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SEO Silo Structure - Still Effective?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by metra, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. metra

    metra Junior Member

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    I've recently read an article about the SEO Silo structure and how it really helps in site organization and crawling. Now, I've looked around and every article I seem to find about the Silo structure is dated and there hasn't been any talk about it in recent days. I wanted to implement this structure into a site I'm currently working on, but don't know if there could be any negative SEO effects on the site (I'd assume no, since you're just improving the structure - but over-optimization comes to mind...just looking for some clarification.)

    I've also got a few questions:

    1) If this is done on a WordPress blog would all articles have to be separate pages? Or could this be done with posts. I know that in the past the SEO silo was done with strictly pages. There are probably a few plugins to create such a structure, but I'd like to do it manually and maybe switch things around slightly (details about what I'd like to switch around in #2)

    2) From what I've read in the past, this Silo structure was done from the main page down the tree - what I mean is, there would be the primary article and it would be linking down to the lower levels (Kind of like the roots in a tree). This was done to spread out the link juice that you pushed towards your homepage.
    Now, what I wanted to do was link up instead - the 3rd and 2nd silo tiers would be linking up to the primary page ('1st tier') and keyword I'm trying to rank - backlinks would be spread across all articles, but (hopefully) if this structure is still effective and works, the link juice would be pushed more towards that primary article/page that all the pages are ultimately linking up to.

    Any help and/or input greatly appreciated!

    Best Regards,
    - Metra
     
  2. twistedtrick

    twistedtrick Power Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean about the silo structure penalizing your site, but in my opinion all the silo structure does is help to organize your content in a way that makes the most sense for both your users and search engines. It is a rather fancy term, I would prefer to call it "categorizing and subcategorizing" since that is how I understand it to be done (level 1 = widgets, level 2 pages= red widgets, blue widgets, green widgets, level 3 pages = big red widgets, little red widgets, big blue widgets, little blue widgets, big green widgets, little green widgets).

    An image speaks 1000 words...
    [​IMG]

    As far as your question about posts/pages, as long as your permalink structure is set to %postname% (assuming WP) I don't see why posts would work any better or less than pages. In your menu I would setup the silo as you want it to be for your posts/pages, and then arrange the internal links on your posts/pages in a similar fashion.

    Lastly referring to linking up, as long as more high quality internal links are pointing to your root URL rather than internal URLs, theoretically the bulk of the juice would go to the root URL.

    I use a similar structure on my sites and it works pretty well, although I will admit sometimes the hardest part to this structure is explaining to the client why they need 20 different articles on keywords and subkeywords rather than 1 huge article on their big money keyword!
     
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  3. metra

    metra Junior Member

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    Hey Twisted,

    Thanks for the detailed reply! You cleared up all the questions I had about the Silo; I had a few doubts about it at first and didn't want to get into it without knowing if I was doing it the right way.
    Currently all my posts are %postname%, so it's good to know that it works great for posts.

    Thanks again!

    Best,
    - Metra
     
  4. ok888

    ok888 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Twisted have said it all


    Im been using silo structure for awhile now but not mainly for SEO purpose it just help on organizing the site and it been working really welll for me. I havnt seem any sign of penalize
     
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  5. cash202

    cash202 Elite Member Premium Member

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    Overly optimised silo will fuck you over.

    Structure like this

    Code:
    http://www.fast-payday-loans.com/instant-payday-loans/instant-payday-loans-hempshire.html
    will send your ranking straight down the toilet really fast.
     
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  6. metra

    metra Junior Member

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    Hey Cash,

    Could you elaborate a bit more on that? Do you mean the excessive use of too similar keywords --> fast, instant, instant (with hemisphere at the end)? Very little variation?
    The site redirects to payday(dot)org , so I can't see the internal structure.

    Best,
    - Metra
     
  7. cash202

    cash202 Elite Member Premium Member

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    I just made up the site name. Didn't know it exists. Here you go.

