4 Methods to Create Website Silos for SEO
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- Is all of your website’s content indexed by Google?
- Are you stuck on the 2nd or 3rd page?
- Are you maximizing the power of your inbound links?
If you’re looking for answers to any of these questions, you should consider setting up silos on your website.
Silos are content taxonomies and linking structures that help to index your content, distribute link juice, add additional relevancy signals and push up rankings.
The infographic below demonstrates exactly how to set up both organizational silos and internal linking silos for search engine optimization.
Infographic: Best Methods for Creating SEO Silos
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What is a “silo”
si-lo; silo; verb. Definition: To isolate (one system, process, department, etc.) from others.
How does that relate to SEO…?
Search engines love websites that allow them to easily identify content. Websites with unorganized content make it difficult to understand what the page is about – making it difficult to rank for your target keywords. By “siloing” your website, aka creating precise content groupings and link signals, you can clarify the message you’re sending to search engines.
There are two types of silos:
- Organizational Silo – AKA how you organize your website’s content.
- Link Silo – AKA how you inter link your website’s content.
Both are critical aspects that help search engine spiders better crawl your website.
1. Organizational Silo
How you you structure your website’s content?
Website organizational silos are best explained by SEO expert Bruce Clay with his jar of marbles example. By arranging your content into “jars” separated by classification, you clear up relevancy with search engines. With organized silos you can have content about numerous topics and still rank for each of them.
How to Set up Organizational Silos
The focus of your home page’s content should be based on industry, niche or over arching theme. For example, if you sell SEO, PPC and web design services, focus your website’s home page on digital marketing. Be sure to include keywords from your services sprinkled throughout the explaining content and direct links to each of your services pages.
Silo Pages – Sub Topics
This is where your silo structure takes place. Group your content into organized directories. Every group will be dedicated to one category only.
Category Pages – Content
Pages at this level help search engines determine theme. The category naming system helps establish that these pages are all about a certain category within your silo.
Supporting Pages – Content
Pages at this level add additional details to search engines. The more detailed you can get, the more long tailed searches you qualify to rank for. This holds especially true for e-commerce stores with multi levels of products.
Every website should have a blog – not only to drive traffic, but to help build a proper supporting silo. Blogs should either be setup as a subdomain or sub folders.
Within your blog you should set up categories that group content by topic:
These will come into play next when we cover link silos.
2. Link Silos
How should you link between your website’s content? Links are what search engine spiders use to crawl from one web page to another. Generating links to your website is a great way to add trust, authority and ranking power with search engines (aka link building, link earning).
Linking content within your website in another powerful ranking tactic that has numerous benefits.
- Helps search engine spiders to crawl more pages on your site
- Helps distribute link juice from inbound links across more pages
- Allows additional ranking signals through the use of anchor text
Though much debated, there is no single right way to link your content – below are 3 of my favorite methods.
Method 1: The Power Page Silo
Google is getting better at picking up web spam link schemes. To be safe from Penguin penalties, the majority of inbound links should point at content like blog posts, infographics, etc (think about it – why the HELL would hundreds of websites ever link to your PPC services page unless you paid them to?)
The problem is, these generally aren’t the pages you’re trying to rank. That’s why we use internal links – to distribute the power of your inbound links.
To get started with this method, head to Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) and navigate to Search Traffic > Links to Your Site. Download the file to Excel and filter the results to find your most linked to content. Identify the pages on your site with the most inbound links.
Internal links pass link juice. Therefore we can use pages with high inbound links to distribute that ranking power to other pages.
When building links to your website, you need to be careful not to over optimize your anchor text and trigger a penalty. When within your website, you can be aggressive with your anchor text and use exact match keywords phrases.
Method 2: The Category Silo
This method requires a blog with taxonomies (aka categories in WordPress) and works great for rankings localized pages.
Target Keyword: “Miami PPC Company”
- Create categories on your blog based on the terms you’d like to rank for (PPC, Miami)
- Create great content for each category – make content hyper specific to that category
- Link category posts together using anchor texts related to your keywords
- Link category posts to target page with exact match anchor texts (don’t overuse them)
Bonus tips: If you’re trying to rank for local terms, build links from local websites. For example, create web 2.0 blogs (miamibusinessreviews.weebly.com), Pinterest links (use Geo located feature) and link them to your category posts.
Method 3: The Circle Silo
This method creates a circular silo of blog posts around a silo page. This silo of blog posts links directly to your silo page, creating massive relevancy signals to search engines.
- Create at least 4 blogs posts about a singular topic related to your target silo page
- Every blog post must link to another blog post within the content silo
- Every blog post must link back to the silo page
- Blog posts should only link to one silo page. Linking to additional silo pages breaks the circle of relevancy
- Duplicate this for every silo page you would like to rank.
When in doubt – model your internal linking structure like Wikipedia. Link together anything and everything that is related!
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