TikTok, like many social platforms, often rolls out new features to improve the app experience and offer new opportunities for creators and users.
It recently launched a feature that calls into question whether, in the future, the app will require its own unique SEO strategy. Let’s discuss this.
TikTok’s New Search Feature
TikTok’s new search feature is primarily seen in comment sections, where keywords are hyperlinked next to a magnifying glass icon. Pressing on the linked keyword brings you to a discovery page of videos related to the keyword.
For example, Steven Lim made a video sharing new need-to-know features of iOS 16. A user left a comment about one of the features Lim mentioned, haptic keyboard, and it's hyperlinked and leads to a larger selection of videos about haptic keywords.
Hyperlinked keywords can also appear at the top of comment sections, and clicking on them leads to a selection of videos on the same topic. The Pasta Queen shares authentic Italian recipes on her account, and the comment section of a recent video is headed by a hyperlinked “pasta recipe” keyword.
The feature is currently available as part of a limited run test and, according to TechCrunch, TikTok has not yet made an official comment.
What’s the potential with this feature?
The feature comes at a critical time for TikTok’s impact in the search world, as Google has recently acknowledged the platform's impact on its Search product.
Prabhakar Raghavan, Google’s Senior Vice President of Google Knowledge and Information, said that 40% of young people go to TikTok or Instagram when looking for a place to eat, as opposed to Google Maps or Search. This means that users, albeit part of a specific generation, favor the content on TikTok when finding answers to their questions.
As mentioned above, TikTok has not made official comments on how to use the new feature. But, if rolled out officially, it will likely have significant power for creators looking to build a following and brand awareness, and for those using the app for discovery.
For creators, brands, and businesses, we can assume that the new search feature gathers context for videos from keywords in comments, hashtags in captions, and actual video content (on-screen text and voice). In the future, it would make sense that a TikTok SEO strategy would involve optimizing videos with related keywords to help hyperlinked keywords appear in comments, in comment section headers, and to help videos appear in relevant queries.
For TikTok users, SEO on TikTok would mean that the app would become a more powerful search engine as searching for keywords or clicking on hyperlinked keywords would bring them to a library of snackable content that will answer their specific questions.