Experiment: Do Traditional SEO Tactics Work on Social Media?

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Social SEO is like the brand new child that simply transferred to your highschool. Who’re they? What can they do to make me extra well-liked? What can I say to get them to concentrate to me? Do they’ve a crush on me?

Fortunately, our newest experiment can reply most of those questions. (Besides whether or not or not social SEO has a crush on you. That’s between you and the web.)

In all seriousness, social SEO is newer than conventional SEO, so there are nonetheless quite a lot of unknowns. On this experiment, we examined some well-liked social SEO tricks to see in the event that they labored on TikTok and Instagram.

What suggestions? Properly, like those we speak about on this Instagram SEO video:

This put up will reply whether or not or not focusing on content material to particular high-volume key phrases might help increase your video’s efficiency on TikTok or Instagram.

Bonus: Obtain a free social SEO guidelines and comply with professional suggestions for Fb, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn to get your posts seen by extra individuals.

Speculation: Traditional SEO ways might help posts acquire extra attain on social media

Social SEO, or optimizing your social posts to seem greater in platform search outcomes, is a brand-new recreation.

For this experiment, we’re beginning with the belief that the search optimization methods that work for one sort of platform would possibly apply to a different.

In conventional SEO, entrepreneurs optimize their net content material to enhance its rating on Google. You goal particular key phrases and create content material that matches the search intent (aka what somebody’s truly on the lookout for). It’s all about giving the algorithms that management search outcomes as a lot context as potential so the robots know your content material is effective and put it nearer to the highest of the listing.

In social SEO, you’re attempting to do the identical factor. Instagram and TikTok will not be Google, however in addition they use algorithms to find out which content material is served to your viewers.

We’ve achieved experiments on how social media impacts conventional SEO, however that is the primary to have a look at social media SEO particularly.


Right here’s a breakdown of the steps we took for this experiment:

Step 1: Key phrase analysis on TikTok

We took our personal recommendation and adopted the key phrase analysis course of outlined in step 2 of this TikTok SEO weblog put up.

We performed key phrase analysis by typing our most important key phrase into TikTok’s search bar and letting autocomplete fill in the remainder.

We used these steered search phrases to create a pool of potential key phrases that made sense for Hootsuite and our viewers.

Step 2: Evaluate the SERP

As soon as we had a key phrase listing, we checked out TikTok’s SERP (search engine outcomes web page) for every time period. If the outcomes for a selected search felt like they matched our audience and content material experience, we added it to our shortlist.

For instance, a time period like “social media AI” gave the impression of a powerful contender at first. However with the SERP exhibiting movies like “the best way to deep pretend your self utilizing AI,” we figured our content material most likely wouldn’t fulfill that viewers.

As a result of social SEO is new, there’s not quite a lot of info on search quantity (aka how many individuals are typing “social media AI” into TikTok or Instagram each month). So as an alternative, we used video views to gauge curiosity.

When selecting key phrases, we prioritized phrases that returned movies with a minimal of 5K views. It’s not a precise science, however we figured greater common view counts would possibly roughly correspond to extra curiosity within the matter.

Step 3: Video creation

As soon as our analysis was achieved, we settled on 5 goal key phrases and created movies for Instagram and TikTok.

For every video, we centered on creating content material that the viewers wished — not essentially what they requested for. That’s to say, we made content material that matched the searcher’s intent for his or her time period, not the search time period itself.

For instance, the highest movies for a search time period like “Instagram caption concepts” might have influencers providing pattern captions like “would possibly delete later” or “thought I regarded cute.”

If that’s what the viewers is on the lookout for, we wouldn’t waste time making a video on “5 suggestions on the best way to write a compelling CTA.” It wouldn’t be technically fallacious, nevertheless it doesn’t match what the algorithm thinks individuals need. (And let’s be sincere with ourselves: the algorithm is designed to offer the individuals precisely what they need.)

Now comes one other well-liked SEO tip: sprinkling the goal key phrase all through the video. We included the goal key phrase in 3 locations:

  1. Within the script a minimum of as soon as,
  2. Within the caption, and
  3. As on-screen textual content.
Rating the captions our new AI instagram caption generator wrote to announce its personal launch #copywriting #aiwritingassistant #instagramcaption #aiinstagramcaption

♬ I Suppose I Like When It Rains – WILLIS

This TikTok focused the key phrase “AI Instagram captions,” so the phrase pops up within the caption and the script.

Step 4: Video publication and management teams

As soon as we had our movies, we posted them on each TikTok and Instagram, utilizing Hootsuite’s Greatest Time to Publish characteristic to ensure they went out on the proper time. Then, we leaned again and watched the outcomes roll in.

As social media scientists, we knew we would have liked a management group to check our outcomes to. However posting the identical video with out SEO optimization can be repetitive for our viewers. This might, clearly, skew the outcomes and negatively have an effect on our social KPIs. No, thanks!

