Silo Structure for SEO in WordPress: The Best Guide on the Internet!

Silo structure for seo

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.

Silo mindmap

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. It makes their navigational very natural.

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?".

Having blog posts/pages pertaining to one topic linked within each other, helps Google to clearly to determine the topical relevancy of your site and it boosts the semantics of your site.

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.

Ease of 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 evenly throughout your entire site.

The silo structure will streamline the process of backlink building.

No more left-out pages: If any blog post is not linked to by any of the other blog posts, it'll be left out from indexing in Google SERPs.

Silo structure addresses this issue as the relevant posts under a silo page will be interlinked, and every post you create will be under a relevant silo page.

Due to this, Google will completely crawl your website.

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.

Silo

Download the XMind template here. You need XMind app for your OS to use the template.

Silo mindmap note
Silo mindmap note for page

By creating notes for the nodes as you can see in the above screenshot, you can easily mention more details about the content.

Make sure you create the entire silo plan beforehand, as it'll not create a hassle in the future about where to put what.

You can also make use of outline apps like Dynalist, Workflowy or any other apps. If you are not using any outlining apps in your workflow, it's time to use one.

Dynalist is the best app for outlining, and it's more feature-rich than Workflowy.

Dynalist silos

As you can see, you can create unlimited levels of indentations in Dynalist.

But the main downside is that unlike Mindmaps the outlines are sequential.

I mainly use this tool for outlining purposes of my articles, courses, and also presentations.

Whatever tool you use, the goal is to make sure you stay organized and plan well before implementing the structure live on your site.

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.

1

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.


Make sure that the keywords are buyer-intent, because these keywords are what you rank for.

2

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.


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.

Redirect category to 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.

3

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.

4

Silo interlinking strategy

Here comes the important part. I'm only talking about internal linking, not the outbound links.


Without a proper internal linking strategy in your silo structure, how can you expect Google to determine relevant content on your site?


Before knowing the internal linking rules for silo structure, you need to know the two things we are trying to accomplish here.


Grouping: Putting the content in relevant categories, and group/cluster the relevant content tightly together through internal linking.


Isolation: Making sure that there are no internal links between the irrelevant pages or posts on your site as it leaks relevancy juice.


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

  • 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.

Silo interlinking


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. Your theme may support this functionality built-in, 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.

4. Internal linking plugins: As you'll be internally linking the relevant blog posts within each other, you can make of some internal liking plugins to make your job easier.

There are many smart internal liking plugins. I don't recommend them as they use the exact same anchor text for all the internal links.

To keep it diverse you need to make sure that the internal linking is done manually with the help of plugins like Mentionable.

How to Research Silo Topics?

The goal here is to find the various topics that come under your niche. If you are in the fitness niche, here are some of the subtopics:

  • Workouts
  • Nutrition
  • Weight loss

Ah!

I understand, that it's too mainstream for you to relate.

Here's another example of "shoes". Here are the topics:

  • Running shoes
  • Workout shoes
  • Soccer shoes
  • check
    Cycling shoes
  • check
    Skateboard shoes
  • check
    Hiking shoes
  • check
    Weightlifting shoes

Depending upon the site you have, you can employ different tools and resources to make your silo topic research process easier.

For example, if you are into Amazon affiliates you can make use of the product category page of Aliexpress to research the ideas for your silos.

Also, you can consider referring the menu of popular authoritative sites or forums.

Silo topic research

As you can see in the above screenshot, it is very easy to come up the silo page ideas by browsing popular websites and forums in your niche.

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.

I strongly recommend you implement silo structure on every new WordPress site you create. Having the structure in place from the day one helps a lot in driving good organic traffic from search engines.

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.
  • Make sure that the internal links to irrelevant posts are removed. The proper grouping and isolation should be in place.

Sometimes there'll be some blog posts that won't fit under any of the silos you created while working on an 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 FitnessReviews.com (example), and starting out with only treadmills initially, then have only one or two silos initially i.e. of treadmills. Add other silos as you spread wings to exercise bikes, ellipticals, etc.

