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Monthly Archives: July 2021

Outbrain raises $200 million ahead of its IPO

July 7, 2021 No Comments

Outbrain, an adtech company that provides clickbait ads below news articles, has raised $ 200 million in funding — Outbrain didn’t disclose the valuation of the company for this deal. The Baupost Group is investing in the company — it’s a Boston-based hedge fund. Outbrain filed for an initial public offering just last week. Today’s funding round should be the last traditional private investment round before going public.

If you’re not familiar with Outbrain, you may have seen its content recommendation widgets on popular news websites, such as CNN, Le Monde and The Washington Post. They mostly feature sponsored links that lead to third-party websites.

“We are excited to announce this investment from The Baupost Group, who share our vision and commitment for our business, our team and our future prospects” co-CEO David Kostman said in a statement.

Outbrain is often compared with its rival Taboola. While both startups planned to merge at some point, they had to cancel their merger. Taboola already went public after merging with a SPAC — a special purpose acquisition company. Taboola shares started trading last week.

In its IPO filing, Outbrain reported $ 767 million in revenue for 2020 and $ 228 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2021 alone. In 2020, Outbrain managed to generate $ 4.4 million in net income. During Q1 2021, the company reported $ 10.7 million in net income.

“We proudly lead the recommendation space we created. We have bold plans for the future to continue delivering critical innovation to our premium media partners worldwide and expanding our powerful open web global advertising platform” Outbrain co-CEO Yaron Galai said in a statement.

The advertising market has recovered from the global health pandemic and there has been plenty of initial public offerings during the first half of 2021. Everything seems to be lining up for Taboola and Outbrain, which means it’s time to reach the next level and become public companies.


Startups – TechCrunch


Three Social Media Platforms To Invest In (Other Than Facebook)

July 7, 2021 No Comments

Facebook is the dominant social platform for ads, and with good reason. Here are three other platforms that you should consider including in your strategy.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Box takes fight with activist investor public in SEC filing

July 6, 2021 No Comments

The war between Box’s current leadership and activist shareholder Starboard took a new turn today with a detailed timeline outlining the two groups’ relationship, thanks to an SEC filing and companion press release. Box is pushing back against a slate of board candidates put forth by Starboard, which wants to shake up the company’s leadership and sell it.

The SEC filing details a lengthy series of phone calls, meetings and other communications between the technology company and Starboard, which has held a stake in Box greater than 5% since September of 2019. Since then shares of Box have risen by around $ 10 per share.

Today’s news is multi-faceted, but we’ve learned more concerning Starboard’s demands that Box sell itself; how strongly the investor wanted co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie to be fired; and that the company’s complaints about a KKR-led investment into Box that it used to repurchase its shares did not match its behavior, in that Starboard asked to participate in the transaction despite its public statements.

Activist investors, a bit like short-sellers, are either groups that you generally like or do not. In this case, however, we can learn quite a lot from the Box filing. Including the sheer amount of time and communication that it takes to manage such an investor from the perspective of one of its public-market investments.

What follows are key excerpts from Box’s SEC filing on the matter, starting with its early stake and early agreement with Starboard:

  • On September 3, 2019, representatives of Starboard contacted Mr. Levie to inform Mr. Levie that Starboard would be filing a
  • Schedule 13D with the SEC reporting a 7.5% ownership stake in the company.
  • On March 9, 2020, Mr. O’Driscoll and Ms. Barsamian had a call with representatives of Starboard to discuss entering into a settlement agreement with Starboard.
  • On March 22, 2020, the company and Starboard entered into an agreement[.]
    Also on March 23, 2020, Starboard reported beneficial ownership of 7.7% of the outstanding Class A common stock.

Then Box reported earnings, which Starboard appeared to praise:

  • On May 27, 2020, the company reported its fiscal first quarter results, noting a 13% increase in year-over-year revenue, a 900 basis point increase in year-over-year GAAP operating margin and a $ 36.4 million increase in year-over-year cash flow from operations. Peter Feld, a representative of Starboard, and Mr. Levie had an email conversation related to the company’s first quarter results in which Mr. Feld stated “you guys are on a good path…congrats to the team and keep it up.”
  • Also on May 29, 2020, Starboard reported that it had decreased its beneficial ownership to 6.0% of the outstanding Class A common stock.

