Why Silo Structure and Internal Linking is important in SEO?

Dibbyyan Nath
12 Min Read

In today’s world of burgeoning e-commerce, a website is a very important portal to communicate your business to your target audience. Your website can bring in traffic, create engagement, and drive conversions, and for all this to happen the information needs to be well organized. Silo structure organizes a website’s content into clear, hierarchical categories. This helps search engines understand the site’s themes and improves rankings. Internal links connect relevant pages within silos, aiding site navigation and allowing search bots to fully crawl the site. A siloed structure with strategic internal linking makes content discoverable and boosts organic search performance.

What is a Silo Structure?

A silo structure is a way to organize the content of your website in a structured and organized manner. This enables ease of navigation and clarity for your website or blog. Here you create topics and subtopics and write relevant content under them, leading to hierarchical groupings.

The key to building a silo structure is by organizing the information. First, you focus on the theme or niche, and then within that theme, you have highly organized categories or silos that are clear-cut but still related to each other presenting the whole picture. When you organize the information into such hierarchies on your website it has a powerful impact on SEO and you will be able to develop content for each category. This in turn boosts traffic, engagement, and conversions of your website.

Silo Structure

How does Silo structure improve SEO?

Clearly structured content is the key. 72% of the online marketers focus on content creation to generate traffic to their website or blog and a silo structure supports content creation activities. Silo structure leads to the information being grouped in a clear and precise manner helping visitors to easily navigate through the website.

A silo structure leads to customers understanding your website in a glance and they will end up clicking only a few times to get to their required destination on the website making them spend more time on your site instead of clicking multiple times to get where they want to go. This leads to a lot of confusion with many visitors getting frustrated and leaving your website in the middle of their search which in turn greatly impacts your conversion rates.

Silos help in creating keyword relevance and context as well.  For example, if you search for ‘healthy salad’ then the search engine will not only look at the keywords ‘healthy salad’ they will also look into the context behind the keyword. Hence it will display results from the category of recipes belonging to the setting of health and fitness. The search results won’t feature a blog about home repairs as this won’t make sense. So, using silo structures help in creating content that is relevant to the overall theme and categories as well. Organizing the information in a structured manner ensures that nothing is overlooked.

Internal linking Strategy in Silo Structure

Silo structure helps in interlinking your web pages and this is very crucial if you want your blogs or posts to rank in the search results. In this example, you can imagine linking as a champagne tower. If the glass at the top of the tower is filled and overflowing then the champagne will start filling the lower ranks of glasses until the entire tower is filled with full glasses of champagne. Internal linking works in the same way.

You need to ensure external links help visitors discover content across your site. A silo structure will link your posts of top categories with each other and with their subcategories, which in turn will be linked back to the home page. This is invaluable as it assists the search engine spiders to crawl your entire website and increase the probability of your posts and articles getting ranked in the search results. Through internal links, search engines will find more content on your site. Interlinking within the same silo of the sub-category is one of the best practices and ensures relevant information having the same context is featured. If you want to link multiple silos then linking the top-level categories is recommended.

Internal linking Strategy in Silo Structure

Source: webmasters.stackexchange.com

It also helps a visitor who has come across your website through an external link navigate your entire website and understand the information presented in your site leading to more conversions. If you already have a website up and running which has been in existence for quite some time then overhauling the entire website and moving the pages within the subdirectories will have a huge negative impact on search engine optimization. It is also not an efficient way to build a better site structure.

Instead, you could interlink the different web pages or topics making it easy to move from 1 topic silo to another. This way you don’t end up changing the physical location of the webpage within the site structure and search engines will be able to see that there is a change when the search spiders crawl the site. It also eliminates the possibility that the crawlers will view it as a completely new page and it can retain its previously established equity.

What Google is recommending in terms of Silo structure?

Google is a powerful search engine which not only looks at the keywords but also at the context behind the keywords before presenting the results. Siloing your website will help in sweeping Google off its feet and making your website rank very high in its search results. Google’s mission on its company webpage states “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Silos go a long way in achieving this.

Google is recommending in terms of Silo structure

A poorly themed website or blog doesn’t rank at all in the search results. It makes it difficult for the search engines to categorize them and put them under the relevant search result.  Search engines need to have a clear understanding of the website’s themes and in order to achieve this, the theme and categories need to be clear and distinct.

You can start building a silo structure by first understanding the theme of your website. What is the information you want to convey? Which theme would be better to convey this information? What themes are currently ranking for the website? What would be the main search engines queries to search for your content?

A clear theme must be established as it helps in visualizing the primary and secondary categories. Create silos for the top-level categories on your website. For example, if you are a peanut butter manufacturer and you are selling different varieties of peanut butter then you need to make silos for each category of peanut butter. All the creamy peanut butter variety needs a category of its own. The chunky kind of variety needs another category of its own.

 Under the creamy peanut butter, subcategories can be created like low-fat peanut butter, jelly peanut butter, organic peanut butter or traditional peanut butter, which in turn can be linked to the top category and in turn that is linked to the home page.

A second top category can be created for chunky peanut butter with different subcategories like roasted chunky peanut butter, organic chunky peanut butter, traditional chunky peanut butter, or honey-roasted chunky peanut butter which will all be linked back to the top category page and the home page. Interlinking between subcategories under chunky peanut butter will be efficient and help in smoother navigation. It will also rank better as they all have the same background of chunky peanut butter.

But interlinking the subcategories of peanut butter will dilute the context and negatively impact the search results. If you interlink traditional creamy peanut butter with traditional chunky peanut butter the background becomes diluted for search engines to understand. Instead, you can interlink the top categories with each other. I.e. chunky peanut butter with creamy peanut butter as it has the same background as peanut butter.

Examine the link structure throughout your website. Apply links wherever necessary and link only relevant subtopics with a similar context. Maintain your silo structure constantly. Keep on reviewing your link-building structure and link only relevant subtopics. Delink posts or articles that aren’t relevant to each other in terms of context. Manage inbound and outbound links carefully.

Publish relevant content of expert quality to beat the competition. Include targeted keyword phrases and apply them in the proper context, within appropriate silos. It is also important to keep reviewing your website. Exclude parts that dilute the theme relevance.

So why is a site map important for your website?

Having a sitemap on your home page or your root page is crucial as it helps search engines identify all the major sections of your website. Using sitemaps as a reference you can organize your content and categorize it according to relevance. If you want to expand your website increasing your silos one at a time is the best practice. This helps in maintaining the optimum silo structure without diluting the relevance.

Sitemap structure

Another tip in creating your website with a strong silo structure is to look at your competition. Scrutinize your competition on the topics that you want to rank on. Have a look at their website and determine how they structure their site. This will give you an insight into how the search engines are favoring the themes and topics. It can also help you in expanding your horizons and you might be able to find broader topics that would come under the scope of your silos.

Therefore a website’s structure is key in SEO and by having a well-established structure for your website you can build a strong foundation.

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Dibbyyan Nath is a well-known entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the Chief Creative Officer of Inteliqo Research and Services. Mr. Nath, over the past two decades, has donned a lot of hats, while writing has remained his first love. Now he aims to express his experiences, as the head of a digital marketing, content creating, and website development company, through his love for writing. To keep up with the young entrepreneur and his thoughts
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