The structure of your website plays a massive role in your search engine ranking. If Google crawlers can’t understand your website, it may hurt your positions on the SERP for targeted keywords. SEO content silos are a great way to fix this and make your site more search engine friendly.
Building a content silo may seem scary and time-consuming at first. But it’s much easier than you think – and it’s also very beneficial.
If done correctly, not only will search engine crawlers be able to understand your website, you’ll have more SEO authority flowing through your pages. Your pages would index faster and rank higher and your visitors will have better experiences.
Comprende? Now, if you’re looking for a simplified guide to structure your content and enhance your SEO, keep reading as I cover all the important things you need to know about siloing and building an effective one for your website.
According to the Oxford dictionary: a silo is “a system, process, department, etc. that operates in isolation from others.” The idea of a content silo involves structuring your website to give it a distinct identity and make it more accessible. Just like in the farm where you separate grains and yams to maintain their integrity and value, SEO content siloing allows content optimization around targeted keywords and topics.
In an SEO silo, you group related content to create multiple layers of the same topic, with each layer delving deeper into the topic. It’s entirely different from a flat website where each page is directly placed under the root folder.
On-page SEO silo involves dividing your content based on topics and related keywords or alt tags. For instance, if you have multiple pages about SEO services: you can structure them based on relevance – with each page going deeper into the topic.
Content silos create an architecture that organizes content and products based on your visitors’ needs and search behavior, allowing you to maximize the traffic to your site.
Now that you know what a content silo is, it’s also important to explain what it’s not.
A silo is not a category.
The terms silo and category are often used relatively in most articles, but they’re not the same thing. Firstly, they have different meanings. A category is “a division within a classification system.” While a silo is “a collection of content all relating to one category.” So while a silo isn’t a category, the content in a website category can be siloed.
Let’s look at an example to help you grasp how SEO content silos work.
Suppose you run an SEO firm offering multiple services, you can group these services into different major silos. For instance; digital marketing, brand management, web strategy, and web development.
You can further divide each silo based on the specific services you offer under each of them. Here’s an example.
In a silo structure, these changes will also reflect on your URL for each page.
For example, the URL for the services pages under Digital Marketing will look like this:
URL for brand management pages:
The same applies to all other pages.This creates a clear picture of how SEO content silos can be used in relation to a business of service offerings. But it’s not just restricted to that; any website can be siloed to enhance the internal linking and navigation.
Now that you know the importance of content silos in your website, let’s walk through the types of silos.
There are two types of content silos: physical silos and virtual silos.
A physical silo improves the information architecture of your website. They tell users and bots about the content of the page; making it easier to find content or products. Each of these silos encourages the visitor to dig deeper about the page, product, or service they’re researching; from simple to more complex information.
It also provides users with a multitude of choices. They can follow the internal link to read about any other topic or product that catches their interest.
Creating a physical silo involves linking the URL structures of a website to create categories. For instance, if you’re to create a physical silo of a press release service following the earlier example, the URL will look like this:
As illustrated earlier, each service category has a group of pages under it, and no page gets into multiple categories.
Virtual siloing is focused more on structuring a site’s content to make it easier for search engines to index. It involves creating an internal linking structure that connects related pages, separates unrelated pages, and ultimately strengthens the preceding pages of each silo.
Search engines scan websites following links. So when you link your pages internally, it increases the probability of the search engine bot crawling across all your pages.
For example, let’s say we offer Facebook marketing, Twitter marketing, and Instagram marketing under the social media marketing service of the aforementioned business. In that case, all of these three pages will be linking to the Social Media Marketing page, which will link to the digital marketing page; forming a 3 layered internal linking.
The fact that all the pages link back to tier one (the digital marketing page), shows search engine crawlers that it’s the most important page and should rank higher.
Here are some reasons why implementing a content silo for your website or blog can be the best SEO decision you’ve made.
Having clear navigation is one of the most important features of a website. Incoherent navigation will lead to most of your site visitors clicking the back button.
