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A big part of SEO, that most people often overlook is the actual website structure.
While it’s easy to see the title tags, H tags, and keywords, it’s much harder to determine how well your website is set up for search engine spiders.
SILO stands for “isolation”.
I know you were probably thinking of large corn silos, which I guess kinda makes sense. For example, say you have two big piles, one pile is corn and the other is strawberries (BTW, I’m not a farmer). You probably don’t want to mix those two crops together, so you put them in silos. When the farmer goes into each silo, he knows exactly what he is going to get.
Treat a website the same way. Put your website content into silos, or better yet, in categories.
After you read this, you will probably go back to your website, or blog, and say to yourself… “This is impossible, how can you link all my blog content without crossing over categories?”
The answer is with nofollow attributes. You will still maintain your human organization, while telling the Google bot what content is important and where to go.
As they say, write for humans, optimize for robots
Some simple rules for silo websites:
1. Keep your categories separate. Use nofollow attributes when linking between categories.
2. Link to posts, not categories or tags.
3. Link often between posts. Most people only link from new posts to older posts, but I suggest you go back to older posts and add updated links to your newer posts. Older posts will have more pagerank too.
4. Try to keep the categories on the same topic. Remember, every page in your website should have a different title, meta tags, headers, etc… When organizing your silos, make sure you have distinct keywords that follow everything in that category.
For example, let’s say you are blogging about cars. You will set up a silo for trucks, cars, and motorcycles. This is very high level, in reality you will want to get much more “niche”.
Take the truck silo. Your title should “All about trucks”, your category slugs should be “trucks”, your meta keywords should have “trucks”, and most importantly, all the posts in this silo should have “trucks” in the title and permalink.
Again, this is very high level, but hopefully you can understand the strategy.
5. Learn to use tools to analyze your website content. Google webmaster tools will show you everything you need to understand how Googlebot spiders your website.
I can fully understand that maintaining a silo structure for your personal blog might be tough, since you probably blog about a wide range of topics, but it can be done.
If you flip websites, or manage highly targeted niche sites, this is a must to learn.
This is a guest post by Matt Dunlap who is a website developer that specializes in dynamically creating large networks of niche WordPress minisites.