Multilingual voice search SEO advice for translators

September 11, 2018
Multilingual voice search SEO advice for translators

Tackling search engine optimisation (SEO) in multiple languages can seem like something of a dark art even at the best of times. So can tackling SEO in just one language, for that matter. Now, however, the field of website translation has become even more complicated, by the evolution of voice SEO. 

What is voice SEO?

Voice SEO relates to the use of devices such as Amazon’s Echo products and Google’s Home in order to browse the web. The way we ask such devices for information is very different from the way we type things into a browser. Typing search terms into a browser is all about efficiency – finding the information that we want in as few words as possible. With voice search, however, the terms we use tend to be more conversational – we pose questions rather than simply typing key phrases. This is what sets voice SEO apart from regular SEO. 

Why is voice SEO important?

According to Gartner, 30% of all online searches will be made without a screen by 2020, while comScore asserts that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by then. By 2022, 55% of all US households will have a smart speaker, compared to 13% in 2017 (according to OC&C Strategy Consultants). 

Voice search is already big news and it’s set to get bigger. That’s why voice SEO has become so important so quickly. The way we use the internet is changing, so the way the internet captures our attention has to change too. 

Multilingual SEO – where to start

Translators are faced with particular issues when working on online content that has been optimised for SEO purposes. A keyword or phrase that ranks highly and has little competition in one country doesn’t necessarily have the same standing in another country. As such, translators working on projects involving multilingual SEO need to support their clients with target-language keyword research. Simply translating information is not enough if is to be optimised for search engines in the target language. 

Thankfully, each country has its own programs for keyword research, so those who undertake such translations regularly are able to access a range of software options to support them in their work. Keeping up to date with the latest programs and updates to those programs is essential in these fast-changing times. 

The importance of snippets in voice SEO

One of the key areas where voice SEO differs from traditional optimisation is the importance of the snippet. Featured snippets that rank in position zero on Google are the source of a great deal of voice search results on Google Home. This means that companies in pursuit of that hallowed position need to pay particular attention to their snippets – in every language that their site in which their site is published. Again, this is an area where translators can be invaluable by helping with keyword research and phrasing answer snippets as succinctly and informatively as possible in the target language(s). According to Search Engine Land, the number of articles published providing advice on how to optimise snippets rose by 178% between 206 and 2017, with voice SEO being a key reason for this. 

Time to be an early adopter

Voice search is still in the ‘early adopters’ phase of technological development, but its rapidly, but its rapidly move towards ‘early majority.’ This means that translators who can learn what they need to know now about voice SEO have a growing marketplace opening up before them. 

Activate estimates that there will be 21.4 million smart speakers in the US by 2020. Companies looking to get ahead will need to engage with voice SEO sooner rather than later – and those translators who are skilled, experienced and ready to help look set to do well out of this latest twist in the internet technology tale. 

Final thoughts

Have you supported clients with voice SEO yet? Or have you been learning about this ready to work with clients over the coming months and years? Leave a comment below in order to share your thoughts on – and experiences of – multilingual voice SEO. 


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