When you wish to learn more about advanced SEO strategies like semantics and silos, there is a scarcity of resources that guide you step-by-step on how to implement silo structure.
Neil Patel insists you to implement Silo structure. Whereas, Rand Fishkin states “SEO can’t Operate well in a Silo Anymore” in his interview. The irony! But yes, it's still working and won't stop working in the near future.
A few months back, when I was talking about keyword research, I put forward a blog post on semantic keyword research. For many of my blog readers, this was an eye-opener. They never thought of this kind of keyword research.
I'm gonna explain you the secret that most of the pros use to quickly rank their site and achieve authority in the eyes of Google. This onpage SEO technique is called "Silo Structure".
I love onpage techniques, as we've complete control over them.
So, let me get started.
What is siloing?
With regard to blogging, siloing is the process of organizing the related information on your site together. This silo structure is often mapped out before launching a website.
Relevant content on the site are grouped together. Well, let me illustrate it with a simple mind map.
Why to use silo structure?
User experience: A well-organized site enables the visitors on your site to navigate easily. They find all the relevant content on your site, easily as you're having a hierarchy.
SEO: This is one of the biggest benefits of silo structure. Implementing silo structure in your niche site from beginning itself reduces the Google sandbox time that your site undergoes for 3-4 months after its inception.
You may already know that topical relevancy is playing a crucial role in SEO. For example, a mobile review by a well-known health site will not rank higher than a tech blog. Why? Google asks itself, "How come a health expert produce more quality mobile review than a tech expert?".
With silo structure, as I'll be discussing, you'll be able to send maximum link juice to the desired content and rank easily for the keyword by leveraging interlinking of content.
Backlink building: With silo structure in place, you can build 80% of your links to the important silo pages. As the silo pages will be linking to other blog posts in the category, the link juice will flow.
Crafting silo structure
Before implementing silo on your site, it's very essential to create mind map or atleast an outline of the silo structure you want to put forward.
I make use of a free, cross-platform mindmapping app called XMind to create silo structure for my sites.
Download the XMind template here. You need XMind app for your OS to use the template.
By creating notes for the nodes as you can see in the above screenshot, you can easily mention more details about the content.
Implementing silo structure in WordPress
Read this carefully. Implementing silo structure is not easy as playing around with categories and tags. There is no built-in feature offered by WordPress to create silo structure for your site or blog.
You need to manually create some hierarchies of content that are related to each other.
There are several steps involved to the process of implementing silo structure on your blog for SEO.
Come up with some high traffic keyword ideas
No matter how narrow your niche may be. If you think there are more topics or sub-niches within the niche of your main blog, you may come up with potential keyword ideas, by looking at for what are all the subject themes your site is ranking for.
For example, if you take the niche "camera lens " as an example. While choosing keywords, always tend to choose keywords of various sub-niches. You can come with various topic keywords like:
- best macro lens
- best prime lens
- best wide angle lens
- best telescopic lens
- best portrait lens
These are some of the most popular keywords when it comes to the niche - lens.
Don't worry too much about keyword competition. But don't go overboard. Make sure that the keywords are buyer-intent, because these keywords are what you rank for.
Create silo content on WordPress pages
Here's where the game begins. Create a WordPress page content on all of the following. The content you are creating should be evergreen, so that you need not update the stuff more often. The reason you are creating the silo content in WordPress page is because they should not be buried inside your blog archives and should be timeless.
Make sure the silo content you create should be epic and should at least be 4000 - 7000 words long. Personally, on my niche sites, the silo content I create are of around 7000 words. These are like pillars of your blog.
Make use of rich images, and make use of the main keyword and also LSI keywords throughout the entire article to give it an on page SEO boost. Make sure the content is epic and is superior to other SERP competitors for that keyword. Also, include a table of content and comparison tables (if applicable) to help it get featured in Google Knowledge graph in the future.
Remember, it's a WordPress page but not a WordPress post.
