The Ultimate TikTok SEO Guide for Artists and Musicians

With more than one billion active users per month, TikTok has undoubtedly become THE go-to social media platform. What many people don’t know, however, is that TikTok has quickly become a bonafide search engine, with 10 percent of Gen Zers worldwide relying more on TikTok than Google for their search queries. So how can artists and musicians like you leverage TikTok’s search capabilities? This is where TikTok SEO comes in.

The TikTok logo in red, white and blue on a black background

What is TikTok SEO?

TikTok SEO (search engine optimisation) is a way to take your content to the next level, so you increase the chances of your target audience seeing it. By treating TikTok like a search engine, you increase your chances that your content will appear on TikTok’s For You Page, TikTok search and also Google. TikTok’s algorithm shows users more of what they like, so having your content categorised properly ensures you’re well on your way to TikTok success.

For instance, if a user likes rap music, the TikTok algorithm automatically recommends similar videos on their For You Page. This recommendation system is exactly why having your content well-categorised is important. So how can you optimise your TikTok SEO?

5 ways to nail your TikTok SEO strategy

Conduct TikTok SEO keyword research

First off, it’s important to do your research before you create a video or write a caption. You can start by doing a quick search on TikTok to see what’s trending and what other musicians are doing. See what hashtags they’re using, what topics they’re mentioning, and what type of content they’re posting. You can also use TikTok‘s own SEO tool, Keyword Insights. By using this tool, you can see what’s trending, find relevant keywords, and track the popularity of certain keywords.

Add keywords to your content

Keywords should be a crucial part of any SEO strategy, including your TikTok SEO strategy. In addition to strategically placing them in your captions, include them in your hashtags and on-screen text. On-screen text or captions not only help with accessibility, but also give the TikTok algorithm a clearer idea of what your video is about. And if you’re filming and posting a talking video, make sure you include these keywords in your script.

So, what’s the catch? All of this has to be engaging. Adding keywords with no purpose can do more harm than good. Therefore, make sure you place your keywords in a way that makes sense, so that your video still contains a narrative that captures the audience’s attention.

Use Creator Search Insights

Creator Search Insights is an in-app tool that enables you to see what keywords are currently trending. It’s safe to say that this is a really handy TikTok SEO tool, as it can help you create content that revolves around the trending keywords.

Simply type “creator search insights” in your TikTok search bar. Creator Search Insights then shows you trending topics that can be sorted by category (e.g. fashion, gaming, etc.) or “for you” (related to the content you create). In addition, you can also search for “content gap” topics, which are topics or categories that are in demand, but aren’t featured in a lot of videos.

Creator Search Insights is a clear indication that the TikTok team is focusing on the platform’s search capabilities and honing in on that. You make the most of it by leveraging Creator Search Insights, and creating content that’s relevant to people’s search queries.

creator search insights interface
Searching for music-related topics using TikTok’s Creator Search Insights

Create shareable content

One of the ranking factors of TikTok SEO is engagement. And this means having content that users are compelled to like and share with their friends. Therefore, make sure that your video has some kind of hook that reels people in, and offers value to your target audience. Whether it’s an educational video about how to use a DAW, a jaw-dropping guitar solo video, or your take on a controversial topic, the content that gets likes, saves, and shares is the one that gets the biggest bump from the TikTok algorithm.

Don’t have the time to brainstorm ideas for original content? Trends can be a good way to create content that has been proven to work. TikTok challenges or trends were an integral part of why TikTok became popular in the first place, so why not use them to your advantage?

Hopping on a challenge that’s trending in your niche is a good way to ensure that you still create content that appeals to your target audience, and reach more people along the way. If you decide to go for a more mainstream trend, give it your own unique pin. In this way, you’re still working within your niche and don’t alienate your current audience by suddenly changing gears.

Direct your TikTok audience off-platform

Having a sizeable TikTok following is all well and good. In some cases, going viral or building a loyal TikTok following can totally change an artist’s trajectory, propelling them to the next step in their career. However, keeping your audience on the platform without directing them to your website – or, better yet, your mailing list – is not a smart career move.

You need to use TikTok as a tool that’s part of your audience development journey, not your ultimate goal. After all, owning audience data (like email addresses) is key to ensuring you can still engage with the TikTok audience you’ve painstakingly built, across different platforms and over the years to come.


Janelle knows a thing or two about the music industry. Having been involved in the industry since the age of 13, she's now involved in a variety of music-related projects and is always keen to share industry tips 'n' tricks with fellow musicians.