What’s the fastest way to achieve better results from SEO? If Google recognizes your website as an authority in a particular topic, you get better results.
That’s why authority sites always get more advantage and faster rankings when compared to new websites. But building an authority site takes years and here’s where Silo structure comes into play.
Even if you have a new website, by properly implementing Silo structures on your website, you can establish yourself as an authority on particular topics in the eyes of Google. That’s how you can easily outrank even authority sites in your industry: by using Silo structures.
Now, if you’re wondering about what is a Silo structure and how you can implement it to improve your website’s SEO, this post is just for you! So let’s get started without further ado.
Table of Contents
- Silo Structure for SEO: The Beginner’s Guide to Implementing Silos for SEO
- How to Implement Silo Structure On Your WordPress Website?
- FAQs about Silo structure for SEO
Silo Structure for SEO: The Beginner’s Guide to Implementing Silos for SEO
What is a Silo structure?
A Silo structure is all about organizing your website’s content into various categories and subcategories which helps Google crawlers to easily determine the relevance of each post on your blog based on your keywords (or topics).
In simpler terms, Silos are basically a way to separate your blog’s content into various categories.
Here’s an excellent illustration of Silo structure.
As you can see above, the home page contains “pillar pages” (you can also consider them as MAIN categories on your blog).
These categories are further separated into “sections” where your readers can find relevant contents on a particular topic (for example, WordPress). Then your sections are finally separated into Posts where you’re providing blog posts and contents for that particular topic.
Do you want to see a live example of Silo structure? Let’s show you how we use Silo structure at Bloggers Passion (so you’ll get a good idea).
As you can see above, we’ve created multiple Silos including;
- Start a blog (which leads to a detailed tutorial where you can learn how to start a blog)
- Increase traffic (which leads to an unbiased review of SEMrush, #1 SEO tool)
- My blogging tools (this is a page where you’ll find all the blogging tools we use at Bloggers Passion)
- Categories (blogging, SEO, make money online, WordPress, hosting and so on)
- About us page
If you look closely at the categories section, you’ll notice that some of the silos have deeper posts, for instance, SEO category has SEO tools, link building as subcategories).
That means, for most important categories, we further divided them into subcategories to create a deep Silo structure for our website. When you click on any of them, you’ll find all the blog posts under that section.
Let’s have a look at how “link building” subcategory looks like under SEO category.
As you can see above, you’ll find a ton of posts under the link building section where you can find ONLY exclusive contents which are related to link building.
Silo structure examples
So far we’ve discussed how we created a Silo structure for our site Bloggers Passion.
Let’s now talk about some more real-life examples of websites that use Silo structures for better SEO.
Silo structure example 1: Search Engine Land
Let’s first talk about the first Silo structure example of the popular SEO blog Search Engine Land. Since SEL blog is run by SEO experts, they know what they are doing and their website Silo structure includes a ton of SEO related categories.
Here’s how the Silo structure of Search Engine Land looks like;
As you can see above, you’ll find a ton of categories (Silos) ranging from SEO to SEM to local SEO and so on. When you click on those categories, you’ll find all the relevant articles and news related to that particular category.
No wonder why their website is getting Google site links for those categories. Have a look at it.
As you can see above, all of their Silos (categories) which are displayed at their website level are also showing up in Google site links. That’s the beauty of structuring a website nicely using Silos with relevant categories.
Quick note: You can also read more about how you can get Google site links quickly.
Silo structure example 2: Smart Passive Income
Let’s take another example of Silo structure perfectly implemented on a website.
If you’re into affiliate marketing, you might already have heard about the affiliate marketing guru Pat Flynn. He runs the #1 affiliate marketing blog called Smart Passive Income.
Here’s how the Silo structure of Smart Passive Income looks like;
As you can see above, Pat is using multiple categories to cater to his target audience ranging from newbies to advanced marketers.
Not only that, Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income has done a great job by creating in-depth contents (deeper Silos) for important categories (or topics or primary Silos) for his blog.
When you click on the “Affiliate Marketing” category on his blog, you’ll be taken to a page where you’ll find a ton of relevant chapters around affiliate marketing.
Here’s how it looks like;
See that? Pat Flynn knows what he’s doing. Not only he is helping his target audience to learn more about affiliate marketing but he is also creating deep Silo structure around the primary Silo “affiliate marketing”.
