How I Boosted My Rankings for Competitive Keywords Using an SEO Silo Structure

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Website structures often evolve over time. Elements are added and removed, from pages to sections to blogs to articles.

This results in websites with lots of great content, but a haphazard organizational structure that holds the site back from reaching its full potential.

An SEO silo structure is the solution. We implemented it and got a boost in rankings for competitive keywords that increased levels of organic traffic.

Here’s how we did it, and how you can benefit from an SEO silo structure too.

What is an SEO Silo Structure?

A website with an SEO silo structure has main topic themes or categories. Each category or main topic theme has multiple sub-topics and, below the sub-topics, content posts, creating the silo. Here’s an example:

  • SEO (main topic theme or category)
    • Off-page SEO (sub-topic)
      • Link building (content post)
      • Content marketing (content post)
      • NAP mentions (content post)
    • On-page SEO (sub-topic)
      • Website content (content post)
      • SEO Silo Structure (content post)
      • Header tags (content post)
      • Page load speed (content post)

So, in a haphazard site structure, an article on “page load speed” would be published on the website’s blog.

In a website with an SEO silo structure, this content post would fit into the silo structure, supporting its sub-topic, “on-page SEO”, and main topic theme or category, “SEO”.

Why develop this type of content structure on your website? What are the advantages? There are two main reasons: improving usability, as well as to add context for Google.

Improving Usability

Creating organized groupings of pages on your website in a hierarchical structure helps users find the information they need, as everything is together.

Of course, many people advocate flat website structures rather than silo structures. They argue visitors should be able to find any page on your website within one or two clicks.

However, from my experience, you’ll encounter problems with this approach the larger your website gets. As you publish articles, blogs, and other content as part of your SEO and marketing strategy, the further away that content gets from your website’s most important pages, making it harder to find.

With an SEO silo structure, your website has multiple layers, but you group the content around topic areas, making it easier to find.

Adds Context for Google

The other major advantage of the SEO silo structure is it helps give context about your website to Google, making it clearer which pages are the most important. An SEO silo structure also shows how different pages connect together.

The silo approach to structuring content can also help improve your site’s authority as the structure shows Google you have covered topic areas in-depth.

The Role of Navigation and Internal Linking

An important point to remember with the SEO silo structure is that it completely depends on good navigation and internal linking. Specifically, each page within a silo should link to the page immediately above it, and this link should be reciprocated.

So, in our example, the page “page load speed” would link to “on-page SEO”, and there would be a reciprocal link on the page “on-page SEO” back to “page load speed”.

Don’t Forget the Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are an important feature of an SEO silo structure too. Breadcrumb navigation makes it easy for users to understand where they are on your site, and it helps them see how you have linked various pages together.

Visitors can also use breadcrumb navigation to explore topic areas in greater depth more easily.

How to Develop a Silo Structure

Here are the four main steps I use to create an SEO silo structure:

  • Focus on user experience – everything you do should focus on users first and search engines second. Think about how users view content and topic areas on your website. What is important to them, and what information or answers are they trying to find?
  • Decide on your page and post hierarchy – you can then determine the pages on your site that are the most important firstly for your users and, secondly, your SEO goals. The next stage is to decide on the sub topics and content posts for each main topic theme or category.
  • Create fantastic content – your SEO silo structure will have minimal impact if the content is low-quality. Therefore, you need to make sure every page at every level is as good as possible.
  • Link all the elements together – finally, you need to make sure all internal links are properly set up, with the link structure clearly defining not only the content within the silo, but also the hierarchy of that content.

Taking the Structure of Your Website to the Next Level

So, what are the takeaways?

Let’s start with usability. Many of the biggest websites on the internet have a silo-type structure, from Amazon to eBay to GoDaddy. This helps validate the strategy. It is an organisational structure that will be familiar to your website visitors.

You will also improve the usability of your website by improving the organisation of content.

There is a bit of work involved in creating the SEO silo structure, particularly if you have a large site.

However, the big payoff is organic traffic. We got an impressive boost in rankings, and you can do the same.

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