Content Silos & Website Structure

Content Silos Site structure

Content silos are used by big websites to get ranking on keywords. The strategy was pioneered by Bruce Clay of Australia.

Siloing of a website requires a multi-step process of planning and implementation.

Step 1: Begin the process of siloing by determining your website theme. Answer these questions:

  • What subject themes are currently ranking for your website?
  • What subject themes are legitimately relevant for your website?
  • How would a user search for your content (main search queries)?
  • How can you implement clear subject themes?

Step 2: Consider whether you can implement a physical silo through the site’s directory structure and apply if possible

Step 3: Carefully examine the link structure implemented throughout the site, applying linking techniques between pages that reinforce site themes.

Step 4: Publish relevant, expert-quality content that includes targeted keyword phrases within appropriate silos.

Determining Site Structure

The best way is a tree-like architecture so everything branches out in even parts. It’s also good if your content is broken down by topic.

If you’re into clothes, you might have sweaters as one directory and shoes as another directory.

If you break it down by topic and make sure those topics match the keywords that you expect your users type in when they try to find your page, then you’re in a pretty good shape.

Building a Website Theme with Silos

Directory silos reinforce themes by grouping similar content pages under one, highly organized directory. A minimum of five content pages are needed to establish the theme and each must be named to reinforce the subject matter. Without a clear directory structure, visitors and search engines will have a hard time figuring out what your site is about.

Think of a directory silo like a file cabinet. In order for the file cabinet to be effective, everything must remain tightly grouped in its place and filed under the appropriate structured heading. Every distinct category will have its own heading. This means if you are a site specializing in seo and web design, all of web design pages would be grouped together and all of your seo pages would be grouped together. The two would never be mixed as either content or cross-linking.

A web design silo might look something like this:

In the example above, each page is named to help the search engines understand the theme. The directory naming system helps establish that these pages are all about web design. Sticking to this format will help prevent your themes from blurring.

Most sites will find that their topic is widespread enough that they need to separate them into multiple themes. If you find that your silo can be divided even further, you may create multiple sub-silos, however keep the number within reason.

It is recommended to keep the pages about two to three directories deep. Delving further may result in deeper pages that do not have enough links to be considered relevant by search engines. Additional silos give you more room for keywords and keyword synonyms. The tighter your silos are, the better your chance at ranking for your theme-specific keywords including especially long-tail keywords. Just make sure you’re not forgetting your more general terms in the process. Your silos should target both sets of terms.

Once you create your separate themes, you may find instances where you want to connect them. For example, let’s say your web design site has a silo about web hosting. If you have a page that specifically addresses these, it may make sense for that page to refer to both the web design section and the web hosting section of the site. The best way to do this without diluting your theme is to link from all web design pages to the main web hosting page. This shows the engines that you have two unique silos and makes it easier for both pages to stand out. Linking to individual pages within a silo will can cause confusion for the search engines as they try and decipher what your page is about.