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TikTok is paying creators to up its search game

The TikTok logo on a white background with repeating circle imagery scattered throughout.
Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

TikTok is leaning in even more to its app being used like a search engine.

Creators making money on the platform will now be paid based in part on how well their content meets what other users are searching for. TikTok calls this metric “search value,” and it’s one of four core elements in determining creator payouts. TikTok announced the change as part of its new monetization program, called Creator Rewards.

This metric is the TikTok version of search engine optimization (SEO). One tactic in SEO is keyword research, where publishers make content that aligns with what searchers (the vast majority of whom are using Google) are looking up. On TikTok, search value is whether a creator is posting content that is about topics users are…

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