Attention CMOs: TikTok is Changing the Search Game. Are You Ready?

As fractional CMOs, we thrive on staying ahead of the curve. We know that consumer behavior evolves, and so must our strategies. Today, we’re facing a seismic shift in how people search for information: TikTok is emerging as a powerful search engine, rivaling giants like Google, especially for Gen Z and Millennials.

Think it’s just a platform for dance trends? Think again. Consumers are turning to TikTok for everything from discovering the best restaurants to finding the perfect Dyson hairdryer. In fact, studies show that 40% of 18-24 year olds use TikTok over Google for local searches.

Why the TikTok Takeover?

Several factors fuel this shift:

  • Impatience: Consumers crave instant answers. TikTok delivers with short-form videos that get straight to the point.
  • Trust: Content on TikTok comes directly from creators, often peers or relatable influencers, fostering a sense of authenticity and trust that traditional ads lack.
  • Visual engagement: Short, vibrant videos capture attention and resonate better than text-heavy content.

This presents a monumental opportunity for CMOs. By empowering our teams to take on TikTok SEO, we can tap into this new search landscape and reach engaged audiences like never before.

So, how do we master TikTok SEO?

Here’s your cheat sheet:

1. Optimize your videos for search:

  • Keywords: Use relevant keywords in your video captions and on-screen text. The first 5 seconds are crucial!
  • Hashtags: Employ a mix of high-volume and niche hashtags, including both informational and commercial keywords.
  • In-video text: This carries significant weight in rankings, so add your target keywords visually.

2. Understand the algorithm:

  • Trends: Jump on trending sounds, hashtags, and challenges to gain visibility.
  • Engagement: Encourage watch time and interaction through compelling storytelling and cliffhangers.
  • Familiarity: Partner with influencers or showcase recognizable faces to attract viewers.

3. Track your performance:

  • Utilize tools like or Glimpse to track search volumes and keyword effectiveness.
  • Analyze TikTok’s built-in traffic reports to understand how users discover your content.

4. Integrate TikTok with your broader strategy:

  • Drive website traffic by directing viewers to your landing pages or product links.
  • Leverage TikTok trends in your other marketing channels like social media and even traditional advertising.

Remember, this is new territory for most SEO practitioners on your team, and agility and an attitude of experimentation is key. Encourage your teams to test different strategies, and embrace the constant evolution of the platform.

The future of search is undeniably multi-faceted, and TikTok is claiming its stake. As CMOs, we can’t afford to ignore this shift. By mastering TikTok SEO, we can unlock a powerful new avenue to connect with our target audiences, build brand loyalty, and drive growth.

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