What are the benefits of using Silo structure?
So why should you bother about implementing Silo architecture for your websites? Are there any benefits of using Silo structure in 2019? Yes, there are many which include the following.
Helps with better engagement and crawlability: Silo structure primarily helps you with 2 things, one is Information Architecture (IA), which is about organising your content in a better way to provide a better user experience (UX) and the other is SEO, which includes organising content the right way to provide better crawlability to search engine bots.
Helps you with better organic rankings: The #1 reason most bloggers and SEO experts implement Silo structures on their websites is to improve their search rankings. Does Siloing help you with higher search rankings?
Yes, it certainly does. You’re organising your website contents in a nice way so search crawlers better understand what your site is all about so it helps them while ranking your pages.
Silos are evergreen: Silos haven’t come up all of a sudden, in fact, they have been around the blogosphere for a long time now. Since the introduction of Google latest updates and Google inclination towards better UX, more and more bloggers are implementing Silos to improve their site’s SEO so they are evergreen.
How to Implement Silo Structure On Your WordPress Website?
Now comes to the main question: how can you implement Silo structure on your website for building a better website architecture?
First things first. Find out your main Silos. For example, if you’re running a blog which mostly covers digital marketing, then your main Silo would be “Digital marketing”.
Now you need to define your categories under your topic (in our case, “digital marketing”) and these categories can be generally divided into;
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
- Social media and so on
Once you’re done with the categories selection, you can further divide your categories into further subcategories (although it’s optional and not needed for every category). By dividing into subcategories, you’re creating a deep Silo structure which provides stronger power and more authority to build a properly organized website.
From the above example, let’s say you want to create subcategories for the main category “SEO”, it can be further divided into the following (this is an optional step);
- Paid ads (PPC ads)
- SEO plugins (where you can only cover SEO related plugins)
- Technical SEO (only technical aspects of SEO such as site audits, creating Silos and so on)
Are you getting it?
Once the above Silos are defined, now you can easily insert your new blog posts into appropriate categories for better Silo structure.
Basically, Silo structure of a properly organized website includes the following most important things.
- Keyword research
- Organising your content hierarchically (based on your target keywords)
- Reinforcing your website’s structure through different ways (such as implementing categories, menus, breadcrumbs, linking to each other internal posts, URL structure and so on)
Let’s briefly talk about the above things so you can implement Silo structure for your website the right way in 2019 and beyond.
1. Define your keyword strategy
Why bother about keyword research while Siloing your website?
That’s a great question, to begin with. You need to know what keywords you want to target before you can create your silos around those keywords. There’s no way you can implement a silo structure without defining your keyword strategy first.
So make sure to find out what kind of keywords you’re going to target with your blog or website in the long run. That way you can easily create and organize your whole website structure.
If you’re wondering about creating a solid keyword strategy for your website, there are few excellent tips for you.
Come up with a list of seed keywords: If you want to silo structure your website for few topics, you first need to come up with few seed keyword ideas. Seed keywords can be considered as primary topics or keyword phrases which define the overall “content structure” of your website.
You need to define your target audience, find out their wants and needs and make sure to brainstorm topic ideas around them to come up with a ton of useful seed keyword ideas for your website.
Target low competitive keywords: You can’t rank for a competitive keyword like “fitness” especially if you’re building a new website that barely has authority backlinks. So there’s no point in creating a separate page or category by targeting the keyword like “fitness” as you won’t get any results.
It’s always a smart idea to focus on finding low competitive keywords so you can create clusters or categories around them. You can also create pages with low search volume keywords like “fitness apps for women” and then start creating highly useful contents around that category. That’s how you can get better results and drive targeted visitors from search engines to your site.
Use the right SEO tools: To perform an in-depth keyword analysis, you must need to get access to the right SEO tools. Although there are a ton of tools out there following provide you exceptional keyword data.
SEMrush: SEMrush is the #1 SEO tool in the world which is used by over 3 million people worldwide and it’s also the same tool we’ve been using at Bloggers Passion for more than 3 years now. It gives you exceptional data around keyword analysis no matter whatever niche you are in.
Not only does it help you with keyword research but you can also use it for competitor analysis, backlink audits, site audits, on page optimization and so on. If you’re looking for a free trial to SEMrush tool, use the following link.