The same pattern repeated during Box’s next earnings report:

  • On August 27, 2020, Mr. Levie, Mr. Smith and company IR discussed the company’s earnings release with Starboard. Starboard indicated it was pleased with the rate of margin expansion and where the company was heading. In an email exchange between Mr. Feld and Mr. Levie related to the company’s results, Mr. Feld stated that he was “thrilled to see the company breaking out and performing better both on the top and bottom line. Appreciate you guys working with us and accepting the counsel. Not everyone behaves that way and it is greatly appreciated. Shows your comfort as a leader and a willingness to adapt. Very impressive.”

Then Box reported its next quarter’s results, which was followed by a change in message from Starboard (emphasis TechCrunch):

  • On December 1, 2020, the company announced its fiscal third quarter results, noting an 11% increase in year-over-year revenue, an improvement of 2100 basis points in year-over-year GAAP operating margin and a $ 36 million increase in year-over-year cash flow from operations. The company also provided guidance regarding its fiscal fourth quarter results, noting that its revised revenue guidance was due to “lower professional services bookings than we noted previously, which creates a roughly $ 2 million headwind” and that the company was being “prudent in our growth expectations given the macroeconomic challenges that our customers are facing.” The revised guidance for revenue was 1.1% below analysts’ consensus estimates of $ 198.8 million.
  • On December 2, 2020, Box’s common stock declined approximately 9% from its prior close of $ 18.54 to $ 16.91. On December 2, 2020 and December 4, 2020, Mr. Levie, Mr. Smith and Box IR discussed the company’s earnings release with representatives of Starboard. Despite the prior support Mr. Feld communicated to the company, Starboard reversed course and demanded that the company explore a sale of the entire company or fire the company’s CEO, or otherwise face a proxy contest from Starboard. Mr. Feld further stated that the company should not turn down an offer from a third party to buy the entire company “in the low twenties” and that Starboard would be a seller at such a price.

Recall that Box shares are now in the mid-$ 26s. At the time, however, Box shares lost value (emphasis: TechCrunch)

  • On December 16, 2020, two weeks after earnings, the company’s stock price closed at $ 18.85, which was above where it was trading immediately prior to the announcement of the company’s fiscal third quarter results on December 1, 2020.
  • On January 11, 2021, Starboard disclosed that it had increased its beneficial ownership to 7.9% of the outstanding Class A common stock.
  • On January 15, 2021, Mr. Lazar and Ms. Barsamian had a call with representatives from Starboard. Mr. Feld expressed his view that, while the company’s Convertible Senior Notes were executed on favorable terms, he was not supportive of the transaction. He reiterated his demand that the company sell itself and indicated that if the company did not do so then it must replace its CEO or otherwise face a proxy contest from Starboard to replace the CEO.

Over the next few months, Box bought SignRequest, reported earnings, and engaged external parties to try to help it bolster shareholder value. Then the KKR deal came onto the table:

  • On March 31, 2021, the Strategy Committee met to discuss the status of the strategic review. At such time, the Strategy Committee was in receipt of a proposal from KKR pursuant to which KKR and certain partners would make an investment in the form of convertible preferred stock at an initial yield of 3%, which had been negotiated down from KKR’s proposal of 7% yield in its preliminary indication of interest in early March.

The deal was unanimously approved by Box’s board, and announced on April 8th, 2021. Starboard was not stoked about the transaction, however:

  • Later on April 8, 2021, Ms. Mayer and Mr. Lazar had a call with representatives of Starboard. Mr. Feld expressed Starboard’s strong displeasure with the results of the strategic review. During the conversation, Mr. Feld indicated that he would stop the fight immediately if Mr. Levie were replaced.
  • On April 14, 2021, Ms. Mayer, Mr. Lazar and Ms. Barsamian had a call with Mr. Feld. Despite his prior statements, Mr. Feld now indicated that Starboard was not willing to sell its shares of Class A common stock at $ 21 or $ 22 per share. Mr. Feld requested that the company release KKR from its obligation to vote in favor of the company as a gesture of good faith. Mr. Feld reiterated Starboard’s desire to replace Mr. Levie as CEO and indicated that he would like to join the Board of Directors if the company did so. Ms. Mayer offered Mr. Feld the opportunity to execute a non-disclosure agreement to receive more information about the strategic review process, which Mr. Feld immediately declined.

