Multilingual SEO for voice searches: Comprehensive guide

30-second summary:

  • Search engines are laser-focused on improving user experience, and voice search plays an increasingly crucial role
  • With 100+ global languages, people are prone to searching in their native language
  • How do you optimize your website for multilingual search while keeping a natural and conversational tone?
  • Atul Jindal guides you through the process.

Google now recognizes 119 languages on voice search, which is great for user experience. But it makes ranking a bit more challenging for website owners, especially those who host multi-linguistic traffic. Website owners must act to cater to people taking a different linguistic approach to search. That’s where multilingual SEO comes in, with voice search in mind. But before we begin digging deeper into multilingual SEO for voice search, let us first introduce the investigation of the future, aka multilingual voice search.

With the evolution of technology, search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex, and others enhance their user experience and make search more accessible than ever. Keeping up with these efforts, they now let people talk to them in their language, understand it and yield the results they were searching for. Moreover, more than 23 percent of American households use digital assistants, and nearly 27 percent of people conduct voice searches using smartphones. This number is expected to increase by over 9 percent in 2021 alone.


This increase in the popularity of voice assistants and multilingual voice search inadvertently leads to the demand for multilingual SEO for voice search. This means more and more people will converse with Google in languages other than English. A German native is likely to search for something by talking in German. A native Indian could use any of the 100+ languages spoken in India, and a US national may use English, Spanish, or some other language. But do you need to optimize your website for multilingual searches? Yes. How else will your website reach your target audience that searches in their native language?

So far, there are guides only for either multilingual SEO or voice search. However, gauging the rising importance of this relatively new search, we present you with a guide that combines voice search and multilingual SEO.

What is Multilingual SEO?

Multilingual SEO is a practice that adapts your website to cater to your target audience that uses multi-linguistic search. It involves translating the web page, using the right keywords, and optimizing it accordingly. We will go into the details below. Notice how Google yields Hindi results for a search conducted in Urdu/Hindi. That’s because these results were optimized for multilingual voice searches.

Voice search: The search for the future

Voice searches are hugely different from regular typing searches. When typing, you want to make a minimum physical effort, that is, organizing and getting results. Anyway, when speaking, you are not making any physical effort and just talking. Therefore, voice searches tend to be longer and have a more conversational style and tone. Let’s take an example. A person looking for a Chinese restaurant will do it in two different ways: voice search and regular search. This person will type something like “best Chinese restaurant near me.”

On the other hand, when using voice search, they will say, “Hey, Google, tell me about the best Chinese restaurants I can go to right now.” Do you see the difference? It would help if you adapted to this difference in SEO to optimize for voice assistants. From the example above, I searched for the weather in my city. If I were typing, I would’ve typed “[my city name] weather.” However, when using voice, I used a complete phrase in my native language, and Google yielded results in that language. These results showed that they were optimized for multilingual voice searches. Adding the multilingual touch, you’ll have a multilingual voice search.

How to Do Multilingual SEO for Voice Searches?

Now, if you want to cater to a global audience and expand your reach. If you wish for your website to rank when your target audience searches for something you offer in their language, you need multilingual SEO. Below we are discussing some steps to optimizing your website for multilingual searches:

Keyword Research

No SEO strategy can ever start without keyword research. Therefore, before you begin multilingual SEO for your website, you must perform proper keyword research. You can’t just solve the keywords or phrases when translating your website. Because a keyword that has a high search volume in one language may not be viable when translated into another language. Let’s look at a case study from Ahrefs to understand this point.

Ahrefs looked at the search volume for the key phrase “last-minute holidays.” They found out it received 117k searches from the UK in a month. However, the exact word translated into French was “ Vacances dernière minute.” Had a total search volume of 8.4k. The findings from this case study show the importance of independent keyword research for multilingual SEO. Because simply translating the keywords won’t yield good results. So, wyou can pick up the phrases from your original website, which we assume are in English and optimized for voice search. Translate them.

