Why It Makes No Sense (And What to Do As a substitute)

  • January 4, 2023
  • elkenz
  • 10 min read

Everybody is aware of that structuring your web site in a logical method is as vital for customers as it’s for search engine optimization, and “siloing” is a technique many SEOs advocate doing this.

However I believe that “siloing” is a horrible concept and isn’t one thing you must do.

On this put up, I’ll clarify why that’s and what you must do as an alternative.

However first, let’s be sure that we’re on the identical web page…

What’s silo construction in search engine optimization?

Silo construction in search engine optimization is a kind of web site structure the place you group, isolate, and interlink content material a couple of particular subject. This creates clear, distinct sections of associated content material in your web site.

Right here’s roughly what search engine optimization silos seem like in follow:

Flowchart of silo structure in SEO

You may see that every silo consists of a major silo web page and associated content material, all of that are interlinked. Nevertheless—and it is a essential level—the content material in a single silo doesn’t hyperlink to the content material in one other silo. That’s why it’s known as silo construction, because the content material is actually remoted in silos.

Why is siloing so common?

If we run a fast search in Content Explorer, we see over 11K printed pages containing the phrase “silo construction” and the phrase “search engine optimization.”

Content Explorer search of "'silo structure' AND seo"

The explanation for its recognition is the perceived advantages, which often go one thing like this:

1. It helps Google to seek out your pages

Inside hyperlinks are one of many methods Google finds new pages, so it’s finest follow to make sure that all your pages are interlinked in a roundabout way or one other.

Siloing can assist with this as a result of it creates a logical hierarchical construction with constant inner linking.

2. It boosts rankings

There are two major explanation why siloing might assist to spice up rankings.

Higher circulate of PageRank

PageRank (PR) is Google’s formulation for scoring the worth of a web page based mostly on the amount and high quality of pages linking to it. Backlinks are how PR flows into your website, and inner hyperlinks are how PR flows round it.

As all pages in a silo are interlinked, siloing helps PR circulate between them.

In impact, if one web page in a silo attracts a number of high-quality PR-boosting backlinks, a few of that PR is shared with different pages within the silo via inner hyperlinks.

Extra contextual inner hyperlinks

Silos are teams of associated content material. Which means the interior hyperlinks between pages inside them are often contextually related. In different phrases, siloing creates inner hyperlinks to and from pages about related or associated issues—and often with related anchors, too.

Each of this stuff assist Google to grasp the context of a web page, as John Mueller defined on this Webmaster Hangout:

[Internal linking] additionally helps us to get a little bit of context about that particular web page. And we get a few of that via the anchor textual content …  and a few from understanding the place these pages are linked inside your website.
John Mueller

For instance, in the event you knew {that a} web page had these inner anchors…

  • The corporate based by Steve Jobs
  • The iPhone producer
  • CEO, Tim Prepare dinner

… you would in all probability work out that it’s about Apple.

The identical can be true if a web page had inner hyperlinks from pages about this stuff:

3. It creates a great person expertise

Inside hyperlinks aren’t simply helpful for search engine optimization; in addition they assist customers to navigate your web site.

For that purpose, siloing can enhance person expertise, because it successfully brings topically related pages nearer collectively. In different phrases, siloing locations content material about Steve Jobs, iPhone, and iPad fewer clicks away and helps you discover related content material extra simply.

What’s the issue with silo construction?

Given the potential advantages of siloing, you could be questioning what the issue is and why it’s not one thing I’ll advocate.

The reply: Forbidding inner hyperlinks between silos is foolish and doesn’t assist search engine optimization or customers.

For instance, let’s say you had these three silos:

Flowchart of three silos: gym studios, gym classes, gym instructors; notably, instructor "Sarah" is under the silo "gym instructors"

Very neat. However what if Sarah teaches Pilates on the New York studio? Wouldn’t it make sense to internally hyperlink Sarah’s profile, the category she teaches, and the studio she works at?

After all. However this might break your “silos.”

It’s price mentioning at this stage that some SEOs disagree with the thought of proscribing inner hyperlinks to silos, together with Gael Breton from Authority Hacker:

Traditionally, when studying about search engine optimization silos, you’ve in all probability learn concerning the concept of ‘protecting hyperlink juice within the silo’ and solely internally linking to pages which are in the identical website part.

We disagree with this.

We consider that, in content material, so long as it contextually is sensible to hyperlink to a different web page of your website, you must do it.

Gael Breton

Nevertheless, the fact is that when you do this, you’re now not siloing. You’re successfully simply utilizing a conventional pyramid website structure, which is beneficial by just about everybody, together with John.

The highest down method or pyramid construction helps us much more to grasp the context of particular person pages inside the website.

John Mueller

Finest practices for website construction

With silo construction out of the window, let’s take a look at just a few easy finest practices for planning and structuring an internet site with search engine optimization in thoughts.

1. Use a pyramid construction

Pyramid website construction places your most vital content material on the prime, adopted by your second most vital content material, your third most vital content material, and many others.

That is how most web sites are structured.

For instance, right here’s what an internet site promoting house furnishings might look like:

Flowchart of pyramid structure with "home" branching out to "living room" and "dining room"; each of them then branches out to related furniture categories

You may see that the interior linking construction resembles a pyramid.