Box was like, all right, but Feld doesn’t get to be on the board:

  • On April 20, 2021, Ms. Mayer and Mr. Lazar had a call with representatives of Starboard. Mr. Feld stated that Starboard would not move forward with its planned director nominations if Starboard were offered the opportunity to participate in the KKR-Led Transaction and Mr. Feld were appointed to the Board of Directors. Mr. Feld reiterated that he was not willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
  • On April 27, 2021, Mr. Park had a discussion with Mr. Feld. During this conversation, Mr. Feld reiterated his desire for Starboard to participate as an investor in the KKR-Led Transaction.
  • On April 28, 2021, Ms. Mayer and Mr. Lazar informed Mr. Feld that the Board of Directors was amenable to allowing Starboard to participate in the KKR-Led Transaction but would not appoint Mr. Feld as a director. Mr. Feld indicated that there is no path to a settlement that doesn’t include appointing him to the Board of Directors.

And then Starboard initiated a proxy war.

What to make of all of this? That trying to shake up a company from the position of a minority stake is not impossible, with Starboard able to exercise influence on Box despite having a sub-10% ownership position. And that Box was not willing to put a person on the board that wanted to fire its CEO.

What’s slightly silly about all of this is that the fight is coming at a time when Box is doing better than it has in some time. Its profitability has improved greatly, and in its most recent quarter the company topped expectations and raised its forward financial guidance.

There were times in Box’s history when it may have deserved a whacking for poor performance, but now? It’s slightly weird. Also recall that Starboard has already made quite a lot of money on its Box stake, with the company’s value appreciating sharply since the investor bought in.

Most media coverage is surrounding the public criticism by Starboard of the KKR deal and its private demand to be let into the deal. That dynamic is easily explained: Starboard thought that the deal wouldn’t make it money, but later decided that it could. So it changed its tune; if you are expecting an investor to do anything but try to maximize returns, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

A person close to the company told TechCrunch that the current situation should be a win-win for everyone involved, but Starboard is not seeing it that way. “If you’re a near term shareholder, [like Starboard] then the path Box has taken has already been better. And if you’re a long term shareholder, Box sees significantly more upside. […] So overwhelmingly, the company believes this is the best path for shareholders and it’s already been proven out to be that,” the person said.

Alan Pelz-Sharpe, founder and principal analyst at the Deep Analysis, who has been watching the content management space for many years, says the battle isn’t much of a surprise given that the two have been at odds pretty much from the start of the relationship.

“Like any activist investor Starboard is interested in a quick increase in shareholder values and a flip. Box is in it for the long run. Further, it seems that Starboard may have mistimed or miscalculated their moves, Box clearly was not as weak as they appeared to believe and Box has been doing well over the past year. Bringing in KKR was the start of a big fight back, and the proposed changes couldn’t make it any clearer that they are fed up with Starboard and ready to fight back hard,” Pelz-Sharpe said.

He added that publicly revealing details of the two companies’ interactions is a bit unusual, but he thinks it was appropriate here.

“Actually naming and shaming, detailing Starboard’s moves and seemingly contradictory statements, is unusual but it may be effective. Starboard won’t back down without a fight, but from an investor relations/PR perspective this looks bad for them and it may well be time to walk away. That being said, I wouldn’t bet on Starboard walking away, as Silicon Valley has a habit of moving forward when they should be walking back from increasingly damaging situations”

What comes next is a vote on Box’s board makeup, which should happen later this summer. Let’s see who wins.

It’s worth noting that we attempted to contact Starboard Value, but as of publication they had not gotten back to us. Box indicated that the press release and SEC filing speak for themselves.

 

 


Enterprise – TechCrunch


This week in growth marketing on TechCrunch

July 5, 2021 No Comments

TechCrunch is trying to help you find the best growth marketer to work with through founder recommendations that we get in this survey. We’re sharing a few of our favorites so far, below.

