Today’s SEO Tip will cover semantic Theming and Siloing your website to increase topical relevance and search engine rankings.
There are a number of ways to achieve top rankings in search engines; but one of the most important aspects of SEO is to mirror and match your top level keywords with your primary navigation and site architecture to produce relevance as a result of an intrinsically self-sufficient structure.
Search engines use algorithms to validate which pages are treated with more regard and those metrics are based on topical continuity, the volume of pages and the quality of internal or external links to determine a framework of importance within their hierarchy.
The predication that content is king rings true to this day and the necessity to add relevant content to a website is derived from the need to elevate topical relevance within a site for semantic clusters and corresponding keywords.
Each respective keyword has a fulcrum to reach its vertical “apex” which is the top 3 results in search engines. This is the keyword tipping point and depending on how relevant your on page factors are combined with the site architecture, naming conventions, meta titles and descriptions, internal links and how or if your pages are indexed determines how search engines assess and rank each page in your website.
Rankings are by the page but collectively those rankings stem and each page anchor the next (by virtue of links) to elevate other respective pages for multiple keywords. Keep in mind that the on page and off page factors both can contribute to a top ranking, once a website has developed enough topical authority on a subject, it can become an authority site, meaning that it will require less inference from off page factors such as links.
Also keep in mind that the more categories or themes you have within the site (a theme is a semantically overlapping group of keywords with similar meaning), the more relevance your individual pages can garner. Yet, once those pages are created unless they are connected or “linked properly” then they are acting as individual islands of relevance vs. a collective apex of relevant data.
Just because you have a website, you should not assume that search engines will be able to identify each and every segment in the site in a structured and logical way.
You should (a) consider your ultimate ranking objectives and (b) bake top level keywords into the site structure, template or other site wide elements that can lend themselves from each page to collectively chip-away at the threshold needed to topple a competitive keyword.
Also keep in mind, theme diffusion can occur if you are simply adding content for contents sake. There is a method to the madness called theming and siloing.
Theming and siloing is a method whereby the top level or “most competitive keyword” is used as a sub folder or even as a sub-domain and then the silos are the related / less competitive semantic keywords and key phrases comprised in a hierarchical fashion that support the top level theme.
Think of it like sorting your website like a glossary where each keyword or key phrase is identified and referenced and linked appropriately to its corresponding superior.
For example, if the theme is “shoes”, then the silo / articles, blog posts or pages you would use in the /shoes/ folder in your website would be “designer dress shoes, running shoes, high heel shoes, etc.” and each of the respective keywords that comprised the articles would be an ideal search term for your top level theme.
Every time you add a new sub folder and push pages further away from the root folder, the value of those pages diminishes to a search engine unless those deeper pages are integrated and fed through a secondary method of irrigation.
This method for nourishment can come from two sources (1) from within your website via sitemaps and secondary navigation or footer links and (2) from other websites deep linking to your individual pages.
Deep links implies that the page being linked to is not the home page, but you can also deep link to category pages or pages with cyclical content (content that changes) and search engines will look for all of the outbound links on that category page to then spider, index and rank subordinate pages.
So, depending on your business model, the type of visibility you are seeking (top level keywords, moderately competitive keywords or long-tail keywords) the strategy for internal linking and deep linking vary.
You can (a) link to sitemaps (b) link to individual pages (c) link to category pages (typically the index page in a sub folder) or (d) link individually to specific pages (using both internal and inbound links from other sites) to create buoyancy.
Depending on the competition for that keyword and the number of relevant / authoritative sites in the search engine index that (a) already have established positions or (b) are competing for those keywords determines the barrier to entry for each respective keyword combination.
Theming and siloing are only one principle method for setting the stage, but each layer of the site must be cultivated properly in order to maximize or rather steer the site through the process of evolution as it gains momentum, rankings and authority in search engines.
After critical mass is reached for each respective semantic threshold, the site can then branch out seeding relevance across multiple themes and gain market share and positioning as a result of its dynamism.
This is a rudimentary overview of the search engine optimization process SEO Design Solutions utilizes daily to produce rankings for keywords ranging from a few thousand competing pages to keywords with hundreds of millions of competing pages.
This type of referential integrity works regardless of industry, niche or topic and produce results by providing search engines with an array of topical information in a structured format that they can assess, integrate and score due to the signals provided by the synergy of the on page and off page metrics.
The by product of topical theming and siloing is relevance and domain authority. With this as a foundation, it allows a website to rank higher with less inbound links and segment each page specifically for specific keywords (much like PPC but organically) vs. just randomly returning a page as a quasi-relevant result.
The Takeaway SEO Tip for Implementing Silos
- Use Primary Keywords in URL Naming Conventions
- Keep Top Level Keywords and Their Respective Landing Pages Close to the Root Folder, not Buried Deep in the Site.
- Mirror the Keywords in Title, URL and Internal Links to Preferred Landing Pages.
- Silos should Link Up to Top Level Landing / Category/ Theme Pages.
- Use Sitemaps for Each Silo and Consolidate them With a Master Sitemap (where all sitemaps are linked to).
- Match Internal Links with External Inbound Links for the “Exact Match” Keywords Targeted for Each Silo / Page i.e. Link the Keyword “designer shoes” to the designer-shoes page then Mirror Them from Off Page Links.
- Include All themes in Primary Navigation and Cross-Link Category / Main Theme Pages (with the Keywords you Want those Category Pages to Rank for).
Then monitor which keywords are rising to the top of rankings first, augment them and nurture other topical areas by feeding the main themed page i.e. “shoes” in this example with inbound links from related or authoritative webssites.
As a result, all of the siloed pages will capture mid-tail and long-tail keywords and your main themed page “at the summit”, can topple the most competitive keywords over time…