Use this EXCLUSIVE Link to Get 14 Days Free Trial of SEMrush Pro Account (Worth $47)
SpyFu: This is another incredible tool that can be used for both keyword research and competitor analysis. It costs you less (the pricing plans start just at $33 per month) but offers you a wide range of features. You can read our SpyFu review to know more about the features, pros, cons and so on.
Ubersuggest: The above mentioned tools are premium whereas Ubersuggest is a free tool used for keyword research, which is managed by the SEO expert Neil Patel.
2. Organise your content hierarchically
In the above step, we’ve talked about keyword strategy, let’s now talk about organising your content around those keywords. You need to map out a high level information architecture based on your target keywords.
What if you already have existing content? What if you already have a website with a ton of blog posts and you want to implement Silo structure?
If you have existing content, you need to simply review all of your contents and decide;
- What blog posts to keep
- What blog posts or pages to update
- What blog posts to remove or use 301 redirects
The key here is to remove and use 301 redirect for every blog post or page which has thin content or which is not relevant to your target market anymore.
Make sure to shrink your blog contents size so you can organise your content much easier. For instance, at Bloggers Passion, we had around 1000 blog posts which are already going live but now, we’re only indexing 500 pages on Google search.
Do you know why? We decided the remaining blog posts or pages are not helping us with anything including traffic, sales or conversions. So we either updated them or removed (and redirected) to other existing pages which are performing well.
That’s how we cleaned up a ton of blog contents at Bloggers Passion and we didn’t notice any traffic drop whatsoever.
With new contents (the blog posts or topics you want to cover in the future), just make sure to create specific categories that are relevant to your contents. And make sure to create in-depth content so it ranks well in the search engines.
Come up with a target keyword for every blog post or page you create on your blog. It’s better to target low search volume long tail keywords if you really want to get better results from search engines.
3. Reinforce your website’s structure
Reinforcing your website’s structure through different ways which include the following;
- Implementing categories
- Linking to each other internal posts
- URL structure and so on
Here’s how you can get started.
Use pages for creating Silos: Use pages instead of blog posts for structuring your site in a hierarchical way. That way, you can easily define a parent page for each section so that it gives you the ability to create your website’s structure hierarchically.
Just make sure NOT to create too many pages for Siloing otherwise it becomes very difficult for you to manage those things. There are themes like Genesis themes which provides you with easy options to manage your pages and navigation, otherwise, keep it simple by creating only essential pages.
Use breadcrumbs: A breadcrumb can be considered as a secondary navigation system which shows the user’s location in a website.
If you look at our blog Bloggers Passion, we use breadcrumbs. Here’s how they look like;
As you can see above, we implement breadcrumbs at the post level for 2 major reasons.
- One is, people, can easily navigate to the relevant category or section to find (in the above example, SEO tools section) similar blog posts
- Other is, search crawlers easily understand what the page is all about
To put it simply, breadcrumbs helps your website visitors track their path from the page they are currently viewing to the homepage of your site.
If you’re using WordPress and want to implement breadcrumbs on your site for better navigation, you can install and activate this plugin.
Optimizing your URL structure: Your URL structure plays a key role in optimizing your content and improving your site’s overall SEO. So make sure to keep it simple.
WordPress provides you with an option for URL structure which looks like this;
To be able to make such changes, just go to WordPress dashboard, click on Settings > Permalinks, and select Custom Structure, enter /%category%/%postname%/ and Save. You’re done.
You can also avoid using category name if you want an even shorter version of the URL structure for your site. In that case, only your blog post title will be shown up beside your domain name.
Use menus: Almost every professional WordPress user uses menus to show up their main pages such as about us, contact, email landing pages, portfolios and so on. Whether you know it or note, Menus are extremely important, as they are the primary navigational links to your top level silos.
It’s extremely easy to create menus in WordPress (assuming your WordPress theme supports the Menu feature). Simply go to WordPress dashboard > Appearance > Menus and set up the menu to includes the top level silos on your website.
Learn how to interlink like a pro: Interlinking is extremely important as it helps you with better rankings. If you’re wondering what interlinking is all about it is the process where your blog post or a page has links to other relevant articles on your site.
When someone clicks on it, they’ll be redirected to another similar article on your site. Not only helps you with better user engagement and dwell time on your site but also helps you with deep crawling on your site from search crawlers.
