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What Is TikTok SEO? How to Stay on Top of the TikTok Algorithm

You’ve seen search engine optimization (SEO), local SEO, and even social media SEO, but now there’s another optimization technique joining the club — TikTok SEO.

As TikTok’s popularity continues to rise among casual users and marketers, it’s essential that those looking to reach specific audiences with their content understand TikTok SEO and how to navigate the TikTok algorithm.

In this article, we cover the basics of TikTok SEO and the inner workings of the platform’s video algorithm so you can create content for your brand that connects with your audiences.

WebFX is no stranger to the ups and downs of TikTok. Whether you’re trying to decide between TikTok and Instagram Reels or want to understand how your business can leverage the video-sharing platform, we’ve got you covered.

Learn more about how WebFX can help you with your TikTok marketing strategy by contacting us online or giving us a call at 888-601-5359 today!

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What is TikTok SEO?

TikTok SEO is the process of optimizing TikTok content so that users can easily discover it when using TikTok’s search feature.

With over 834 million users expected to be active on TikTok in 2023, it’s important that you use TikTok SEO so that your videos stand out in front of a crowd. By doing so, you can make your content more visible to people using the app’s search function.

How to optimize content for TikTok SEO

Like traditional SEO, you can optimize your content for TikTok SEO by using relevant keywords users are likely to use when searching for content. You can optimize your content for TikTok SEO by:

  • Understand user and search intent: Choosing keywords for your content starts with knowing user and search intent. Get into the mind of your audience to determine what words or phrases they may use to search for your content and incorporate that into your videos.
  • Incorporate keywords into your content: You can add keywords and phrases into your video content in a few different ways, like including them in captions and hashtags, using them in video text, saying them in the video, or using automated captions.
  • Use trending sounds and songs: Another way to make your content visible to users is to use trending sounds in your content. Not sure how? Look at what other successful videos have done with the sound or song and put your own spin on it.

What is the TikTok algorithm?

tiktok for you page

The TikTok algorithm determines how users see content on their For You page. This content is different for everyone and can change over time depending on users’ viewing habits, content interactions, and preferences.

In their own words, TikTok describes its algorithm as a recommendation system, giving users a stream of “videos curated to your interests, making it easy to find content and creators you love. This feed is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.”

In other words, your interactions on the app — from liking videos and following accounts to whether you watched a video all the through — inform TikTok’s algorithm of your viewing habits. With this information, the algorithm populates your For You page with more content it thinks you will enjoy and less of what you potentially won’t.

TikTok ranking factors

Algorithms are complicated beasts — we know this fact firsthand with traditional SEO’s countless ranking factors. Many different factors go into recommendation systems for them to present content to users. Here’s an overview of the three major TikTok ranking factors for the platform’s algorithm:

  1. User interactions
  2. Video information
  3. Account and device settings

1. User interactions

TikTok’s algorithm looks at what content users interact with, along with how they interact with it. Did they watch the entire video or scroll away after a few seconds? Did they like the video? Or maybe they clicked on the creator’s profile to view more content?

This TikTok ranking factor takes all these questions (and more!) into account when curating content for a user’s For You page. User interactions used in TikTok’s ranking factors include:

  • Video likes and shares
  • Videos added to your Favorites
  • Videos you’ve bookmarked or added to your favorites
  • Videos you’ve indicated you’re “Not Interested” in
  • Videos you’ve reported as inappropriate
  • Video completion rate (i.e., if you watched a video to the end)
  • Topics you’re interested in or have searched for
  • The content you create and the audio or songs you use

2. Video information

Another TikTok ranking factor that plays into the algorithm is video information. Rather than how you interact with content, video information factors are all about the video content itself. As we briefly mentioned earlier, TikTok’s algorithm even considers the songs and sounds included in a video.

Video information that plays into TikTok’s ranking factors include:

  • Hashtags
  • Captions
  • Sounds, songs, and other audio
  • Video text
  • Content topics (especially trending ones!)

3. Account and device settings

choose your interests on tiktok

The settings on your TikTok account and the device you use the app on can also dictate the content TikTok’s algorithm shows users. 

When users create a TikTok account, they’re asked to indicate topics they’re interested in. This initial survey provides a baseline for TikTok’s algorithm to work from. Once the user interacts with more content, the videos shown on For You pages become more personalized and tailored to their interests.

Other device and account settings that serve as TikTok ranking factors include country and language settings, and even the type of device you use to view the app.

WebFX is a Partner in Driving Results

Hear from HydroWorx, who saw a 131% increase in organic forms by partnering with WebFX

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Master TikTok SEO with the help of WebFX

WebFX’s digital marketers are no strangers to the ins and outs of TikTok SEO and its vast algorithm. We’ve helped clients successfully launch social media marketing campaigns, creating over 165,000 social media posts.

Are you next? We sure hope so! Give us a call at 888-601-5359 or contact us online today to start developing a revenue-driving TikTok strategy with WebFX!