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Is Google Indexing TikTok and Instagram Videos?

Oh Google my old friend, we’ve come to talk about you again. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve most likely heard Google is in the works of indexing TikTok and Instagram videos on the search engine results page (SERP). For anyone who has a website or content that exists on search engines, indexing has most certainly been your friend and perhaps sometimes, your enemy.

Why is Indexing Important?

Let’s start with what an index is. Google’s, for instance, is a database for their not so itsy-bitsy spider to crawl sites, analyze their data, and tell Google what they’re about. This helps search engines find your content, understand it, and decide which pages should be served up for certain searches.

Liam Neeson in the movie “Taken” saying into the phone “ I will find you…”
Google’s search index is a database that stores information on web pages. This is to understand the content and help decide which pages should be served up for certain searches.

So, why is this important and who is it important for? Let’s talk about it. When you create a website or content on search engines your ultimate goal is to get those to be seen by users and potential customers. The way these sites get seen is by submitting a sitemap of URLs to the index for it to be crawled. For instance, if you create a new page on your website you have to submit that URL to Google Search Console in order for them to know it even exists. But, not every URL or piece of content needs to be indexed. If you have pages with sensitive information, such as a checkout page, that’s “your money your life” content that you would not want to be crawled by Google or any other search bot out there. You can prevent bots from crawling this content by adding ‘noindex’ tags, or in your robots.txt file.

Google’s Plans to Index TikTok and Instagram Content

Speculation began in late September 2021  that Google was working on deals to index TikTok and Instagram video content. Just as we’ve seen YouTube videos and Twitter posts show up in search results, Google is looking to do the same with TikTok and Instagram. In order to index this social media content, Google must reach a deal in order to retrieve data from their respective social media apps much like when Twitter and Google reached a deal in 2015 to index Tweets once again. Google’s acquisition of YouTube in 2006 was a launchpad for success for both search engines, and YouTube’s videos have largely evolved Google’s video search results ever since. For example, if you’re looking for a new buffalo chicken dip recipe, (Sorry I was hungry) you’ve probably seen something like this on the search results page:

YouTube video Google search result of “how to make buffalo chicken dip”
 Rich snippets are a very powerful place of real estate in search results. The above search for “how to make buffalo chicken dip” shows this video from YouTube that you can immediately click and watch, as well as skip to certain parts of the process. This is a very convenient and sometimes preferable way to receive information for many users.

This is the work of indexation and structured data. The indexing piece of the pie allows the YouTube content to be crawled and found by Google’s database of information which they can serve up in search results. When you look up certain Google searches, you may realize that rich snippets take up a lot of the real estate on search results. Though these are not classified as the number one organic results, they are still one of the first things people may see. So how do you get into these prime search positions? The answer is structured data. This is what users can add to their content to help Google read and categorize it easier. Read more about how to add structured data to videos here. As more content becomes indexed or is greenlit to be served on the search engine results page, the more content creators are going to have to think strategically about the content they’re creating and if it’s optimized for search.

While YouTube videos dominate the video search results, that may not be the case for much longer. Future deals with TikTok and Instagram can really add some competition to the search results page, (as if there isn’t enough already.) Rebel did some of their own digging and found that Google does seem to be following through on prioritizing TikToks for some video searches.

Google search results of “tequila with additives Tiktok” videos
Some searches of TikToks on Google seem to be prioritizing TikTok videos in search. This is a promising

Consumers’ usage of multimedia is exactly why search engines have been making this effort to incorporate them in the results. Users have become so adjusted to the idea of “multi-screening” and receiving information across many different platforms, especially if they are seeking out more information about a product or service they’re interested in. Using multimedia strategies is more important than ever for businesses looking to capture customers’ attention in the market.

The Relationship Between Content and SEO

When it comes to creating content on the internet, strengthening your relationship with or understanding of search engine optimization is going to do you wonders. This is going to help you create content that people want to see and can also be found by your target audience. Now, this doesn’t mean abandoning creativity or only doing what’s popular. There are many ways to optimize the unique ideas that you do have and make them work seamlessly with SEO in mind. 

There is truly so much in the works for content creators, check out this Rebel blog by Creative Specialist, Caitlin Redmond on what the Metaverse may have in store for content creation as well. Businesses looking to launch their content strategies forward should keep an eye on these changes and prepare for a whole new audience of content consumers.

Need a cutting-edge digital marketing agency to stay on top of content trends? Look no further. Contact us today and we can help you launch content strategies backed by data and vivid creativity.

Authored by:

Rebel Staff