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4 Methods to Create Website Silos for SEO

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Ryan Stewart

I have an unhealthy obsession with being considered the world's BEST internet marketer. This blog is one of the channels I use to demonstrate that. I'm highly active on social media and love a good debate (bring it internet trolls). Click the icons below and fire away.

WHAT IS A “SILO”?

si·lo - sīlō/ - 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 - that means you can’t rank for your target keywords.

By “siloing” your website, aka creating precise content groupings and link signals, you can easily clarify the message you are trying to send to search engines.

Following are some types of silos:



This infographic demonstrats exactly how to create a proper organizational and internal link silo.

01ORGANIZATIONAL SILO

How Should You Sctructure Your Website’s Content?

This is best explained by Bruce Clay (SEO expert) with his jar of marbles example.

By moving your content into jars seperated 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 ORGANIZE YOUR WEBSITE’S CONTENT



02LINK SILO

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).

Benefits:

Linking content with your website is another powerful ranking tactic that has numerous benefits:

  • Helps search engine spiders to crawl more pages on your site
  • Helps distribute the link juice from inbound links across more pages
  • Allows additional ranking signals through use of anchor text

Though much debated, there is no single right way to link your content - here are some of our favorite methods.

Method 1THE POWER PAGE SILO

Google is getting better at picking up webspam and 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 anyone 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.



<ahref="http://yourdomain.com">use targeted anchor text</a>

When building links to your website, you need to be careful not to over optimize your anchor text and trigger a penatly.

When linking between your pages, you can be aggressive with your anchor text and use exact match keyword phrases.

Internal links pass link juice. Therefore we can use pages with high inbound links to distribute that ranking power to other pages.

Method 2THE CATEGORY SILO

This is a method requires a blog with taxonomies (aka categories in WordPress) and works great for ranking local pages.

Target Keyword: “Miami PPC Company”

1. Create categories on your blog based on the terms you’d like to rank for (PPC, Miami)
2. Create great content for each category - make content hyper specific to that category.
3. Link category posts together using anchor texts related to your keywords.
4. Link category posts to target page with exact match anchor texts (don’t overuse them).



Bonus Tip: If you’re trying to rank for local terms, build links from local websites. For example, create web 2.0 blogs (miamibusinessreviews.wordpress.com), Pinterest links (use Geo located feature) and YouTube videos (use Geo located feature) and link them to your category posts.

Method 3THE CIRCLE SILO

This method creates a circular silo of blog posts around a silo page. This silo of blogs posts links directly to your silo page, creating massive relevancy signals to search engines.

1. Create at least 4 blog posts about a singular topic related to your target silo page.
2. Every blog post must link to another blog post within the content silo.
3. Every blog post must link back to the silo page.
4. Blog posts should only link to one silo page. Linking to additional silo pages breaks the circle of relevancy.
5. Duplicate this for every silo page you would like to rank.



>When in doubt - model your internal linking structure like Wikipedia. Link together anything that is related!

49 Comments

  1. Great and informative article about silos. Since I started using silos my clients websites rank higher in less time. The best is that once you understand the setup, it becomes second nature when you plan a website. Again it proves that their is a difference in value added by companies who design websites and online marketers who design websites.

  2. I’ve heard a lot about Silos and Silo structuring, but no one ever really took the time to break it down in a way that I can understand. I’m getting it now. I will re-read this post to make sure it soaks in.

  3. Sounds detailed. If I hire your company to do this service for me, how much would it cost?

    • Ryan Stewart

      depends on the size of your site. you can contact us directly and get a quote from my sales lead.

  4. I see there’s a deep science behind all this SEO stuff. I’ve always heard about silos but always really just ignored the importance of it. This is worth implementing, thanks.

  5. A pleasure reading your posts, Ryan! I have a question again and please don’t edit my comment this time. For the Circle Silo we see on the graph that there are links pointing from the silo page to the blogposts. I don’t see any logic behind this. The links should be only one-way – from the blog to the silo page.

  6. For the Circular Silo, does the Silo Page need to link back to all the blog posts linking to it?

    • Ryan Stewart

      hey kenny,

      the silo page doesn’t have to link back to the posts linking to it. think of it this way – the links should always flow towards the page you’re trying to rank.

  7. This article is very useful for those of you who have been in the world of SEO. The Ryan way of making Silo is very remarkable.

