The Pure SEO Guide to Site Siloing & Information Architecture
How you organize your website content is an essential part of your SEO strategy. Site structure must communicate topic relevance to search engines. How pages are siloed into topic themes represents the information architecture of your site. This can have far-reach implications for how those pages are crawled and indexed by search engine bots. Read on to learn more about siloing and information architecture, and why they are so important.
What is information architecture?
To rank well in search engines for both broad, short-tail keywords, and more specific, long-tail keywords, your website must have enough organised supporting content to appear relevant for those terms. Search engines look closely at your site structure to determine your site’s main topics and whether there is enough keyword-supporting content. Siloing a website means grouping related pages together, either structurally or through linking, to establish the site’s keyword-based themes.
How Siloing Affects Your SEO
Good site structure results in a good user experience because users can find whatever they are looking for by using a logical sequence to follow the architecture. If your user can find what they are looking for, it means that they will stay on the site for a long time (i.e., “dwell time”). If dwell time is high, Google takes this to mean that the site provides a good user experience and may thus rank it higher on its results page. Therefore, SEO specialists count site architecture as among the top SEO ranking factors.
Site structure also has an off-page effect on your SEO, particularly on the SERPs. How? Well, to index your webpage and show it to users, Google first must be able to see it. When Google’s bots can access all the content on your page and index it for display on a SERP, we call this “full crawlability”. A good site structure can guide these bots through your website’s pages by following the links between pages and showing Google that your site has a great structure.
SEO Best Practices for Siloing
The process of siloing a website by topic can be briefly described in four steps:
Determine the overarching themes for your website.
What content do you have (and plan to have), and what is it about? We recommend you consider your themes in conjunction with keyword research. (See Step 1 for more on keyword research).
Choose your siloing strategy.
There are two ways to silo a website: physical siloing through the directory structure and virtual siloing through the linking structure. Decide how to implement a website structure that identifies the themes of your website, either by combining physical and virtual siloing or through virtual siloing alone.
When you use the physical URL directory structure of a website like a filing cabinet to organize related pages, you are creating physical silos. Each theme of the site has a group of pages saved together under one folder dedicated to that specific category and within that category are subfolders for various subcategories. Each file has its place in a distinct category, with no two files ever filed into both.
For a physical silo structure, create a directory structure that aligns with the various themes covered within your website.
Virtual siloing involves using the internal link structure of a site (i.e., how pages link to other pages). A virtual silo is formed by hypertext links between theme-related pages. In fact, connecting related pages virtually through text links can be effective even in the absence of physical silos, because the search engine spiders crawl a site’s contents by following its links.
Virtual siloing is powerful. By linking between pages that are tightly related in both topic and theme, you are consolidating that theme’s relevance to a section of your site. A site hierarchy, with top-level landing pages and support pages for each SEO silo, emerges based on linking patterns alone.
Plan your linking structure.
Examine your link structure (starting from your main navigation menu) and decide how best to connect pages to reinforce your themes according to the way people search for your content. Keep in mind that you’ll generally need at least five supporting content pages to establish a silo theme.
Implement and build your silos.
Publish high-quality content that includes your targeted keyword phrases for each theme-based silo. Trim and/or create links to connect supporting pages within each silo and reinforce your top-level silo landing pages.
Ruby joined the content team in August 2021. An avid reader and writer since she was young, Ruby always knew she wanted to work with words. After leaving high school, she studied a Bachelor of Communications majoring in journalism at Massey university. She spent a few years working as a journalist for a news app in the area she grew up in, Matakana, before joining the team at PureSEO.
Ruby also worked part time as a preschool teacher to save money for travelling. So far she has ticked Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bali off her list, and she hopes to be able to travel again soon.
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