Silo site architecture allows you to ‘sculpt’ link juice without using “nofollow”. Great silo site architecture (along with great content and decent on-page SEO) allows you to rank your site with fewer links since the links you build will have greater effect.
In silo site architecture, there are basically 2 types of pages/posts:
- Pages with focused keywords that act as landing pages for your top keywords.
- Supporting pages which pump link juice and authority to the landing pages. These will usually also rank for long tails and get traffic as an added benefit.
Silos construct tightly themed nodes of content within your website that are reinforced by
- Your URL structure
- Your linking structure
At some point, your silo will reach a critical number of posts and Google will view your site as an authority, making each new post you create in that silo rank easily soon after you publish.
Note that we imply that silos will be themes, but this isn’t required. Take any keywords, create pages for those keywords and put those links up in your top navigation and you’ve basically created a silo.
WordPress Silo Site Structure Best Practices
1. On the home page, have top menu links to the parent pages. No other header links. Put the ‘about us / contact / privacy’ legalese links in the footer. Remember that a contextual in content link is worth 5x a header nav/sidebar link, and a header nav/sidebar nav link is worth 5x the link juice of a footer link.
2. On parent pages, you have links to the home page and other parents in the top nav. In the sidebar, you have menu links to the children in the silo.
3. On the children pages, put sidebar menu links to the other children in that silo, as well as the links to the parents in the top navigation. You can set it up as a web ring where each child links to the next (see pic below). Big reminder: put a contextual link to the parent in the first paragraph of each child page using exact match keywords. The contextual link to the parent page is crucial as otherwise the silos spread the link juice evenly between the parent pages in the top navigation.
4. Children pages do not link anywhere else outside of the silo. As a recap:
- Children pages link to parent page via contextual links.
- Children pages link to each other via sidebar menu.
- Children pages link to other parent pages via the top menu.
On Page SEO and LSI
For on page seo, try the SEOPressor plugin which is expensive at $100 but is well worth the cost. Go into the plugin settings and setup the Bing API for LSI keywords.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is what the Google Hummingbird update was all about. To perform LSI on your post:
- When you SEO a page, do a Google and/or Bing search. At the bottom of the SERP you’ll see related search terms as well as autocomplete keywords that you can use use in your post. Use the various keyword variations that the search engines give you to try and rank for long tails instead of just repeating your main keyword until you hit 1%-3% density.
- Optimize your keywords in your URL. Practice putting the keywords you want to rank in the ‘/last-section-of-your-url/’. Google only looks in the last set of backslashes for your keywords. It will take cues from preceeding words in your URLs, but it’s most definitively biased towards your final set. So go with ‘mysite.com/tv/panasonic-lcd-tv/’ over ‘mysite.com/tv/panasonic-lcd/’.
Using Pages instead of Posts & Categories
WP Custom Category Pages plugin will convert your categories into pages. Simply navigate to Posts->Categories and when you edit your category you will have a new section to fill it in like a regular page.
Many sites simply strip the category base (‘/category/’) from the category archives and create a WordPress page with exactly the same URL that takes precedence over the category archive page (to have the URL structure reinforce your silos, you’ll want to use /%category%/%postname%/ as your permalinks). You can strip the “/category/” archive base using WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast.
Although SEO Ultimate can also set your page priority above your categories (when you elect to strip your category base), the plugin has lots of bad code that will slow your site so that particular SEO plugin is not recommended.
Many people find it easier to rank pages better than posts since they are intended to be more long term assets for your site, while posts are more for temporal, news style content.
The posts in that silo serve two purposes:
- To strengthen and reinforce the actual silo authority for that topic.
- Target long tail searches for more traffic.
So after you’ve completed these steps, you’ll have the following setup for your silo:
– domain.com/silo-category-page/ (your manual page)
– Supporting posts (blog posts) w/ the url structure domain.com/silo-category-page/blog-post-name/. Note that ‘silo-category-page’ is the category slug as well, so the URL structure reinforces the silo structure.
A slightly different approach was mentioned in the comments: just create the ‘category-(category-slug).php’ file for each of your silos, enter in 500+ words of descriptive text for your silo on that page (which can be hidden behind a “read more” tab to hide the text content on the page, allowing for easier navigation while still allowing for SEO benefits) and use your categories pages as your silos. Just make sure that Category pages are marked as
index, follow in Yoast SEO (I would also mark your Tag pages as
noindex, follow). Here’s a video that describes this type of silo site structure using WordPress:
Some Pointers in Setting Up Your Theme for Silo Structure
- No blog categories for your silos, since this is just duplicate content (post snippets) that detract from rankings. Silo architecture is about tight focus, not simply taking whatever WordPress gives you.
- Most WordPress themes need to be modded to support silo architecture. We can do this with plugins as listed above. Also check out Widget Logic as it has logic to create a customized menu that you can make appear only for the members of a particular silo (you just need to specify the page IDs that you want the custom menu to appear for that particular Widget Logic widget.
References for this post: