TikTok’s impact on local search and local SEO is hard to quantify. But based on the hundreds and thousands of businesses that can thank TikTok for their online and in-store traffic, TikTok is certainly an emerging marketplace for businesses to connect with consumers and provide fun, relevant information. Hundreds of thousands of businesses have used TikTok to grow their audience and foster a loyal customer base. It’s no surprise that TikTok will continue to impact business’ success – especially when it comes to local search and local SEO.
You already know social media’s impact on local SEO – social media improves Google rankings, helps with NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) accuracy, and enables businesses to distribute content to their audiences in a more personal way. And social helps convert customers, too. 54% of social media users research products on social platforms!
With a notoriously tricky algorithm and fast-paced trends, TikTok is a moving target. Luckily, TikTok’s impact on local SEO is progressing in a more predictable manner. Let’s take a look at how using TikTok can make your business easier to find on local search.
Customers are using TikTok like a search engine
While TikTok began as a dance-centric app, it quickly evolved into an app to build communities, share opinions, and learn new skills or ideas. With businesses and individuals alike making informative videos for their audiences, TikTok has become a hub for learning. And TikTok itself is catching on. Some users have noticed TikTok piloting new search features.
Some are even starting to treat TikTok like a search engine. In fact, 26% of people know someone who uses TikTok or Instagram as their primary search engine. For questions with quick answers, TikTok delivers no-nonsense answers in an easily-consumable format.
Using social media best practices for local SEO helps your business get seen by potential customers in your area. Ensuring that TikTok’s algorithm understands exactly what your business offers and where it is located helps your content get seen by the right people. Getting visibility on TikTok is not always easy – and requires a lot of work up-front. But for many businesses, it has completely changed their customer journey and revenue sources. TikTok is a great platform to connect with existing customers, too, and remind them that you exist.
Optimizing your business TikTok for local search is increasingly important as TikTok transforms into a search engine in its own right. As always, following best practices and creating quality, relevant content for your business will help more customers find you.
TikTok could be the next Google
Despite TikTok’s growing focus on being easily searchable and accessible, it doesn’t look like TikTok will replace Google as a search engine. After all, there’s only so much information you can search for and discover via short-form videos.
The rise of TikTok signals a shift in the type of content consumers want – whether the content is for information or entertainment. As marketers know, consumers prefer highly visual, interactive content over stagnant boxes of text. And when they do want text, they prefer it to be short-form (why do you think Twitter is still so popular?).
How do you decide if TikTok is the right move for your business? Well, remember the key to getting found by great customers: having relevant information and content wherever your customers are. If your audience is on TikTok – you should go to TikTok. Whether your business decides to pursue TikTok or not, remember that consumer preferences are changing when it comes to business’ content. To keep finding great customers, make sure your content is in a friendly, easily-consumable format wherever you post it.
Google will start indexing TikTok videos
TikTok’s impact on local search hinges on Google’s decision to index videos. Much like Google indexes tweets and Facebook posts, Google will start indexing videos from TikTok (and Instagram). Essentially, your (and your business’) posts appear directly on relevant Google searches.
Whether or not TikTok becomes the “new Google,” Google is working to integrate social media platforms into its search algorithm based on keywords. As Google moves towards indexing TikTok and Instagram posts, it’s crucial to maintain good local SEO habits on social media. Social media has a huge impact on local SEO – and as Google continues to integrate social media into its search results, using the proper keywords and hashtags will determine which businesses come out on top in local search.
Optimize your TikTok for local search to help customers find your business
While TikTok’s algorithm is notoriously great at pinpointing peoples’ location and interests, it’s not a bad idea to help the algorithm do its job.
Using local and vertical-specific hashtags in your content help it get seen by the right audience. For example, a bakery in New York could use the hashtags #nyceats and #nycbakery. If your business is in a vertical like home goods, autocare, financial services, or is similarly devoid of vertical-specific hashtags, try your best to find relevant hashtags with lots of views. TikTok makes it easy to check which hashtags are popular directly on the editing screen.
Don’t forget about on-screen text, too. TikTok’s algorithm uses hashtags, on-screen text, and visuals to codify your content. Adding descriptive text, relevant captions, and enabling closed captioning on videos with spoken components all help your content find a relevant audience.
TikTok’s impact on local businesses
It’s great to know the “why” behind how TikTok can help your business in local search – but it’s even better to know key tactics on how to create videos and use TikTok as a tool for local SEO and converting customers.
Luckily, the best practices for businesses on social media typically align with best practices for conquering local SEO.
Creating content for your business on TikTok is a great way to connect with consumers and showcase products, promotions, and special features of your business. Creating TikToks that get seen and found by the right consumer base is all about catering to the principles of local search and the TikTok algorithm.
Create relevant content to find loyal customers
The best TikTok tip for businesses is to create relevant content for your customers (and potential customers). If your business is a crypto ATM, you could post a fun dance showing how it works. If your business is a bakery, you can post aesthetically pleasing videos of your products and locations to entice customers to drop by.
Think of TikTok like another store-front. Instead of foot traffic, you have online traffic. And if consumers like what they see, they’ll drop by.
Put your own spin on trends that relate to your business
If your social media manager isn’t already addicted to TikTok, there are plenty of accounts that post regularly about trending audios, dances, and concepts. Trends are an easy way to create content for your business that will be pushed out by TikTok.
For example, if there’s a dance trend going around, you can recruit members of your team to dance in-store and show off your location. There are also plenty of audio-centric trends that are easy to hop on and add relevant information to.
Every vertical is different – so try looking around at the competition and seeing how they put their spin on things.
Utilize local hashtags to find customers in your area
As always, it’s key to use hashtags and keywords in your caption and your video to get picked up by both TikTok’s algorithm and local search. For example, an LA-based vegan bakery could use hashtags like #LAeats and #veganLA to promote their business.
Optimize your TikTok bio for local search
As with all social media platforms, your business TikTok bio should link out to your website and include a short, relevant description of your business.
Include on-screen text related to your business
On-screen text is just as important as hashtags and captions on TikTok. Enable closed captions, include text on-screen, and ensure that your videos are relevant and engaging. This will help TikTok push your business’ videos out to customers in the area who are most likely to visit.
Repost your business’ TikToks as Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts
If you’re going to invest in TikTok, it doesn’t hurt to cross-promote your videos on other social media platforms. It’s simple to download your best-performing TikToks and repost them on Instagram Reels and/or YouTube Shorts. And, you can repost your very best videos on Twitter or Facebook. Don’t forget to remind your audience to follow your TikTok! Cross-promoting your social accounts is never a bad idea – especially if you post different content across accounts.
TikTok’s impact on local search
TikTok’s impact on local search and local SEO is still being quantified. But ultimately, TikTok will only have an increasing impact on your business – and your competitors’ businesses.
Delving into TikTok can be intimidating, and it’s not necessary for every business (especially if you’re not targeting Gen Z consumers). Even so, knowing TikTok’s effect on local search and local SEO is crucial as TikTok rises in importance.