TikTok SEO: 7 Things to Know

Some truisms about the SEO landscape in June 2024:

  • Google’s AI Overviews will suppress clicks
  • TikTok has been gobbling search share from Google with younger demographics
  • Even Google is responding to TikTok’s more personal nature by pulling content into the SERPs (non-SGE version)


Those are all statements that point to one strategic recommendation: relevant verticals should double down on a TikTok organic strategy NOW.

Jordan Digital Marketing's B2b Guide to TikTok Ads


But what exactly does that look like? TikTok SEO looks and behaves very differently than the traditional search engines, and you need to know a few of the platform’s fundamentals before devoting resources to the cause.

1. It’s great for the youth - and appeals to the eyes and ears

TikTok isn’t only for youngsters, but that’s where it’s made the biggest inroads, particularly with Gen Z. Vertical-wise, retail/eCommerce brands whose products have visual or audio appeal – think fashion, beauty, food and beverage, entertainment, music platforms, fitness, etc. – should consider a TikTok presence mandatory.

TikTok is a much tougher nut to crack for B2B, but brands that have managed to get traction have done it by making the problems their products solve relatable to users. An Ops leader who struggles to get her team to toe the line on time tracking, for example, would probably relate to empathetic content from a platform that makes the process easier for the end users – and the leaders wrangling them.

2. It’s more top-of-funnel than Google

Users who discover brands and products on TikTok come into the search less brand- and product-aware than Google users. Consider the health and beauty vertical; a “Why am I so tired” search might bring up content on a Vitamin D product with benefits of increased energy.

This is both good and bad for SEOs. The good news is that it’s introducing the brand/product/problem all at the same time, and lots of brands are getting TikTok visibility that haven’t been able to crack the top 50 in Google search results. There’s also a notable rise in users preferring TikTok over Google for discovering new content.

The bad: TikTok users in discovery mode have very little intent to purchase (yet).

3. TikTok’s whole algorithm is meant to surface relevant (adjacent) content

TikTok is all about trying to reach audiences with adjacent topics. On TikTok, your content won’t show up for a keyword; it will show up on a journey relevant to other popular videos. For example, a user who watches Peloton videos all the time, might discover a video for a new energy drink. This happens through the For You page, which uses your browsing history to populate related content. 

TikTok is much better than Google at surfacing relevant content for you. Google tries to do that with Discover, but people just don’t use the feature because it isn’t that useful. Speaking as a user, I think I looked up something related to Criminal Minds once, and now my Discover feed is content related to crime TV, every single time.

TikTok’s semantic algo is better and more nimble at making crossover connections between industries. It would know, for instance, that someone interested in Health & Wellness is also likely interested in fashion – and it would quickly learn to adapt content if that wasn’t the case with a particular user.

4. TikTok still struggles to monetize content

TikTok’s discovery-related strengths aren’t translating easily into purchases, which is not a huge surprise nor unique to the platform. If I had to guess at future developments, I’d say TikTok will likely go the Instagram route and integrate organic-looking sponsored content into the feed.

If this happens, influencer marketing will be critical – and so will TikTok’s emphasis on maintaining trust with its users (if that erodes, it’ll be a big deal).

5. TikTok is the place to test UGC

Speaking of influencer marketing, do you know Google’s guidelines on UGC? Neither does Google, which is why the SERPs are littered with junky content from Reddit and Quora. TikTok, on the other hand, has ratings and guidelines that keep UGC standards high.

6. Stay authentic or stay home

The ability to connect with users in a way that’s digestible, relevant, and valuable is essential on TikTok. Lots of marketers whiff on this tone in social platforms because they hammer on the same themes and tend to fall into corporate speak.

Users on TikTok can and will sniff out a bland corporate message in a second, so until you have a strategy in place to appeal authentically, it’s better not to post at all.

7. Even if regulation takes out TikTok, the content will be valuable

First of all, TikTok will be around at least for a while, even with pending regulation (we’re talking a year in a worst-case scenario). Second, any kind of short-form video has a ton of use cases, so something that works on TikTok can be used to engage GenZ users wherever they might migrate next, and it can also be adapted for older audiences on Instagram or Facebook. 

In other words, you’re not risking huge sunk costs to get TikTok dialed in no matter what the headlines from the Hill might say.

This wouldn’t be a JDM blog if we didn’t note that we’ve guided many a brand through the process of building discovery on TikTok. If you’re interested in a good conversation that just might serve as a launch pad to organic growth, drop us a line.


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