Alternatively, you can also keep the URL of silo page and category same. Let me explain you this. Let's suppose you have 3 silos created for your site. Now create three categories and also three silo pages with the same URL slug/name. Now, your job is to somehow redirect the category pages to their respective silo pages. For example, you need to 301 redirect /category/silo-1/ to /silo1/.
The Thrive Themes offer you a direct way to do this in the category pages. Just go to a category page, and redirect to the page.
If you are not using using Thrive Themes, you need to make use of Redirection plugin for WordPress. Make sure that the name of the category slug and respective page URL's slug is same.
After doing this, you do also need to remember to not to de-index category pages.
The category pages should 301 redirect to silo page.
Create supportive blog posts
It's now time to create some WordPress posts under your silo. But how to do it? Keep reading.
Stop publishing blog posts, that don't fit into any silo you created. Create content that's only relevant to the silo content you published in the earlier steps.
Earlier I took the example of the camera lens.
Take the example of the first silo "best macro lens". Now for this silo content page, you can create supportive blog posts with keywords like:
- Things to know before buying macro lens
- How to use a macro lens
- Best macro lens for canon
- Macros lens for mobile
The above is the list of some of the supportive blog post ideas for your main silo keyword - "best macro lens".
You need to create at least 3 blog posts that are relevant to the main silo keyword. Like this create some supportive articles for everyone of the silo page you've created.
Make sure that all the blog posts are linked to from the respective silo pages.
Silo interlinking strategy
Here comes the important part. I'm only talking about internal linking, not the outbound links. 4-5 outbound links in your 1000 word article are great.
Without a proper internal linking strategy in your silo structure, how can you expect Google to determine relevant content on your site?
Supportive posts (children)
- All the supportive blog posts that you created should link back to the parent silo pages (preferably in the first paragraph of the child posts). This is where you pass maximum link juice to the silo content and rank for huge keywords. You can be aggressive in terms of using the anchors in the internal links, for which your silo content should rank for.
- Supportive blog posts can link within each other i.e one blog post can link to another one in the same silo hierarchy.
- You should not link from child supportive posts to other silo parent pages of different silos. It breaks the circle of relevance and leaks link juice.
- You should not link to the child posts of other silos. Keep the linking between the posts of the same silo.
Silo pages (parents)
- The silo page should link to all the children of theirs in the same silo (preferably in the middle or bottom of the posts).
- The main silo page can sometimes link to other silo pages.
- Homepage should have links to all the silo pages (maybe in sidebar or navigation bar).
As you can see, the homepage (highest authority), multiple blog posts are linking to the silo content you want to rank. With this, the maximum link juice will be passed to the silo page, and it will rank higher for the keywords you are targeting or the keywords you may have never thought of.
Tip: Don't create a blog post that don't fit in any of the silos you created.
Here are some of the tools that make your interlinking process easier.
1. Related posts plugin: You need to have a good plugin that displays only the related posts under the same category. Any Thrive Theme makes this automatically, or else you can make use of any related posts plugins like this one.
2. Display category/silo specific widgets: As I've said above, you need to link to all the posts in the parent silo page. However, it may be difficult at times to include the inline internal links by coming up with a context. For this, you can use plugins like Custom Sidebars or Content Aware Sidebars.
3. Breadcrumbs: This feature is built-in for most of the popular themes. However you can make use of plugins like Breadcrumb NavXT. Breadcrumbs are crucial to link to silo page from every child post under it. It also helps Google determine the structure of your site.
When to use silo structure?
Silo content theming can be used almost every time when you create or update a website. Because it is guaranteed to boost your on page SEO.
However, silo structure is best to be implemented in the following cases if you haven't implemented it.
- When you are targeting few specific keyword phrases for a website
- When your site is not properly organized
- If you need to desperately rank your page for a specific page (in this case it is silo page).
- If your site has lots of content but little or no organic traffic.
- If your site is new, don't ever miss to use silo structure as it will be a pain to implement silo when the site starts growing.
Implementing silo on an existing site
When the site is receiving low organic traffic in spite of loads of content, it is essential to give silo a spin. For you to easily implement silo on an existing site or blog, I'm gonna list the steps.
