I know, I know, I hate the phrase "Content is King" as much as the next marketer, but let’s face it:
Everything Revolves Around ContentNo matter how many articles you’ve read that tell you otherwise (see, what I did there?) content is the link that ties it all and ultimately leads to online success.
The problem is a huge chunk of content never gets discovered and stays in the deep dark corners of the web collecting dust.
We don’t want that to happen, do we?
If you’re looking for a solid strategy that will streamline your content creation, drive more traffic to your website and lead to improved rankings among other things, you better keep on reading because that’s what I’m about to cover in this guide.
- What Is A Silo?
- How Does Content Siloing Lead to Better SEO?
- How to Silo a Website
- How Do I Use Silos in My SEO Strategy?
- Initial Keyword Research
- Keyword Clustering into Neat Groups
- Structuring Keywords into a Silo Structure
- Writing Content for Each Silo
- Planning an Ongoing Content Strategy
- Parting Words
What is a Silo?
The term "silo SEO" seems awfully scary and strange at first but it’s so much simpler than you think.
Ring any bells?
Well, content clusters and content silo are basically the same thing.
It is a technique that organizes connected pieces of information into distinct groups of keyword-relevant content.
A lot of great websites neglect to pay attention to their site structure without factoring subject relevance into their SEO strategy, which leads to tons of lost opportunities for better search visibility.
Although most marketers understand the importance of keywords, I gotta admit, they don’t fully grasp the concept of thematic relevance and the incredible results topical authority brings to the table.
Siloing is a way of viewing your website's existing content and how it can be organized logically by specific topics.
Search engines need to recognize the overall theme of a page and how do they do this?
By matching keywords to content.
SEO 101 here.
The thing is most websites have random keywords sprinkled across random pages (cannibalization alert!) which leads to a mishmash of content with no topical relevance.
This obviously confuses the bots to a point where they are unable to understand if a page is even relevant to a searcher’s query.
This is one of the main reasons why websites with tons of amazing content simply won’t rank.
Let’s look at Bruce Clay’s Marble jar analogy.
Each website is a jar of different color marbles that represent separate themes.
But what if the marbles are mixed together with no pattern or clear meaning?
Search engines then see it as a jumble of "themes" with no apparent order or emphasis.
What if we sorted each color of the marbles and put them into separate jars?
Then they will have distinct meaning and classification, right?
Still, we want all the marbles to be in the same jar, meaning we have to figure out a way to create distinct groupings inside the jar without disrupting their order.
That’s where siloing happens.
We need to split the website into different categories that will serve as the primary themes which head the silos under which all other content will essentially fall.
A single pillar page serves as the topical hub for all related pages and content pieces in practice.
To put it plainly, to create a silo structure, we need a head topic that will be our pillar page and supporting content pieces that will cover the head topic in more detail, such as blog posts, case studies, etc.
And here comes the million-dollar question!
How Does Content Siloing Lead to Better SEO?
What content silo accomplishes that other tactics fail to do is it organizes webpages so that both users and search engine bots have an easy time navigating through your site content without getting confused or missing critical information that you clearly want them to see.
Bots understand how your site is structured by following precisely placed internal links in your content, making it easier to show the topical expertise you have in a particular field.
And since the silo structure organized your content in neat groups that demonstrate clear competence in a specific area, it helps boost your domain authority, too.
A content silo, therefore, helps you make your content more appealing to the intent-centered modern-day search algorithm by clarifying relevance and driving overall rankings in the long run.
Let’s face it, we are living in a busy world where everything needs to be clear, accessible, and easy to consume, even for bots.
Evidently, content silos solves this by offering benefits for both the users and the crawlers by:
- Building strong thematic connections within each silo
- Helping to organize and map out your content strategy
- Increasing relevance of general topics
- Creating user-friendly navigation for visitors
- Supporting the usage of breadcrumbs for easy navigation
- Reinforcing a site-wide internal linking strategy
- Improving the chance of ranking for both long-tail and broad search terms
- Increasing time-on-site and reducing bounce rate
- Improving the authority for specific themes in each silo lead to higher rankings
How to Silo a Website
What is Physical Silo?
