A website is usually organized into several sections: header, content area, sidebar and footer (see also the next picture).
These sections are independent of each other in CSS terms, which means that they can be displayed anywhere on the screen.
This may be useful if you want to improve your SEO results by placing certain keywords in different areas of your web-page.
For example, if I want my page to rank higher for “SEO”, I would place my focus keyword “SEO” as often as possible into my content area, while placing less important keywords into the sidebar or header.
Since at least 2006, Silo structures in SEO have been a popular means of creating a logical site architecture.
In the past two years the SEO community has seen a massive surge in marketers looking to create Silos in their sites.
It is important that you understand what exactly a silo structure is and how it can benefit your SEO campaigns.
In its most simple definition, Silo Structure in SEO refers to the creation of separate pages on a website which are connected via internal links.
This creates tiers or groups within your website for users to follow when navigating from page to page.
These groupings often form larger categories which themselves have multiple layers for even more organized grouping of similar content.
Some marketers will use sub-pages to further organize this information, but I prefer to keep sub-pages out of my architecture.
The reason for this is simple:
If you have a category page with 10 sub-categories and all their respective pages, you can create 223(7*11*11) individual pages (10 categories that each has 11 subs).
This makes for a very cluttered site map and an extremely complicated navigation structure.
You don’t want your users getting lost in your site when trying to navigate from one page to another.
The SEO benefit of having such an optimized site architecture is negligible when compared with the negative affect it will have on user experience.
The benefit of a silo structure is the fact that it allows users to quickly and intuitively navigate from one page to another.
This, in turn, provides a better user experience and helps you rank higher in SERPs (search engine results pages).
Google favors sites that provide a great user experience and will give them an SEO boost over those who don’t.
you want all your pages organized into logical groups for easy navigation between each page.
creating more groups which are less related decreases the speed at which users can navigate through your site as well as decreasing their satisfaction with your content.
Use this information to create an architecture for your website using the principles of Silo Structure in SEO .
The best way to do this is by creating a site map which you review and revise every time you add new content.
This sounds simple, but it can be quite complicated when working with larger sites.
Luckily there are plenty of SEO tools out there that will help streamline the process for you.
If you’d like more information on site maps (and how they’re necessary for successful SEO), see my article on why every website needs one .
I also go into detail about using XMap to create an effective site architecture in that same article.
The goal of the Silo structure in SEO is not only to organize your pages logically within groups, but also within sub-groups (or secondary silos).
You’ll notice that each layer of sub-silos also contains a page which links back to the category above it (in this case, “Sports”).
This page acts as an anchor point (or hub) for your website and will help search engine spiders crawl all the pages you want indexed.
In reality, these silo structures can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like them to be.
In my opinion, it’s best to keep them relatively small so they are easy to navigate and do not have a negative affect on user experience.
However, if you have a large site with very similar content then a more robust secondary structure might be necessary.
The objective is to create a website that both users and Google are happy with.
Too many layers of silos decreases the speed at which users can navigate through your site, while also decreasing their satisfaction with your content.
On the other hand, not enough secondary structures might make it difficult for search engine spiders to find all of your pages.
You want to strike a balance between these two principles so you get the best SEO results possible without sacrificing user experience.
One of the most popular silo structures in SEO is to group many related keywords into a single content silo.
For instance, if you are an “online business” company and one of your main products is marketing training courses, then this article may be on how to create a successful online marketing training course.
This page would provide details on how to succeed with paid search ads for training courses, while another page might deal more closely with PPC advertising for specific online businesses, while yet another talks about some other facet like organic search marketing.
The reason I am explaining the example in such detail (apologies) is because it highlights some important points:
1) There will often be multiple-rich content silos covering different facets of your niche.
2) Depending on the market you are in, there may be several other topics worth writing about.
If you are selling online business products (which I am guessing is not a very competitive space), then there is no real need to write an article about SEO for “online business” as a single product category.
However, if this was a competitive space with lots of players, it would make sense to have at least one page dedicated only to SEO for online business companies before going ahead and writing more detailed articles on how to do specific types of search engine optimization.
In fact, if you were that player in a competitive space with many competitors offering similar products as yourself, it would even be doing some competitor research by looking at their sites.
3) The key to getting the most benefit for your SEO efforts is to create lots of content silos (ideally, more than you need), and then go about ranking them for specific keywords.
This way, if one site fails (let’s say Google updates their algorithm in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to rank for this particular keyword), then the other articles will still be able to get traffic.
If the training courses article ranks highly for “online business marketing courses”, but isn’t doing so well on “SEO for online businesses”, then I could always use another page targeting the second keyword instead.
As opposed to creating just one page with all your main keywords included – which would mean complete disaster if one of them stopped ranking well.
The most popular way I see this done is for a site to create an article on the different pages that it targets, and then include keywords in the URLs (i.e.
However, this might not be ideal if you have multiple articles on your site targeting very similar keywords and you want to consolidate these into just one article – as it could result in lots of low quality content that doesn’t really add value or help visitors find what they need quickly or easily.
Another option would be to group related keyword phrases with a delimiter such as a hyphen, pipe symbol etc.,
so instead of having all your different keywords in the URLs you would have something like www.example.co.uk/seo-for|online-businesses – which might be more attractive for readers than seeing so many random clumps of letters and numbers (we will look at this more later on).
The reason I’ve gone into so much detail about one topic is because it’s very important to understand the SEO process before getting into the technicalities, otherwise there is a good chance that you may miss out or not fully appreciate certain points that are actually crucial to your site ranking well.
Now let’s move on and discuss some common mistakes people tend to make with their silos…
That’s it! This isn’t very complicated stuff, but having a solid understanding of Silo Structure in SEO will help you create websites that are both easy to use and have optimized architecture that gets you better rankings without hurting conversions or lowering return visitor rates!
I hope this was helpful! If you enjoyed the article, feel free to leave a comment or share it with someone who might find it interesting as well.
Thanks for reading and good luck with your websites!