How does the Tik Tok algorithm work?

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  • Everyone bragging about the power of Tik Tok’s algorithm, but how does it work? Explanations.

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    Everyone bragging about the power of Tik Tok's algorithm, but how does it work? Explanations.

    Complete strangers can become stars on Tik Tok overnight. If your content cozying up the algorithm, then you can have thousands of views in a matter of hours and the snowball effect will do the rest. And unlike Youtube’s Torah, which jealously guards its secrets, Tik Tok executives consider transparency to be important in building user trust. This is why the platform has given clues on how its algorithm works.

    How videos are recommended on Tik Tok?

    You have two aspects of Tik Tok, how videos are recommended to you when you land on the platform and how to improve the SEO of your own videos. In the recommendation, Tik Tok uses the same sauce as the other platforms, but it pushes targeting to its limits. So he uses:

    • User interactions – The videos you like, the comments you leave and the likes
    • Video information – Tik Tok can understand what is being said in a video and it can combine it with titles, hashtags and subtitles.
    • The user’s account – When you register on the platform, Tik Tok will put you in a cohort. If you are a young white man in USA, then he will offer you naked girls, morons singing in an empty room, etc. This is normal, because Tik Tok will generalize your profile to the general interest of your cohort.

    It is then that the magic will take place and the more videos you watch, the more the algorithm will sort out the good and the bad of what interests you. As you can choose what you like and exclude what you don’t, then after a few weeks of use, you have a video recommendation that is totally targeted.

    Obviously, this creates filter bubbles, but bubbles are part of human nature. We like what looks like us and we want to stay between us. The platforms try to fight this, because the bubbles promote “misinformation” (sic). And Tik Tok offers you to diversify the recommendation. The approach is elegant, because on the one hand, it allows you to have another story, but above all, it avoids the phenomenon of boringness which is the characteristic of other platforms.

    Youtube fails to diversify its recommendations. So, if you’re into cooking, then you’re only going to get shitty recipes all day long.

    Tik Tok avoids this trap by sometimes offering videos that are not in your circles at all. This is intentional, as it breaks the monotony and allows the algorithm to sense the general atmosphere of the audience. This is also the reason why Tik Tok will sometimes recommend videos to you that have few views or comments. It’s to bring freshness and also allows new creators to have good visibility.

    How to properly rank your videos on Tik Tok?

    After the recommendation, we have the criteria for ranking the videos. Why such a video will make millions of views while yours, having hours of editing, has 10 views at most. The main SEO criteria on Tik Tok is engagement. Basically, the more popular the video, the more it will be recommended. It seems obvious, but for the prole creators who start, how can they be known?

    The video engagement

    Well, their first videos will be recommended to bring freshness as mentioned above and then if users hook to your videos, then it’s all good. That’s what’s great about Tik Tok is that it can give you the starting spark, but you have to be a little lucky so the gunpowder doesn’t get wet.

    All the parameters of a Tik Tok video help in its SEO. Comments, Shares, Likes, Title, Subtitles, Hashtags, etc. Obviously, these parameters are not equal. Sharing and commenting are more powerful factors than a like.

    And a unique thing about Tik Tok is that the algorithm judges the video and not the account. That is to say that you can have an account with 0 followers, but if your video corresponds to what the algorithm is looking for, then it will make it reach to the sky. It’s totally different from Youtube where ranking is done via accounts. You have to work for years and have a few thousand subscribers for the videos to be recommended.

    The content of the Tik Tok video

    In addition to ranking via metadata, Tik Tok will also finely analyze your video. We can mention the visual aspect of the video, the audio, the text in the video, the title and the Hashtags and the music you use. Like many platforms, Tik Tok can know what you say in the video and this can help its ranking. The visual aspect is also important, as Tik Tok can recognize shapes in a video. This allows it to censor nudity and other elements if necessary.

    Title and Hashtags are among the most important elements in Tik Tok SEO. You have to take good care of your titles and follow the hashtags that are trending. Background music is also a ranking factor. There are musical trends on Tik Tok and if you can follow them and incorporate them to deliver your own message, then you will have a much better chance of being recommended.

    Language and phones used

    Obviously, if you are English speaker, Tik Tok will not recommend videos in Chinese. And on the platform, you have three language preferences, that of the application, that of the preferred languages ​​and that of the translated languages.

    If you mainly watch english language videos, but also like Chinese videos, but translated into your language, then Tik Tok can guess your preferred languages, but also your culture, origin, gender, etc.

    The device is also important. Tik Tok does not discriminate against those with an old phone. So on the latter, the videos will be shorter and much lighter. Another important thing is that Tik Tok also includes geo location for SEO of videos.

    If you and your visitor live in the same country, then the video will be more suggested to them. The same is true with reading time. a video that is watched from a to z, receives a higher ranking. But that doesn’t mean you benefit from it. Because we explained that the ranking is done at the level of the video and not of the account.

    The success of Tik Tok is not based on the fact that farts and bitches make stupid videos. He bases himself on the fact that he has found elegant solutions to the usual plagues of traditional video platforms.

    Houssen Moshinaly

    Actualité Houssenia Writing's Editor. Copywriter since 2009.

    Blogger and essayist, I have written 9 books on different subjects such as corruption in science, technological singularities or even fictions. I propose political and geopolitical analyzes on the incoming new world. I have a training in web writing and a long career as a proletarian.

    To contact me personally:

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