With hundreds of people on its team operating in more than 30 languages, Lionbridge’s translators have knowledge of international SEO and have covered certain basic SEOs so that clients get first-class services for their sites.
With this strong SEO and multilingual coverage requirement, Lionbridge chose Semrush as the preferred platform to manage its internal and client-based content efforts.
While Lionbridge already had a well-established brand and a well-placed website, they had to address two key issues:
Ensure a stronger highlighting of code snippets to tackle voice search. Create voice search guidelines that would be shared both across the company and with customers to position Lionbridge as the leading solution for brands looking to optimize for voice search.
Below, we show how the company managed to achieve some impressive results and provide Lionbridge-inspired tips on voice search-targeted SEO and content strategy.
Voice search optimization lessons from Lionbridge
Build content around relevant issues
It is a no-brainer that you need to build your content around questions in order to appear in voice search (which is mainly based on query-like queries).
So the core challenge is figuring out exactly what people are asking about your area of expertise in Google search. This is where Semrush intel comes in handy.
Lionbridge recommends starting with the topics you have a strong right to rank for. In their case, it was translation and localization.
Here are a few ways in which they find the most popular questions:
1. Lionbridge uses Semrush’s topic research tool to discover the most effective content ideas around each target topic:
Subject research tool
Using the tool, the Lionbridge team checks search volumes for each topic and selects the most popular (aka, the most popular) sub-topics that match their profile.
2. To find more voice search-oriented headings, use the Questions tab, which contains questions about the given area.
Subject research tool
3. Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool is another great source for popular queries. Lionbridge filtered the results to questions:
4. While the main research is run through Semrush tools, Lionbridge also uses some old-school techniques to get full coverage.
They enter the search query into Google, review the questions displayed in the People Ask box, and review local forums and Quora in search of topic inspiration.
Prioritize issues of high volume and lower competition
It could be easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of newly discovered questions.
This is why before Lionbridge makes the final list of questions, they check each keyword phrase for each keyword phrase to prioritize their efforts for potential impact (this can be done automatically within the Keyword Magic Tool).
Keywords with long tail with high volume get first priority.
Keywords Magic Tool
Then group the 4-5 logically related questions to answer in a single article.
Optimize content for featured snippets
Semrush’s voice search survey found that 70% of all voice search responses come from pages within SERP functions, and 60% of them return a selected code point result.
So once you have your topics and questions, simply reverse-engineer quality answers to a typical featured snippet (and thus voice search) formatting.
Here are some best practices:
Use target questions in H2s. Create short paragraphs and lists just below the H2s. Exclude tables as the voice search algorithm has difficulty reading their titles. Keep sentences down to 23 words, as the data suggest that this is the average word limit for voice search answers.
This is how e.g. Lionbridge’s selected excerpt for the “translation tips” query out:
Create action-free briefs for your writers
Pass the collected data to your content creators, including:
Targeted keywords and questions. Title suggestions (based on topics for topic research tools). Formatting guidelines. Top articles page will compete against.
Once the briefs have been sent out, Lionbridge writers are free to set their creativity in motion.
Use form marking
Your perfect article is ready!
Are you going to stop there?
Lionbridge recommends putting a little extra effort into getting on Google’s radar.
The key to helping the algorithm understand that you have a Q&A-like page that answers a voice search is to use schema markup. This increases your chances of triggering a selected snippet of code, which in turn may cause you to appear within Google’s voice search response.
(Set up the Marketing Scoop podcast to hear Google’s Gary Illyes give a thorough review of the impact of structured data.)
Lionbridge used Semrush’s Site Audit tool to detect unselected pages and detect any missing selection options:
Semrush Site Audit Tool
In just one year, the company managed to increase the number of selected code snippets by almost 40X:
Lionbridge’s featured snippets trend
Do not be discouraged by the competition
When looking at rivals for content briefs or checking out their featured snippet competitors, Lionbridge discovered that Wikipedia often ranks their best keywords.
Wikipedia has a high level of authority in the eyes of Google and strong visibility across SERPs for every conceivable query. While this may sound daunting at first, people at Lionbridge actually consider this rivalry a good thing.
In fact, Brendan Walsh, Global Search SME at Lionbridge, discovered that Google actually prefers to use a variety of sources when returning results. So when there is an alternative to Wikipedia, the search engine is more likely to prefer it over the all-encompassing encyclopedia.
Ensure ultimate health on site
Although content-related endeavors are the key to voice search optimization, the foundation of any SEO success is the health of the site.
From a technical perspective, Lionbridge leverages insights from Semrush’s Site Audit tool to address any on-site health issues, whether related to their own or a client’s site.
Lionbridge data in the Site Audit tool
Improving overall website performance is incredibly powerful if you want your optimized content to rank well. Still, there are some questions you need to pay special attention to:
Page load speed. Content cannibalization. Markup usage (this helps maximize your featured snippet optimization).
This tip may not be for everyone, but if you have a multilingual site, it’s definitely for you.
In Lionbridge’s experience, languages other than English may open up more options for appearing in selected excerpts and voice search. The English-speaking SERPs are oversaturated with content, so optimizing your site in other languages can be a real goldmine.
Keep an eye on your results
Now that all the voice search optimization tips have been implemented, you need to monitor whether your efforts are paying off and whether you need to make strategy adjustments.
Lionbridge uses Semrush’s position tracking tool to keep track of its performance and selected code snippet changes.
The tool allows them to keep track of site rankings and selected snippets for a variety of selected keywords and run ongoing monitoring. So whenever they see a ranking drop or a lost featured snippet, they can take timely action and make improvements.
Lionbridge Ranking with Positions 1-3 in Gold (Position Tracking Tool)
You can also optimize and win more selected excerpts!
No two businesses are alike and every SEO strategy needs adjustments.
Still, you can also take a big step toward triggering more featured excerpts:
Tackle voice search. Create high quality and well-formatted content. Maintain excellent site health.
Lionbridge chose Semrush as its go-to platform for voice search optimization management, and the results speak for themselves.
Data from Lionbridge’s Google Analytics
On top of a 40X featured snippet boost, Lionbridge also managed to:
Get 7X more keywords within the top 3 SERP spots – from 3.5% up to 27%. Achieve impressive influx of international traffic – from 77% to 140% increase across different markets. Get their pageviews at 127% annually.
Now that you see that voice search and the process of optimizing snippets are optimized for consistent fine-tuning and access to data, you can roll up your sleeves and aim for comparable success levels.