Tik Tok SEO Lead Image

SEO, Social Media, Strategy

How to optimise your TikTok content for search & increase its visibility

Like it or lump it, many of your customers are using TikTok to search for new ideas, content and products. This is how to maximise your visibility through the app — TikTok SEO, in other words.

If you’re not taking steps to maximise your reach on TikTok — or, heaven forbid, not on the app at all — then you could be missing out on some glorious brand awareness and discovery…

Grab a cuppa and dive into this lowdown from our team of TikTok marketing experts.

(head to the end for key takeaways if you don’t have time to sit down for this full article!)

What is TikTok SEO?

In a nutshell, it’s about implementing changes, tweaks and other tactics to your TikTok content in order to boost its visibility in TikTok’s search results and subsequently reach more people.

Sound familiar?

Whilst TikTok SEO is a bit of a trendy buzzword of the moment, in truth, it’s not a new concept — all social channels have the ability to search for and return content that matches your query.

This presents the opportunity to implement strategies that give your content the best chance of appearing for relevant searches — optimisation, in other words!

TikTok SEO: a few interesting stats

How is TikTok mimicking Google?

Top videos

Firstly, TikTok is providing a list of ‘top videos’ in search results, aiming to satisfy user search intent by providing the most popular and engaging — therefore, most relevant — content. This doesn’t necessarily mean the most recent content, of course.

Featured snippet-style results

Like Google, TikTok is also now providing ‘featured snippet’ style responses in its search results. This is something Google has been doing for many years. The aim is to answer the user query with a short, succinct answer from a source perceived to be authoritative.

Example of featured snippets on TikTok.
Example of featured snippets on TikTok.

Location-specific search results

There’s also a TikTok location and new reviews feature, aiming to satisfy location-specific searches (much like Google).

‘Others searched for’

Searchers on TikTok will also notice a ‘others searched for’ section — remarkably similar to Google’s ‘People also ask’ search results feature. Seeing what’s appearing here is great for optimisation, as you’ll have insight into what keywords people are using to discover content on TikTok.

An example of the 'Others searched for' section in TikTok results.

Authority is key

Like Google, TikTok can also favour content created by authority figures — those perceived to be experts in their topic areas. An influencer can add serious weight to the success and discoverability of your branded TikTok content within the app.

TikTok themselves have search engine ambitions

‘Google it’ is everyday parlance, but the app creators are even asking people to ‘search it with TikTok’. Not very subtle, guys — but we admire it.

Please enable cookies or click here to view the video on YouTube.

How does TikTok differ from Google as a search engine? What are its limitations?

No brand dominance for brand searches

If you searched for your brand or business on Google, you’d see your website ranking top (hopefully — if you’re not, then something might be wrong!).

However, on TikTok, it’s not just about owned (brand) accounts. Plenty of the time, you’ll see TikTok content from other people (influencers) ranking well for your brand in the search results - and that’s fine!

Videos with 15+ million views can still be outranked by videos with 1 million views.

It’s a no-desktop zone

TikTok isn’t great for all searches — it has its limitations. Firstly, it’s not going anywhere near searches made on laptops or computers. It’s focused squarely on people using the TikTok app — an experience only currently available to those using a mobile and tablet.

Local isn’t on Google’s level… yet

TikTok hasn’t nailed location-based searching in the same way. Google knows you’re in the UK — a search on TikTok will return global results which may not be relevant.

With TikTok, you don’t even need to actively search

Even if you don’t perform searches on TikTok you’ll still be served content based on the content you consume (watch/engage with) on the For You tab within the platform. Whereas Google needs you to search.

TikTok SEO: how to get started doing it

To get started with TikTok SEO, discover what you’re ranking for. Be sure to hone your keyword and hashtag use, choose the right sounds and encourage engagement with your content. For inspiration, keep a cheeky eye on your competitors — see what’s working in practice and consider some content reverse engineering.

The complexities of TikTok’s algorithms are a mystery to us mere marketers, but there are some simple steps you can take to improve your content’s visibility in TikTok search.

Find what you’re currently ranking for

Start by looking for clues as to what you’re already ranking for on TikTok. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as it is on Google. There aren’t any nifty tools like Semrush, Ahrefs or Moz. Nor can we see data similar to what’s available in Google Search Console for discovering the search terms driving impressions and traffic. Instead:

  • Search for keywords related to your content — but keep in mind that if you’re doing this from a personal account the results will be personalised to you, so best to do this from your brand account.

  • Tap on your videos and check out the search bar — this appears at the top of your video for related searches, for example, ‘hen do destinations’.

Hone your keyword and hashtag use in captions, content and comments

TikTok are rather guarded about their ranking factors, but from our experience creating content for a wide range of clients (and ourselves), we reckon we know what’s behind the arcane algorithm.

  • Keywords used in captions — so use those increased character limits wisely

  • Keywords used in content — this is the text overlays you apply to your videos and the captions from any voice overs

  • Hashtags in captions — this helps TikTok categorise your content. Don’t just go for what’s trending as these are likely to be highly competitive. Similarly, don’t try to be too broad - try more niche terms.

Choose the right tunes!

The audio you use can help people to discover you and also helps TikTok to categorise your content.

Encourage engagement

This means likes, comments, saves and shares. A healthy volume of all of these strongly signals relevancy. Another boon for your TikTok content can be engagement and interaction with a high-profile account — so consider leveraging creator partnerships.

Get some inspiration — who’s doing it well?

If you see something working in the wild — whether your own content or someone else’s — then reverse engineering this into your own strategy can be a wise idea.

We wouldn’t be fit to call ourselves a TikTok marketing agency if we didn’t provide some inspiration, of course.