We’re using your recommendations to find top experts to interview and have them write their own columns here. This week we talked to Kathleen Estreich and Emily Kramer of new growth advising firm MKT1 and veteran designer Scott Tong, and published a pair of articles by growth marketing agency Demand Curve.

Demand Curve: Email marketing tactics that convert subscribers into customers Growth marketing firm Demand Curve shares their approaches to subject line length, the three outcomes of an email and how to optimize your format for each outcome.

(Extra Crunch) Demand Curve: 7 ad types that increase click-through rates The growth marketing agency tells us how to use customer reactions and testimonials, and other ads types to a startup’s advantage.

MKT1: Developer marketing is what startup marketing should look like MKT1, co-founded by Kathleen Estreich, previously at Facebook, Box, Intercom and Scalyr, and Emily Kramer, previously at Ticketfly, Asana, Astro and Carta, tell us about the importance of finding the right marketer at the right time, and the biggest mistakes founders are still making in 2021.

The pandemic showed why product and brand design need to sit togetherScott Tong shares the importance of understanding users and his thoughts on how companies manage to work together collaboratively in a remote world.

(Extra Crunch) 79% more leads without more traffic: Here’s how we did it — Conversion rate optimization expert Jasper Kuria shared a detailed case study deconstructing the CRO techniques he used to boost conversion rates by nearly 80% for China Expat Health, a lead generation company.

This week’s recommended growth marketers

As always, if you have a top-tier marketer that you think we should know about, tell us!

Marketer: Dipti Parmar
Recommended by: Brody Dorland, co-founder, DivvyHQ
Testimonial: “She gave me an easy-to-implement plan to start with clear outcomes and timeline. She delivered it within one month and I was able to see the results in a couple of months. This encouraged me to hand over bigger parts of our content strategy and publishing to her.”

Marketer: Amy Konefal (Closed Loop)
Recommended by: Dan Reardon, Vudu
Testimonial: “Amy drove scale for us as we grew to a half-billion-dollar company. She identified and exploited efficiencies and built out a rich portfolio of channels.”

Marketer: Karl Hughes (draft.dev)
Recommended by: Joshua Shulman, Bitmovin.com
Testimonial: “Karl is incredibly knowledgeable in the field of content and growth marketing to a large (and equally niche) target audience of developers. He and his team at Draft.dev are some of the best at “developer marketing,” which is a greatly underrated target audience.”

Marketer: Ladder
Recommended by: Anonymous
Testimonial: “They really get what I need. By testing different messaging on different personas, we discover what works and what doesn’t to better understand our users and prospects. This is gold for a company at our stage. Showing those results to our investors blew their minds.”


Social – TechCrunch


Amazon Echo Dots Store a Wealth of Data—Even After a Reset

July 5, 2021 No Comments

Thinking about selling your smart speaker? Be aware that you can’t completely delete personal content from the device.
Feed: All Latest


4 Factors that Influence Ecommerce Paid Search Conversion Performance

July 5, 2021 No Comments

There are many factors that can have a negative impact on paid search conversion performance, including prices, shipping costs, and competition.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Nintendo teases 2022 release for Breath of the Wild sequel and releases Zelda Game & Watch to tide us over

July 4, 2021 No Comments

Nintendo defied expectations today with an E3-timed Direct showing off not the hoped-for new Switch hardware but a dozen or so new games — as well as a general release window for the much-anticipated next Zelda game. And to celebrate the original’s 35th anniversary, it will sell a new Game & Watch featuring the first three games in the series.

Among other things, Nintendo showed off remasters or remakes of titles from the “Monkey Ball,” “Mario Party,” “Advance Wars, “Wario Ware” and other series, and announced new entries in the “Mario + Rabbids” and “Shin Megami Tensei” worlds. Other newly announced or teased games will be making it to Switch as well, like the new “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Perhaps most surprising was the inclusion of a new side-scrolling Metroid game, the first in nearly 20 years — and in fact, it has been in and out of development for half that time. “Metroid Dread,” the fifth in the mainline series that began on the NES, will release October 8, and we’ll see if Nintendo has managed to keep pace in a genre it pioneered but others have refined.

Samus steps out of a chamber in a screenshot from Metroid Dread.

