How To Optimize Your Videos For TikTok’s Search Engine

Insights / 06.06.2024
Sriya Reddy / Digital Marketing Coordinator

6/17/2024 6:31:52 PM Red Door Interactive http://www.reddoor.biz Red Door Interactive

TikTok has transformed social media with its engaging short-form videos, attracting millions of monthly users. Originally just a platform for dance videos, it now offers diverse content entertainment and educational content due to its personalized algorithm. Below, we will discuss TikTok’s benefits for different industries and video optimization strategies and compare TikTok to its competitors, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. Whether you're a business or a content creator, discover how to maximize your impact on TikTok. 

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What is TikTok? 

TikTok is a short-form video social media platform developed by the tech company ByteDance. The app is based on the Chinese app Douyin (which means vibrating sound), which is also owned by the same company.  While the app started out as a place for dance videos, the platform has evolved into so much more, thanks to its personalized algorithm that provides a wide range of  easily digestible infotainment content. And with over 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok is now the fourth most popular social media platform out there. 

What is TikTok SEO? 

TikTok SEO is the process of optimizing your TikTok videos to improve their visibility and findability on the platform. Just like traditional SEO (Search Engine Optimization) aims to make content more findable on search engines like Google, TikTok SEO focuses on enhancing your video's reach within the TikTok app. Key strategies include keyword research and implementation, optimized descriptions and captions,  a consistent posting schedule, creating engaging content, and audience engagement. 

Is TikTok a Search Engine? 

TikTok has become a go-to resource for many users searching for information. Although it wasn't initially designed as a search engine, the short-form video format has made it possible and preferable for many. This format makes information more accessible, personalized, and up to date than traditional search engines. With TikTok, users can learn about tips and tricks from everyday people, not just from influencers with millions of followers. This shift towards word-of-mouth recommendations is refreshing and facilitates the flow of information. According to a recent survey by Adobe, it's not surprising that Gen Z makes up 64% of TikTok's user base. They've embraced the app as a search engine to discover new recipes, music, DIY tips, fashion advice, and workout routines. Overall, the trend of using social media platforms as search engines is on the rise. With TikTok's popularity, it's evident that users are looking for a more immersive way to search for information. 

Industries that Benefit from Tiktok

TikTok offers an incredible opportunity for businesses to experience organic growth. With its potential to amplify brand visibility, drive traffic, and build genuine consumer relationships, TikTok can be a valuable asset across various industries. TikTok has something to offer everyone, from beauty and fashion to e-commerce, apps, gaming, travel, food and beverage, and service. Brands can engage their audience through organic product and service reviews, captivating personal anecdotes, immersive video tutorials, trending challenges, and relatable memes. Doing so fosters an intimate connection with their audience, leading to increased brand engagement and loyalty. Moreover, one of the best things about TikTok is the platform's ability to encourage creators to connect authentically with viewers, creating trust between the two parties. 

To know if TikTok is a fit for your business you can review their primary demographics below to determine if they fit your market.

  • The app has 1.5 billion active monthly users. 
  • The countries with the most users are the US with 135 million users, Indonesia with 99 million users, and Brazil with 73.5 million users.  
  • TikTok is available in 160 countries 
  • The average US adult spends 56 minutes on TikTok daily. 
  • The largest TikTok User Age Group is between the ages 18-24 years accounting for 41.7% of TikTok users.  

How to Optimize a TikTok Video

Now that we have talked about TikTok as a search engine and the benefits of leveraging short-form video, let's dive into how to optimize your content to help you get the most out of the app. 

Optimization Factors 

  • Voice Over & Closed Captions 
  • Native Text Overlay 
  • Hashtags 
  • “Others Searched for” Terms 

Let's walk through how to optimize a TikTok video using a video from creator @cookerofdeliciousness  

  1. Choose your video topic. For this walkthrough, our chosen topic is "easyrecipetutorial." 

  1. Utilize the search bar to find related videos. This step s you to evaluate other videos in the same category, helping you identify commonly used keywords and language in both captions and voice-overs. 


  1. Integrating other searched-for keywords: Once you've selected a video category that aligns with your content, navigate to the "Other Searched For" section on the search page. Integrate these terms into your voice-over to include the keywords that searchers commonly use when seeking related content. 


  2. Enable closed captions when doing your voice-over. While recording your voice-over, ensure that you have auto-close captions enabled. This enhances accessibility and helps TikTok categorize your video. To verify TikTok's categorization, look for a phrase other than "find related content" at the top of the video when searching for a specific topic. Alternatively, if you're on your For You Page (FYP), you'll see a topic at the bottom of your screen while scrolling. 

  3.  Add a concise heading to your video lasting 3-5 seconds. These headings must be added within TikTok's editor to aid in video categorization. If you add headers or graphics in a separate editor, the app will not recognize them. 

  4. Incorporate hashtags and keywords from the "Others Searched For" section into your caption. Incorporate keywords from the "Others Searched For" section into your caption, and include relevant hashtags from the current month. To find relevant hashtags, click on the three dots in the top right corner, filter the videos only to show those from the current month, and then click on the hashtag tab to discover relevant hashtags. 


    TikTok’s Competitors

    Instagram Reels: Instagram Reels emerged as Meta's response to TikTok’s soaring popularity, aiming to provide its users with a similar short-form video experience within the Instagram platform. With Reels, users can create engaging and entertaining video content akin to what is seen on TikTok. This feature lets users record and edit short videos with various creative tools and effects, just like on TikTok. By integrating Reels into Instagram, Meta sought to retain its user base and offer them a seamless alternative to explore and share short videos without leaving the Instagram ecosystem.  

    YouTube Shorts: YouTube Shorts serves as YouTube's strategic response to the success of short-form video content. It allows users to create and share brief videos from their phones, with various creative tools and effects available. These videos appear on a dedicated Shorts shelf on the YouTube app or website, making them easily discoverable for viewers. By introducing Shorts, YouTube aims to cater to the growing demand for bite-sized, easily consumable content while offering creators a new avenue for expressing their creativity. With Shorts, creators can reach wider audiences within the existing YouTube ecosystem.


    TikTok has rapidly evolved from a simple video-sharing platform into a multifaceted social media powerhouse. Despite not being designed as a search engine, its format and user behavior have led to its adoption as a search tool amongst the younger generation. Businesses across various sectors have capitalized on TikTok's capacity to amplify brand visibility and foster genuine connections with consumers, driving organic growth online. Optimization strategies, including leveraging trending topics, incorporating relevant keywords, and utilizing hashtags, enhance a video's discoverability and engagement.  

    Want to get started on TikTok? Red Door offers a unique cross-channel service that can help you reach your goals. Reach out today!  


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