    Fucking up your ranking tutorial

    Step 1

    Let's combine:

    A) Three words or more EMD. Dashes in domain name make it worse (fast-payday-loans.com)
    B) Three word variations of the main keyword straight from the keyword research tool as category names (instant payday loans, fast payday loans, speedy payday loans, payday loans for men, payday loans for women, payday loans for shemales, payday loans <insert every suburb in the whole state here> etc)
    C) Let's repeat the keyword again in a page name (payday-loans-for-men-in-springfield)
    D) As a bonus, make it not two but three or more level deep. Like:

    Code:
    http://www.fast-payday-loans.com/fast-payday-loans/fast-payday-loans-for-shemales/fast-payday-loans-for-shemales-in-springfield.html 
    Step 2

    Wait a little, you ranking will already start to creep down.

    Step 3

    Wait till the next Panda refresh. Watch you site getting smashed.
     
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  8. metra

    metra Junior Member

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    Haha, got it. Thanks for the clarification.

    So to change that to, "Boosting your ranking tutorial" instead, you would:

    A) Use a brandable domain name (I already currently have one that I'm planning to use for this site)
    B) Instead of using direct LSI keywords and variations, I would instead use synonyms or related terms! Instant of 'instant payday loans', something like 'best loan company'.. terrible example, but no words come to mind.
    C) Instead of once again branching off of the main keyword (and including it everywhere / over-optimizing), I would instead try to branch off again and use synonyms and related terms to the level above (best loan company), such as 'LoanCompanyName Review' for ex.
    D) I would make it three levels deep, because as long as this Silo layout is actually benefiting visitors and making information easier to find, it might be more efficient to lay out another subcategory.

    Code:
    http://www.mybrand.com/best-loan-company/loanCompanyName-review.html
    
    Or actually, I missed the category with the keyword I'm linking to:
    Code:
    http://www.mybrand.com/fast-payday-loans/best-loan-company/loanCompanyName-review.html
    
    Am I thinking along the right lines? I'd like to know I have the right idea before moving forward.

    Appreciate It,
    - Metra
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  9. jascoken

    jascoken Senior Member

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    Silo-ing refers to the link-structure and category/anchor-text flow throughout the site... It has nothing to with the physical URL/directory naming structure.

    Using URLs like above is essentially keyword-stuffing via the URLs: don't do it! Long and keyword-over-stuffed URLs are not good for the long-term!
     
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  10. metra

    metra Junior Member

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    Hi jascoken,

    Thanks for your reply. I understand that it's the linking structure, but I'm trying to further understand some more specific details of ways for this to benefit the site you implement it on even more.
    If I had my primary category, what I wanted to do was create more content down the 'silo' that is all related to the previous piece of content in some way, and branch down.

    Code:
    http://www.mybrand.com/fast-payday-loans/best-loan-company/loanCompanyName-review.html
    You're saying that is too keyword stuffed? It's true, with this example I tried using related topics as names but each one has a keyword.
    So, to improve this even further -- I would focus on related content and not worry at all about whether or not to include keywords into the content (title URL); I would only focus on putting keywords into the linking structure, such as the anchor text from one piece of content to the next. This way the titles wouldn't be 'keyword stuffed', and it would all be related content?

    Note: With my example I was inferring that the URL naming structure is directly connected to the link-structure, categories, etc. like you mentioned (if that makes sense). I'm trying to represent how I link everything together with a 'mock up' url of how it would look - I wouldn't just be focusing on naming my URL in a specific way :) It's just an 'illustration'.


    Thanks,
    - Metra
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  11. metra

    metra Junior Member

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    Bump. Looking to confirm.
     
  12. pitbulllopez

    pitbulllopez Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Twist you have explained it all pretty well. Great efforts mate.
     
  13. saber210

    saber210 Supreme Member

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    Hello, AFAIK, Silo structure can help to increase the crawling rate of your other articles and it can also increase user experience and pageviews or lower the bounce rate.

    About.com is one of the best example of Silo Structure.
     
  14. jascoken

    jascoken Senior Member

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    This is getting a little confusing; you're using an example of a massive URL with overly repeated words, and I think this may be getting in the way.

    Silo-ing or grouping of themed content is about the internal link-structure goging down through expanding sub-trees of related themes and sub-themes. Yes; this means keywords to some extent, but obviously you need to avoid over-use of keyword elements. It also means using LSI/alternate wording to add weight to other keywords using different wording. It also allows use of extra content along similar themes to bulk-out and add weight to your site and pages, as well as providing content-fodder for long-tails.