Brainstorm additional relevant keywords and plug them into any keyword research tools to see their search volume and competition. Additionally, keywords for voice searches are different from common keywords as you need to take an intuitive approach by getting to your target audience’s mind to see what they think and speak when searching. And how they do it. Then use these phrases to go ahead with 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 that’s already there on your website and optimize it with the keywords. When translating a website, the best approach is to hire a human translator who is a native speaker of the target language. You may be tempted to use Google Translate or other automatic translation tools. But even though Google endorses its translators, it leaves a subtle recommendation on using human translators. Because robots are yet to come as far as competing and beating humans, at least when it comes to translations, ensure the translator aligns the content with the tone of your original website.

Hreflang Annotation

Did you think you could get by multilingual SEO without getting involved in the technicalities? Here comes the technical part. Hreflang annotation is critical for websites with different versions in different languages for various searches. It enables Google to identify which web page to show to which visitor. For example, you don’t want your English visitors to land on the French version of your page. Using Hreflang will enable you to receive English visitors on the English page and French-speaking people on the page in French. Another essential attribute that will go in your website’s code when doing multilingual SEO is the alternate attribute. It tells the search engine that a translated page is a different version of a pre-existing page in an alternate language, not a duplicate. Google cracks down on duplicate pages and can penalize your website if you haven’t used the alternate tag.

URL structure

You can’t discuss multilingual SEO without talking about URL structure. You often save different website versions under the same domain when doing multilingual SEO. This means you must create a URL structure for each performance so that thatthe search engine can take the visitor to the right page. When it comes to URLs for multilingual websites, you have many options, each with pros and cons. You can see how Google lists these pros and cons in the image below.

CI is confused about which URL structure to use. According to Google, no URL structure has an extraordinary impact on SEO except using parameters within URLs.You can choose any option as per your preferences. Using a sub-domain such s Wikipedia or Sub-folder/directory alikeApple is the most accessible option to create a multilingual site. But if you’re using WordPress, tou can use a plugin like Polylang for multilingual.

Content style

The content writing style is essential when optimizing your website for multilingual SEO. Your content should focus more on conversational tone than academic or complex sentence structures. As said, voice-related queries are mostly in question format, so faqs, short paragraphs emphasizing addressing questions, will be better for voice-related search queries.

Now that you know how to set your website for multilingual SEO, you might wonder whether it is worth all the hassle. If your website sees a lot of multilingual traffic, you have no other choice than to go for multilingual SEO for voice search because,

  1. Voice search is the future of search 51 percent of people already use it for product research before buying. Therefore, starting with multilingual voice search right now will prepare you to tackle the challenges of search and SEO that the future brings.
  2. Your business can’t grow all that much unless it personalizes its offerings to the visitor. In this case, speaking to them in their language adds to a good user experience.
  3. Multilingual SEO will expand your website’s reach by catering to multi-linguistic searchers. If the supposed business is global or spread to multiple countries with different languages, your website is restricted to only English and Io. In that case, it must be missing a big chunk of easy traffic—whis ich wofficulbtowith English keywords with higher competition globally and keywords difficulty.

Final thoughts

Multilingual SEO for voice search is something that you’ll see all website owners (who receive multilinguistic traffic) doing in the future. Therefore, starting now and getting ahead of your competitors is better. With the right keyword research, a meaningful translation, thorough technical SEO, and the URL structure that fits best with your unique web requirements, you can enjoy riding the wave of multilingual voice search when it arrives, and it will come soon. The key takeaways for optimizing your website for multilingual voice searches are target language keyword search, human translation, hreflang tags, and the right URL structure.

Tyson Houlding
I’m a lifestyle blogger with a passion for writing, photography, and exploring new places. I started this blog when I was 18 years old to share what I was learning about the world with family and friends. I’ve since grown into a freelance writer, blogger, and photographer with a growing audience. I hope you find inspiration and motivation while reading through my work!