Pro tip: If you don’t know how to smartly interlink to your posts (it’s harder to do interlinking especially when you’ve too many contents on your site), start using Yoast SEO premium version as it recommends you highly relevant internal links while creating a blog post. You can read our Yoast SEO free vs premium review to know more details about it.
Important Things to Remember While Creating Silo Structure for SEO
Here are few important things you need to remember while siloing your website contents to improve your overall SEO.
Don’t create posts that don’t match with your Silos: The #1 big mistake most people make after creating a Silo structure for their site they publish new topic or blog post ideas which are completely irrelevant to the categories (or silos) they created on their site.
If you really have to create new blog posts or new topics on new silos, make sure to create a new category and publish them under that category.
Review your published posts: You might already have published a lot of posts under various categories. If you’re using more than 1 category for a post, just deselect them and map it to only 1 category which is relevant to the topic of your blog post.
Focus on content quality and relevancy: SEO is changing almost every single year but there are two things which are growing more in popularity and they are “content quality” and “relevancy”.
It doesn’t matter what niche you are in, if you want better rankings, you need to create high quality content that’s relevant to your website topics. Here’s where siloing comes into play. Make proper use of them and you’ll see a boost in your search rankings.
Link to posts, not categories: Interlinking is so important and you must include links to your internal posts wherever necessary. But just don’t make a mistake of linking to your categories as there’s no actual use. Link to relevant posts so your website audience can actually go through one post at a time. It also passes link juice to one particular page instead of a category full of posts.
FAQs about Silo structure for SEO
Here’s a list of few important questions you should know about Siloing your website for better SEO in 2019 and beyond.
1. What is Silos in SEO?
Silo defines how your website should be structured (mostly in a hierarchical way). Silos in SEO is all about dividing your website’s content into various categories and subcategories and these groupings are known as Silos.
A Silo structure for a website is similar to a book with table of contents. All the relevant chapters are nicely organised in the form of table of contents in a book. Likewise, a Silo structure helps you nicely organize your website contents in a hierarchical way and makes it clear both visitors and search engines to better understand what your site is all about.
2. How to come up with powerful Silo ideas to implement on my website?
The key here is to figure out what topics you want to include on your website so you can perform in-depth keyword research. That way you can easily divide your website’s content into multiple categories to create powerful silos. If needed, go for subcategories.
3. How many Silos can I create for a WordPress site?
There’s no limit. It’s simply like there’s no limit on how many number of categories or pages you want to create on your website. You can create as many silos as you want. But if you’re just getting started with a new site, it’s a smart idea to create just 2 or 3 silos (categories) and create multiple relevant subcategories around them.
Let’s say you’re running a marketing related blog, instead of creating a ton of Silos and categories, firstly diving your main topics into 2 or 3 such as;
- Affiliate marketing
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
Then, create highly informative and in-depth contents for each category. Make sure to include at least 5 to 10 in-depth articles for each category. Then, think about adding more Silos and categories as you grow. It’s as simple as that.
You can also consider creating subcategories for each of your categories if you have a ton of blog post ideas or content ideas for those categories.
4. Should I build backlinks to my Silo pages?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, it’s better to start building backlinks to your Silo pages which you think are really important instead of building links only to your home page.
Building links only to your homepage increase your domain rankings but if you start building quality links to your inner pages, your overall domain authority increases along with a boost in rankings for your Silo pages.
So next time, whenever you’re using various link building methods like guest posting, blogger outreach etc instead of providing links to your home page, build links to your inner Silo pages.
5. Can we create subcategories to make them sub-silos?
Yes, you can create sub silos by including subcategories which you can implement by dividing your blog’s primary categories. If you look at this blog Bloggers Passion, we have divided the primary category of SEO into various sub-silos such as link building, SEO tools.
Just make sure to create sub-silos by dividing your categories into subcategories only when you’ve too many contents. Or you’re looking to publish a ton of new blog posts in that particular category in the long run.
Final thoughts on implementing Silo structure for better SEO
As we often say “SEO is a huge ocean” which is constantly changing. You need to adapt to the latest changes to get better rankings.
Although siloing is nothing new and it has been practised by many SEOs for a long time now and it is still essential if you want to get higher organic rankings.
We tried to uncover almost every important thing that you need to know about creating a Silo structure to improve your site’s SEO. If you still have any questions, do let us know in the comments.