What Does a TikTok Search Engine Mean for SEO?
Generation Z has spoken! It’s out with Google and in with TikTok, but what does this mean for SEO?
I’m sure you know there’s been a bit of buzz around a new TikTok search feature. Either purposefully or inadvertently, this has created a new kind of search engine. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t worry me as an SEO nut. Here’s why:
The TikTok Search Engine
Everyone and their dog is on TikTok, and we live in a world where Google is no longer the most popular domain after 15 years of being the top dog. It’s fair to say that we’re past the point of asking whether TikTok has the potential to be a competitor to Google Search, as it has more than enough users to do so.
The spooky TikTok search engine under your bed is far more of a reality than many digital marketers, especially those with a specialism in SEO, might think.
Take this viral tweet from May 2022, where the tweeter in question states that they believe TikTok is already proving to be a better search engine than Google. I know, blasphemy to some but an interesting take on a shift in user search habits that any self-respecting digital marketer should heed.
I’m not even joking but TikTok is proving to be a better search engine than Google these days
— KA (@ikeko__) May 30, 2022
In terms of the functionality of the TikTok search engine, it generally seems to be a typical search engine. Search queries are met with the most relevant short videos on search results. What’s a simple new feature to users is a whole new area of search engine optimisation for others.
What’s Changed so Far?
Well, not a great deal, or at least not a great deal in the SEO landscape. No one’s taking a leap over to TikTok and ditching Google, as it’s still a goliath presence that can be utilised quite broadly across most industries.
Users, however, are making changes to their behaviour which should get the gears turning. If these users are your target audience or your client’s target audience, a switch to TikTok Search Engine Optimisation might be in the cards. SEO is incredibly important but the focus should always be on the target audience.
Search Habits & Generational Change
If you were to open your head up to how frequently search habits change, your brain would fall out. But in this rapidly evolving digital age, the way that people search is constantly changing, and that needs to be considered.
This is where the idea of TikTok as a search engine comes from, the shorter attention span and unoptimised or misleading Google results. Whether you’re the exception or not, a lot of users have become much lazier, across all generations.
Is TikTok Better than Google?
Whether TikTok is better depends on a great deal. There are too many variables to really give a definitive answer and it is dependable on the user. You could consider your target audience’s age group, for example, a huge amount of TikTok users are young people.
Is TikTok better for finding recipe videos? Yes, I think so.
Is TikTok better for finding detailed recipe methods? No, I would say not.
Generally speaking, it takes any one user to view more than one piece of content before getting what they need. So, some people might be using TikTok as a stepping stone to get the context for their Google queries.
How will a TikTok Search Engine Affect SEO?
I’d say that a shift to a TikTok search engine will ultimately not fall within the remit of SEO, but it will be essential for all social media and content marketers out there. TikTok is the fastest growing channel of social media, out of all other social media platforms
Short-form video content is the future of social media and digital content strategy, and that’s where the threat of a TikTok search engine lies.
So, fret not SEO’s out there, the precious technique is here to stay, for now.
Regardless of whether you love it or hate it, people, a lot of people are using TikTok, and some are using it instead of Google. Maybe not a sign of imminent change, but certainly shimmering on the horizon.
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