  8. You make a good point when you say “why the hell would would hundreds of sites link to your PPC page unless you paid them” lol…and to think it’s some dummies…or to say it nicely, amateurs trying to pull this stunt!

  9. Excellent tips to optimize SEO. Silo makes the web becomes more structured.

  10. So you would say wordpress if the best for this siloing? Any other platforms you’d recommend as well?

  11. I think I’m finally getting this. I have read this post a couple time before things started to really sink in. Never knew how important silos were until now.

  12. Ok now I’m seeing how to construct category, sub-pages and supporting pages together. I use WP so I understand this should make things even easier for silo.

  13. Excellent post on website silo! When you say to create category – is it to create a category page on wordpress or folder on server? If both are ok then which one would you use for better SEO? Thanks

  14. Great article. I’ve been searching for easy explanation about silo, because I’m sick of spammy link building with poor result. I use wordpress, but I will try to implement power page silo since it’s easier to understand. Let’s see if this will improve my client’s website ranking that have been stuck on 2nd and 3rd page of Google for almost a year

  15. I really love your post, I will build a niche website which has silo model. For me, silo model is new, I will try this. Is silo model good for niche website ?

    Thanks,

  16. Hi Ryan
    I have a number of sites ranking strongly, though not WordPress. I am seeking to improve their ranking. Will silo work with Jimdo sites?

  17. Thanks for this post Ryan, you’ve been killing the content lately. A couple people asked about the linking on the circle silo and I wanted to add some clarification. Correct me if you think differently.

    You suggest to link from the main silo page to the internal blog posts. It’s not required, but otherwise there will be no channel for Google to spider to the posts unless you link to them from other pages on the web.

    It can also look strange to have posts that have no way for anyone to find them through your site structure, so having links to them from the main silo page makes sense.

    Also, in agreement with what you said about the blog posts only linking to one silo, it’s best to remove your main navigation from the blog posts and potentially use something like a sidebar navigation that allows you only to go to the next post in the silo, or back to the main silo page.

  18. I really appreciate this post. It reveals important factors to be considered by SEO analysts and marketing managers. Thank you for your opinion and knowledge.

  19. Well great information regarding silo structure but i want to ask that can we create silo structure using wordpress and drupal, and which will be best for the job.

  20. Really a very informative post I went through now. I have to say that “Ryan” might the new “Rand Fishkin”. But still I’m a bit confused over the Method no.2 and Method no.3, as both are similar ones. In Method no.2 you need to create categories with each having a single posting linking back to silo page and also other posts having similar content in other categories. Where as, in the method no.3 you said the same thing but without making new category pages in Blog section.
    Ozair Akhtar @Linkedin.com Network

  21. I like this prepared illustrator.. make me learn how to create silo website..like i do at mine.

  22. Great post ! But have a question. What about menu links, footer links, links in sidebars linking the page to content out of the silo ?

  23. Hi,
    Nice post.
    1 question…
    What If I wanted to rank in 3 different cities for the same 4 services.
    Would you list the 4 services, then create landing pages of reach city in blog, or would you create a child page to the silo page.

    Basically what if you wanted to have 4 services, but want to rank in multiple towns.

    James

    • Jeremy

      James…. I to have the same question about how to go about Multi City Silo Structure.

      I’ve read that each location should have its own individual silo…

      However If each location is its own silo then it seems it would have to be listed in the Nav Menu and that doesn’t seem right to me, How else would it be crawled by bots.

      Then I thought maybe I should cross link the Local Silo off from the Original Key Word Silo as if it were a Key Word Silo Directory of sorts.

      Silo 1 Silo 2
      Example 1: Garage Door Repair—–> Garage Door Repair (City) … So on and so forth so each (City) based Silo is branching off form the original key word Silo.

      Or

      Example 2

      (Silo) Garage Door Repair|(Subpages) Garage Door Repair (City)

      (Silo) Garage Door Spring Repair | (Subpages) Garage Door Spring Repair (City)

      Have you had any other findings on the best Multi Location Silo Structure?

  24. In method 3, can we use categories?
    In method 3, if we have 40+ posts about the silo page, we should link them all ?
    Thanks man, amazing content.

  25. Great post, will try all of it getting better ranking for my site.

  26. Hi, I am not sure if this page is still getting updated but on the off chance…on the circle silo – on point 4 – Blog posts should only link to one silo page. Linking to additional silo pages breaks the circle of relevancy

    I presume this is meaning not to link to supporting pages within other silos, it is not meaning that every page within the silo, should not link back to the main page? sorry if didnt explain it well…

    • Ryan Stewart

      i havent updated this in about 18 months – thanks for pitching in tho!

