What is Link Siloing?
Definition: A silo link structure is a site architecture to organize your content into keyword-targeted categories or topics
As more technology advances, the SEO silo changes as well, making it somewhat difficult to stay current with the official silo structure. The key to keep in mind is to link related pages. The silo structure results in your site having the homepage at the top, secondary pages or categories that are core-keyword centered, possibly a third layer of more related keywords, and finally, a layer of posts (or pages) that all feed into the keyword level of pages (aka the silo pages). This moves all of your content into “silos” or “towers.”
All posts feed the silo page and the silo page feeds your homepage. Any linking between silos is recommended to be kept to a minimum to control the flow of link juice.
Avoiding content cannibalization when adding fresh content to your site with a proper silo structure can create a strong SEO presence. To accomplish this, you will need to properly configure your internal linking, craft quality content, and effectively categorize each Page/Post. While the task may seem daunting, this is quite a simple concept. Whenever there is a crossover in your content (mentioning a topic you have another page for) you will use an anchor text link to internally link to that page, showing Google which keywords are associated with which pages throughout your site.
Why does Google love the silo structure?
The silo structure presents an extremely clear and clean order of links that makes it easy for Google to understand what your site is about.
Instead of selecting a blog that is a mess of lots of content covering tons of stuff, Google can crawl your site with a clear direction about the topic being searched for.
Some sites just put all their posts under a page called ‘blog’. With the silo structure, you can instead have different categories within the main blog page. In the eyes of Google, your organized content is a better bet to meet the needs of the user than a site with content that is unorganized and all grouped. Each post that you make in a category is then helping you to become more authoritative in that category keyword. At the very least, it makes sense to organize your content to make it easier for both users and search engines to navigate your site.
To use the silo structure with WordPress:
- Determine your keywords
- Use those keywords as category names
- Change your permalink structure to
Writing and Categorizing Posts
There are several strategies to come up with keywords. You may already know what you want your keywords to be. I would recommend at least using the Google Keyword Tool, typing in your topic, and double-checking to make sure you’re going in the right direction. This tool will allow you to find out what people are searching for and possibly refine your keywords or choose subtopics based on the results.
To use a keyword as a category, just go to the dashboard > posts > categories. From there, you can add a category.
To change your permalink structure, first back your site up, then go to the dashboard > settings > permalinks.
Choose the custom permalink and fill in either:
Click Save Changes.
You may likely need to clear your cache and fix some broken links.
Customizing category pages is still a bit of a challenge in WordPress. If you want the category pages to be plain blog pages that show a list of posts in whatever format your site uses, you should be good to go. You can also customize your widgets to show specific categories. That is useful for putting targeted ads and opt-ins on your site. Additionally, there are a lot of great plugins you can use like SumoMe or Bloom.
If you want your page to be its custom page that is full of its custom content, all you need to do is go to ‘add pages’ and make a page that has the same name as the post category. Pages automatically override categories in WordPress, so the page will show instead of the category page that had all your posts from that category.
One strategy for these types of category pages that works well is to make lead magnets for each category and then use an optional plugin to promote the lead magnet on each category page. So I could give away a free SEO book in exchange for an email option on a category page called “SEO.” A lot of sites use that strategy to effectively build their email lists.
Adding new posts is fairly simple with WordPress. I should mention that if you want a post to go into multiple categories, the first category alphabetically will be the one that the post uses in its permalink structure. If you use the WP Category Permalink plugin that is recommended by WordPress on the permalink page, you can select which category you want a post to go into.
When should you use a silo?
There is some debate in the SEO community as to when a silo structure is best. When having a silo structure appears as a promoted ranking factor, it typically does so somewhere down the list; this isn’t exactly the most important SEO factor in the world. Content, promotion, and links are all far more important. You could, however, gain an advantage with a silo structure in the following scenarios:
- You are targeting a few, specific keywords or phrases
- Your site is a mess of content and needs to be organized
- The only page that matters on your website is the homepage, and you want to filter all the link juice to that page
You should likely consider the silo structure if your site:
- Is it in the planning stage or is brand new
- If you have lots of content but poor organic traffic
- If you are doing a redesign and changing page names and locations anyway
When should you not use a silo?
I think the silo structure is typically good and Google loves it, but you might consider not switching to it if:
Your site is old and already has tons of posts and backlinks. By redoing your site structure, you could lose a lot of your current search traffic and referral traffic. You may redirect all those pages, which would take a while.
If you already have organized your content well within WordPress. This isn’t that difficult to do as WordPress already has categories and tags, which helps with SEO. If your site is organized, you might not want to re-organize, as it might not give you that much of an SEO boost.
Silo structure has some benefits to arranging your pages in a way that filters all the link juice. Your site may greatly benefit and target keywords within a silo structure.