Creating great content for your audience is only half the battle when visitors come to your website. The information they seek must also be well organized and easy to find within the structure of the site. By organizing your content into categories you will not only provide a clear path for your visitors, but it will also allow you to give stronger definition to your products or services, plus the search engines will be able to keep your latest updates as fresh as possible within their index.
When it it comes to the site structure aspects of effective technical SEO methods, there is one tried and true type of site architecture that has consistently proven itself in reaping the greatest benefits. The Silo Structure organizes website pages into main categories, each with their own sub-categories (or sub-topics), which are then supported additionally by articles written within the Blog section of the website. The benefits this type of site structure provides take into consideration your 2 most important visitors: potential customers and search engines with whom you want to achieve higher ranks.
What are the Benefits of a Silo Website Structure?
The benefits of the Silo Structure are as follows:
- Enhanced User Experience – Visitors that come to your website will typically enter through one of 3 places, either the front page from an exterior company directory, through a blog post from an exterior site that linked to that information, or directly from a search engine results page (SERP). The front page should cover your primary product or service topics that a user can go to and then find deeper information through sub-topic pages that answers the questions most relevant to their needs. When a visitor comes to one of your blog posts they will might find an article that illustrates your expertise on a certain topic, and from there want to explore either your services or your products which you can link to from within the post that addresses that particular product or service.
- Better Crawling for Google – When search engine crawlers such as Googlebot are crawling the web they typically will follow external links to your site, and from there follow the paths from how they got there through the links on your website. Since the vast majority of links to your site point to your front page, you want it to make sure it can link first to your main product/service pages and blog posts, and from there to the sub-topic pages. This way your most important pages are crawled most often and will update faster whenever you add new pages or edit their content.
- Stronger Definition of Products or Services – Your primary pages that highlight what you provide are obviously the topics which you want people to find whenever they perform a search, and should therefore give your visitors a full picture of what they can expect from your company. Each of these pages should give a strong overview of what you offer with links to deeper information that covers every aspect of that topic.
What Does a Silo Structure Look Like?
Website page structures are very much like a root system for a tree, where the trunk of the tree is the home page which branches out into a series of supporting roots. Think of the strongest roots as your primary products or services of your company, and the roots that branch off from those as the supporting sub-topics that give full illustration to what it is your company provides. Since providing deep information is what your visitors are seeking as well as what the search engines prefer, think of all the smallest supporting roots as the articles and posts that you write on your blog that gives the general public answers to commonly asked questions regarding your industry.
Although the tree root system provides an abstract view of how the Silo Site Structure provides an organic system of giving a strong definition to how information within the site can support the main product or service of a company, it’s also best to illustrate how the system works using a diagram:
The Home Page – This page should provide an overview of what the company specializes in with short descriptions of the main topic pages and should provide text links to those pages.
Main Topic Pages – These are the primary category pages of the company products, services, or both, provide brief overviews of the sub-topic pages and have text links to those pages.
Sub-Topic Pages – These pages provide detailed information regarding company products and services, and should not only link back to their Main Topic pages, but should also take advantage of linking to relevant articles & posts on the website that discuss topics relevant to the sub-topic page.
Posts – These are articles that answer common questions related to your industry, and should take advantage of linking to sub-topic pages which are relevant to the topic of the article.