Evaluating New Discovery Channels: SEO Opportunities Beyond Google

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June 5, 2024

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Evaluating New Discovery Channels: SEO Opportunities Beyond Google

The Rise of TikTok as a Search Engine

One of the driving factors of TikTok’s ongoing success is its universal appeal. While Gen Z makes up the lion’s share (around 40%) of users, people from various age brackets engage with, and create content for, the platform regularly. In fact, studies show that around one in five TikTok users are between 40 and 49 years of age.

Another clear driver of TikTok’s impressive growth is its ability to evolve with the ever-shifting digital landscape. To showcase its commitment to providing a seamless user search experience, the brand launched an interesting marketing campaign in the UK to make the most of its new search-centric tendencies. The campaign, titled “Don’t Google It, TikTok It,” aimed to position the platform as a go-to destination for discovery and information-seeking, rather than just a place for short-form video content.

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, the data suggests that TikTok is indeed carving out a significant niche for itself in the search landscape. A recent study by Adobe found that TikTok is currently deemed the fourth most-popular search engine among digital natives, falling just behind YouTube, Bing, and Google. Also, with almost one in 10 Gen Zers being more likely to use TikTok than Google as a search engine, it’s fair to say that this ever-evolving social media app is well and truly on the map.

The Implications for SEO Practitioners

The rise of TikTok as a legitimate search engine presents both challenges and opportunities for SEO practitioners. On the one hand, the platform’s algorithm and content discovery mechanisms are vastly different from those of traditional search engines like Google. This means that the tried-and-true SEO strategies that have worked well for years may need to be significantly adapted or even completely rethought.

On the other hand, TikTok’s emphasis on visual, entertaining, and user-generated content could open up new avenues for brands and businesses to reach their target audiences. As noted in the Refokus article, “A New Age of Discovery Beyond SEO,” the platform’s unique content discovery features, such as the “For You” page, could potentially allow for more organic, serendipitous discovery of products and services.

Navigating the TikTok Search Landscape

So, how can SEO practitioners effectively navigate the TikTok search landscape and capitalize on the platform’s growing importance as a discovery channel? Here are a few key considerations:

1. Understand the TikTok Algorithm

Unlike Google’s algorithm, which is primarily focused on factors like backlinks and on-page optimization, TikTok’s algorithm places a greater emphasis on user engagement, viral potential, and content relevance. SEO practitioners will need to deeply understand how the TikTok algorithm works and what types of content are most likely to be surfaced on the “For You” page.

2. Embrace Authentic, Engaging Content

TikTok is a platform that rewards authentic, relatable, and entertaining content. SEO practitioners will need to shift their mindset from creating purely informational or promotional content to crafting videos that are genuinely engaging and valuable to the platform’s users. This could involve leveraging trending sounds, participating in challenges, or even incorporating humor and personal anecdotes.

3. Optimize for TikTok’s Search Features

While TikTok may not have the same robust search functionality as Google, it does offer a range of features that can be optimized for discovery, such as hashtags, captions, and video titles. SEO practitioners will need to carefully research and incorporate relevant keywords and phrases into their TikTok content to improve its visibility in the platform’s search results.

4. Collaborate with Influencers and Creators

TikTok’s success is largely driven by its thriving creator community. SEO practitioners may find it beneficial to partner with influential TikTok users who have built a loyal following in their niche. These collaborations can help amplify the reach and credibility of a brand’s message, while also tapping into the platform’s unique content discovery mechanisms.

Embracing the Changing SEO Landscape

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, it’s clear that SEO practitioners must be willing to adapt and explore new discovery channels beyond the traditional Google-centric approach. TikTok’s rise as a search engine is just one example of the shifting consumer behavior and content discovery patterns that are reshaping the SEO industry.

By embracing the unique opportunities presented by platforms like TikTok, SEO professionals can stay ahead of the curve and position their clients for long-term success. After all, as the ACCC report suggests, the impact of digital platforms on content discovery and consumption is a complex and rapidly evolving landscape that demands a nuanced and proactive approach.

At MCR SEO, we are committed to staying at the forefront of these changes and helping our clients navigate the ever-shifting SEO ecosystem. By combining our deep expertise in traditional SEO strategies with a keen understanding of emerging discovery channels, we can help businesses of all sizes thrive in this new age of digital discovery.

So, if you’re ready to explore the exciting possibilities beyond Google and unlock new SEO opportunities for your brand, we invite you to get in touch with our team. Together, let’s redefine the future of search engine optimization.

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