30 second summary:
- Search engines are laser-centric to enhance the user experience, and voice search is playing an increasingly important role
- In more than 100 global languages, people tend to search in their native language
- How do you optimize your website for multilingual search while maintaining a natural and conversational tone?
- Atul Jindal will guide you carefully through the process
Google recognizes now 119 different languages with voice search. Which is perfect for the user experience. But it makes investing a little more challenging for website owners, especially those who host multilingual traffic. Website owners need to work to serve these people, who use a different language approach to search. There comes multilingual Search Engine Optimization, which is done with voice search in mind.
But before we get deeper into multilingual search engine optimization, let’s first talk about the search of the future, i.e. multilingual voice search.
What is multilingual voice search?
With the development of technology search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex and others are working to improve their user experience and make search easier than ever.
By staying in these efforts, they now allow people to speak with them in their own language, understand it, and produce the results they are looking for.
In addition, more than 23 percent of American households use digital assistants and nearly 27 percent people do voice searches on smartphones. This number is expected to grow more than nine percent in 2021 alone.
This means that more and more people are chatting with Google in languages other than English. As a German native, you are probably looking for something by speaking German. The original Indian could use any of the more than 100 languages spoken in India, and a U.S. citizen could use English, Spanish, or any other language.
This increase in the popularity of voice assistants, multilingual voice search, inadvertently leads to an increase in the demand for multilingual SEO for voice search.
But do you need to optimize your website for multilingual searches? Yeah. How else will your website reach the target audience that searches in their native language?
Combining multilingual search engine optimization with voice search
So far, there are only guides for multilingual search engine optimization or voice search. However, appreciating the growing importance of this relatively new search, we present you a guide that combines voice search and multilingual Search Engine Optimization.
What is Multilingual Search Engine Optimization?
Multilingual Search Engine Optimization is a policy that tailors your website to match your target audience, which uses multilingual search. It requires translating a web page, using the right keywords, and optimizing the web page accordingly. We go into the details below.
Notice how Google produces Hindi results for Urdu / Hindi search. This is because these results are optimized for multilingual voice searches.
Voice Search: Search for the future
Voice searches are very different from regular typing searches. When writing, you want to do as little physical effort as possible, i.e. writing and getting results. Anyway, when you talk, you don’t make any physical effort and just talk. Therefore, voice searches tend to be longer and have more conversation style and tone.
Let’s take an example
A person looking for a Chinese restaurant goes through two different ways when using voice search and regular search.
When writing, this person writes, for example, “the best Chinese restaurant near me.”
On the other hand, when he uses voice search, he simply says “Hey Google, tell me about the best Chinese restaurants I can visit right now.”
Do you see the difference? If you want to optimize your audio assistants, you need to adjust to this difference when doing search engine optimization.
By adding a multilingual touch to this and you have multilingual voice search.
From the example above, I am looking for the weather in my city.
If I were writing, I would have simply written[my city name] weather.”
However, when I used the voice, I used the full phrase in my native language, and google gave results in that language. These results indicated that they were optimized for multilingual voice searches.
How to make a multilingual search engine for voice searches?
Now, if you want to serve a global audience and expand your coverage. And you want your website to rank when your target audience searches for something you offer in their own language, you need multilingual search engine optimization.
Here are some steps you can take to optimize your website for multilingual searches:
No search engine optimization strategy can ever begin without keyword research. Therefore, before you start multilingual search engine optimization for your website, you need to perform proper keyword research.
When you translate your website, you can’t just translate keywords or phrases. Because a keyword with a high search volume in one language may not be profitable when translated into another language.
Let’s look at a case study from Ahrefs to understand this.
Ahrefs looked at the search volume for the keyword “last minute vacation.” They learned that it received 117,000 searches from the UK per month.
However, the same sentence was translated into French as “Vacances dernière minute”. The total number of searches was 8.4 kb.
The results of this case study demonstrate the importance of independent keyword research for multilingual search engine optimization. Because just translating keywords doesn’t produce good results.
