04 March 2024

Your Guide to TikTok SEO in 2024

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Your Guide to TikTok SEO in 2024
Ava PannellWritten ByAva Pannell

Ava is the Head of Strategy at Propeller, leading client workshops and building tailored strategy internally and externally.

How TikTok Changed Search

One of the biggest changes we’ve seen in digital behaviour over the past 12 months, are the new ways in which consumers are discovering content and products. 

For decades, discovery has been dominated by Google and Shopping, with a brand’s visibility being governed by a multitude of ranking factors. We then saw Amazon begin to take the search share of eCommerce and in 2023 data showed 50% product searches now start on the marketplace.

Then along came TikTok. A platform that originally launched as a video-first app for sharing humorous content of teenagers’ lip syncing, Cinnamon Challenges and dodgy dance routines which in previous decades would have been confined to the living room of patient parents. My, how things have changed…

TikTok has become a conglomerate in the social space, changing the way consumers search and shop. Strategic app development has transformed the social platform into a search app, a shopping app, a chat app, a news app, and even as an educational app with their #LearnOnTikTok campaign. 64% of Gen Z and 49% Millennials now start their search journey on TikTok, and with the speed in which the platform is growing, this cannot be ignored by brands. Recently, the platform has even managed to attract other demographics, and migrate niche communities away from platforms such as Reddit. 

“TikTok made me buy it” was another campaign that saw TikTok become the leader in social commerce, with over 50% of TikTok users saying they’ve brought a product in the app. This development has changed the way people discover, shop and review brands and products, and now businesses need to rapidly adapt or be left miles behind. 

A 'TikTok made me buy it' display found in a health and beauty store.

A 'TikTok made me buy it' display found in a health and beauty store.

What is TikTok SEO?

TikTok SEO is an optimisation tactic to improve the discoverability of your content within search results and reach new and existing audiences. It works in the same way as traditional SEO, utilising combinations of keywords and phrases to capture search intent.

It’s also about understanding the algorithm and how TikTok pushes content to the For You Page (FYP) and ensuring that your content is optimised. Social Media Optimisation (SMO) should be an always-on activity. 

How To Optimise Content For TikTok SEO


Social Search is led by keywords and unsurprisingly it’s become a fundamental part of social media strategy. Optimise your social content for keywords, both within the content itself and within the caption. Create relevant and eye-catching titles to encourage user engagement and reach. This is where the handshake between SEO and SMO comes into play, as keyword research through Google Planner or Search Console (GSC) can be overlaid with TikTok platform insights to look at Search holistically.

When you’re planning your social content calendar its important to practice precision with your keyword selection supporting your content, to capitalise on relevancy and create authority around a topic or industry. Users are also finding content through long-tail keywords, which you’ve probably seen highlighted blue within comment sections. When clicked, these keywords dive into even more specific content. Keep an eye on what your audience is searching for and what phrases they are using and create optimised content around this. 


Hashtags can work hand-in-hand with your keyword strategy, ensuring content can be found in search results. How many hashtags to use per post is open to discussion, and it’s a case of testing and learning. Social Media Managers should leverage relevant trending hashtags amongst their content, to play into reactiveness and relevancy. 

Using hashtags on TikTok also enables a brand’s content to be categorised, which is particularly valuable when creating buzz around a campaign or when trying to connect with live conversations, for example during the Superbowl. 

Leverage Keyword and Trend Tools

TikTok is getting more sophisticated with the data it shares around trending keywords, hashtags and audio. Utilise their trend tools such as TikTok Keyword Insights to discover trending and emerging keywords that are relevant to your industry. 

You can also utilise the TikTok search bar to understand what other related queries users are searching for. For example, a user is looking for restaurants in London and TikTok generates suggested long-tail searches such as specific locations, event purpose, audience and kind of cuisine to serve the user the most relevant content.

The TikTok search bar offers related searches

The TikTok search bar offers related searches

Optimising Legacy Content 

Optimising legacy social content with evolving TikTok SEO tactics is also proving beneficial for brands. Conducting a content audit will help brands spot opportunities for optimisation and give existing evergreen content the ability to earn more reach. 

Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Get on TikTok! Brands are missing out on a huge opportunity if they are not leveraging the power of TikTok to reach new audiences, build loyalty and humanise their brand.
  2. TikTok has changed the way that people search and buy products, and will continue to dominate the social and commerce space, particularly with Gen Z and Gen Alpha.
  3. Brands should have a holistic keyword strategy across Social and Search, leveraging learnings to give their content purpose and discoverability. 
  4. Hashtags are not dead, and should be utilised to gain a competitive edge on your posts- this simple method increases your searchability.
  5. Take advantage of the tools TikTok provides to further finesse your strategy, TikTok Keyword Insights for example can help brands understand whats trending in their industry on a location specific basis.

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