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SEO Siloing: Building a Themed Website

Search engines award top keyword rankings to the site that proves that it the best fit for the relevancy of a subject or theme that matches the user query. As a result the primary goal of SEO is to improve the website so that the site is about more than targeted keyword phrases – it is about the themes matching those keywords.

Siloing of a website requires a multi-step process of planning and
implementation.

Step 1: Begin the process of siloing by determining your website theme. Answer
questions including:
What subject themes are currently ranking for your website?
What subject themes are legitimately relevant for your website?
How would a user search for your content (main search queries)?
How can you implement clear subject themes?
Step 2: Consider whether you can implement a physical silo through the site’s directory structure and apply if possible. As an alternative, we will later discuss virtual silos where navigation and linking determine the theme.
Step 3: Carefully examine the link structure implemented throughout the site, applying linking techniques between pages that reinforce site themes.
Step 4: Publish relevant, expert-quality content that includes targeted keyword phrases within appropriate silos.

In order to rank for keywords within Google, Yahoo and Bing, a site must provide information that is organized in a clear structure and language that search engines understand. When a site’s information has been stripped away
from its design and layout, will it be the most relevant of all similarly themed sites? If so then you have a high likelihood of achieving high rankings and will attract customers researching and shopping for products and services in turn.

Siloing is not all there is to ranking, but without it the on-page relevancy battle is lost.

The on-page process of achieving high rankings begins by having a clear understanding of a website’s subject themes. When speaking at conferences and in training, the importance of creating subject themes, or silos, by using
the analogy that most websites are like a jar of marbles. He states that a search engine can only decipher meaning when the subjects are clear and distinct. Take a look at the picture of a jar of marbles below and contemplate how search engines will classify the “theme” of this jar?

In the jar above we see Green Marbles, Red Marbles, and Yellow Marbles mixed together with no order or emphasis. It would be reasonable to assume that search engines would classify the subject as a jar of marbles.

If we then separate out each group of colored marbles into separate jars, they would be classified as a jar of Green Marbles, a jar of Red Marbles and a jar of Yellow Marbles

However, if we wanted to include all three marbles in a single jar, we could create distinct groupings within the jar that would allow the subject themes to remain separate as Green Marbles, Red Marbles, Yellow Marbles as well as
the generic term “marbles.”

The first mixed up jar of marbles (figure 1) is a non-siloed websites. The three separate jars represent separate sites (figure 2) and the last jar equates to one site with topics separated into theme-specific categories, or silos (figure 3). The goal for a site that wants to rank for more than a single generic term is to selectively decide what the site is
and is not about. Rankings can be damaged in two common ways: 1) either by including irrelevant content or 2) having too little content about a subject. Avoid these mistakes by knowing the focus for the site and avoiding  irrelevant subject matter.

Establishing a Clear Theme

There are many ways to establish a clear theme. It helps to visualize the primary and secondary categories that you would prefer your site to be about.

Diagram 1: Subject Organization Chart

The Subject Organization Chart is an easily accessible tool that can be found within Microsoft Visio and other flowchart creation software choices. It provides the opportunity to visually explain what the focus of the website should be and what subjects actually distract the search engines from the main subjects.

Diagram 2: Word Sentence Outline

Major Theme
Subtopic 1
Subtopic 2
Subtopic 3
Subtopic 4

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John Bertrand

John Bertrand, an SEO Consultant since 1998, offers website audits with actionable suggestions along with SEO training for organizations of all sizes.

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