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TikTok vs. Google: Navigating the Future of Search for Nonprofits

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Published March 28, 2024 Reading Time: 3 minutes

This blog was written in collaboration with Maria Sadusky, Marketing Specialist at Community Boost. Maria brings a wealth of experience in social media strategy, content creation, and campaign management, along with a deep passion for helping businesses expand their online presence.

In a rapidly evolving digital marketing landscape, the battle for online discoverability has taken a fascinating turn, particularly for nonprofits seeking to maximize their visibility. The conversation around TikTok vs. Google isn’t just a comparison of platforms. It explores shifting paradigms in how people seek and consume information.

As TikTok continues to rise as a formidable player in the search engine domain, nonprofits have a unique opportunity to rethink their digital advertising and marketing strategies to enhance discoverability and engagement.

The Emergence of TikTok as a Search Engine

TikTok isn’t just for fun, short-form videos anymore—it’s quickly becoming the go-to spot for finding information on almost anything, especially among young people.

Here’s something that might surprise you: a whopping 74% of Gen Z TikTok users leverage its search functionality. More telling, over half of this younger audience—51%, to be exact—prefer TikTok’s search engine over Google. This is a big deal, showcasing TikTok’s rising popularity as a primary source of information with a strong user experience.

Not only are searches happening on TikTok’s social platform, but Google’s search experience is also changing. Have you noticed that Google’s new search generative experience displays an AI-driven summary response to particular queries? This experience pushes organic results further down the Google search results page, potentially making it more challenging for people to find your nonprofit’s website and related information.

Given the evolving search landscape, nonprofits must consider adapting their strategies to optimize for discoverability. TikTok isn’t just another social media platform—it’s becoming a must-do to keep up with how people find and engage with content.

TikTok SEO: A Strategy for Nonprofit Visibility

As TikTok’s influence in the search engine realm grows, so does the importance of TikTok SEO. By optimizing content for discoverability on the platform, nonprofit organizations can ensure their visibility and accessibility to users searching for topics relevant to their missions.

This strategy isn’t just about getting found. It’s about engaging with an audience actively seeking information and ready to support causes that resonate with them.

What is TikTok’s For You Page?

TikTok differs from traditional search engines, as you don’t just optimize for users searching for a particular set of keywords. Instead, you optimize content for users’ For You Page (FYP), which is how most users find new video content.

The FYP is the initial screen you encounter when opening the app. It provides a curated feed featuring videos from creators you may not follow. TikTok’s algorithm selects these videos based on your interests and previous interactions, aiming to present content it believes you’ll enjoy.

Understanding and excelling at TikTok SEO is critical to landing on users’ FYP. This involves using relevant keywords in captions, selecting trending hashtags carefully, engaging with popular topics and sounds in real time, and monitoring the platform’s algorithm. Optimizing your profile with a clear bio and links is also crucial.

Consider the following tips:

  • Incorporate relevant keywords: Ensure your video descriptions on TikTok contain relevant keywords to enhance discoverability. However, avoid excessive keyword stuffing. Prioritize authenticity to align with the platform’s ethos.
  • Identify trending hashtags: Utilize TikTok’s Creative Center to discover trending content easily. Explore trending hashtags to amplify your video’s reach and identify related topics and accounts that align with your content.
  • Play to the algorithm: Align your content creation with TikTok’s algorithm to maximize visibility and engagement. Start by utilizing trending sounds and posting frequently (ideally, every weekday).

Dive into Community Boost’s comprehensive guide to fundraising on TikTok for more guidance on where to start optimizing for TikTok search.

Google and TikTok: An Unprecedented Partnership

Recent developments have seen TikTok and Google exploring a groundbreaking partnership to merge Google search capabilities with TikTok’s dynamic content stream. This collaboration signifies a potential shift in how search results get presented and consumed, blending traditional search engine results with engaging, user-generated content.

It also presents an exciting opportunity for nonprofits to leverage both platforms’ strengths, ensuring their causes are visible where their audience is most active.

Maximize Your Marketing, Optimize for Discoverability

The TikTok vs. Google discourse highlights an evolving search landscape where visibility is no longer confined to traditional search engines. For nonprofits, understanding and adapting to this shift is crucial for future-proofing their digital marketing strategies.

By embracing TikTok’s growing role as a search engine and leveraging its SEO potential, nonprofits can enhance their discoverability, connect with a broader audience, and amplify their impact in the digital age.

As we navigate these changes, the imperative for nonprofits is clear: Integrate TikTok into your digital marketing strategy to ensure your message is easily found, shared, and understood. With TikTok’s expanding influence and the potential for deeper integration with Google search, the time to act is now.

Copy Editor: Ayanna Julien

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