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3 ways to make your videos appear in TikTok search results

TikTok is the new search engine

⚡ 40% of Gen Z prefers using TikTok and Instagram for search over Google, according to Google's internal data.
  • Why this matters to creators: You have the opportunity to optimize your content to appear in TikTok search results, especially if you create content that adds value to people's lives with lifestyle and educational content.
  • We need to accept that younger audiences are more interested in visually rich forms of search and discovery than what we're used to with Google search results. This creator sums it up perfectly in his commentary on this emerging trend.
    3 ways to make your videos appear in TikTok search results
    Published July 19, 2022
    671 words… 5 min read
    Before we dive in, let's define the viewer who's using TikTok as a search engine, so we know how to target them.
  • ✅ The search-driven viewer is browsing TikTok search results because they want to learn more information about something specific they already have in mind.
  • ❌ The normal kind of viewer who we're used to is passively scrolling through their FYP.
  • How to make your content appear in TikTok search results
    Optimize captions
    How to make your content appear in TikTok search results
    What your captions will look like on the TikTok search results page. ☝️
  • Use keywords in your captions that might be in someone's search query. Think about the topic you're covering or what's in your video that someone might be looking for.
  • Think of it like Jeopardy. Your caption should be written like the answer to a question, because those are the keywords where people's eyes will fixate on, and therefore, the keywords that the TikTok algorithm will push to the top of search results.
  • i.e. cheap sustainable dinners to cook on weeknights.
  • You can put your caption in conversation with your video's thumbnail, to get the viewer to tap into your video because of intrigue (i.e. thumbnail text overlay: top 10 sustainable swaps, caption: “number 3 blew my mind”)
  • 💡
    The first two lines of your caption matter the most. That's what will show up as a preview underneath your video in the search results.
  • As for hashtags, use 1-3 specific hashtags that'll push your video to your target audience. Don't go overboard with this, and don't use #fyp since getting on someone's FYP isn't your primary goal here.
  • Make an eye-catching thumbnail

    Make an eye-catching thumbnail
    👆 This is the part of the app where you're competing for a viewer's attention. Your video's thumbnail is what viewers see in their search results.
    We want to make your thumbnail stand out and capture the essence of your video with a strong visual and clever use of text overlays.

    How to create a thumbnail

    Before you upload, select a colorful Cover from a few frames in your video that captures its essence or value promise.
    • On the last page before uploading, tap on Select cover at the bottom of your video preview in the top right corner.
    • How to create a thumbnail
    • You can create a fun cover using the TikTok Editor, like in this example, but you can also select from an array of templates to go over a shot in your video that doesn't already have text overlay on it.
    • TikTok editor
    This requires foresight when you're actually filming the video. Make sure you have at least one shot that serves as a beautiful background for a text overlay thumbnail.

    Examples of great thumbnails

    Fun things to do in NYCheap or Free things to do in NYCHow to tie a tieHow to solve a rubiks cube

    Include a detailed voiceover

    Include a voiceover that offers rich nuance and detail to your video. That will increase your chances of getting elevated on the search results page, because TikTok uses voice recognition software to caption and distribute videos.
    Consider writing your captions manually because it will allow viewers to start watching your video on autoplay from the search results page before they decide to tap into your video.

    ✍️ Takeaways

    Let's recap what we learned

    • Optimize your captions (think keywords and how people would write a search query on TikTok)
    • Make an eye-catching thumbnail. This is the first thing people will see on the TikTok search results page.
    • Include a detailed voiceover. TikTok will recognize your voice and draw keywords from it to boost it to relevant search queries.
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