- Come up with sub-niches for your niche (consider topics for which your blog is already ranking for), by looking at the categories on your site.
- Make sure that your every blog post is filed under one and only one category. Every category should have at least 3 blog posts in them, otherwise don't create a category.
- Delete the redundant and unwanted categories, or no-index them. If you want to have 3 silos on your site, then keep 3 categories under the same name/slug.
- Create silo content (in-depth content) on a WordPress page. It should target a specific keyword (may be of high competition).
- Now in the silo pages, include internal links to all the posts under it.
- Add the links to the main silo pages you created on the homepage via navigation or sidebar.
Sometimes there'll be some blog posts that won't fit under any of the silos you created while working on a old site. Try your best to include them under any silo, or leave them as it is.
Although you can effectively implement silo in site, if not implemented properly, you may lose some rankings. So, don't go too crazy.
How many silos per site?
It entirely depends upon your content strategy. If you are starting out from a focused niche in a brandable domain name, only one or two silos is enough. As you spread your wings to other niches in the future, you can always add new silos.
For example, if your site is AudioReviews.com (example), and starting out with only headphones initially, then have only one or two silos initially i.e. of headphones. Add other silos as you spread wings to earbuds, speakers, etc.
If you have a site like, HeadphoneReviews.com (example), then have multiple silos upfront like best headphones, noise cancelling headphones, on ear headphones, etc. Then have children posts like best noise cancelling headphones under $200, best noise cancelling headphones for travelling, etc.
If you are starting out with multi-niche broad site like WireCutter (which I won't recommend if you don't have high budget), then multiple silos from the inception of the site is ideal.
Silo Structure FAQs (Important)
How many silos per site?
It entirely depends upon how large your site is. If you are running an authority site where you target a single niche initially and looking to expand your reaches in the near future, then starting with one silo is enough.
To which pages should I build backlinks?
I would strongly suggest you to target a high volume keyword for the silo pages and target long tail ones for posts. You need to build the majority of backlinks, say, 80% of backlinks to the silo pages. As you'll be linking to the posts down from the silo pages, the link juice will flow throughout the entire silo structure within the topic.
How can I view the silo structure of my competitors?
Almost 80% of the sites don't follow silo structure. If you're sure about a site using silo structure, take a look at their sitemap i.e. at example.com/sitemap.xml
Are physical silos worth anymore?
The posts that recommend you to implement physical/file level silo structure are old one. With WordPress you just need to create WordPress pages for silos and posts below it, and interlink between them as mentioned above in the post.
I suggest you to use breadcrumbs when you are using silos so that Google understands your silo structure better.
What would be the URL structure of children posts?
Some of the blogs keep the URL structure of the children posts at example.com/silo-name/post-name. But this is not really required as long as you have proper silo interlinking in place. A generic URL structure like example.com/post-name/ for both pages and posts is well and good.
Do you recommend sub-silo?
Sub silo is creating another silo below the main one. In this case, your post would be like this silo>sub-silo>post. I won't prefer this way as the breadcrumbs would be too deep. However, you can reserve this strategy only for interlinking.
How I need to target keywords in silo pages?
You need to target keywords in every content you create. As you'll be building the majority of the backlinks to the silo pages, and further flows down the children pages, targeting a high volume keyword is very essential for silo pages.
Over to you
SEO is slightly moving towards topical optimization and away from keyword optimization. You can sense this with the rise of importance of semantics over the usage of the same keyword over and over again. SEOs have started worrying less about keyword density and more about creating quality relevant content.
If you are going to start a new site, make sure you plan out the silo structure in your editorial calendar. Then according to the schedule, start creating the main silo pages and the supportive posts. Interlink cleverly so that the relevant content are grouped together, uplifting each other for higher rankings. When Google Crawler lands on the silo page, it should only come across the relevant content. By this, your blog or site gains topical trust.
Hope you found this simple guide on implementing silo structure for SEO helpful. If so, please share this post with your friends.