With a siloed structure, your customers and visitors will be able to easily access the content or products they are searching for. This ease of navigation will increase user experience and enhance your visitor retention rate, which will also positively affect your SERP.
Keyword relevance is one of the major criteria Google uses to rank websites. Implementing silos enhances a site’s keyword/topic relevance.
For example, with a flat site, individual pages for digital marketing: content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and PPC marketing will all stand alone.
But when siloed, these pages will be interlinked all pointing to the top. So you’re providing different layers of related information. This distinct structure will make Google see you as an authority for the keyword.
A siloed structure sorts your site’s content and products into categories. So you can easily link all relevant content to ensure they are all crawled by search engine bots.
Note: When it comes to siloed content, it’s best to only interlink pages within a silo.
Siloed content ensures that the visitors to your site find more relevant content or products to make them stick around. Following the earlier example, if someone searching for Facebook marketing services visits your Digital marketing page, having your Facebook marketing page interlinked will not only increase your conversion rate but also reduce your bounce rate.
The Bounce rate is an essential metric in search engine ranking. If more people leave your site without clicking on any link, Google will feel that you have no relevant content and stop showing your page in searches. However, a low bounce rate increases your SERP.
Now that you know the importance of siloed content, let’s look at how you can go about creating it. Here are the four basic steps to create and implement a silo structure for your website.
Before you start the process to implement silos for your website or blog, you first need to do a thorough review of the existing content and pages on your site. Review your site and determine your core focus and the keywords you rank for.
If you run an SEO firm like the one earlier and offer similar services, you’ll start by listing out every one of your services.
For a blog, use an analytic tool to get an idea of the related keywords for your site. You can use Google Webmaster Tool to see the search terms your website ranks for.
This will help you to identify the topics and keywords to focus on as you implement the content silo.
Once you have a list of your products, services, or topics, keywords you rank for, group them based on relativity. Then sort each group into primary and secondary topics.
For the earlier example, you have to create four pages; digital marketing, brand management, web strategy, and web development. Then you can separate the existing service pages into the appropriate service category as shown above.
If you run a personal finance blog, insurance can be a primary keyword or topic; while the secondary keywords will include types of insurance, top 10 insurance providers, and more.
After creating and categorizing your service pages into separate folders, you need to change their URL to reflect your core focus.
From the SEO firm example above, your first tier folders will look like this:
Now, the second-tier service pages will also reflect the URL changes.
So the URL for Web Strategy will look like this:
Still sticking with the example, you can also need to change the URL of the third tiered services to reflect the changes. So under social media management, you can have individual pages for Facebook management, Twitter management, LinkedIn management, and Instagram management.
After you’ve restructured the URL for all the pages, set up 301 redirects for each of the pages you changed its navigation.
You’ll likely still have some pages like the About Us and Contact pages that don’t fall into any of the categories. You can leave them linked to the root folder.
Internal links play a massive role in SEO. As mentioned earlier, they help search engine crawlers to find the connection between your pages and understand each page. This is where virtual internal linking comes into play.
With your pages already sorted, you need to link together all the pages under each category. Start with tier 1 pages and link related service pages to it tier by tier. So in our example, the tier 3 Facebook marketing page will link to social media pages, which will then link to the digital marketing page.
SEO silo building just like any other SEO effort isn’t a one-time thing. After creating a foundational silo structure for your site, examine each page to get ideas for new topics/pages.
As you add more pages to your silo, you’re telling search engine crawlers that you’re an authority for that topic.
One of the major downsides of a Siloed structure is that it can make content difficult to find. Since content is tiered in a siloed structure, it may be difficult for visitors to discover lower-tiered content. The content may even be inaccessible from search or require lots of clicks to access.
What you can do!
Proper siloing comes with numerous benefits, two of the most important ones are: better user experience for web visitors and improved accessibility for search crawlers which will ultimately boost your rankings for your most important keywords.