Image Credits: Nintendo

Everyone was hoping for Zelda news, however, and Nintendo… only slightly disappointed us. As the announcers noted, it’s the 35th anniversary of the NES original, and the perfect time to announce something truly special, but they have “no campaigns or other Nintendo Switch games planned.”

Instead, they offered an admittedly tempting Game & Watch in the style of the one we saw released last year for the Mario series. I had lots of good things to say about that device, and the new one will no doubt be just as fun. The ability to pause the game and pick it up later (but not rewind or save states) should make for a fun, authentic playthrough of the first three games in the Zelda series: “The Legend of Zelda” and “Zelda II: The Adventure of Link” for NES, and “Link’s Awakening” for Game Boy (recently remade).

A handheld gaming machine with Zelda games on it.

Image Credits: Nintendo

The last item on the list was a new look at the follow-up to Breath of the Wild, which years after its debut still shines as one of the, if not the, best game on the Switch. Its sequel has a lot to live up to!

While the first trailer was all cinematic, this one showed gameplay and the overworld, including a new level of verticality that brings flying fortresses and castles in the air into play. It certainly looks impressive, but one wonders how much further the company can push its Switch hardware. After all, “Breath of the Wild” pushed the system to its limits at its debut, and even then it was not as powerful as its rivals from Microsoft and Sony — both now replaced by a new generation.

One hopes that Nintendo is simply being weird and has a trick up its sleeve, as it has many times before. The Switch was announced out of nowhere, and previous hardware updates have also dropped with little or no warning and seemingly arbitrary timing. What’s expected is an updated Switch that’s physically the same dimensions but considerably updated inside and using a larger, better display. Perfect backwards compatibility, like with the 3DS series of handhelds, also seems only logical. But Nintendo has always done its own thing and its fans wouldn’t have it any other way.

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Jim Whitehurst steps down as president at IBM just 14 months after taking role

July 3, 2021 No Comments

In a surprise announcement today, IBM announced that Jim Whitehurst, who came over in the Red Hat deal, would be stepping down as company president just 14 months after taking over in that role.

IBM didn’t give a lot of details as to why he was stepping away, but acknowledged his key role in helping bring the 2018 $ 34 billion Red Hat deal to fruition and helping bring the two companies together after the deal closed. “Jim has been instrumental in articulating IBM’s strategy, but also, in ensuring that IBM and Red Hat work well together and that our technology platforms and innovations provide more value to our clients,” the company stated.

He will stay on as a senior adviser to Krishna, but it begs the question why he is leaving after such a short time in the role, and what he plans to do next. Oftentimes after a deal of this magnitude closes, there is an agreement as to how long key executives will stay. It could be simply that the period has expired and Whitehurst wants to move on, but some saw him as the heir apparent to Krishna and the move comes as a surprise when looked at in that context.

“I am surprised because I always thought Jim would be next in line as IBM CEO. I also liked the pairing between a lifer IBMer and an outsider,” Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst at Moor Insight & Strategies told TechCrunch.

Regardless, it leaves a big hole in Krishna’s leadership team as he works to transform the company into one that is primarily focused on hybrid cloud. Whitehurst was undoubtedly in a position to help drive that change through his depth of industry knowledge and his credibility with the open source community from his time at Red Hat. He is not someone who would be easily replaced and the announcement didn’t mention anyone filling his role.

When IBM bought Red Hat in 2018 for $ 34 billion, it led to a cascading set of changes at both companies. First Ginni Rometty stepped down as CEO at IBM and Arvind Krishna took over. At the same time, Jim Whitehurst, who had been Red Hat CEO moved to IBM as president and long-time employee Paul Cormier moved into his role.

At the same time, the company also announced some other changes including that long-time IBM executive Bridget van Kralingen announced she too was stepping away, leaving her role as senior vice president of global markets. Rob Thomas, who had been senior vice president of IBM cloud and data platform, will step in to replace Van Kraligen.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


The New AI Tools On the Scene in Digital Marketing

July 2, 2021 No Comments

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the digital marketing world. Here are some of the best AI tools currently available for small businesses.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Multilingual SEO for voice searches: Comprehensive guide

July 2, 2021 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Search engines are laser-focused on improving user experience and voice search plays an increasingly key 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 accurately guides you through the process

Google is now recognizing 119 different 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 these people who are taking a different linguistic approach to search. That’s where multilingual SEO comes in, done with voice search in mind.

