What is a silo structure in SEO? If you already have a niche website, you may have noticed that a competitor’s article ranks higher in Google than yours, while your article has a higher word count and has a more detailed description. It often happens that lower-quality content ranks higher in the search results than good content. This may be due to the better structure of the website with the lesser quality content. A website with a sound structure is much better not only for the user but also for the search engines.
A silo contains all content on a specific topic.
The silo structure owes its name to the silos that are big storages that store foods like grain. A silo contains exactly one type of content; it makes little sense to store grain and cement in the same silo. If we translate this concept into a website structure, then a silo serves as a storage place for subjects instead of goods. When a website sells soccer jerseys and basketball jerseys, these two types of products (or: subjects) both deserve their own silo.
Let us take a bicycle repairman as an example. This guy has decades of experience and knows exactly what he is talking about. That is why he has created a blog on his website where he occasionally posts an article. These items are of very high quality and are an excellent reflection of his authority. However, there is a slight inconvenience: the blog does not contain any structure.
All subjects are scattered in terms of content. An article about replacing the exhaust of a scooter. An article about repairing a bicycle tire. An article about the possibility to rent a bike at his store. Although the user (with a little search) can still make the connection between certain articles, this becomes more difficult for the search engines. To lend a helping hand to the search engines, it is advisable to provide a silo structure.
The vertical layout of a website; from main topic to subtopic
A blog usually uses a horizontal website structure. This means that all pages are on the same horizontal level, with little structure. Dividing into categories helps, but this is still different from a vertical silo structure. With this structure you can, as it were, split up the website into different, mutually closed parts (silos).
It is important here to make a clear distinction between main topics that are general in nature, but specific enough with their own scope. The sub-topics are slightly more specific and the subjects that come underneath are even more specific. Eventually, you end up with pages that are optimized for long-tail keywords. In the case of the bicycle repair shop, the main topics could be bicycles, scooters, and accessories.
Under ‘bicycles’, for example, are the sub-topics bicycle sales, bicycle rentals, and bicycle repairs. Bicycle repairs include, for example, bicycle frames, bicycle wheels, bicycle tires, bicycle chains and so on. The bicycle repairman can still write his blog articles, but the difference is that they now end up in a very specific silo.
Also remember that the structure of your URLs is very important here, ideally, this is a 1-on-1 representation of your silo structure in SEO. In the case of the bicycle mechanic: / bicycles / bicycle repairs /, / bicycles / bicycle rental / and so on. With this, you do the search engines, and therefore yourself, a big favor. This way can make the crawlers, the search engine connection, and the mutual relationship between different topics much better.
Keep the internal links within the specific silo
You can further enhance the effect of a silo structure for SEO by following a simple guideline regarding links on your pages. Make sure the internal links (links to another page of your own website) only refer to pages within the same silo. These links are not only useful for the reader but are also indexed by the crawlers. By keeping all internal links within the specific silo, you make the connection between your subjects even better for the crawlers.
Do you still want to add a link to a page outside your silo, or a link to another website? Then make sure the link has a no-follow attribute. With this, you tell the search engine that it does add value to the page, but with the kind request not to associate this link with your website. This way you prevent distractions and the crawlers only associate the relevant pages and keywords with your website and silo.
This way you can still blog about very specific topics. The difference is that the articles are no longer arranged in the ‘traditional’ horizontal way, but fall vertically within a certain subject (silo). By combining the authority of your articles with a good silo structure, you increase the authority of your entire website in the eyes of the search engines.
When building a completely new (niche) website, it is important to think carefully about the structure in advance. A well-thought-out silo structure is in most cases a very good option. Remember that implementing a silo structure is easier to do from the beginning than afterward with an existing website. This is because in that case, you have to take the existing URLs and links into account. Failure to correctly redirect an old URL to a new one is a well-known SEO mistake and, moreover, a shame.
When building a new website, think carefully about the structure. When converting an existing website, first take the appropriate precautions before acting. The use of a strong silo structure can just mean the difference between a spot on the first page of the search results, or just outside it.