URLs are meant to inform the visitors and the bots about the page content, meaning they need to be readable and convey a given page's overall message.
And what physical silos manage to do is divide the whole website into accurate thematically compatible "folders" that host the supporting subcategories of that particular theme.
Let’s look at an example.
Say this website is selling workout apparel and they have different product lines, e.g. leggings for women.
Each theme (a.k.a. "leggings") has a group of pages under that one folder dedicated to it, and within that category/theme are subfolders for the different subcategories (e.g., "seamless").
Each file has its own dedicated place, with no two files getting into multiple categories, only one or the other.
What is a Virtual Silo?
- Connect groups of related content pages
- Separate unrelated pages
- Strengthen the hub pages of each silo
At the same time, with a virtual silo, everything is built around the links between these related pages.
You probably already know the significant benefits contextual internal linking can bring even without having a silo structure, but combine it with the physical silo and well-written content and you have a powerhouse right there.
Search engine bots crawl your site content by not only finding keywords but also by following its links.
Placing carefully considered links in those related content pieces gives bots the distinct idea that all the top-level landing pages and their supporting pages are theme-relevant to that particular section of your website.
Say an eCommerce website that has a topic around leather phone cases for iPhone 12.
A dedicated leather phone case page would serve as the pillar page with other tier 2, tier 3 pages linking back to it.
It can be anything, e.g. an article on how to pick the perfect case for your new flagship or an in-depth guide of which materials are best when choosing a phone case, etc..
Sending links back to the tier-1 page shows search engine crawlers that it is the most important content on the topic and should receive the best ranking.
Aside from the technical benefits of having internal link silos, it’s also very beneficial for users.
Take it on yourself; if you visit a website with no structure, no logical categorization, would you want to explore more?
Not a chance.
Pro-Tip: Lower-tier pages should not crosslink to other silo pages.
Unlike a general internal linking strategy, when creating a silo, content pages must be organized in separate categories.
If they link to one another, the whole point of the silo will be jumbled.
How Do I Use Silos in My SEO Strategy?
First thighs first, you need to break down your website into various categories and subcategories based on contextual relevance, user intent, search volume, conversion path, etc. Let’s not forget that users always come first, and SEO siloing is for better UX design first and foremost. After that, we can think about the bots.
Let’s get started.
Initial Keyword Research
Let’s say you already have a good list of non-branded relevant keywords that describe your products/services perfectly.
Now it’s time to stretch out that list as much as possible.
Are you still with me?
Imagine your blog for a moment.
You probably have various topics that are closely (or loosely) related to your website’s main subject matter, right?
So our mission here is to discover as many related topic themes so that the silos structure can come to life.
Pro-Tip: You can use the data from your PPC campaigns, ranking reports, competitor’s keyword targeting reports, and so on.
Keyword Clustering into Neat Groups
Pray, how do we do that?
With Keyword Cupid!
Think data, think mindmap, think clusters, think content strategy served!
I mean… sounds like a dream, right?
Let’s leave the heavy lifting for KC and enjoy a well-planned content strategy that’s accessible in a few hours. (Sales pitch who?)
Keyword cupid identifies the relationship between the keywords you already have in your keyword research file and gives you a visual mindmap of all the search phrases with their close relatives.
Plus, they come organized into neat piles with theme strengths.
I mean, you have your whole website architecture, with target keywords and a whole lot of supporting data I’ll get to in a minute right in front of you.
Did I mention it’s the first tool on the market to do that?
Well, it is!
If you’re interested to learn how the tool works and how to use it, you can explore our keyword cupid guide.
Structuring Keywords into a Silo Structure
But if you’re looking for the full package, let’s take it a step further by creating extra pages and blog posts linking within the content silo and to the top of the silo.
It is getting a bit confusing...
Please bear with me... We’re getting there!
This structure is to pass "link juice" down through a content silo and back to the top of the silo to create an interlinked, relevant structure around your key search phrases.
Moreover, the higher-tier pages can get more power with the help of the lower category pages and their external links.
Your top-tier pages are the surface of the silo – you want users to visit these category pages as much as possible so that they can travel down through your silo structure in search of more content.
Therefore the more links the hub pages have, the higher they will rank and the more visitors they will attract.
