How Does Silo Structure Help with SEO?
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Search engines have advanced a lot over the past few years. To ensure that your content marketing techniques are relevant, you must keep up with the SEO trends. The trend we want to discuss today is the silo structure.
In the good old days of search engine optimization, a lot of small and medium-sized businesses would churn out articles as fast as they could. The content was commonly stuffed with as many keywords as possible to get a higher ranking. Those days are long gone. Google has gotten smarter and will penalize you for keyword stuffing – and other shady tactics to try and game the system.
What sells in 2020 is research-based, attention-grabbing content that solves real problems. While the finer details may have shifted, this has always been (and always will be) the best way to earn top ranking spots on Google.
But, how can you incorporate all of the keywords you need without getting docked on the SERPs for stuffing? The answer lies in content silos.
Let’s discuss this.
The Importance of a Silo Structure
A silo structure aims to create a complete, go-to reference set up for your visitors around a certain topic.
Once a silo is created, you can create content like a series of videos, infographics, images, and blog articles—to be published on your website or as guest blogs — to expand on each sub-topic. Together these collections of the content constitute a silo structure.
Assume that you own an HVAC installation company and run a blog on various subjects related to HVAC systems. The topics that your content pieces cover can be:
- How to keep your central heat and cooling system in good shape during winters and summers
- How to identify frequently occurring issues — clogged filters, inefficient heaters, and so on.
- How the problems can be quickly remedied when they appear.
To create a silo structure, these posts would need to be connected to a singular page about one overarching topic related to the company’s services. In this case, one page could be about repairs and maintenance, one could be about the mechanical aspects of HVAC systems, and another could be information on replacements.
So, why should you utilize a silo structure on your website?
Ultimately, it offers a lot of SEO benefits in the long haul – and maybe the best way to boost your content’s ranking in the SERPs.
Here are some of the key reasons to do this:
1. Better Organization of Your Website’s Content
Silo structure is made of groups of related content pieces that revolve around a keyword-focused topic or theme.
The silo structure involves creating a centralized landing page for a singular umbrella topic where each content cluster can extend from. So, going back to the example of HVAC content, a content silo page would be built around HVAC maintenance. From there, each cluster would be the related subtopics with subsequent content pieces.
2. Help Search Engines Crawl, Index, and Rank your Website
Writing several quality articles about a topic will cover all your keywords naturally. This will help you rank higher on search pages by giving Google further context clues and signals, which are used to determine your ranking.
Further, having a centralized silo structure creates pages dedicated to a singular topic, which can help you rank higher by showing search engines that this page is related to a specific keyword.
3. Improve Content Relevancy for Higher Ranking
Google’s increasing reliance on AI emphasizes context more than keywords to provide truly relevant search results. Content posts should provide plenty of context around a topic and help it align with the user’s intent – rather than simply matched keyword phrases.
Google has gotten a lot more intelligent – and utilizes machine learning technology to optimize search results based on intent, rather than exact keyword matches. For instance, say that a person types in “Starbucks San Francisco.” Google knows this person probably isn’t looking for statistics on how many Starbucks are in the city or when the first one was opened. They want to see where the closest location is to them at the moment.
Silo structure breaks down clustered topics into sub-topics, which align with conversational queries.
Let’s refer back to the HVAC silo page. Say that a person asks Google: “How often do I need to change the air filter in my home?” Google could direct them to one of the content cluster pages which addresses this subtopic. This is because it knows that a page branching off of the main “air filter” page addresses this query.
4. Internal Linking Adds Authority
Consumers are more likely to believe in you if you can show them your expertise through content. Suppose you have multiple pages diving deep into sub-topics related directly to your business or industry. In that case, it offers customers that you have a lot of knowledge – and are adept at solving their problems. This can help to earn consumer trust and position your brand as a point of reference for credible information.
5. Structure to Encourage Sales
When your content acts as your niche’s encyclopedia, people will turn to you for help. This can make them more likely to buy from you – as they progress from your blog posts to product pages – or reach out to purchase services from your company.
Important Elements in a Silo Structure
Silo structure can be a bit confusing – as there are lots of branches and subtopics. Let’s break down all of the most important elements that must come together to form a silo structure.
The homepage is the base from which all content silos will extend. This will introduce visitors to your website’s overarching theme, such as the service your business offers or the types of products it sells.
Service pages – or target pages – then extend from the home page to begin funneling the visitor towards a specific topic. For instance, say that your business sells home renovation services. One target page could be roofing, another could be remodeling, and another could be landscaping. These pages are the foundation of the silo structure.
