TikTok is quickly becoming a key search and discovery platform for younger audiences

Could TikTok really become a competitor on the issues of search and discovery on the Web, and settle in the territory of Google?

Senior Vice President of Google Prabhakar Raghavan recently shared that the search giant actually sees it as a risk, noting that:

“In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when looking for a place to have lunch, don’t use Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.

It’s not too surprising, but the volume of research this could involve is significant, with hundreds of millions of searches conducted every minute via Google applications. If TikTok and Instagram eat into this, it could have big implications, and not just for Google itself, but also for brands looking to connect with younger audiences and maximize their discovery opportunities.

Do you have a TikTok SEO plan in place? Should you?

The idea of ​​TikTok as a search engine is not new.

In 2019, the investment company Andreesen Horowitz highlighted the potential of TikTok as a search enginedepending on the evolution of the use of Douyin, the Chinese version of the application, by Chinese users.

According Oh:

Since many Douyin videos are geotagged and automatically categorized into buckets – restaurants, tourist attractions, hotels, culture, entertainment, shopping, exercise – users can browse through them to find interesting places to visit and things to do. Businesses are also able to attract new customers by supplementing Douyin with basic information, waitlist support, and coupons.

Douyin has become an e-commerce powerhouse in China, and parent company ByteDance has been scrambling to transform TikTok along the same lines in Western markets — with mixed results so far.

But Raghavan’s comments indicate that discovery, in particular, is an important opportunity, and that more and more young users are turning to TikTok clips to discover the latest trends and products, which should be on the radar of all brands, as a potential way to reach new audiences and maximize interest online.

That sentiment is becoming more mainstream, and TikTok is also leaning into discovery, with a range of new features, in addition to its main e-commerce push.

Recently, TikTok started experiment with related keywords in comments and video descriptions, which guide user discovery by connecting them to larger trends.

Links to TikTok products

As you can see in this example, posted by the user Olivia Dengcertain keywords, including product names, are now automatically linked to search results for that term, further facilitating search activity and encouraging users to engage with product discovery within the app .

This, of course, also looks at streaming purchases from TikTok. But even outside of that element, more discovery could facilitate significant potential for many brands looking to increase awareness and highlight specific products in the app.

Add to this the fact that, according to Cloudflare dataTikTok.com has overtaken Google as the most visited domain in the world in 2021 and there’s a pretty clear picture forming, when it comes to TikTok being a key destination for discovery in 2022.

According Mashable:

People are tired of Google’s recipe algorithm that prioritizes obscure blogs that are optimized for search engines. It’s a running joke on the internet that to read a recipe you have to skim through the blogger’s entire life story, but this actually puts off the young people I spoke to from searching for recipes on Google. Because a TikTok needs to grab your attention quickly, recipe videos on the platform are relevant, emphasizing the food, not the creator.

This could apply to more than recipe sites, and with a recent survey also revealing that TikTok is the fastest growing source of information for users aged 16-24the general trend is clear.

So should you develop a TikTok SEO strategy? It might sound unusual, but the stats don’t lie, and the insights here suggest that product discovery is increasing in the app, which is currently the fastest growing social platform in the world.

This could facilitate some great opportunities – and maybe it’s time to get in and establish a presence, before everyone starts trying to optimize for TikTok search.

Amanda J. Marsh