To keep away from duplicate content material, we determined to tug a random number of normal content material from every channel to make use of as a management group.

Step 5: Key metrics

So, how would we all know if our experiment was profitable? We used TikTok and Instagram’s native analytics to overview efficiency and measure success.

First, we gave every video 4 weeks to gather views. Sure, that’s a really very long time for a trending TikTok video, however SEO is an evergreen recreation, so we wished to offer sufficient time for our movies to collect views from searchers.

For TikTok, we determined that the important thing metric can be views from the For You web page, versus views coming from followers or our profile. We figured {that a} efficiently optimized video can be extra prone to enchantment to a wider viewers and seem on the FYP.

For Instagram, we checked out views from non-followers for a similar cause. In spite of everything, the purpose of SEO is to get our content material served to individuals who don’t already know us however are fascinated by our area of interest.

We additionally checked out complete engagements, distinctive views, and engagement price (and for TikTok, we had been additionally capable of view “watched full video”).

We additionally spot-checked the search outcomes manually to see if our movies popped up into the highest spots.


The TL;DR of the outcomes is that social SEO can enhance each attain and engagement charges. Let’s get into it.

TikTok outcomes

On TikTok, our 5 optimized movies earned 33% extra views from individuals new to our account (aka the FYP). Additionally they had a barely greater common engagement price: up from 4.59% to 4.75%.

Our SEO-optimized movies additionally earned 39% extra distinctive views when in comparison with our management movies.

Nonetheless, after we spot-checked the TikTok SERPs for our key phrases, we didn’t see our movies surfacing in TikTok’s search outcomes.

Common Video Views by Part Common Complete Engagements
TikTok SEO Content material Management SEO Content material Management
22% FYP, 11.4% following, 8.6% private profile 16.6% FYP, 15.4% following, 15.2% private profile 475 208

Right here’s an instance exhibiting TikTok’s native analytics for a video from our management group. For this non-optimized video, a lot of the views got here from individuals who got here straight to our profile or had been already following us. Solely 2% of views got here from the FYP.

TikTok's native analytics for one of our control videos. This screen shows Video Views by Section

And right here’s what the analytics regarded like for one in all our SEO-optimized TikToks. Try these video views by part — 31% of our views got here from the FYP!

TikTok's native analytics for one of our SEO-optimized videos

Instagram outcomes

As a consequence of a tragic error, our experiment’s best-performing Instagram movies had been by chance boosted.* Alas, we are able to not entry the natural outcomes. Nevertheless, is it a brag if we acknowledge that these posts had been boosted due to how effectively they had been doing??

*Professional tip: Hootsuite will increase your high posts robotically too; simply let it know what the set off must be. 500 likes? 10,000 views? Seize your free trial and take a look at it out!

However, the experiment wasn’t a failure. Surprisingly sufficient, our SEO-optimized movies nonetheless noticed greater complete and common engagements.

Common Views by Supply Common Complete Engagements
Instagram* SEO Content material Management SEO Content material Management
5288 from followers vs. 909 from non-followers* 5300 from followers vs. 1126 from non-followers Skewed: 578.8Non-skewed: 250.7


(*Knowledge with the by chance boosted posts is labeled as skewed for transparency)

As soon as we eliminated the paid views from the calculated averages, we observed fewer non-followers than the management noticed our SEO-optimized content material.

However we noticed 25% extra complete engagements and the next common engagement price (4.0%, up from 3.1%).

So, go determine. The SEO optimization labored, simply not in the best way we predicted.

Like TikTok, we didn’t see our movies within the search outcomes right here, both.

Right here’s how one in all non-optimized Reels carried out, in keeping with Instagram’s native analytics. Right here, 22% of views got here from non-followers.

Instagram's native analytics for one of our control Reels Instagram's native analytics for one of our control Reels, showing where video views came from

And right here’s how one in all our SEO-optimized Reels carried out. For this one, solely about 17% of the views got here from non-followers.

Instagram's native analytics for one of our optimized videos Instagram's native analytics for one of our SEO-optimized Reels, showing where views came from


Bonus: Google outcomes

Guess what? Google contains TikToks in its search outcomes, so should you’re seeking to rank on this all-knowing monolith’s SERPs, then get your TikTok technique on level.

Understanding this, we took a take a look at Google’s SERP for our goal key phrases to see if any of our SEO-optimized TikTok movies would rank.

Whereas none of them made it to the primary spot (or Web page 1), we did have this video are available on the twelfth place for the time period “steal our put up Instagram.” Funnily sufficient, this confirmed us that the order of phrases in our captions matter.

Steal these Instagram put up concepts however provided that you wanna double your followers 😏 #igtips #instagraminspo #instagrampostideas

♬ unique sound – Hootsuite

We meant to focus on the key phrase “Instagram put up concepts,” however the caption began with “Steal these Instagram put up concepts,” which should have confused the poor Google robots.

