WHAT IS SILOING AND HOW DOES IT HELP YOUR BUSINESS?
A silo is simply a structure for keeping like things together. Grain silos are used to hold wheat, barley, etc. In terms of web design it works the same way. Think about your web site like a big container filled with colored balls. Each colored ball represents a single web page on your site. Now, as far as a search spider is concerned, all the colored balls are the same size, and they are mixed together in your container. Digging around for all the balls of one particular color would take a while, and the spider penalizes for that. Now pretend that you put dividers in your container so you could separate the colored balls and prevent them from mixing. This would make finding all the balls of one color much easier. Each of the sections you made with dividers would be an individual silo.
How to Silo
The practice of Siloing is targeting multiple linked pages for similar search terms. An example of this would be targeting one page for “Car Dealerships in Atlanta” and another page of the same site targeted for “Atlanta Auto Dealers.” These two phrases are similar, but as keywords, show up uniquely. By having individual pages optimized for a single unique search term it makes the page more relevant when the search engine spiders it. There won’t be a lot of competing information on the page so the Googlebot or other search engine spider will know exactly what the intent of the page is, and as intent has started to become more important, more weight has been given to it. It used to be commonplace to try to make a single page that hit as many keywords as possible so it showed up in searches for all the relevant searches for a particular niche. Now those types of pages will be ranking lower than those that are targeted at a single keyword.
Of course, raising your SERP position isn’t the only reason to silo for single keywords. Targeting multiple keywords on multiple pages allows a business to generate more potential clients because not everyone uses the same search phrases. As we saw in the example, there is certainly more than one way to search for automobile sales in Atlanta, Georgia. Here’s where it gets interesting. Siloing could allow you to create at least 10 unique pages for people looking to buy a car in Atlanta:
- Atlanta Car Sales
- Car Sales in Atlanta
- Atlanta GA Car Sales
- Car Sales in Atlanta GA
- Car Dealerships in Atlanta
- Auto Dealers in Atlanta
- Car Dealerships in Atlanta GA
- Auto Dealerships in Atlanta GA
- Atlanta GA Car Dealers
- Atlanta GA Car Dealerships
Of course, following this pattern you could probably come up with another 10 without trying too hard. This particular silo would cover all of the pages on your site that pertained to being a car dealership in Atlanta. If you owned the dealership, you could do other silos for your service department, your staff members, car advice, etc. The key is to only link sites within the silo to each other. This will reinforce the value of the concept to the search spider. The more cleanly you can silo your domain, the higher ranking the individual pages will achieve. In addition to high quality linking text and use of the keyword term in the text of the article, the siloed term should be used in the meta description, H1 Page title, URL name and the alternate image tag. The text in the article itself can be boosted a small bit by applying italics or bold. The key is to make sure that your total keyword density doesn’t exceed 4% (better results have been seen in the 1.5-2.5% range) to avoid a keyword stuffing penalty.
Avoiding the new penalties that are coming down the pike is not the only reason to implement siloing. By adding additional, single keyword optimized, pages to a web domain additional ranking bonuses can be claimed. Each page can be interlinked with others on the site using keyword-rich linking text. While one link back is nice, having six or seven will get you more Google juice. If you can get them coming in from several sites on your domain, it creates a web that will help Google determine the general niche for your site and the pages within. Another ranking bonus is that your entire domain will get more attention as it starts to create more high-quality content. A site with four pages of material is going to carry far less weight than one that has 25 pages. By creating an in-depth site that addresses keyword-friendly topics, you are getting the best of both worlds.
Going back to the colored balls. In a container of a fixed size, it would be important to keep the silos in proportion to each other. This would lead to a sense of structure within the container itself. In the undefined space of the Internet, there is currently no defined structure or golden ratio for silo sizes on a particular domain. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be one in the future, just that there is no evidence that one exists right now. In general, the larger the selection of quality articles in your silo, the better it will rank. This would necessitate creating at least three pages for each silo for it to be effective. If you are in a more competitive niche, like auto sales, the number should be closer to 10 -15.
Key Take-away Points
Siloing a website is taking all the quality articles in one area and optimizing them for similar, but not the same, search terms and then interlinking those sites with high-quality linking text.
Sioled sites are easier for search engine spiders to crawl and lead to higher SERP rankings.
Depending on the competition in your niche, a site may need anywhere from 3 to 25+ pages to create a competitive silo.
Siloing should be done in the text, image tags, meta description and linking text to make sure that the keyword is well represented for each page.
It doesn’t matter how good your silo is if the quality of your content is poor. Quality content is still the number-one criteria to rank at the top of a SERP.