But before we begin digging deeper into multilingual SEO for voice search, let us first introduce the search of the future aka multilingual voice search.

What is Multilingual Voice Search?

With the evolution of technology, search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex, and others work towards enhancing their user experience and making the search easier than ever.

Keeping up with these efforts, they now let people talk to them in their own 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 more than nine percent in 2021 alone.

This means, more and more people will converse with Google in languages other than English. Like, 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.

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? Yes. How else will your website reach your target audience that searches in their native language?

Combining Multilingual SEO with voice search

So far, there are guides only for either multilingual SEO or for 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 the web page 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 of the future

Voice searches are hugely different from regular typing searches. When typing, you want to do minimum physical effort, that is typing, and get results. Anyway, when speaking, you are not doing 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 go about it in two different ways when using voice search and regular search.

When typing, this person will type something like “best Chinese restaurant near me.”

On the other hand, when using voice search, he or she will simply say “Hey Google, tell me about the best Chinese restaurants I can go to right now.”

Do you see the difference? To optimize for voice assistants, you have to adapt to this difference when doing SEO.

Adding the multilingual touch to this and you’ll have a multilingual voice search.

From the example above, I searched for the weather in my city.

If I were typing, I simply 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.

How to Do Multilingual SEO for Voice Searches?

Now, if you want to cater to a global audience and expand your reach. And you want your website to rank when your target audience searches for something you offer, in their own 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 doing multilingual SEO for your website, you need to perform proper keyword research.

When translating your website, you can’t just translate the keywords or phrases. Because a keyword that has high search volume in one language may not be that viable when translated in 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 same phrase translated into French “ Vacances dernière minute.” Had a total search volume of 8.4k.

keyword research for multilingual seo

keyword list - geography specific

The findings from this case study go to show the importance of independent keyword research for multilingual SEO. Because simply translating the keywords won’t yield good results.

So, what you can do is pick up the phrases from your original website, which we assume is in English and is optimized for voice search. Translate them. Brainstorm additional relevant keywords and plug them into any of the keyword research tools to see their search volume and competition.

Additionally, keywords for voice searches are different from regular 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.

Translation

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 some 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.

translation code for multilingual seo

Additionally, make sure the translator aligns the content with the tone of your original website.  

Hreflang Annotation

Here comes the technical part. Did you really think you can get by multilingual SEO without getting involved in the technicalities?

Hreflang annotation is critical for websites that have 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 important 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, in an alternate language, of a pre-existing page and not a duplicate. Because 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.

When doing multilingual SEO, you are often saving different versions of your website under the same domain. This means, you have to create a URL structure for each version, so 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 out how Google lists these pros and cons in the image below.

url structure

 Source: Google Search Central

Confused about which URL structure to use?

You can choose any option as per your preferences. According to Google, no URL structure has a special impact on SEO except using parameters within URLs. I personally think using a sub-domain as Wikipedia or Sub-folder/directory as Apple, are the easiest options to create a multilingual site. But if you’re using WordPress then you can use a plugin like Polylang to multi-lingual.

Content style

The content writing style is quite important when optimizing your website for multilingual SEO. your content should be more focused on conversational style rather than academic or complex sentence structures. As said, voice-related queries are mostly in questions format, so faqs, short paragraphs with more emphasis on addressing questions will be better for voice-related search queries.

The importance of multilingual SEO for Voice Search

Now that you know how to set your website for multilingual SEO, you might be wondering 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 own language adds up to a good user experience.
  3. Multilingual SEO will expand your website’s reach by catering to multi-linguistic searchers. If your business is global or spread to multiple countries with different languages, and your website is restricted to only English, I bet you must be missing a big chunk of easy traffic. Which would be difficult with 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, it is better to start now and get ahead of your competitors.

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.

With the right keyword research, a meaningful translation, thorough technical SEO, and by using 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 arrive soon.

Atul Jindal is Sr. Web Engineer at Adobe Research.

The post Multilingual SEO for voice searches: Comprehensive guide appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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