Ranking #1: How To Organize Sites With SILOs

Few things in blogging make big changes, Silo structures are one of the major improvements you can do, at no cost, to improve how Google sees, understands and ranks your site.

With Silos, you can assign importance to your pages and group them into ‘topic’ hubs.

With a linear page architecture, every page has the same importance, and nothing groups similar topics

If this was the layout of the  Navigation system of the site, readers would find it very difficult,  once there were more than a few articles,  to navigate around to find the ones of interest.

It’s the same for Google too, it has to navigate a site to be able to ‘crawl’ it and make sense of it.

With a clustered site. There are links from the home page to each cluster and then to each related article, making it much easier for search engines to crawl.

Hard and Soft Silo Structures

Hard and Soft, refers to the nature of the links or URL structure.

How do you create these connections, that organise the articles into groups? It can be done in two ways

1)Hard Silos

Hard Silos are achieved with the URL directory structure. If you had 10 articles explaining ‘engine parts’ you could create directories and URLs on the site like:

  • Cars.com/engineparts/pistons
  • Cars.com/engineparts/crankshaft
  • Cars.com/engineparts/exhaust-manifold
  • Cars.com/engineparts/fuelpump

The disadvantage is once these are indexed in Google, gaining links and status, it would be very difficult to move articles to another silo, if you needed to, in the future. So you have to be very sure that it’s not going to change. One safe hard silo example would be “Admin”, under which you would group the About Page, terms of  Business, Privacy and Cookies pages. None of these would change much over time.

However, on my site, for example, I could put “Pinterest Course” under a number of groups like :

  • Pinterest
  • Courses
  • Resources
  • Social Media


So I will not make a hard silo for this article as it may become necessary later, to change its grouping.

2) Soft Silos

These are created simply by using linking. Links from and to each page. There are many different strategies and topologies of interlinking. The most useful are the forward silo and reverse silo ( there may be other terms used). These are also known as internal links, they should only be used where it makes sense. You would logically link a lawnmower page to a grass page or a tools page. You would not link a lawnmower page to a How to build a Greenhouse page.

The links can be changed if you decide an article would be better placed in another cluster. The page’s URL would not change, if the link changed, so there is no loss if that page had external links or backlinks to it.

Distributing Link Authority

Gardening topic cluster

Great! Our site is now linked up so Google can crawl it, but what if one of our pages gains a valuable link from another big site?

We would want the link ‘juice’ to be distributed around the cluster and onto the whole site if possible. 

The Reverse Silo

By introducing additional  links that point back to each of the silo’s top articles or “cornerstone” posts, we can achieve two things:

  1. Google can easily crawl the site to find related articles.
  2. If any article gains backlinks over time, that link authority is distributed around the cluster and then around the rest of the site, building up the overall authority. 
Adding links (in RED) back to the top of the silo; This is the structure I recommend for your website

Tools to help you Organise your Site

After a certain number of posts, websites can get very difficult to work on, you can lose track of where you had got to, creating the links, deciding what clusters to make and which articles belong to each cluster. 

I can recommend dynalist, a free tool that makes organisation easy, you can list tasks and mark them done. Check it out and download it, there’s a link in the free-tools section


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