There are many different ways to improve your SERP rankings and SEO efforts. And one of the very best ways is to use a content silo on your website.

When most people hear the word silo, they automatically think about structures used for storing grain and feed.

Of course, you’re not using this type of silo on your website. A content silo helps search engines understand your website, link everything together and improve overall visibility.

To help you understand how to use a content silo; we have put together this guy to walk you through the process.

What is a silo structure?

There is no denying that a beautifully presented, content-filled website is always a great thing to have.

But what is more important is that both search engines and readers find the content easy to navigate. This is where structured content comes into play. Also known as a content silo. Making use of clear hierarchical content not only improves your visitors user experience. It also allows search engines to gain insights into the type of content that you have.

Here’s something to help you visualise how a silo helps.

Imagine that you have a jar filled with M&M’s. You only want the yellow M&M’s but they are mixed in with red, green, blue and brown ones. It is going to take you forever to separate them.

Now imagine that you have five jars. Each jar only contains one colour. All of those yellow M&Ms are yours in an instant. No mucking around trying to separate the yellows from the blues. You can see exactly what you want without any confusion.

content silo m&ms

This is basically how a content silo structure works. The more of an understanding that the search engines have about your website content. The better its visibility will be in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

The importance of an SEO silo structure

The very first stage of creating your website should be putting together a basic silo structure.

If you have never done this before it may feel overwhelming. But it is actually much easier than you first think.

If you follow the guidelines set out by Google for better rankings, the foundations of your content silo will be put into place.

Depending on your website and goals, the number of different categories that you have will vary.

Use the same methodology as a library does for categorizing books with indexing. By placing similar content into one category, you are able to build keyword-related topics.

Name each category with a broad keyword while using long tail keywords, narrower keywords or LSI keywords for the content titles.

As an example the broad keyword could be ladies fashion. Narrower keywords could be women’s winter jackets, cocktail dresses and casual day wear.

By connecting your keywords come up the search engines are able to interpret your content and its relevance for readers.

Using links to connect the content inside one category or between categories can help you achieve even higher SEO ranking. The better search engines are able to understand your site, the higher it will rank. It’s as simple as that.

How to build an SEO silo structure?

As we already touched upon earlier. To build a basic silo structure for your website, you first need to group together similar content into appropriate categories.

The more content that you have in any given category, the more relevant that topic will be for the search engines… and for your site visitors.

There are four steps to building a great silo structure. These include:

  • Choosing a theme
  • Creating a silo strategy
  • Writing and linking content
  • Linking to other related categories

Once you have all of your categories and keywords in order. A useful piece of software is Xmind Zen. This will make it easy to create a visual silo structure that you can use as the foundations of your website.

In the next section, we will run through the four steps to help you put together the perfect content silo structure.

1. Choosing a theme

To choose a theme, you want to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Think about what it is that you would like to read or discover. What is it that would attract you to the website?

It is always a good idea to take a look at the bigger picture to begin with. Creating a wide structure allows you to fill in all of the smaller details for maximum impact.

Your homepage is where the main theme should begin. From here, it is then divided into sub-themes or categories. This is the basics of your silo.

As an example. If you run a business, your main theme will be what you do. Your categories and subtopics movie the pages named as products or services, about us, contact, blog, etc.

Your categories and subtopics can then be divided into smaller pages that represent more specific content.

Another great way to look at this type of structuring is to picture a tree in your mind.

  • Trunk. The trunk is your website’s main theme
  • Branches. Represents the different categories or products
  • Leaves. Smaller groups off refined products and articles

tree flow chart

Regardless of how you put together your content silo structure, you need to first create a blog. Your blog should be in line with your main theme. Start by creating one broad topic which use is a broad keyword and its name.

This will be your first category. Try to choose a topic that you can write at least five articles for. Each article should include more specific and targeted keywords that are relevant to the category keyword. Rinse and repeat for all further categories.

2. Creating a silo strategy

Now you have the theme out the way. The next step is to perform some research on where you have the best chance for ranking highly.

Decide whether your silo strategy is going to be physical, virtual or both.

A physical silo is the directory structure off your website

A virtual silo is created through linking your content together.

For a directory silo to be effective, you will need to have at least five pages for each theme. As we mentioned earlier, the aim is to create a library of content and index it from broad to narrow.

As soon as you have your silo strategy in order, things begin to get much easier.

3. Writing and linking your content

Now it is time to start writing and linking your content in each category. You will link your content using keywords in the anchor text (hyperlinks to other content).

It is important that each of your following articles is related to those that come before.

This not only makes it much easier for you to be able to link them together. But also to create lots of topic related content.

Think of your first article as being chapter 1. Each subsequent article should follow on as chapter 2, 3, 4, etc.

This will seamlessly connect all of your content while encouraging the user to continue clicking through. The final article should summarize everything you have written about in your previous posts and link to them.

The final step in creating your content silo structure is to connect content from one category to content in your other categories.

By doing this, you make it easier for the search engines to identify the relevance of your content whilst reinforcing your overall theme.

Cross-linking is one of the best ways to increase your content visibility. As an example. If you have an article that is highly ranked and has valuable internal and external links, but you want to rank a page where you explain what you are doing. All you need to do is link that article to the page using anchor text.

In essence, a content silo structure is basically a map of your website’s content and how each piece connects with the next.

This type of data-driven marketing wasn’t really possible a decade ago. But as the internet has powered forwards and algorithms have been uncovered, all of the date are you need is at hand and can be used for improving your overall SEO efforts.