Despite our vast technological advancements over the years, one thing still remains true; computer programs must follow certain parameters set forth by their creators. Google’s algorithm works in the same manner. Despite what many people may believe, Google’s algorithm is a program and is not infallible. Whether we like to believe it or not, it simply cannot view websites the same as you or I.
With over one billion live websites and likely hundreds of billions of pages to scroll through regularly, this can be a daunting task even for Google’s crawlers. In order to expedite the process, these crawlers look for specific criteria in order to give their “opinion” of where a specific site should rank.
By understanding exactly what the crawlers are searching for, site owners are able to create a site that is favorable to Google in order to rank higher. This is the basis of SEO and has been around since the beginning of the internet age.
We all know about the use of keywords, links, and quality content as being contributing factors that Google looks for when determining rank. These are the main aspects that most site owners focus on.
However, there is one major factor that can provide an insanely powerful boost, but unfortunately, so few people actually know about it (which makes it even more powerful).
This aspect is the overall structure of your site. I will teach you how to create what is known as a Silo structured website in order to gain immense favor from the “Big G.” Here is what the CEO of Theme Zoom had to say about a silo structure…
Silo Theming: “A website architecture based on a linking structure that segregates various themes into different ‘silos’ so that people and search engines can easily identify the main topics of a website. Approximately 50% of the theme of a page is communicated by on-site linking. This communication happens most effectively with a website silo architecture which, in turn, can help lower the costs of website rankings by up to 90%. In addition to this, you are more likely to rank for keywords related to your topic than you would with a haphazard linking structure.”
CEO, Theme Zoom LLC
In a video provided by Matt Cutts in 2011, Cutts tells of the benefits of creating a well-structured site and its importance to Google’s ranking algorithm. This is similar to the chapters of a book, siloing creates content that is themed or subject specific within your website.
A silo structure is simply a method of implementing the type of architecture that Cutts is referring to. Here is that video…
As I’ve already covered, Google’s web crawlers work within certain parameters. Web crawlers don’t have eyes, ears, or reasoning capability to view your site and make a ranking determination based on what you or I would see. They can only judge your site based on how they were originally programmed to do so.
For instance, you or I may view a site and agree that it offers value and is aesthetically pleasing. However, Google’s web crawlers may see the layout of the site as messy and unorganized if the linking structure is all over the place, making it difficult to crawl, dramatically affecting its rank.
A silo structure is a method used to properly design the framework of your website by implementing a hierarchy of pages. This allows web crawlers to quickly and efficiently navigate and map every inch of your site and properly determine exactly what each published page is about, effectively ranking it higher in the SERP’s.
It creates an organized pathway, which is ideal for a computer program to follow.
Interestingly enough, this organization also makes for a user friendly site as well, which may be why Google gives it so much clout. So, by simply following this method, you can not only dramatically change how Google views your site, but also positively affect your viewers as well? Sounds like a win-win to me!
Notable Benefits of a Silo Structure
1. A site that is properly follows a silo structure allows for up to 90% fewer overall useless internal links.
Whether we are aware of it or not, the majority of websites have an internal linking structure that does not convey any central theme. Without a clearly identifiable theme, pages will not receive as much value in the SERPs.
Internal linking is important, but if it is unorganized it adds little value to for the audience, which Google may take note of. Here is an example provided by MOZ.
That looks messy doesn’t it? If we were to click on that site, we may not even notice the crazy linking pattern, but that is how Google’s crawlers will map it out. By linking every page together, there is no hierarchy. There are no themes. What does a hotel from London have to do with a hotel from Houston?
2. It allows the “juice” to flow down from your main pages to your content pages, which increases their value and provides a higher boost making it easier to rank for long tailed keywords. Here is a view of what a properly siloed site could look like, courtesy of Themezoom.
This is only one of the many silo layouts that has become popular across the web. The primary goal of Google is to provide users with the most relevantly themed pages and websites for their query.
Focusing specifically on keyword phrases may be a lost cause since the launch of the most recent Google updates. Instead, one should focus on building themes that match your specific keyword phrases.
Here’s an idea of how it would work; for this example, we are going to use the photo shown above. If I had a website that sold cell phones, here is how I would structure it:
The theme of this page would revolve around the main keyword “cell phones”
These could include different sub topics of the main theme. This 2nd level of the structure could have cell phone plan, wireless cell phone, cell phone service, and ringtones.
This is the 3rd level of the structure and will feature sub topics from the theme listed in the 2nd level. For instance, under your subtopic “ringtones,” we could include sub-sub-topics such as ring tone downloads, free ring tones, and video game ringtones.
These aren’t absolutely necessary unless you have a very broad niche and want to capitalize on even more long tailed keywords. A few supporting pages for video game ringtones could separate into different genres, such as first person shooters, RPGs, or sports game ringtones.
The Final Say
Creating a properly structured website, you stand a far better chance at ranking for specific keywords early on. In no way am I saying this is a miracle fix, but if done properly, it can yield some incredible results.
The fact that very few websites actually implement this style of structuring will only add to the boost you receive as Google will view your site as potentially well relevant as all of your themes and categories will be properly designated.
Go ahead and try this for yourself and let me know how it works out by leaving a comment in the section below!