If you have a site like, TreadmillReviews.com (example), then have multiple silos upfront like best treadmill, cheap treadmills, foldable treadmill, etc. Then have children posts like best treadmills under $500, best portable treadmills, 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)

Here, I will be answering some of your common questions when it comes to implementing silo on your WordPress site.

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. 

I suggest you start with only 3-4 silos initially. After few dozens of posts are published on your site, then you can think of creating new silos. Make sure that the silo pages are very in-depth.

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 the 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. While building backlinks make sure the proper silo interlinking is in place.

can I view the silo structure of my competitors?

Here's the fact.

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

By looking at their site map, or just navigating their site for some sometime you can easily determine whether they use silo structure or not.

If you are finding it still difficult, consider doing a site search on Google like site:example.com

Are physical silos worth anymore?

The posts that recommend you to implement physical/file level silo structure are old ones. 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.

Google silo

I suggest you to use breadcrumbs when you are using silos so that Google understands your silo structure better. Using breadcrumbs and proper internal linking in more than enough to let Google determine the structure of your site.

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. Is the URL structure appears to be category-based, then they're surely using silo structure on their site.

But, this kind of complex URL structure 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.

If you are having a very large multi-niche website, sub-silos may be for you. But if you are into creating niche and micro-niche sites, sub-silos are really not necessary and makes things difficult to maintain.

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.

You can do with keywords that are of medium-low competition with silo pages, as you'll be creating very in-depth content and build high-quality backlinks.

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.

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26 thoughts on “Silo Structure for SEO in WordPress: The Best Guide on the Internet!

  1. Hi Akshay,
    Once again, an excellent piece, Buddy!
    When it comes to improving SEO, I always LOVE to learn some new, advanced thing – just like this.
    Nonetheless, many beginner bloggers don't even know basic of SEO well, and they are jumped to start learning advanced SEO, this is one of the worst things I've ever seen.
    I'd also love to add my opinion: SEO is not just important. We shouldn't just optimize our website for robots, instead, it's more than important that anything to optimize your contents for your user – UX.
    By the way, the way you wrote this article, it was just amazing. I've bookmarked it to read the rest half of this article. 🙂
    Thank you again, Buddy for the amazing write up.
    Best
    Shakir Hassan

  2. Very wonderful Akshay. Personally, I like the way you structured your content with thrive content builder. You mentioned Topical SEO (Optimization). It seems to be the new thing in town. Ryan from Webris and Charles Floate have blogged about it.

    Maybe you can even do a piece on it 🙂

    Cheers

  3. Good post Akshay. Siloing contents and URLs logically is good for proper and quicker indexing by search engines and eventually that helps in faster ranking as well. This article on siloing WP contents, is very well written and going to help many bloggers who want to take advantage of content siloing on their WP blogs.

  4. Nice post, Akshay – thanks! Focusing on this also highlights that SEO takes effort. It can be hard to get some types of client to focus properly on ROI instead of hourly rates. They typically underestimate the time stuff like keyword research, optimising existing pages and link-building can take, but it's pretty clear that creating groups of topic-focused pages involves time and effort. So it's great to have a clear summary of this technique to point them to.

  5. I’ve heard a lot about Silos and Silo structuring, but no one ever really took the time to break it down in a way that I can understand. I’m getting it now. I will re-read this post to make sure it soaks in.

    • Hi David, you could consider linking to the post from both of your pages. There are no hard-and-fast rules, the silo is just to make things simple when it comes to SEO, management, and crawlability.

  6. Hi.

    I don't understand your recommendation to 301 redirect the category page to the silo page.

    Category pages are archive pages with links to related posts. With silo pages the links to related posts would have to be manually updated with each new post.

    Is 301 redirecting the category page to the silo page a way to get around having to manually update the silo page with a link to each new post?

    Stupid question but it's important.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Andrew.

      There's no rule that category pages should redirect to silo posts. But it keeps your site well structured. For some, not quite.

      A: If you redirect category pages to silo pages, you need to still manually update links to new child pages.

      The workaround for this is, as I mentioned, use plugins like Related posts plugin, Custom Sidebars or Content Aware Sidebars to display silo-specific widgets that display latest children of their parents in the sidebar automatically.

      Nevertheless, I do consider linking out manually and contextually as it gives me obvious SEO benefits.

