What the heck is a “silo site” anyway?
Glad you asked. And note that what I’m about to tell you is a painful process to perform on an existing site, especially if it’s large.
So let’s start with a brand-spankin’ new web site, shall we?
As in, you installed WordPress and you haven’t even removed the sample page and post. Heck, you haven’t set up any tags or categories, either.
This is the ideal time to set up your silo.
But what is a silo site and why is it important?
What Is a Silo Site?
Think of the Midwest and all those grain silos, where farmers store their various grains. They certainly wouldn’t put all their different grain products in the same storage cylinder (silo), now would they? Of course not. They keep their wheat, barley, and oats in the same container, or silo, just like you shouldn’t do with your web content.
Let’s say you’re a car dealership. Most people, when shopping for a car (new or used) are looking for a specific make and model (Honda Pilot, for example) OR a specific type of car (SUV). The smart marketer that you are, you put all the Honda Pilots together, all the Dodge Durango’s together, and then the BMW X3’s together. And then, in the same lot, you have all of those SUVs together, separate from the sports cars.
The last thing you want to do is have a potential SUV buyer having to walk by a sedan, a station wagon, a pickup, and then a two-seater sports car so that he could get to the next SUV.
Makes sense right?
But what do you do with your web site? Exactly that!
Why Is a Silo Site Important?
With a silo web site, you place all your “like” content together, and then make logical groupings of those groupings. Let’s take the car lot example to the virtual world of a web site. You would have a menu that listed all of your Honda SUVs, grouped together, along with your Durango’s and BMW X3’s. They’d be grouped in the SUV menu. Then, you’d have a sports car menu item, then a pickup menu, and so on.
All of your content would be grouped accordingly.
When you’re on the SUV page, menu choices should focus on your SUV models. It makes total sense, right? You’re providing the information that your potential customer wants. You made it easy for her to find what she was looking for.
That’s what your customer wants, that’s what you want, and that’s what Google wants.
Now, on a web site, it’s not just about the menu.
It’s more than that. But you get the idea.
Ideally, you’d want all of your “like” content grouped together in pages, categories, and posts. The permalink you’d want for your SUVs would be yoursite.com/suv – in a perfect world, every piece of SUV content would have that “stub” in its URL.
Can you see why this is difficult to do with an existing web site? Yeah, I thought so.
But with a new site, it’s pretty easy to do, especially if you use a plugin designed specifically for this task. It’s called WP Ultimate Silo Builder (I am in no way affiliated with this plugin or its authors—I just really like it a lot for setting up silo sites).
There is evidence, for niche-type sites, that a silo structure will rank higher than one that isn’t structured as such, even if there’s less content on the site.
I speculate that it’s just easier for Google to really nail down what a site is about because you made it crystal-clear obvious.
Plus, your visitors will love the ease with which they can find what they are looking for. And because you link everything together that should be together, they stay on your site much longer than they would have if you hadn’t done so. Imagine: If a person finds one of your web pages in a search, visits, reads the article, and has no other options vs. a person who has 15 more pages to look at once he hits your site because you made it really easy for him to find related material?
Right. So now that you know what a silo web site is and does for your visitors and your web rankings, why are you still reading? Go out there and do it on your next site!
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