These outcomes weren’t precisely what we anticipated, however hey, we did study one thing — begin with the necessary information!

Subsequent time, we’d say one thing extra like, “Instagram put up concepts you need to steal should you wanna double your followers.” Or maybe you’ll steal this caption thought.

What do the outcomes imply?

So, what do these outcomes imply for you and your social technique?

The largest TikTok takeaway is: Optimizing for key phrases can get you ~40% extra views, together with 33% extra views coming from the FYP.

Whereas it could not assist your video rank on Google or TikTok’s SERP, that doesn’t imply it’s not serving to. You don’t must see it to consider it, of us.

Discover out extra on TikTok SEO.

The largest Instagram takeaway is: By optimizing for key phrases, you might end up with a ~33% bump in engagement charges.

As a consequence of our boosted put up mishap, we are able to’t say with 100% certainty that Instagram reacts as positively as TikTok. However, in our coronary heart of hearts, we all know it’s (most likely) true. We’ll positively rerun this experiment sooner or later to proceed to validate outcomes.

Discover out extra on Instagram SEO.

The way in which you’ll be able to promote this to your boss (or your self) is that this: Optimizing for key phrases is simpler than making a viral hit. Integrating social SEO into your content material technique might pay dividends over the long term.

Ideas, methods and insights into social SEO

Now that you understand how efficient SEO will be for TikTok and Instagram, listed below are 9 tricks to get you began:

Do your key phrase analysis

Add key phrase analysis to your routine. SEO execs will typically carry out conventional key phrase analysis as soon as each quarter, however social strikes quick. There’s no agency rule as to how typically you need to be doing social key phrase analysis, however we’d suggest pairing it along with your content material planning.

Key phrase analysis can truly act as a supply of inspiration on your content material technique. You’ll uncover the phrases persons are looking for, which signifies a development or topic your viewers is fascinated by. Then, you’ll be able to create content material that speaks to that curiosity and hits these key phrases.

Complement, don’t change

SEO is a methodical method to getting your content material seen, whereas tendencies and viral content material capitalize on a short, intense curiosity out of your audience.

SEO shouldn’t change your tendencies and viral content material technique. It ought to complement it.

Optimize your instructional content material, particularly

For those who’re solely going to optimize one piece of content material, make it your instructional content material. On YouTube, the world’s second-largest search engine, instructional how-to movies get most of their views from search.

Whereas different forms of movies get most of their clicks through the use of thrilling thumbnails and being “up subsequent”, instructional content material is one thing individuals actively seek for utilizing … sure, key phrases.

It is sensible to optimize instructional content material for search as a result of persons are already looking for it.

We’re large on YouTube SEO, too.

Embed your content material on your weblog or web site

For those who’ve obtained a weblog, web site, or someplace to deal with media, it’s essential embed your SEO content material in related articles.

Embedding your keyword-optimized content material in one other piece of optimized content material sends a good stronger relevance sign to Google and makes your video more likely to rank.

Plus, in case your weblog or web site ranks effectively and pulls in first rate site visitors, your embedded movies have an extended half-life and might hold getting views within the long-term.

Take note of your script

YouTube, TikTok, and (we suspect) most social platforms that host movies can course of the “textual content of phrases spoken.” They crawl your transcript, on the lookout for key phrases.

So, make sure to pepper your key phrases and variations all through your script. And attempt to hit your goal key phrase within the first few seconds.

Put your key phrases first

Key phrase order appears to matter for some search engines like google. You should definitely manage your captions deliberately, with the goal key phrase first.

Add textual content natively inside the platform

Along with the spoken audio, social platforms will crawl the textual content on your movies. If you wish to make it simpler for the platform’s robots to “learn” your content material, including your textual content natively inside the platform might have higher outcomes.

It’s powerful to make blanket statements about all social platforms as we merely don’t have that form of perception. However, this concept can be one to A/B check along with your content material.

Embody alt textual content

Not solely does alt textual content assist visually impaired of us get pleasure from your content material, nevertheless it additionally might help your publishing platform acknowledge what your content material’s about.

The jury’s nonetheless out on whether or not or not alt textual content has important advantages for SEO; we did an Instagram alt textual content experiment with inconclusive outcomes. Nevertheless, that experiment didn’t comprise key phrase analysis or a major focus on key phrases.

Don’t sleep on your title and hashtags

Title and hashtags are the obvious tip on this listing, however we couldn’t dwell with ourselves if we didn’t add them right here.

Put your key phrases in your title and hashtags to assist inform the social platform’s algorithm and your viewers on what your video is all about.

Save time managing your social media and get your content material seen utilizing Hootsuite. From a single dashboard, you’ll be able to schedule and publish content material, have interaction your viewers, and measure the efficiency of all of your accounts, throughout networks. Attempt it free in the present day.

Get began

Do it higher with Hootsuite, the all-in-one social media device. Keep on high of issues, develop, and beat the competitors.

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