@lick have been optimising their videos for home decor trends such as ‘painted ceilings’ and ‘small room idea’ searches.


Five reasons to opt for a painted ceiling in 2023 😉 A great way to add colour to your home in an interesting contemporary way. As seen here in our decorator’s homes. #paintedceiling#paintedceilings#lickhome#homedecor#homeimprovement#decoratingideas

♬ Coi Leray Players DJ Saige Mashup - DJ Saige

Please enable cookies or click here to view the video on TikTok.


3 things to avoid in a small room, with Tash. 1. Stark white paint. If you want to go light go for a soft pink or beige instead to soak up some of the shadows. 2. Small furniture/accessories. It draws attention to the fact the room is small. Create focal features with a large mirror or oversized lamp. 3. Blue LEDs. Opt for warm light or even a dimmer to change the mood in the room and make it super cosy in the evening. #LickHome#interiordesign#interiordesigntips#interiordecor#hometips#homestyling#decoratingtips#decoratinghacks

♬ original sound - Lick

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@tastyhealthy_recipes have been cleverly optimising videos for popular recipe searches such as airfryer, nandos and chicken katsu curry.

Please enable cookies or click here to view the video on TikTok.

TikTokers with a thirst for the best bars in Brighton will find @alcotraz’s prison-themed bar concept in the top spots of their search results.

Please enable cookies or click here to view the video on TikTok.

Please enable cookies or click here to view the video on TikTok.

@theordinary’s feeds are full of content covering everything from niche to trending beauty terms, as well as popular and brand-based searches.


a ✨perfect pair✨ for more radiant skin — use this combo to kick off your next night time routine 💤 #theordinary#skincareroutine#skintips#theordinaryglycolicacid

♬ original sound - The Ordinary

Please enable cookies or click here to view the video on TikTok.

If you’re after dog gates and love a good TikTok scroll, then look no further than @dogg8co (The DOG-G8 Co) — these guys are top dog (sorry) when it comes to optimising for TikTok search.


The easiest dog gate you will ever install. #FYD#foryourdog#DogG8

♬ original sound - Nostalgia FC

Please enable cookies or click here to view the video on TikTok.

Align your SEO strategy with TikTok

If, like us, you’re a digital agency with multiple teams, you’ll know that sharing’s caring — and this is particularly the case for your TikTok SEO strategy.

There’s major overlap between what’s hot in Google Search and what people are searching for on TikTok, so if your social media and SEO teams can make a habit of sharing keywords, phrases and trending topics, you’ll be a well-oiled TikTok SEO machine.

Content that performs well on one of these marketing channels could be repurposed for the other. Repurposing content on social created for your website - and vice versa

Be sure to take a look at which TikTok videos are ranking in Google Search — TikToks can appear in search results. This can be done manually or by using SEO tools to analyse the search positions for a certain TikTok profile’s content.

On Semrush, you can do this by heading to Organic Research and slapping in the URL of the profile you’re analysing (like www.tiktok.com/@madebyextreme) and making sure ‘subfolder’ is selected. Be aware that their databases aren’t exhaustive, so you’ll likely be ranking for many more keywords than those that are appearing, especially if they’re a bit niche.

Case study: stopping the scroll & shaping up Inspired Health’s TikTok feed

If you’ll allow us to toot our own trumpets momentarily, be sure to check out our campaign for a leading UK health products retailer, Inspired Health.

We researched who was currently ranking for the phrases we wanted to appear for. Some were super competitive, but there was some low hanging fruit.

For example, we noticed ‘gut health’ top videos didn’t have many likes or views on them, so one of our KPIs was to rank for TikTok searches for that phrase with our video content.

TikTok SEO: what could be to come in 2023 and beyond…

The emergence of TikTok as a search engine player — a tool customers are using to discover new things to do, places to eat and products to buy — means that social and SEO are bound to become even closer bedfellows.

TikTok is reportedly testing a feature that highlights keywords in comments and links them to search results. Over time, expect to see even more personalised results — and hopefully some new analytics tools to measure the performance of your content in TikTok search.

TikTok SEO: your takeaways

  • TikTok is trying to offer a greater, richer in-app search experience.

  • However, TikTok’s primary behaviour is still scrolling the For You page. Don’t switch your whole TikTok marketing strategy to focus purely on SEO — it’s just one element. Remember you’re still creating content to entertain, educate and inspire.

  • Expect to see Google and TikTok mimic more of each other’s features in a bid to be the go-to for visual based searches.

  • There should be room for both Google and TikTok in your SEO strategy.

  • To get started, discover what you’re ranking for, hone your keyword and hashtag use, choose the right sounds and encourage engagement with your content. Check out your competitors for inspiration on what’s working in practice.

If you’re looking to get started with your TikTok strategy more generally, we’ve put together a few interesting resources that may be of interest.

If this all sounds a little like hard work, our team of TikTok marketing experts are only a quick message away, too.

Talk to our TikTok marketing maestros

Get in touch

Post by

Headshot Beth col


Social Media Strategist

Extreme's resident Instagram queen, Beth lives and breathes all things social media! After graduating with a degree in Advertising, she explored all aspects of the digital world before firmly finding her feet in the land of social. Day to day, you can find her brainstorming for campaigns, drafting up witty content and strategising to help clients soar on social.

Post by

Headshot Donna col


Head of Social

Since forming Extreme’s social media department back in 2012, our Head of Social Donna and her team’s work has been recognised nationally. With extensive experience spanning mutiple sectors, Donna specialises in social strategy, ideation and paid social advertising.

Post by

Team James M


SEO Lead

Our SEO Lead with over 10 years’ experience. James calls on an extensive knowledge of search and works closely with our content marketing team to deliver targeted, results-driven SEO strategies.

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