The only thing is, it is a lengthy process to create a perfect silos structure that can accommodate all of your search themes and flow nicely into each other.
Think of all the keywords you might miss or all the themes you might group differently.
Keyword Cupid does all the choosing and the grouping instead of using an deep neural networks to cluster your keyword research list.
It doesn’t get any more accurate than that!
Pro-Tip: It’s easy to get carried away with the silos and sink pages way too deep for users or crawlers to find.
To avoid this, use a shallow website structure and put pages directly under landing pages close to the homepage.
This way, it will only take a couple of clicks to get to any given page.
Writing Content for Each Silo
And guess what?
We have you covered here too!
Introducing SERP Spy!
Now with your Keyword Cupid report, aside from the whole silo structure, you get in-depth analytical data on how the keywords you submitted appear on the first 10-20 location-specific search engine results.
Basically, we spy on your competitors for you. 🕵️
You have data on how many words, on average, you should write, how many subheadings, the contextual outbound links, the number of bolded keywords, the number of images and so much more at your fingertips!
I have a question for you!
What content do you already have on your website?
There’s a pretty good chance you already have set categories with dedicated landing pages, you just need a few tweaks and adjustments to fit into the silos structure we’re building here.
Ideally, you’d want to focus on creating exceptional content pieces around high-performing and extremely relevant keyword groups at each level of the silo.
Each theme should have a high volume head term to target, supported by an umbrella of semantically relevant keywords for the silo.
I can’t stress enough the importance of high-quality and informative content!
The internet is flooded with copycat content that provides no value whatsoever and exists purely for ranking’s sake.
Not a path you should go down, trust me.
Before creating more content for each silo, or rewriting your existing pages, ask yourself?
- What value do I want to provide to my audience with this information?
- Is it going to make their experience on my website better?
If the answer is a firm "Yes" then you’ve got your next content piece lined up!
Planning an Ongoing Content Strategy
Once you have the groundwork for your content silos and added a few key pieces to your website, the game begins.
Oh, did you think that was it?
Unfortunately, or fortunately, however you look at it, it doesn’t stop there.
Throughout your SEO siloing strategy, keep the overall organization in mind.
It can be easy to get blindsided with the new trends, your competitor’s strategy or produce enough content while making sure that related pages link together.
Take a deep breath.
Knowing how to get started is the hardest thing. Now you just need a solid plan to stick to.
A few suggestions that might help:
Rewrite and Repurpose Existing ContentAs I’ve mentioned earlier, you probably have a good amount of relevant content on your website right about now that needs a bit of optimization and a bit of moving around.
Don’t be afraid of rewriting your old content or moving some pieces to different pages.
Make sure to properly keyword-optimize each page and place relevant anchor texts for internal linking purposes.
Look through your blog and remove any posts that are not in line with your website’s overall theme and dust off any old pieces of content that offer value to your site visitors.
Content CycleThe idea here is if you have three main themes, then you can have a 3-week content cycle where you’ll cover one topic per week.
This way, you can gradually feed in content to each silo without overpowering one theme and leaving the rest for later or never.
Write Blog PostsUse your keyword research file, or better yet, your Keyword Cupid report to develop your blog's topic ideas.
You can potentially come up with tons of content ideas for months to come so that you never have to worry about what to write next week.
This sort of planning will streamline your content creation.
Promote Your ContentQuality content is always a great source of traffic on paper.
But if no one ever sees it, how will they know it exists?
This is where content promotion comes in.
Not going into too much detail on this, but it’s always a good idea to promote your content on social media, through your email list, or by sharing it on other platforms.
Now you see, this is not something that can be done in a day or a week, but all good things take time.
Having a solid structure and bulletproof plan behind each piece of content will give you peace of mind that Google will reward your efforts with a notable ranking boost.
You might even rank for terms you never expected to be found for more on that coming soon.
To make your life even easier, make sure to use Keyword Cupid to its fullest by importing your keyword list to the tool and letting the machine learning do all the work for you.
- That's write Google we can use ML too! -The only thing left to do is export the data and start creating extraordinary pieces of content for all to see.
Start your 7-day trial now and test out the waters.
You’ll thank me later 😉