To "silo" means to build a proper link structure within your website so Google knows what your site, and the sections of it, are about. You start by ensuring that your main keyword phrases are in pages that are linked to from the home page. From there, those sub-pages (which are your silos) link down to sub-pages under them about subjects in that category, which link down to sub-pages under them providing more information about specific subjects.
This is the actual link structure of a website we silo'd for a company that sells sells duct cleaning services, industrial cleaning, and home HVAC cleaning in a large urban area.
Duct Cleaning is the term that the home page of the site is optimized for, mainly because that's how this company started out decades ago. It ranks really well (locally) for that term. From the home page there are only links down to the main silo pages, nowhere else.
Commercial Cleaning is a silo page because it only links UP to the home page and DOWN to the subpages in its silo:
These pages within the Commercial Cleaning silo only link sideways to each other and UP to the Commercial Cleaning Page. There are no links out to pages in other silos. The text and images on each page are dedicated to its topic.
- Commercial Dryer Duct Cleaning
- Commercial Duct Cleaning
- Industrial Cleaning
- Commercial Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning
- Commercial Roof Cleaning
- Evaporative Cooler Repair
- Kitchen Exhaust Fan Repair
- Tank Cleaning
- Commercial Cleaning References (testimonials)
- Commercial Cleaning Before/After (photos)
Residential Cleaning is a silo page - it only links UP to the home page and DOWN to the subpages in its silo.
These pages within the silo only link sideways to each other and UP to the Residential Cleaning Page:
- Residential Dryer Duct Cleaning
- Residential Duct Cleaning
- Residential Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning
- Wall Heater Furnace Cleaning
- Ultraviolet Disinfection
- Residential Cleaning References (testimonials)
- Residential Cleaning Before/After (photos)
Public Works Cleaning (schools and other public buildings) is another silo - it only links UP to the home page and DOWN to the subpages in its silo:
These pages within the Public Works Cleaning silo only link sideways to each other and UP to the Public Works Cleaning.
- Public Works Duct Cleaning
- Public Works Cleaning
- Public Works Roof Cleaning
- Public Works References (testimonials)
- Public Works Before/After (photos)
There are two other big silos for this website; this Silo SEO Technique is used for both of them. Several of the sub-pages within these silos are sub-silos that link down to pages under them, and up to their main silo page.
It takes considerable link discipline not to link out from one silo to other silos and to other pages such as the contact page and "about" pages. It can seem counter-intuitive. Objections voiced are often, "But we need to tell everybody about our discounts!" or "Everyone needs to go through our video sales funnel page."
Instead of creating links to one's contact form on every page of the site, for example, one can put a link (which when clicked "accordions" to reveal the full contact form) on every page.
Alternatively, one can use advanced seo techniques such as an iframe to display your navigation menus (and prohibit Google from reading the "navigation" file being called and displayed within the iframe). This will cause Google to fail to crawl the links, which is what you want in this limited case. Humans will still see the links.
One can also use the "aside" HTML tag around a "nav" HTML tag. There are various methods to do this. What is NOT wanted for SEO Silo is a shotgun approach where every page links to every other page through a nav system. (Which is exactly what a WordPress site does, by default.) That shotgun linking doesn't give Google any indicator of the various types or classifications of information your site provides.
Siloing works for all kinds of very tough keyword phrases. We've gotten a website onto the first page of results at Google for "drug rehab" and one for "life insurance" using the siloing technique (as well as doing everything else in the SEO checklists we use.)
SEO Silo Resources
These sites also have good explanations (and diagrams) of Siloing as an SEO technique.
- Bruce Clay: SEO Siloing: How to Build a Website Silo Architecture and Siloing: How to Structure Your Website which is Step 12 of their overall SEO Guide. Both pages are highly recommended reading.
- MOZ: Multi location silo seo technique
- Jump Factor: SEO Silo Structure & How to Implement
- Webris: Create Website Silos for SEO (nice diagrams) but some broken images
- Inspire Me Labs: Secret Silo Structures - Exposed!
- Miles Beckler Video: SEO Silos Made Easy
- Pat Quiroz Video: SEO Siloing Video at Youtube
- Matt Diggity Video: SEO Silos: How to Rank for More Keywords without Building Links
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