Explore Membership

TikTok SEO: How to optimise your videos for search

search engine optimisation (seo) social media Jan 12, 2023

Since its launch in 2016, TikTok has grown to be the most popular video sharing app in the world with over 1 billion monthly active users

While TikTok has been around for some time now, it's still relatively new to many people who don't watch or use social media regularly. If you want your videos on TikTok to be seen by more people, you'll need to optimise them for search. In this guide we'll explain TikTok best practices for brands to help you optimise your videos.

Optimise your title and description

Your video title is the main identifier for your content, so make sure that it's clear and concise. You'll want to describe what your video is about—for example, if it's a tutorial video on how to use a certain product, call it something like “How to use X: 5 tips and tricks!”

You can use hashtags in your video titles as well as descriptions. When using hashtags, think of them as keywords and be sure they're relevant terms that people would search for when looking for content similar to yours or related topics. 

Make it clear what your content is about

As well as optimising your title and description, make sure that your content is clear, and that people know what they're going to get from your video.

Your title and description should be meaningful and easy to understand at a glance because you only have so much space in the search bar. This will help with search results, but also in the way that people find out about your video through hashtags or searching directly on TikTok itself.

Take some inspiration from 5 brands with killer TikTok strategies.

Use hashtags that are highly searched for

When you post a video on TikTok, it will automatically tag your video with hashtags from the content of the video. But if you want to use hashtags that are relevant to your niche or industry, then you'll need to do some research on what those hashtags are.

You can do this by looking at popular TikTok accounts in your niche, and seeing which hashtags they use regularly. You can also just search for popular videos related to your niche and see which ones have a lot of views/likes/comments etc., and take note of any common tags used across them all (if there is one).

Make sure your content isn't removed from ranking

If you want to be successful with TikTok SEO, a good place to start is by making sure that your content isn’t removed from ranking altogether. This means avoiding things such as nudity, violence, dangerous stunts or challenges and hate speech.

It may seem obvious but if your video contains any of these things then it will be flagged by the platform. The rules are pretty strict on TikTok so make sure you understand TikTok’s community guidelines before uploading anything controversial or risky into your video.

Encourage users to engage with your content

Another way to increase your videos’ visibility is by encouraging users to engage with your content by including a call-to-action (CTA). This could be encouraging people to tag a friend or asking them to leave a comment with their opinion.

Although it is not clear whether follower count or engagement with previous posts directly impacts video rankings on TikTok, setting a goal of increasing your TikTok follower count could indirectly improve your videos’ performance. The more followers you have, the more eyes you are likely to get on your content, and therefore the chance of people engaging with it increases.

Use relevant/trending TikTok sounds

TikTok sounds can also be important when optimising your video for search. The sound that you choose for a video helps the TikTok algorithm understand its content. 

The best way to use TikTok sounds to your advantage is to jump on a trend. Using a trending sound indicates a particular type of video with a particular message and can help boost your views whilst the sound is popular.

Add text over video

Adding text over your video contributes to the user’s understanding of your content. Instead of creating the video and adding text in a third-party app, try adding text using TikTok’s native text features as this is more likely to be picked up by the algorithm. 

Bonus tip: make sure that you include keywords related to your video and niche in the text to provide additional indication as to what your video is about.

Add subtitles to your video

As well as adding text over a video, you should also make sure that your videos have subtitles. Subtitles can help you rank higher in search, and they can also help you reach a wider audience.

For example, let's say that you make a video tutorial about how to put on lipstick. If your video doesn’t have subtitles, this means it will not be accessible for certain audiences and therefore they may not engage with your content. Similarly, many users watch TikTok videos without sound so if subtitles were added to this video, those who have sound off will still understand what is going on and be able to follow the tutorial.


For more support with TikTok become a Girls in Marketing member today and gain access to hundreds of courses and resources to help you further develop your social media skills.