Topic Clusters and Supporting Posts
Topic clusters are pieces of content that branch off the target pages and offer subsets of the overarching subjects. If the main topic is roofing, the cluster content could cover subjects like the pros and cons of asphalt shingles, metal shingles, or tile shingles.
As cluster pages are created and linked to the target page, search engines will then use those links as signals to determine the website’s authority. The more pages linking to the content silos, the greater the chances that they will rank on the SERPs.
The next step is to ensure that all of these supporting posts are properly linked back to the content silo page – as well as other supporting articles. Internal linking is extremely important for SEO because it ties everything together and shows how each page is connected. This helps Google understand the depth of your expertise. Additionally, it helps bots navigate through your site to find the most relevant information based on the query.
Quality Outbound Backlinks
All of these supporting articles need to include quality outbound links to pages with high ranking authority. This signals to search engines that your information is accurate and backed up with other quality content.
According to Moz’s research, linking signals, including linking domain authority and quantity, make up nearly 28% of the ranking factors for organic search results.
How Does Foxxr Create and Implement Silos?
Here at Foxxr Digital Marketing, we help businesses improve their SEO through content strategies, link building, web design, and other SEO tactics. We know that creating a silo structure is important – but the task can be quite overwhelming to business owners who are not well versed in website design or content management.
We like to take a personalized strategic approach in creating silo structures for each of our clients. Here’s how we do it:
Target Page Identification for Silos
The target page for a primary keyword should not be the homepage. Instead, it should be a page that links directly to the homepage and vice versa, either through navigation or body content. This will commonly be a service page.
We check the top-ranking pages using tools like Ahref’s site explorer to identify the website’s top-performing service page or target page. Once we have this list of top-ranking keywords, we separate them into logical categories, representing each target page and subsequent supporting articles.
Supporting Articles Identification:
We then check the existing articles on the website that relate to the target page. There is no need to remove old articles. You want to keep as many as possible – especially if they have established some SEO credibility in terms of traffic. These posts may need to be updated, but we look for ways that they can serve as the supporting articles for the target page.
If there are not enough existing supporting articles, we will research and create new title ideas and potential posts to be used in the silo.
How We Find Supporting Keywords for Articles
Keyword density is still very important. Search engines rely on this (along with other ranking mechanisms) to list results on the SERPs. But recent search algorithm updates have made keyword inclusion less important than other factors, like site structure.
Clever use of content silos permits you to utilize your primary keywords more naturally. It also allows you to target long-tail phrases that have lower competition and more descriptive elements. These can be great for creating new sub-topics for content cluster posts.
Credit to: Neil Patel, How to Generate 20,000 Monthly Visitors Through Long-Tail Search
The target page is optimized for a primary keyword. We plug that primary keyword in Ahrefs’ keyword explorer tool to find out the phrases related to that keyword (also known as long-tail keywords).
Ideally, these should have a Keyword Difficulty of less than 30 and search volume higher than 100.
These create the supporting keywords: the conversational keywords that don’t go on the target page. The supporting keywords should not be an exact replica of the primary keyword, but rather extensions that create logical subtopics.
How Do We Find Title Ideas for Supporting Articles?
After finding the supporting keyword, we perform a manual search on Google to check what competitors are ranking for that keyword and what titles they are using for their content.
After taking inspiration from the competitors, we come up with our own title ideas to compete with the top-ranking competitors.
We utilize a Tasklist on Teamwork to keep all of this information organized, so all keyword research, content ideas, and other relevant information is stored in one database.
How Does Foxxr Map Silos and Communicate with Clients?
We use a Silo slide to track and communicate with the clients to share our strategy.
From here, we plug in the links to live posts and ideas for internal linking strategies. This is the catalyst for how we create silo structures through topic clusters.
We use the following internal linking template to make sure we are implementing internal links correctly. This is where we list out the main keywords for each page, along with titles, type, and keyword volume information. We also include all internal and external links for each page.
SEO has changed a lot in recent years. You cannot rely on old content marketing techniques to work these days with Google’s highly complex algorithm and AI-based systems. Today, it’s all about structure – and silo structure web design is the way to go.
Adopting the silo structure model in your online marketing plan is a key strategy for dominating search and expanding your business. Foxxr Digital Marketing is here to help you improve your site’s structure and create well-organized, keyword-optimized content to help you earn top spots on the SERPs and drive organic traffic.
We are a digital marketing agency that specializes in local SEO, website design, and content marketing. Reach out to us today for a virtual consultation to learn more about our services and see how we can help your business improve its digital strategies.