  7. Great Post! How do you feel about using pages instead of posts for all the child posts as well? I've heard it can be beneficial to do it that way for the same reasons you outline for using pages for the silos.

    • Some people are doing like you mentioned. Some say that Google treats pages as evergreen, I won't believe it. Maybe homepage link juice has something to do with it.

      I had come across a blog which published silos and product roundup posts as pages and individual reviews as posts. Again it all comes to your choice.

      All that matters is the proper linking. When proper linking is done, you'll allow Google fully crawling your site and also you'll make sure that no post is ignored on your end. It also makes backlink building easier by keeping you organized.

      Hope this helps.

  8. I've tried to learn siloing but want to clear some doubts. After doing as you suggested, How will my URL become mysite.com/siloA/siloA1/article.html to robots and human or the important thing is just the interlinking.

    Creating categories and redirect them to pages will not change the mysite.com/article.html structure.

    I need quick response please!!!

  9. After read through so many Silo structure article, this is the only one make me fully understand about silo structure. I have question, is silo structure suitable for chinese content blog?

  10. Why don't you simply strip the category base from category slug so it's looks like a page?

    site.com/category/camera-lens > site.com/camera-lens

    You can use the category as the silo page, then add a custom description and a custom title to the category. In this way all posts under a category will be shown in the category.

  11. Hey Akshay,
    I read your blog about Silo Structure and I really wanted to create for my 2 years old blog ranking on 1st pages for most of the competitive keywords but not on the top.
    I have a little confusion about the homepage in Silo Structure, whether It should only contain links to my Main Silo Pages or I can place several blog posts in separate blocks for separate categories?
    Please guide me about this.
    Thank you so much!

  12. Hi Akshay, how are you? Thanks for the post, its helping me to build my own structure in my blog. I have a doubt about sub-silo. I will try to tell you and I hope that you can help me.

    For example, my website is like this:

    1. website.com/
    2. website.com/silo
    3. website.com/silo/post
    4. website.com/silo/sub-silo/post

    1. Its the root 🙂

    2. Its the silo 🙂

    3. Its clear that post should be point to silo and silo to website.com

    4. So, sub-silo should link only to silo?
    post in sub-silo only link to sub-silo?

    And the last question is… only silo link the website.com and the rest of post links to silo or sub-silo?

    Sorry, another more about breadcrums. Should be like: Home>silo>sub-silo>post

    Thanks in advance!

  13. Whay if my site is about Tech?
    I do reviews, tips and news about the tech word.

    Too hard?
    Or you think its better to focus only in tech reviews?

  14. Hi Akshay

    I'm a complete newbie to the WordPress and SEO worlds. So pardon my very basic questions.

    1) What's the rationale for using the same URL for the Silo Page and category page?

    2) Why can't we just use the category page and place it in the top navigation menu?

    3) If you need to link the post in another category or silo page, do you use a plugin? Could you advise on the plugin?

    Looking forward to your kind reply.

    Thanks
    Kym

  15. Hi Akshay

    Somehow my questions are not reflected in the comment session.

    So I will try to pose my questions once more…

    I'm a complete newbie to the WordPress & SEO worlds

    May I know what's the rationale for using the same URL for silo page & category page?

    Why can't just use the category page and place it in the main menu in the top navigation?

    If you need to link a post in another category or silo page, do you use a plugin or is there a set up that u need to do? If plugin is needed which one to use?

    Thanks
    Kym

  16. Hi Akshay

    Thank you so much for your wonderful post about silo-structures. Although your content is absolutely great, I still have some concerns about this advanced SEO tactic.

    Firstly, you recommended that we should create a silo-parent page with 5000 – 7000 words. In the perspective of user experience, do you think it's too long for a normal person the read all the content??

    Secondly, in the navigation bar of the home page will only show the silo-parent pages, so if a person knows your website already and want to find some content in the children posts, they will have to read an extremely long post in the parent-silo page to find the link to their wanted content. As a result, it is not good at all from the SEO perspective. What do you think about this issue?

    Btw, I'm a newbie in SEO and I'm going to build my first WordPress website. Therefore, thank you again for your thorough blog and I hope that you could help me figure out these matters.

    Best Regards.

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