Website Siloing: An SEO Strategy For Optimal Results

Search engines reward websites that are clearly on-topic and relevant to specific keywords.

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Website Siloing: An SEO Strategy For Optimal Results
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Relevancy in Google’s eyes begins with strong content. Furthermore, that same content needs to be well structured. One of the best ways to inject positive results into your organic campaign, is to structure your website into a symmetrical organization – silo structuring.

A disjointed website will many times wreak havoc and minimize the keyword performance of your site. On the other hand, if you tightly theme your content, search engines will index your site better and give you a boost in keyword rankings.

A clean site structure is clearly one of the most powerful and underrated SEO strategies today.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

Before we delve into silo structures, let’s touch on Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). The definition of LSI is complex, and the benefits many. As it relates to search engines, it is used as an indexing and retrieval method to identify patterns in the relationships between the terms and concepts contained in an unstructured collection of text.

How does LSI work? Along with determining which keywords a web page or document contains, other web pages/documents are also examined for the same words. In essence, LSI attempts to determine relevancy on a grand scale.

As you can see, LSI plays a direct role in your silo strategy. Your goal is to help your website play nicely within the LSI confines.

Silo Structure to the Rescue

Silos are used to categorize themed content in an effort to help the search engines determine relevancy. The tighter the focus, the more relevant Google will see each page of your website.

Figure 1 shows the a typical website siloing structure:

Silo Structuring

For example, suppose you have a website on guitars. If you offer up relatively dissimilar topics such as how to play acoustic guitar, how to play electric guitar, and even how to play classical guitar, all on the same page, the relevancy will be diluted. Even though your content may be far better and more useful than your competitors, poor structure will hurt you at some level.

To aid the LSI process along, the webmaster can structure the site into one of two types, Physical or Virtual. Both silo types are highly effective for SEO because it creates a working ecosystem for the content.

Physical Silo Structures

A physical silo is a means of theming or grouping your website content into like categories. Also referred to as a directory silo, they are known to be the easiest to set up and maintain. Think of a directory silo as a filing cabinet. Everything in a file must be distinctly associated within the category to remain relevant.

The directory-style silo structure is the easiest for both search engines and visitors to follow, and most times should be the starting point when designing your site.

Virtual Silo Structures

Once a website becomes established, the structure can break down over time. The virtual silo model can enforce the structure once again through highly targeted internal linking strategy.

Virtual silos use a drill-down cross-linking structure to enforce distinct categories. In other words, the top landing page of each silo is supported by the pages linking to it. Figure 2 shows how you can prop content using a virtual silo model:

Virtual Silo Model

Internal linking is a major component of virtual silos. Linking should be done between like-topics, avoiding unrelated categories as much as possible.

Obviously, there will be times when you need to link to different silos to make a point or improve an article. When cross linking between unlike silos, use the Rel=”NoFollow” attribute to reinforce the structure.

For new websites, a physical silo structure should almost always be used. Directory silos are much easier to set up and manage. Established sites, on the other hand can find value in virtual silos if the physical structure is non-existent, or breaks down over time.

Get on Track using a Silo Structure

Many websites never reach their potential due to a lackluster theming strategy. You can have a good looking website with great content. However if your site lacks clarity in terms of topical relevance, your targeted keywords will be discounted, and even devastate the most well meaning campaign.

Siloing your content is a form of on-page SEO that deserves special attention throughout the life of your website.

The main objective of siloing is to create a website that ranks well for both short and long-tail keywords. Get on track by using sound silo structuring. A symmetrical organization is one sure-fire way to propel your keyword rankings and improve visitor experience.

Website Siloing: An SEO Strategy For Optimal Results
About Dan DeRoeck
Dan DeRoeck is an SEO [search engine optimization] and SEM [search engine marketing] consultant that assists businesses of all sizes attain a strong Internet presence. DeRoeck provides a wide range of Michigan SEO services including Global SEO, Local Search Marketing, Social Media, PPC [Pay per Click], Content Strategy/Management and Website/blog development. Follow Dan On Twitter. WebProNews Writer
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  • http://www.schnauzerlover.com Katherine Reed

    Thanks Dan,

    If I am planning a larger website with several different subcategories, would you suggest using subdomains and siloing each sub-domain? Or is it just as well to silo using the internal linking?

    I understand you’d use the physical setup for a site from scratch, but would subdomains help even more – or would they hinder things?


    • http://www.danderoeck.com Dan DeRoeck

      Hi Katherine,

      It would really depend on the situation.

      But generally speaking and regardless of size, I come from the school of thought that subdirectories trump over segregating content. In other words, I try at all cost to keep everything on one domain in order to build authority.

      Subdomains are still considered separate domains by most standards. As mentioned in the article, you want to stay away from diluting your ranking power. This is the same reason I advocate keeping a blog on the same domain and more importantly, out of the hands of a 3rd party.

      Now there are definitely cases for choosing subdomains over directories, but I would take those case by case.

      Thanks for the question.


      • http://www.schnauzerlover.com Katherine Reed

        I understand completely. Thanks!

  • http://www.webtrooperz.com/ Rahul L – Internet Marketing

    Hello Dan,

    I appreciate what you said above. but i would like to say that Google only considers the domain name and potential back links. website structure only matter in website usability to convince visitors to make actions.

    If content is king then how Flash based websites are pulling related traffic. How will LSI benefited to flash based websites? What is the silo structure for Flash based websites?

    Rahul L.

    • http://www.mandloys.com Mark Gavalda – MandLoys Online Marketing

      As described very well in the article and also the linked article about the topic, siloing helps search engine spiders discover content pages easily on a website that has hundreds or even thousands of pages.
      Interlinking and proper navigational structure (siloing) will also help you sculpture pagerank/linkjuice thus enabling less backlinked pages on your site to use the power of other, more backlinked pages.

  • http://www.ictquotes.com.au/ seoaustra

    i dont think so its not a good explanation

  • http://www.headwise.net International seo

    Search engine spiders discover content pages easily on a website that has hundreds or even thousands of pages. I come from the school of thought that subdirectories trump over segregating content.

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