As Google continues to make improvements upon its voice-activated assistant, businesses need to adapt to this change. The reason for this is that consumers are using more voice searches than ever before. This means that marketers who want their business to be visible on search engines must optimize their content for appropriate languages and dialects.
The use of voice-activated assistants became mainstream in 2016. Amazon’s Alexa, for example, recorded its best sales growth during the holiday season last year. Amazon has sold an estimated 3 million Echo devices since its release in 2023. This number is expected to increase to 5 million this year and 10 million next year. With this growing trend, and as per expert advice from EZ Rankings, it’s important to focus on multilingual SEO for voice searches.
What is a multilingual voice search?
A multilingual voice search is when a user speaks a question in one language, and the device responds back in a different language. For example, if a user asks “what time does Johnny T open?” Alexa or Siri might respond back in English even though they were asked in French.
Users want answers quickly without having to type in a long series of questions. Some examples of how people use it are for online shopping purposes, planning trips, ordering food, setting an alarm or getting the weather forecast. With more people are coming into the mobile ecosystem, the need for multilingual voice search has become increasingly important.
How is multilingual SEO for voice searches different from general SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is nothing new to marketers, but the difference with voice-activated devices is that it requires companies to do more thorough keyword research. The reason for this is that marketers need to optimize content for specific words or phrases that people would use when speaking queries into Google Assistant or Siri.
Also, marketers need to consider how certain dialects and languages are searched in voiced activated assistants compared to traditional web crawlers on desktop computers. Marketers might also have to take into account how many words constitute a single query, which can vary depending upon the target audience of their website. On this note, let’s have a look at the tips for multilingual SEO for voice searches:
1. Focus on local keyword search:
When people are using voice search, they typically want very short answers. So marketers might have to optimize their content with shorter keywords that are more regionalised. For example, if you run an online store in Australia and a user from New Zealand asks Google Assistant for your opening hours, it should return the local time in New Zealand.
In this scenario, you could add both Australian and New Zealand times so users can see what time your shop opens whether they’re searching locally or internationally. Another option is to add other regions while keeping it simple by using just one language. If you think about going into further international markets, then localizing your SEO will be easier once you have already localized for a country’s dialects and languages.
2. Keep it simple with one language for voice search:
The shorter the question, the better. So marketers need to keep their keywords as short as possible by optimizing content for single languages. As mentioned before, Google Assistant and other similar devices can understand different dialects and languages. However, if your audience is using a device that only understands English then you should optimize your content in this language.
If you are multilingual then it’s best to choose just one language for SEO purposes regardless of which regions you cover because it will be much easier to localize once you have already localized your website’s content for a specific region or country.
3. Make user-friendly meta titles, descriptions, and headlines:
It’s important to make sure users can understand your SEO content when they are using multilingual voice search. Optimize the meta titles, descriptions, and headlines so that users can understand them in their own languages. It’s best to avoid using slang or abbreviations because it might be harder for users to understand what you’re asking for when they speak into a device.
4. Optimize your website for mobile:
Mobile optimization is not new in the digital world anymore but if marketers want their business’ websites to be visible when users use voice search, then they should optimize their websites for mobile. This includes implementing AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) in order to have them load faster when someone is searching on a smartphone.
With more people using voice-activated devices, marketers need to remember that the queries are often different when compared to traditional web crawler-based searches. It’s all about thinking differently when optimizing your content so that your business can stand out in this growing channel.
5. Focus on Hreflang annotation:
Hreflang annotation is important when optimizing content for multilingual SEO but marketers need to make sure that these annotations are accurate and well implemented across the website’s pages. It should go without saying that any changes or updates made to international landing pages should be immediately reflected throughout other parts of the website that point back to these landing pages (e.g. PPC campaigns, content that links to these landing pages, etc.).
6. Optimize for local intent:
If a user is speaking to Google Home or another device and says something like, “Hey Google, help me find a restaurant” as opposed to saying, “I want Italian food” then chances are, the user is looking for a restaurant in their area. Marketers can stand out if they optimize for local intent because Google will show the results to the user based on where they are located.
It’s important to keep an eye on these types of search queries because that is one of the most common things people ask when using voice search. Optimizing your website or business’ landing page for local intent will not only improve the chances of appearing higher in voice-activated device searches but will also increase conversions once people click through to your website and visit your location.
The world is changing and so are marketing strategies so marketers need to adapt quickly to changes like multilingual SEO for voice searches. Content marketers should focus on understanding how voice-activated devices work because it’s a very useful tool that can help improve sales.