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Does Google Index Videos from TikTok and Instagram? Is Google Indexing TikTok and Instagram Videos?

Sam Rubin,

You’ve most likely heard Google is indexing TikTok and Instagram videos on their search engine results page (SERP). While we’ve seen this to a smaller degree with posts from Twitter (we refuse to call it X) for news related queries, content from TikTok and Instagram are popping up to help fulfill a different search intent, experience.

Since Google recently launched their perspectives filter on mobile, we have seen more posts from social media, primarily video content showing up from TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. If you’re considering the next car you want to purchase for example, searching for the make & model on mobile will offer a perspectives filter that features a mix of video content from sites beyond TikTok and Instagram including Reddit, YouTube and other sites that are relevant to demonstrating other customers’ experiences with the same type of vehicle.

Mobile search results on Google for “mazda 3 hatchback” filtering for “Perspectives”.
The new “perspectives” filter in search results has been showcasing more social content and can be a powerful tool to leverage a customer’s experience with a product or services.

While Google does index social posts, they do not show up frequently in Google’s SERP and 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?

Google is essentially an archive of websites and webpages that it has crawled with its friendly-neighborhood spider, GoogleBot. These spiders are known as “crawlers” and are constantly investigating new and old links to look for either new content that has been published on the web or updated content. This is how webpages make it onto Google’s SERP in the first place; GoogleBot finds your content, understands it, and decides which pages should be served up for relevant searches. 

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 Google 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. This works the same way for Bing with their own tool, Bing Webmaster Tools.

Not every URL or piece of content needs to be indexed. If you have pages with sensitive information, such as an internal portal with customer data, or perhaps a checkout page that indicates a user has completed a transaction. These examples of pages should not be allowed to float out in Google’s SERP and fortunately you can prevent bots from crawling this content by adding ‘noindex’ tags, or adding directives in your robots.txt file.

On the flipside, not every piece of content that is crawled is allowed to be a search result, sometimes a page will be crawled and identified by Google, and still left out of search results. This can often be a headache for website owners as Google will give little information about their reasoning for leaving a page out of the SERP.

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 had to 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 (now Xs? X Posts?) . 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 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 indexation at work, allowing YouTube or other social 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 and are incredibly valuable real estate if you can earn the spot.

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.

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 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.