What is a Silo Structure and How Does It Benefit SEO?

By March 26, 2016 SEO

Question, would you say that a book without a table of contents, and has randomly arranged chapters – with no relation whatsoever – is properly optimised? Of course not! The same thing applies to websites. Search engines give high rankings to websites that have a good structure and well-organised content. A good website needs to have structured content in a way that looks clear and topic-relevant, to both visitors and search engines. That’s why SEO requires a lot more effort than just placing a bunch of keywords in your posts and pages.

But, how can you organise your website clearly? One of the best techniques out there is called siloing, and in this article, we’re going to find out what silos are and do they benefit SEO.

What is a Silo Structure?

Silo as a verb means to isolate something from others in a structure. Silo as a SEO technique, means to group related content on your website together in an organised manner. It takes lot of planning and effort to come up with a website design that links and groups everything together in a systematic way. It’s all about organising content by its theme/topic. Let’s demonstrate a simple silo structure:

www.yourwebsite.com – this is your home page

www.yourwebsite.com/topic1 (silo)

www.yourwebsite.com/topic1/subtopic1

www.yourwebsite.com/topic1/subtopic2

www.yourwebsite.com/topic2

www.yourwebsite.com/topic2/subtopic1

www.yourwebsite.com/topic2/subtopic2

www.yourwebsite.com/topic3

www.yourwebsite.com/topic3/subtopic1

www.yourwebsite.com/topic3/subtopic2

Here’s a visual representation of the above:

silo structure

When you organise your pages this way, you’ll make it clear to search engines which keywords/topics you’re targeting – in a given group or silo. You’ll find this very similar to tree structures, where the node at the very top is the root.

2 Types of Siloing

Physical Siloing

Physical siloing means that you save structure theme/topic of your website in subfolders. Each subfolder will be focused on one category. But it can however, have sub-directories for different types of items. Take this URL for example:

www.yourwebsite.com/electronics/laptops/macbookpro-2015.html

Looking at this URL, we can see that this page is about MacBook Pro. But does it reveal anything else? If you start from the left, you will notice that macbookpro-2015.html is part of electronics (which is the specific category), and again, part of laptops (which is a sub-category in electronics).

To create physical silos, we need to create a directory structure for our website depending on our content’s focus and topics.

Virtual Siloing

Virtual siloing is different. It uses internal links from your website to connect and group related pages together. While search engines crawl your website, they tend to follow links. That’s why you can organise your content using virtual siloing only – without having to create physical silos.

With virtual siloing, it’s all about creating hyperlinks to connect pages that are relevant to the topic. By doing this, you’re basically enriching the content theme structure – which adds relevance for that section of your website.

SEO Benefits of Using Silos

Your website can benefit massively by organising your content through silos. Search engines will prefer your website over similar ones in the same market, because they’ll be able to clearly understand your content and the keywords you’re targeting. The linking between topics and pages will strengthen the website’s topic and keep your content tightly related and focused.

A great silo actually combines physical and virtual siloing. Each item within a physical sub-directory/category can interlink with the other items within that sub-directory/category, it’s  powerful stuff!

Matthew Rogers

About Matthew Rogers

I love everything visual & digital, from photography to graphic design and special effects.