engaging content can be as easy as using a trending filter. However, there are some basic rules for creating engaging content on Tiktok to best advertise your business that are important to include in your digital strategy. The first step is to identify your target audience. Conduct research on your target audience to determine their interests, preferences, and behaviors. When creating content to showcase your brand, product, or service, use humor and storytelling to engage your audience. You can also collaborate with influencers to promote your products and services. Don’t be afraid to show the personality of your brand. Remember, the goal is to create content that users will find entertaining and engaging.

Start a Conversation to Learn More

At Brand Journalists franchise development agency, we pride ourselves in keeping up to date with the latest trends to offer our clients the best and newest strategies in the always changing digital world. From Ai to Tiktok, podcasting and traditional digital marketing, Brand Journalists is here to help grow your brand through the strategy that works best for you. Fill out our form here to start a conversation with our team. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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