Content Silos: The Cycle of SEO Success

Thursday, May 05, 2016
jwilson
SEO

When people think of digital marketing, they probably think of SEO. Even people with only a general awareness of digital marketing have probably heard of SEO (even if they don’t know what all the letters mean).

For those of us who live and breathe SEO, the search for the latest tactics is always on our minds. But with an ever-changing cycle of new algorithms and changing user behaviours, there are a few staples that have not only withstood the evolving industry but also evolved themselves, becoming the vital foundation to any good SEO strategy.

Read on to learn how content silos hold the secrets to SEO success.

Content Silos

Link Equity

The concept of a content silo is very simple: picture a silo, and then put some content in it.

Okay, so it’s more sophisticated than that, but it’s also just as achievable. All good digital marketers can implement content silos on their websites to improve search rankings.

A content silo is essentially a method of categorising content into a structure (visualise an actual silo), placing entry-level content at the top and increasing specificity as you go down the customer funnel. You can then utilise this structure to transfer authority through a whole website by focusing on link equity.

Often underused, equity links are value-passing links such as follow links or 301 Permanent Redirects, which pass value from one page to another.

There are two types of equity links:

  • Internal: by using internal links, you can strategically pass more keyword-focused value from one page to another. Benefits of internal linking are numerous:
    • Passing link equity from page to page
    • Increasing page views
    • Increasing Page Authority
    • Reducing bounce rate
    • Enabling search engines to crawl and index your website
  • External: the more valuable and more elusive of the two, external links are from another domain or external website and link to a page on your own website. When coming from relevant or important sites, these links can have a significant impact on SEO.

The SEO “Cycle”

Content Silos

Braving the wonderful wilderness…of SEO

Now let’s look at a practical example of how passing link equity through content silos will improve your SEO and encourage lower bounce rates by making your site more navigable. And since we’re looking at ways of succeeding in the ever-changing SEO cycle, let’s say you are the proud purveyor of an outdoor activities website with a focus on cycling.

As you can see below, your site has two main content silos: one for “Cycling Routes” and one for “Cycling Tours.” Although both are related to cycling, there are two different topics, presenting the opportunity to produce specific content for each subject – and that is the beginning of a content silo.

We have also created regional cycling pages for each activity, giving us the opportunity to produce highly-relevant, regionally-focused content through which we can harness long-tail keywords or local searches (for example, “cycling routes in Edinburgh”).

To increase the specificity of our content, we’ve expanded the “Cycling Routes” into further categories: “Edinburgh” and “Glasgow,” with each sub-category featuring multiple routes. This website structure will be familiar to most SEO’s.

And now you have the skeleton of your content silo.

Content Silos

An example of two content silos

 

Building Page Authority

Take a closer look at “Edinburgh Cycling Route 2.” Once we’ve done our job, this page will be packed with high-quality content relating to – wait for it – Edinburgh Cycling Route 2. By optimising the page with relevant and interesting content, you’ll produce a page with high Page Authority.

Page Authority (or PageRank, as used by Google and named after one of their founders, Larry Page), is the metric used by Moz to predict a page’s ranking potential in search engines. This metric is calculated by analysing various pages’ relevance and quality of links.

In other words, they’re looking at the calibre of your content silos.

A higher Page Authority increases the likelihood of a webpage’s showing closer to the top of the search results. “Edinburgh Cycling Route 2,” for example, automatically contributes to the overall PageRank of the “Cycling Routes” section simply by having been categorised within the “Cycling Routes” content silo.

Content Silos: Down to the Details

All of this sounds good, but there are a final few insider details you need to know if you want to maximise your benefits.

To recap, the SEO benefits of utilising content silos are in how link authority is passed up through the “Cycling Routes” silo by using internal linking and keyword-focused anchor text (the clickable text in a hyperlink). This all culminates at the top-of-the-silo “Cycling” page. SEO best practices dictate that anchor text is relevant to the page being linked to, as well, which will only strengthen your efforts.

It’s important to remember that the process doesn’t simply end once you’ve created your content silo. Here at Ambergreen Internet Marketing, for example, we continually monitor keyword groups for our clients in order to ensure that each silo is optimised for maximum SEO.

Occasionally, we’ll experience a slight drop in one of our keyword ranking positions. Any number of issues can cause this, including having been outranked by a competitor, experiencing on-page issues, or losing external links.

The good news is that this is a completely fixable issue; all you need to do is go back to basics with your content silo’s structure.

Let’s say “Glasgow Cycling Route Y” keywords are losing ranking positions. We can take advantage of our “Cycling” content silos to pass link equity via internal linking to areas of the site where rankings are decreasing.

Just as we can pass link equity up through the site, we can also pass it down, as well. By backlinking using keyword-focused anchor text, we can link down using a hyperlink from the “Cycling” landing page to “Glasgow Cycling Route Y,” giving the latter page the link equity boost it needs to improve its ranking.

And don’t forget to make use of all the tools on your digital marketing belt. Use Google Keyword Planner to select the most relevant keyword to use in the anchor text, and use Moz Open Site Explorer to measure Page Authority. Moz is an extremely useful metric to identity which pages on your website require some extra attention, whether that be through increased linking or extra content.

What’s the Next Step?

Content Silos

Master the cycle of SEO success

See, silos don’t just hold grain – they hold the secrets to SEO success.

Here at Ambergreen, we use analytics and SEO to track the keywords within our content silos. By grouping keywords in silos and analysing the data on a weekly basis, we are able to monitor any ranking fluctuations and take swift and appropriate action for our clients.

Ready to take your SEO to the next level? Get in touch to discover how we can work together to make your website stronger than ever before.