    But you keep using an example of a very long URL with loads of category tags that create a keyword-stuffed URL. You don't need any of that. I'd personally avoid any layered category tags if you're using wordpress/CMS systems as they just create needlessly long URLs with repetition of keywords; they're just unnecessary and ugly. You can have silo-ing working correctly as per the diagram above without any mention of the themes/sub-themes or 'branches' in your URL; it's the internal page-linking structure that creates the silo - not the categories or URL branches etc.

    I think you could be over-thinking this a little!
     
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  15. phpbuilt

    phpbuilt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Some more benefits of siloing that I don't see mentioned ...

    Siloing cuts down on internal link noise. For instance, if you link to every category and every subcategory in your side menu, lets say it equals 100 internal links.

    When you silo that properly (limit subcategory links only when you're browsing the parent category), it might cut that down to 30 parent category links + 10ish subcategory links (40 total). That's a whole lot less keyword-stuffing, and the remaining links are more effective.

    I happen to see PR distributed well through a siloed site ... on the other hand, a site where there's way more links, it seems Google chooses to consider some more important than others. It shows a better, more evenly applied backlinks for internal links in webmaster tools.

    Finally, the bigger purpose of silioing (having your internal pages link heavily between other pages that they are specifically related to by subcategory), is still a very effective way of doing your internal linking. Nowadays I like to rely on my own in-content links doing that, but if I were throwing content together into categories without in-content links ... I'd want it siloed so related pages are automatically linking together.

    In other words, yes still a good technique.

    Addressing cash202's concern above ... you don't want to silo on a one-trick-pony site. No microniche site needs siloing. No site less than 50 pages needs siloing. If your website is about loans, and 100% of your articles are about loans ... it makes zero sense to silo even if you have 1000 articles.

    You only need to silo if you've got, for instance, a website about health ... and one category is about dieting, 2nd category about exercise, 3rd category about eating properly, 4th category about supplements ... etc. And each category has 20 posts ... that's a wonderful reason to silo.
     
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  16. metra

    metra Junior Member

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    Thanks for all the detailed responses.

    jascoken, yes I was indeed over-complicating it for myself. I've read a few more good articles regarding Siloing and realized that subcategories in the URL aren't even necessary; you can create one just fine with your internal link structure alone.
    I understand perfectly what you are saying :)

    phpbuilt, thank you for your input. I'm in the process of building a multi-category/multi-topic site, so I'm glad to hear that this would in fact greatly benefit me SEO wise and help even out PR. I plan on creating a single category page for each different 'topic', and limiting the menu (like you mentioned) to only link directly to the up most category pages. Then from those category pages I'll have the silos going down and the rest of the links branching from there.

    On a final note, I'm using a magazine themed page, and these themes tend to link to articles from all of your various categories directly from the homepage. From what I understand, to keep the relevance of a 'Siloed category', you should never link from an article in one silo to another article in a different silo - this would defeat the purpose of categorizing it like this in the first place. So, my question is, isn't any homepage that displays recent articles from all your categories already ruining this structure? Or does it not matter since it's the homepage...

    Even if my menus and other links are cleaned up perfectly and link only to the top of all my silo categories, would having a homepage like I mentioned make it all for nothing?
    Worth creating a static homepage over this? Should I be worried?

    Thanks!

    Best,
    - Metra
     
  17. spider7

    spider7 Regular Member

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    Thanks...good info guys!
     
  18. KHer0

    KHer0 Senior Member

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    Is it good for SEO ?

    - Yes, It's Really Really Really Good

    Can you do it 100% right with Wordpress ?

    - Nope, You Can't
     
  19. webdeep

    webdeep Registered Member

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    So how you doing this ?? are you using custom cms ??

    What you think about Clickbump engine and XFactored 2.0 theme... I think is good for siloing your website.

    Kris.
     
  20. WebDev

    WebDev Regular Member

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    A couple of weeks ago I'd agree - but now there are at least 2 ways to do it with wordpress

    1/ pages
    2/ posts

    A demo site I put up using pages:
    wpsilo.neq3.com

    I've also seen the same thing done using posts

    There's a thread discussing this:
    blackhatworld.com/blackhat-seo/member-downloads/583471-get-wordpress-silo-sites-using-free-plugins.html