Are TikTok eating YouTube in Google’s results?

Organic Search
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Are TikTok eating YouTube in Google’s results?

During 2022, TikTok has had a real jump in Google’s organic search results. My analysis back in June highlighted a 50% increase in Google US non-brand #1 rankings over the period of Google’s May 2022 Core Search Update, where we have seen Tiktok.com hovering up lots of top positions for popular content creators / influencers.

YouTube.com vs. TikTok.com SEO head-to-head

  • YouTube.com page 3 positions: 13m in the US (source: Semrush Index)

vs.

  • TikTok.com page 3 positions: 750k in the US (source: Semrush Index)

YouTube.com drives significantly more organic search positions on Google.com compared to TikTok.com. The biggest reason for this is YouTube’s social media dominance as a video search engine has spanned over 15 years. This means that if someone searches for a popular B2C brand term, YouTube.com would easily rank on Google’s page 1 alongside sites like Facebook & Instagram because of the growth of social media activity. 

However, brands are increasingly focusing their video content efforts on TikTok.com meaning that their Tik Tok profile could well offer more value to the user than their YouTube content. A good example of this is the brand term ‘Gymshark’ where TikTok outranks YouTube.

However, TikTok.com’s organic visibility will continue to grow. This is due to their significant brand power which brands and content creators will support with tonnes of fresh video content. The most recent snapshot from Semrush shows fantastic organic search growth (Google US):

tiktok organic growth 2022

Contrastingly YouTube.com’s reported organic search positions in Semrush have decreased in the last 2 years (again, Google US):

youtube organic growth 2022source: Semrush.com

TikTok is showing in more video carousels

Within it’s organic search growth, TikTok is commanding more positions in Google’s ‘video carousel’ SERP feature, which you’ll probably be very used to as a Google user:

tiktok showing in more video carousels

TikTok’s rise has been quite pronounced in 2022, approximately quadrupling their visibility since 2021 in the Google organic video carousel results:

tik-tok-video-carousel-serp-feature position growth 2022
source: Semrush.com

What is really interesting to see within the same timeframe is a video carousel position loss in the Semrush Index:

youtube video carousel serp feature position loss 2022

Clearly YouTube have the edge here, with 6 times the visibility in Google’s video carousel. However we can see a progression in TikTok’s SEO traction directly at the cost of YouTube’s.

YouTube still dominates ‘videos on SERP’

There is a larger gap between YouTube and TikTok when it comes to any ‘video on SERP’ Google positions. However this does look to be in decline:

youtube video on serp top3s
source: Semrush.com

You would expect Tik Tok to grow in this general video space of the Google organic SERP to YouTube’s expense, with such a gap between the two in terms of top 3 coverage (TikTok’s top 3 positions below):

tiktok video on serp top3s
source: Semrush.com

From this analysis, we can conclude that TikTok will continue to be highly visible in the video carousels because 75% of their top 3 positions come from when this region of the Google SERP is triggered.

Conclusion – The view from Spike

Google has been criticised in the past for putting bias on ranking their Alphabet assets higher than other websites. In this case, we can see TikTok is corroding YouTube’s market share of Google.com organic positions. It is well documented that an effective TikTok strategy for content creators and B2C brands is a primary objective which could well lead to increased rankings for TikTok.com well into 2023-2024.