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SEO

Date posted

01 May 2024

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How to optimise TikTok for Google Search

Already considered a search engine amongst younger generations, TikTok is now appearing in Google organic search results with its short-form video content. With recent Google algorithm updates, we’ve started seeing social platforms such as Reddit grow in visibility in organic search and we’re seeing the same for TikTok too. When TikTok initially started appearing in search results, a user would often have to mention “TikTok” as part of their query. This is no longer the case, with TikTok now appearing for search terms such as “things to do in [location]”.

What has changed?

Aside from Google’s algorithm updates changing how the SERPs appear and what type of content is prioritised, we are also seeing changes within the TikTok app that may have influenced the increased visibility of TikTok in Google search. In September 2022, TikTok announced they would extend the character limit of post descriptions from 300 characters to 2,200 characters. By extending this limit, users are now able to include a more in-depth description of their videos with the opportunity to target several keywords and therefore improve discoverability of this content by Google.

There have also been rumours of TikTok and Google exploring a partnership for better integration. Since this speculation, some users have reported seeing a new feature within TikTok’s own search results which appears as an additional search bar sending users to a Google search,

But, apart from optimising the video description, what else can be done to appear in Google organic results with TikTok content?

Maximising your keywords

It’s important to be aware of the current TikTok trends for your content to perform well. This applies to both in-app performance as well as potential performance in Google organic results. These trends can include popular hashtags, sounds, and challenges. Sounds, in particular, play an important part on the app, with 88% of users reporting that the sounds on TikTok are “essential” to their overall experience. Sounds allow users to be creative with their content and make it relatable to the everyday person. This is more likely to support your organic growth within TikTok itself. And by growing your TikTok presence, you also create further opportunities to appear within Google search.

Not only can you use keywords in your description, but you can also use keywords within your video. This can be included in the spoken content, within the video text, video captions or even as hashtags. Adding key search terms to these different areas provides TikTok and Google with a better understanding of your content to serve it to the relevant audience. This makes it an important aspect of your organic search strategy. With Tiktok constantly improving its own in-app search functionality, keyword usage is also increasingly important when growing your influence across the app too.

Other than the video description and the video itself, there’s still a few other areas to consider when optimising your TikTok content for SEO:

Your TikTok username

Your TikTok username is another area where you can include keywords. When creating a username, this also becomes your URL. In creating an optimised username, you are also creating an optimised URL, extending your chance of ranking. Whilst these are more limited in terms of character space, it is still an important opportunity to consider when trying to appear in Google organic results. 

Your TikTok bio

Optimising your bio (a short description of your account) is an opportunity to target relevant keywords to the content you provide. Better yet, if you have 1,000+ followers, you can add a link to your bio. If you’re thinking ahead, this could be a well-optimised website that you have already created. You can add the link to your TikTok bio but also add a link from your site to your TikTok account, creating backlinks for both.

Embedding your videos on-site

Finally, by embedding TikTok videos onto well-optimised website pages, you can increase your chances of appearing in the SERPs. To do so, you can get a code from TikTok, put this onto your webpage of choice and even mark the video up with Video Schema to increase your chances further. This is especially important as we continue to see Google test what content appears in the SERPs and promote the visibility of short-form video.

Is TikTok trying to become the next big search engine?

While TikTok is becoming a vital part of the overall search experience and being described as the Gen Z search engine, it has not yet been used in the same way or as frequently as Google. Despite this, we’ve seen TikTok update their service at a fast pace, sometimes in line with what we see on Google.

For example, a recent addition to TikTok search is the launch of Featured Snippets and a suspected partnership with WikiHow. When searching for certain terms, especially informational keywords, users see a Featured Snippet/answer appear in TikTok search results that serves information from WikiHow. This is parallel to what we see in Google results with Featured Snippets pulling information from relevant pages to provide users with a quick answer, suggesting that TikTok is evolving into more than just a social platform.

TikTok’s recently launched traffic reports dashboard also looks at similar metrics to that of Google Search Console, including clicks, impressions, CTR and position. As marketers, we can use this to dive into traffic sources such as the For You page, general search, sound etc. This provides a better understanding of how content is performing which can be used to propel organic growth further. TikTok’s analytics are not as advanced as Google Search Console, but do present evidence of how TikTok is changing to support creators with organic growth and promote a user-friendly search experience on the platform.

The future of search?

Google is still the front-runner when it comes to search engines, but it’s important to consider the evolution of TikTok, the possible partnerships with Google and how we need to be proactive as an industry to prepare for the future ahead.