  27. more of a question on the point 4 of the circle silo?

  28. Hi Ryan!
    Thank you for the post.
    would you recommend to remove internal links (or make them nofollow) to make a sitemap looking more like a silo architecture? Links between silos? Links from top to down?

    Typically, the link in the header main menu to homepage breaks the silo concept.

    • Ryan Stewart

      i wouldnt no follow internal links…bottom line with this, dont over think it – just use internal links to link to relevant content and you will be good

  29. I’ve a doubt regarding reverse silo. What is that ? Please if you can explain that one.

  30. Is it possible to set up a silo on an existing site, with say, 100 posts? Can you create silos retroactively?

    • Ryan Stewart

      Of course! When we take on new clients, we often have to go back into the site and setup these structures for them

  31. In WordPress if there are no categories for pages than I am guessing it is best to use a page that gives an overview of silo content and then have content under it. My question is when I have a sub-menu page under the main category/overview page, when I click on it, the url looks like: mydomain.com/secondary-page instead of mydomain.com/overview-page/secondary-page which makes me think its not in the same physical directory. How do I get secondary pages in same directory under overview-page in WordPress?
    Thanks,
    Heidi

    • Ryan Stewart

      You have to edit the page – this is better suited for a Google search, sorry :/

  32. This is very good post! We will be implementing a SEO silo on our new website, which will hopefully boost our rankings significantly.

  33. Hi, thank you for your post about silo structuring. What would you recommend?

    If you have:

    SEO as the main topic for your site and you want to rank SEO, PPC, Social Media Signals (SMS) for:

    – SEO/PPC/Social Media Signals
    – SEO/PPC/SMS Miami
    – SEO/PPC/SMS New York
    – SEO/PPC/SMS Los Angeles
    – SEO/PPC/SMS International
     SEO/PPC/SMS UK
     SEO/PPC/SMS London
     SEO/PPC/SMS London
     SEO/PPC/SMS London
     SEO/PPC/SMS Manchester
     SEO/PPC/SMS Germany
     SEO/PPC/SMS Berlin
     SEO/PPC/SMS Munich

    etc.

    Would you do silo pages for each service and continent, country, and city like above? Or would you do it by services and rank each continent/country/city on the same service page? For example

    – xyz.com/SEO: (SEO, SEO Miami, SEO International, SEO Europe, SEO UK, SEO London)

    In my project, there are a lot of different cities in almost all continents with up to 200 different products and up to 100 general services/specifications appearing in one city only but with various services/specification combinations.

    To keep the SEO topic, we could add as service/specifications:

    – White Hat
    – Black Hat
    – Grey Hat

    This would give following example combinations:

    – White Hat SEO
    o White Hat SEO Miami
    o International White Hat SEO
    o White Hat SEO Europe
    o White Hat SEO Berlin
    – Black Hat SEO
    o Black Hat SEO Miami
    o International Black Hat SEO
    o Black Hat SEO Europe
    o Black Hat SEO Berlin
    – Grey Hat SEO
    o Grey Hat SEO Miami
    o International Grey Hat SEO
    o Grey Hat SEO Europe
    o Grey Hat SEO Berlin

    Furthermore, would you structure it in physical silos even though the web address will get awfully long, for example:

    xyz.com/ppc./international/germany/berlin/greyhat-seo

    or all on 1st level:

    xyz.com/berlin-greyhat-seo
    xyz.com/seo
    xyz.com/ppc
    xyz.com/Miami-whitehat-ppc

    or all on 2nd level:

    xyz.com/seo/berlin-greyhat
    xzy.com/ppc/Miami-greyhat

  34. This is really a great insightful guide about site structuring and silo, I am googling last couple of days and finaly find this.
    Thanks for sharing this .

  35. Thanks buddy, you removed my confusion

  36. Hi there Ryan
    I have landed my first SEO client
    They sell vape pens. I implemented a silo structure, its only about a 20 page site,but the client doesn’t like the links on the pages. Is there anyway I can use a colour that will match the background for the text colour, and should this be done.

    • Ryan Stewart

      no, def not – that’s a form of link spam / keyword stuffing. you need to sit your client down and tell them this is the way it needs to be, they’re paying you for your expertise – they need to respect it.

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