Listed here are the advantages of pyramid website construction:

  1. Simple to navigate – Guests begin on the homepage, select a class, then dig deeper.
  2. Good PageRank circulate – Web site homepages are inclined to get essentially the most backlinks, so having vital content material shut by makes sense.
  3. Inside hyperlinks are contextual – Classes hyperlink to their respective subcategories and vice versa.

You’ll discover that these three advantages just about align with the perceived advantages of silo construction. It simply doesn’t have the draw back of prohibiting inner hyperlinks between silos, which brings us neatly to…

2. Internally hyperlink the place related

The principle drawback with search engine optimization silo construction is that it prohibits linking related contextual alternatives outdoors of the silo. Utilizing a pyramid construction with no such stipulations solves this.

For instance, let’s say that you’ve some eating room chairs and a settee in the identical model. You may fortunately internally hyperlink between these pages regardless of them being in numerous areas of the website.

Flowchart of pyramid structure; notably, "blue velvet sofa" and "blue velvet chairs" can be interlinked even though they're located in different areas of the site

That is higher for customers and your backside line.

If you wish to discover related inner linking alternatives, there are a few methods you are able to do that utilizing Ahrefs’ Web site Audit (get entry without cost with Ahrefs Webmaster Instruments account).

The primary is utilizing the Hyperlink Alternatives software, which suggests the place you must add inner hyperlinks.

For instance, right here the report is suggesting we hyperlink from our search engine optimization glossary to our meta robots information:

Internal link opportunities report results

It’s because our meta robots information ranks within the prime 100 for “meta robots.”

The second is utilizing the Web page Explorer software, which lets you seek for mentions of any phrase or phrase in your web site.

For instance, if we seek for mentions of “search high quality rater pointers” on the Ahrefs weblog, which is a key phrase we’re focusing on in our QRGs information, we see a point out in our listing of Google rating components.

Page explorer report results

It in all probability is sensible to internally hyperlink from right here, as it could assist enhance our web page in Google.

3. Create content material hubs for weblog content material

Weblog content material usually suffers from an absence of contextual hierarchy as a result of it’s printed chronologically. You may resolve this by creating content material hubs out of associated posts.

Content hubs are just like silos in that they’re interlinked collections of associated content material.

Right here’s what they usually look like:

Flowchart of content hub: "vegetable" is in center and branches out to different vegetables like carrot, beetroot, etc

The one true distinction between hubs and silos is that you just’re free to hyperlink between content material hubs.

For instance, let’s say that now we have two content material hubs: one about fruits and the opposite about greens. Given it’s a standard false impression that tomatoes are greens, it could make good sense to internally hyperlink from the put up about tomatoes to the vegetable hub web page.

Flowchart showing 2 content hubs "fruits" and "vegetables"; "tomatoes" connected to "fruit" can be internally linked/connected to "vegetable" hub

You’re free to do this with content material hubs as a result of, not like with siloing, there’s no rule that you just can’t.

In impact, content material hubs provide the better of each worlds; associated content material is grouped and interlinked (as is the case with silos), however you’re additionally in a position to internally hyperlink between pages the place it makes sense. 

Really helpful studying: Content Hubs for search engine optimization: The way to Get Extra Visitors and Hyperlinks With Matter Clusters

4. Be certain vital content material isn’t too deep

Deep content material is more durable for customers to seek out, but it surely’s a standard false impression that that is additionally true for search engines like google. So long as your content material is internally linked, Google will have the ability to discover and index it.

The issue is that Google might not prioritize the crawling or indexing of deep content material as a result of it assumes it holds little to no worth for searchers.

This is the reason it’s worthwhile to be certain that vital content material just isn’t buried deep in your website.

You may see how deep your content material is at a look utilizing Ahrefs’ Web site Audit. Simply go to the Construction Explorer and toggle the “Depth” tab.

"Depth" filter in Structure explorer

For instance, you see above that many of the pages on the Ahrefs weblog are between one and three clicks from the seed (on this case, the weblog homepage). Nevertheless, just a few pages are 5+ clicks away, which in all probability isn’t supreme for vital content material.

You may see the pages in every depth bucket by clicking on the corresponding a part of the visible illustration.

For example, if we click on on the “5” bucket for the Ahrefs weblog, we see solely archive pages:

List of URLs and corresponding data in the "5" bucket

As these pages aren’t notably vital, the depth in all probability isn’t a problem. Nevertheless, if we noticed vital pages or posts right here, we’d think about including related inner hyperlinks to them from different content material larger in our website’s hierarchy.

Ultimate ideas

Organizing your content material is sensible, however siloing your content material doesn’t. All this does is preclude you from internally linking to your content material from related and contextual places in your website, hindering search engine optimization.

My recommendation is to prepare your website roughly in a pyramid construction, group associated weblog or informational content material into hubs, after which merely internally hyperlink to and from pages wherever it is sensible. This isn’t solely finest for search engine optimization, but it surely additionally makes your website simpler for guests to navigate.

Bought questions? Disagree? Ping me on Twitter.