When it comes to SEO, there are countless strategies and techniques that businesses can use to optimize their website. One of the most talked-about techniques is the SEO silo structure, which involves organizing website content into distinct categories or silos based on related topics or keywords. However, does this strategy still make sense in the current digital landscape? In this blog post, we’ll explore why the SEO silo structure is outdated and what businesses should do instead to improve their search engine rankings.
The Basics of the SEO Silo Structure
Before delving into the reasons why the SEO silo structure is no longer relevant, let’s first cover the basics behind this strategy. Essentially, the idea behind the SEO silo structure is to organize website content into separate, distinct categories based on specific keywords or topics. By doing so, you create a “silo” for each category that keeps the content contained and organized.
For example, let’s say you run a gardening website. You might create separate silos for categories like “Vegetable Gardening,” “Flower Gardening,” “Landscaping,” and “Tools and Equipment.” Within each silo, you would then create subcategories and individual pages that are related to the overarching topic.
While this approach may make sense on the surface, there are several reasons why it is not an effective SEO strategy.
Why the SEO Silo Structure is Outdated
There are several reasons why the SEO silo structure is no longer an effective strategy for optimizing website content. Below are some of the key reasons to consider:
1. It Focuses on Keywords Rather Than User Intent
One of the primary issues with the SEO silo structure is that it encourages businesses to focus on keywords rather than user intent. While keywords are still an important factor in SEO, they are no longer the sole determinant of search engine rankings. Instead, search engines like Google are increasingly using machine learning algorithms to understand the intent behind user queries.
For example, let’s say a user searches for “garden tools.” Instead of simply matching pages that contain the keyword “garden tools,” Google will look for pages that are most relevant to the user’s intent. This means that you don’t necessarily need a separate “Tools and Equipment” silo on your gardening website – instead, you can simply incorporate relevant content and pages into your overall website structure.
2. It Limits Content Flexibility and Adaptability
Another issue with the SEO silo structure is that it can limit the flexibility and adaptability of website content. If you organize all of your content into rigid silos, it can be difficult to adjust and expand as trends and user interests change over time.
For example, let’s say your gardening website has a separate “Vegetable Gardening” silo. If a new gardening trend emerges and users start searching for information about “microgreens,” you may not have a clear place to incorporate this content on your website. Instead, you’ll need to create a new silo or adjust your existing structure, which can be time-consuming and limit your ability to adapt quickly.
3. It Can Lead to Over-Optimization
Finally, the SEO silo structure can lead to over-optimization of website content. By focusing too heavily on specific keywords and organizing content into silos, businesses may unintentionally engage in “keyword stuffing” or other tactics that can hurt their search engine rankings.
For example, let’s say you have a separate “Vegetable Gardening” silo and want to rank for the keyword “organic gardening tips.” You might create multiple pages within this silo that use this exact keyword phrase, even if doing so doesn’t necessarily make sense within the context of the content. This can result in an over-optimization penalty from search engines like Google, hurting your overall rankings.
What Should You Do Instead?
Now that you understand why the SEO silo structure is no longer an effective strategy for improving your search engine rankings, what should you do instead? Here are three alternative approaches to consider:
1. Focus on User Intent
Rather than focusing solely on keywords, businesses should focus on understanding and addressing user intent in their website content. This means creating content that is relevant, valuable, and helpful to users based on their specific search queries.
For example, instead of creating a separate “Tools and Equipment” silo on your gardening website, you might incorporate relevant tools and equipment information into individual pages based on the user’s search query. If a user searches for “best garden hoe,” you might include this information on your “Vegetable Gardening” page rather than creating a new silo.
2. Create a Topic Cluster Model
Another alternative to the SEO silo structure is to create a topic cluster model for your website. This approach involves identifying core topics relevant to your business or industry and creating a “pillar” page for each one. These pillar pages then link to multiple subtopic pages that are related to the overarching topic.
For example, a gardening business might create a “Vegetable Gardening” pillar page with links to subtopics like “Growing Tomatoes,” “Companion Planting,” and “Organic Pest Control.” By doing so, they create a more flexible website structure that can adapt to changing trends and user interests over time.
3. Incorporate Internal Linking Strategies
Finally, businesses can improve their SEO by incorporating effective internal linking strategies into their website. Internal linking involves linking relevant pages and content together within your website, which can help search engines understand your overall website structure and improve your search engine rankings.
For example, you might incorporate internal linking by linking to related pages within your website content or creating a “Related Articles” section at the end of each page. By doing so, you create a more cohesive website structure that helps users and search engines better understand your content.
While the SEO silo structure may have been an effective strategy in the past, it is no longer a viable approach to search engine optimization. Instead, businesses should focus on understanding user intent, creating flexible website structures, and incorporating internal linking strategies to improve their search engine rankings over time. By doing so, they can ensure that their website remains relevant, valuable, and helpful to users, no matter how trends and user interests change over time.