You may have heard about siloing or theming and siloing your website using SEO, but what does it mean?
For those unfamiliar with the jargon or techie nomenclature; siloing simply means categorizing semantic content using a series of inter-linked posts which are ring-fenced to each other and consolidates the collective ranking factor to a top level “theme” or “landing page” as the apex of the silo. To step back in history, Bruce Clay coined this phrase years ago as is the first one to actually share this technique with the masses.
In laymen’s terms creating a specific category (as a landing page) and then creating nested posts within that category to support the themed / topic through the collective relevance and authority of the documents.
I mentioned the idea of ring fencing above, ring fenced in this connotation means that the pages link selectively in sequence (to the post before or to the next post) in the series of posts or nested pages.
I was having a conversation with Matt Da Cruz last week and he shared how to create a proper silo site architecture in a convenient excel doc (see main image above). For the record, Matt and the Theme Zoom team (Sue Bell & Russell Wright) are planning to release powerful push-button silo site architecture creation feature in the next Domain Web Studio Version 3.0 that pulls data from the Krakken and The Last Keyword Tool as the engine.
This means that instead of struggling with SEO concepts or setting up your WordPress blog haphazardly, you will be able to produce themed and siloed pushbutton WordPress sites using meticulously calculated site architecture based on LSI / Bayes algorithms, competing pages and semantic relevance to create powerful web properties crafted for the explicit purpose of devouring markets whole.
What Makes Silos Work?
There are three facets that contribute to a properly siloed website.
a) Semantic Connectivity (Relevance i.e. belonging to a related node or phrases)
b) Naming conventions (having a common keyword denominator in the URL)
c) Common modifiers and anchor text braiding the siloed pages together through targeted internal links to reinforce the pages placement within the tiers of the sites architecture.
If you pay attention to those three facets, you can use them to triangulate relevance easily to search engines and save yourself the hassle of targeting keywords one by one. Siloed pages feed each other and if each page in the silo is fed by deep links from other websites, the entire silo gets the benefit and main theme gets the benefit.
The genuine benefit of siloing is the ability to capture entire cross-sections of a market by staggering the content (posts) as well as how often those posts serve as pillars to support the common theme.
Once a less competitive keyword threshold is achieved and a website ranks for that keyword, the relationship of where that page links (inside the site), which keyword / anchor text is “binding” that page with other pages “silos” in the series of collective posts and how prominent the page is to the theme “main landing page” which sits atop the nested posts as the apex of the category or subfolder.
What Does Ring Fencing Mean?
When you ring fence Page Rank or link flow by controlling the number of links on a page (through breadcrumbs, internal links, server side includes, footer links or contextual links) you force the link-flow (the aggregate equivalent of the link weight for internal and external links from all pages) to pool or move through very specific channels within a website.
Over time, those channels strengthen each page they flow through (like a thread) and latent pages rise from dormant complacency into dominant mid-tail and long-tail contenders (as a result of being nurtured from within).
A relevant page linking to another relevant page garners a higher relevance score and passes ranking factor through links similar to a process of algorithmic osmosis. The residual link-flow and authority provide the ability for pages in the silo to rise unchallenged in the SERPs (search engine result pages) with minimal inbound links from other websites.
This is due to the cyclical nature of the links forming a closed loop and only moving deeper into the silo, or back up to the top – which just so happens to be the more competitive keyword or phrase that needs more link-flow to gain expression.
As a result, your website devours entire clusters of keywords vs. one at a time and starts to rank for all of the related keyword variations as a result of the dynamic synergy that occurs over time. Think of theming and siloing as a tube Taurus which folds in on itself in a self perpetuating cycle.
The Benefits of Siloing
By cultivating this process deliberately, you can create powerful sites within sites to function as dynamos that create a specific type of keyword relevance within a website and when connected with other silos (through the navigation) exponentially devour every possible keyword combination in sight.
It is important to choose each theme and spoke of the hub wisely. Each page becomes a hub page capable of ranking itself and the next, and the next another page and so on (per infinitum).
Two websites you may be familiar with that share this architecture is (a) Wikipedia and (b) Amazon, and you can see just how appealing and effective this technique is for information retrieval algorithms.
This is due to the fact that it mirrors a perfect example of structure and order that search engines reward. This algorithmic continuity based on semantically overlapping “shingles” i.e. groups of words, functions like a pyramid with a solid base and streamlined apex.
A theme is a cluster of siloed (nested) pages all based on a similar semantic structure. For example, instead of mixed marbles, red marbles go in the red column, blue in the blue and yellow in the yellow column.
Even if variations exist through various modifiers (alternative prefixes and relevant suffixes) such as “round, small, solid, swirled, etc.”, and those modifiers are nested within their respective themed “colored” categories. While this is an analogy, it conveys the purpose of reinforcing natural relationships as they occur to create structure out of chaos and in the process becomes a source of SEO ranking power.
Stay tuned to the SEO Design Solutions Blog as later this week, we will reveal a simple yet extremely powerful technique for siloing your website using WordPress which is both easy to implement, and extremely effective for conquering competitive keywords in search engines.
We are currently tweaking a module for SEO Ultimate which will allow you to create virtual themes and silos through managing which links on a page actually pass ranking factor and which do not. More on that later this week when John Lamansky emerges from the lab…