It’s an established fact that links are the bread and butter of white-hat SEO. However, the focus on acquiring high-quality backlinks tends to overshadow the importance of internal links. While building a solid backlink profile uses up a lot of resources for careful planning and strategizing, internal links are still handled pretty randomly. As a result, the internal structure of a website is pretty random, as well.
Why is this bad for SEO?
And more importantly – what to do about it?
In a nutshell, good internal structure entails a couple of crucial things for SEO: an excellent user experience and improved site crawlability (along with faster page indexability). In other words – it serves both the people and the machines.
Finally, in their Guide to SEO, search engine optimization mavens from Moz.com singled out a feature that top-ranking websites have in common: they are all ‘’easy to use, navigate, and understand’’.
Luckily, there is a technique that opened a large window and let the much needed fresh air into the stale notions about website structure. It’s called Siloing.
Siloing: The marriage of internal structure and topic relevance
Silo structure is basically an upgrade of the traditional deep site structure. In essence, the deeper the links go into your website, the more meaningful the internal structure is. The idea is to link pages that are topically relevant to each other. Silo structure embraces that guideline and cranks it up a notch – with siloing, the topically relevant pages are not only connected meaningfully but are also structurally close to one another.
A silo structure is actually a group of pages organized according to a strict and meaningful hierarchy. The starting page (the main silo) in a hierarchy presents a general topic. The main silo is then broken down to smaller silos, that is – subtopics relevant to the main topic. For example, if the main silo is ‘’kitchen remodel’’, the topically relevant silos would be:
‘’kitchen remodel cost’’
‘’kitchen remodel on a budget’’
‘’kitchen remodel ideas’’
‘’kitchen remodel trends’’
‘’small kitchen remodel’’
Each of these silos could be broken down into their own sub topics; for example, ‘’kitchen remodel trends’’ could generate ‘’kitchen remodel spring trends’’, and so on.
Silo structure vs. blog interlinking
The comparison between the way pages are organized in a silo and on a blog is necessary for a number of reasons. First of all, siloing is challenging the practice that all new content should be put in the blog section, as opposed to anywhere else on the website, where we usually find product and service pages.
Why is that?
Although interlinking blog posts based on how topically relevant they are to each other, it means we are linking pages that are on the same structural level. Basically, all blog posts are on the same hierarchical level, so interlinking them indicates a flat website structure, as opposed to the deep structure we discussed earlier.
The benefits of silo structure
Siloing ensures the sustainability of a website, in the broadest sense of the word. Firstly, it organizes website content in a way that is easy for crawlers to understand, both from the perspective of topic relevance and physical page organization. Secondly, it provides a structure that is easier for users to follow because it’s more meaningful, so moving around a website feels more natural. And no one can deny the long-lasting positive effects of easy crawlability and great user experience.
What’s more, content planning becomes more organized with siloing. Now more than ever, the focus is on grouping topically relevant keywords and breaking them down from the head term to a number of subordinate terms. In that way, content topics become more keyword-informed, so keywords appear naturally throughout the content.
Most importantly, when a user searches for one of your silo keywords and lands on one of the silos, they are naturally guided through the whole silo structure. The greater the user engagement, the clearer the signal to Google that you are the best answer to a searcher’s query!
Does Siloing mean starting from scratch?
Not necessarily. You can use this linking technique to improve your website’s existing internal structure. For example, take the service pages positioned on the main navigation menu. You can organize the drop down menu for each service page and its subpages as a separate silo. Depending on your business, the subpages will either be a top-down breakdown of the main service or different areas in which you offer that service.
Capitalize on the benefits of this amazing linking technique and you are sure to improve the internal structure of your website, boost user experience and get outstanding rankings!