Search engines match a query to related content. If you can be the best source of relevant content you are awarded the number 1 position.
At Golden Rule SEO we are often asked about the value of using silos as part of your optimization strategy. There is much debate and discussion about the iportance of using silo structuring among the SEO community and we at Golden Rule SEO use our own unique method of siloing scontent that has proven to be highly effective on increased results for ranking and gaining authority. The article below was written by link-bound.com and provides a good overview on the merrits of even traditional silos on your websites.
Siloing has been around for a long time, but for whatever reason people don’t always take to it. I think a big part of it is that it can overcomplicated quickly. It also has a reputation of being a more “advanced” technique.
It doesn’t have to be.
Siloing is way of grouping all of the related content on your site together. The idea is that the search engines will have an easier time finding it.
A good silo structure can go beyond benefiting search engines and actually help out users too! By having everything grouped together and interlinked it is going to help your users move through and consume related content more easily than if you have jumbled and spread out all over the place.
By making it easy on people and having a bunch of related links within your content it is likely that you will increase things like page views and time on site. Theoretically your bounce rate will go down too.
Internal links are a way to pass link juice throughout your site. Think of a good internal linking structure like a lightning rod. Once an external link hits the page the internal links will channel the juice to where you want it to go.
Let’s Take A Closer Look
The steps to siloing your website go like this:
- You have to do keyword research. You have to do some really good and thorough KW research. It is a must to know which terms you are going to target before you can group them into silos. Makes sense. Right?
- You’re going to need a pretty big list to take full advantage. You really want to target as much as you can around each topic. Now is the time to find them all and optimize for them.
- 4 to 6 main KWs would be a great neighborhood to start. The amount of longtail terms you have should be considerably more than that, but will really vary form niche to niche.You should be choosing short tail terms for the top level. You can target longtail stuff in the subpages.
- Organize your content hierarchically based on the keywords you choose. In English: group of all similar keywords together and in order of importance.
- Reinforce the silo structure using menus, internal links, and permalinks.
That’s it. Overall it will help to clear up what your site is about. And it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.
Think about it in terms of a change jar. If someone asks you to grab a penny – is it easier to fish one out of the jar or would it be easier to grab one out of a stack of pennies?
Either way you’d more than likely end up with the penny, but it would be a hell of a lot easier to grab it out of the stack of pennies.
An Example Would Be Nice…
Let’s say you have a site about tools. Your homepage should be a page about tools in general. It needs to have content about and a link to your top level (category) silo pages.
This way as you acquire links to the homepage – juice is passed to the silos. Just make it relevant overview page about the niche with links into the category pages.
An unsiloed site might look something like this. Different pages link to pages for no real reason. You’ll even sometimes have pages that don’t have any internal links pointing to them.
Whereas a siloed site looks like this:
It isn’t that difficult at all.
- Homepage links to category pages.
- Category pages link to supporting pages.
- Supporting pages link back to category pages and to other relevant pages as it makes sense.
There is a school out there that says DO NOT break the silo no matter what. I don’t go along with that.
If you have a post you truly feel would serve the reader by link to, but it happens to be in a different silo – I would always link to it.
I don’t buy into the whole “just make great content and they will come”. I don’t always walk the whitehat path.
But when it comes to choosing between optimizing for a search engine or reader, I choose the reader 100% of the time. It’s not enough that they are there. Traffic on it’s own isn’t worth anything. I need them to convert!
If it is a “disposable” churn and burn site, I suppose it doesn’t matter. But if it’s anything you’d like to last for more than a while choosing the user is never a bad decision.
Doesn’t WordPress Suck For Silos?
Yeah. It actually sucks for SEO in general. But you can work around it pretty easily. There are a couple options:
- Use pages instead of posts. This is the best solution in terms of results. But if you plan on having a site that gets over 50 or so pages it can get pretty cumbersome. You will have to update the menu and the silo category pages every time you add a new article.
- Use Posts for Sub Pages and Pages for the Category pages. Using the posts you can add the categories into the menu so that you don’t have to go in and manually add links to the navigation every time you add in an article. This is pretty much a must if you plan on having a larger site.
There are tons of other ways out there to silo. This method works pretty well. All of your themed content is together and easy to find.
So Should You Silo Your Site?
Well, that depends.
As with pretty much everything else you have to determine your goals. If you have a tiny site that doesn’t have enough content to fill a silo. Probably not.
If your site is a personal site, like a personal blog or something that isn’t targeting specific keywords…definitely not.
If you have a larger site (or a small to medium site with the goal of a larger site) then I would say absolutely!
But I’d never start another site without a silo structure in place.
Is It Hard To Switch?
If you decide you would like to go ahead and switch over an existing site the key to success is in the details.
Take the time to re-evaluate your keyword research. (This is something we should all do if we have sites over a year old or so anyway).
Map out the structure you are going to use into something visual. Whether you use Mindmap software, Power Point, a pen and paper – it doesn’t matter. Just map it out. Go through all of your existing content and map it into the new structure.
Make a note of any URLs that are going to have to be redirected. Work out what you want in the menu. And back everything up before you begin!
Using silos makes a ton of sense for both search engines and users alike. Organizing everything into categories and linking it all up together is probably the simplest form of silo that exists. There are certainly several other ways out there to do it!
If you still have questions about using silos you can always contact us here at Golden Rule Seo and we will be delighted to answer your questions.