So what you can do is pick up the phrases from your original website, which we assume to be in English and optimized for voice search. Turn them over. Brainstorm adds relevant keywords and connect them to any keyword research tool to see their search volume and competition.
In addition, voice search keywords are different from regular keywords in that you have to take an intuitive approach by going to the minds of your target audience to see what they are thinking and talking about when searching. And how they do it. Then use these phrases to continue your keyword search and make a list based on high search volume and low competition.
Once you have a list of keywords you want to optimize, the next step is to translate the content already on your website and optimize it with keywords.
The best way to translate a site is to hire a translator who speaks the target language as their native language.
You may be tempted to exercise Google translator or other automatic translation tools. While Google supports translators, it leaves a subtle recommendation on the use of human translators. Because robots haven’t come as far as competing and winning humans yet. At least in terms of translations.
Also, make sure that the translator targets the content to the tone of your original website.
Here comes the technical part. Did you really think that you can get multilingual search engine optimization without getting involved in technical matters?
Hreflang marking is critical for websites with different versions in different languages for different searches.
It allows Google to identify which webpage is displayed to a visitor. For example, you don’t want English visitors to land on the French version of your page. With Hreflang, you can receive English-speaking visitors on the English-language page and French-speaking people on the French-language page.
Another important feature that comes into the code of your website when you do multilingual search engine optimization is alternately attribute. It tells the search engine that the translated page is a different alternative language version of the existing page and not a duplicate. Because Google breaks duplicate pages and can penalize your website if you haven’t used it alternately tag.
You can’t talk about multilingual search engine optimization let alone URL structure.
When you do multilingual search engine optimization, you often store different versions of your website on the same domain. This means that you need to create a URL structure for each version so that the search engine can take the visitor to the right page.
When it comes to URLs for multilingual websites, you have many options, and each option has its pros and cons. You can check how Google these advantages and disadvantages are listed in the figure below.
Source: Google Search Center
Are you confused about which URL structure to use?
You can choose any option according to your preferences. According to Google, no URL structure has a particular impact on the SEO, except for the use of parameters in URLs. Personally, I think using a subdomain as Wikipedia or a Subfolder / Directory as Apple is the easiest way to create a multilingual site. But if you use WordPress, you can use an extension like Polylang for multilingual.
Writing content style is quite important when optimizing your website for multilingual search engine optimization. your content should focus more on the style of conversation than on academic or complex sentences. As said, voice queries are mostly in the form of questions, so frequently asked questions, short paragraphs that put more emphasis on dealing with questions, are better for voice queries.
The importance of multilingual search engine optimization for voice search
Now that you know how to set up your website Multilingual Search Engine Optimization, you may be wondering if it is worth all the effort.
If your website has a lot of multilingual traffic, you have no choice but to use multilingual search engine optimization for voice search because
- Voice search is the future of search 51 percent people already use it for product research before buying. Therefore, starting multilingual voice search immediately prepares you to meet the challenges of future search and search engine optimization.
- Your business cannot grow as much unless it tailors its offerings to the visitor. In this case, speaking their own language produces a good user experience.
- Multilingual Search Engine Optimization expands the reach of your website by providing multilingual search engines. If your business is global or spread across multiple countries in different languages and your website is limited to England only, I bet you have to lose a big chunk of easy traffic. What would be difficult with English keywords that have higher global competition and keyword difficulty.
Multilingual SEO for voice search is something you will see done by all website owners (who receive multilingual traffic) in the future. Therefore, it is better to start now and get ahead of your competitors.
Key excerpts for optimizing your website for multilingual voice searches include keyword search in the target language, human translation, hreflang tags, and the correct URL structure.
With the right keyword research, meaningful translation, in-depth technical search engine optimization, and using the URL structure that best suits your unique web requirements, you can enjoy the times of multilingual voice search as it arrives, and it will arrive soon.
Atul Jindal is a senior network engineer at Adobe Research.