Why SEO Silos Are A Good Idea
Creating a website that is worthy in the eyes of Google is no easy task. Google is an extremely harsh judge without any human compassion or understanding. It simply crawls your site with tiny programmed spiders and ranks your site based on a variety of different SEO factors. To make matters worse, you’re actually supposed to write your content for humans without actually considering Google’s feelings.
This is obviously pretty tough. How can you write human-readable content that also pleases a program? First, you have to understand that Google is judging more than just the meat of your content. They are judging how your page is organized, themed, and how reliable it is. They want to know that your site can provide a variety of different pages with themes that relate to a certain keyword. As far as the content goes, if the people who read it like it, then it’s probably good enough for Google as well.
That’s because Google’s program can’t really understand what is or isn’t high-quality content. Sure, it can do spell checks and whatnot, but it can’t tell the difference between Dr. Seuss and Shakespeare. Only human readers can do that. Those readers then link back to your pages, which give them some authority and respect according to Google.
So, breaking away from the tired concept of creating high-quality content, what can you do to ensure that Google is really impressed with your website? The word you are looking for is “siloing”. Siloing is an interesting SEO theory that has been around for a while and has always proven itself to work exceptionally time-and-time again.
What Is Siloing And Why Does It Work?
Siloing is sometimes referred to as theming. Unfortunately, WordPress came along and took control of that word. Now, when you say theming people assume you are talking about creating WordPress themes. That’s why theming became siloing, which is what we’re going to talk about today.
The concept behind siloing is one you are likely familiar with (even if you may struggle with it). The concept is organization. A well-organized and themed page is always going to do much better in the organic search engine rankings.
You can think of siloing as the type of organization you find in a book. Your keyword is the title of the book and the book itself is your website. Your website is all about this keyword, but you don’t just want a book with page after page of information and no clear organization. That’s why the book is sectioned off into chapters, which represent silos, or themes.
There are many above-average websites that have yet to crack the first page of Google simply because they don’t understand how the search engine thinks and ranks. When a person searches a keyword, Google is going to show a list of pages that are relevant to the keyword, but also supported by multiple sub-pages as well. The sub-pages are the different silos. They are linked to one another and create a web of supporting relevancy that makes any web page look very good.
Another common comparison is that of siloing and picking marbles. If you have a bucket of marbles dumped on the ground and then you are asked to find the blue one you can do it, but it’s going to take a few seconds. If you have all of the marbles in clear containers organized by color, it’s going to be a much, much faster process. Google doesn’t want a site that is just a bunch of random marbles dumped on the ground. It wants well-organized themes that it can quickly identify and understand.
How To Get Started Siloing Your Site.
Understanding the general idea behind the silo strategy is simple enough, but how do you actually get started implementing a silo structure? Luckily, siloing has been around for at least ten years and the process has been refined dramatically. It consists of a few simple steps that can be aided with the use of digital tools.
The first step is to correctly identify a theme for your website. This can be the toughest part of the entire process because once you choose the main theme you’ll want to stick with it for a while. There’s nothing against creating multiple themes, but the general rule is “the fewer themes the better”.
To choose an appropriate theme, you want to consider what themes can legitimately relate to your intended website content. If you already have some themes implemented, then you should consider what themes are ranking the best. Finally, you want to consider what online users will need to query in the search engine to reach your content.
You’re also advised to use keyword research tools to help choose themes that have low competition, but high search volume. Use all of this information to choose an appropriate theme for your site and then continue on to step two.
The next step is to consider the existing layout of your site and how it can be altered for the silo structure. If you’re working with a brand new site, then it’s much easier to implement siloing from the start. Otherwise, it’s still not that difficult. You’ll need to choose between one of two siloing methods and then create links between pages that support the site’s theme.
The most efficient siloing technique to utilize is a physical silo structure. This works by creating silos via the directory. Pages with similar content will be grouped together and branch from a more organized directory page. You’ll need between five and ten pages to establish a theme and each page must be unique with its own unique name.
Using the physical directory method helps readers as well as search engines. Without them, a visitor can quickly get lost clicking through links and lose sight of what the site is all about. A directory silo works in a hierarchy fashion so it’s always easy to go up and down the links without getting lost.
Most sites tend to branch out to include an additional theme or two. Using the directory hierarchy makes it easy to create a new theme, support that theme with multiple pages, and keep that theme completely separated from the rest. If each page is listed under a theme directory and has its own unique name, then the readers will know what it’s about and the search engines will too.
An example of a directory hierarchy might look like this “mywebsite.com/theme1/page1” and the second theme would be “mywebsite.com/theme2/page1”. The pages and themes would obviously need to be more specific, but you should get the idea now. Content relating to theme 2 never mixes with content related to theme 1. In this case, replacing the themes with keywords would be ideal.
What Tools Could Help Your Cause?
It was mentioned earlier there are quite a few tools available on the internet to help with your siloing needs. Most of these tools are pretty standard SEO tools and you may already be familiar with them. There are free tools as well as pay-to-use tools and in most cases you get what you pay for.
Free tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool are more than enough to get the job done, but some higher-end tools will usually provide more valuable information. WordPress isn’t necessarily a tool, but it’s great if you’re creating a new site and know you want to implement the silo structure. Their platform makes it pretty easy to create a physical silo structure from the start.