Silo structure, do you understand it?

by 52 replies
Do any of you use this? On wordpress?
I understand Exactly what this is and how the structure looks

However getting wordpress set up so that this structure integrates with it, is a bit tricky.

So far this is the only site I found that attempts to make it look easy.

How to Theme and Silo Your WordPress Blog

If you understand Silo Structure what do you think of this site? and the way they try to lay out the silo with that plugin?

Or do you know a better way?
#website design #silo #structure #understand
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  • Profile picture of the author bocceman
    I use sioling, but currently only on websites I wrote. The site you provided does make sense and sound like a good plan. The beginning is heavy on jargon, but once they start explaining things, it starts sounding good. I would try their technique on one set of keywords and then compare it to similar keywords on your blog that aren't sioled.

    I may even test this on my blog.
  • Profile picture of the author outwest
    After extensive Google Research
    I found this plugin

    SEO Siloing WordPress Plugin

    Its free
    I actually found it from Google from a thread on warrior forum, LOL

    finding a plugin thats FREE? for wordpress for silo? Almost unheard of

    I have really only ever found TWO other plugins for wordpress for Silo
    One was $147
    One was a membership site that wanted $398 to join and get the download
    So if this plugin (free) works? it will be like Christmas

    I will be extremely pleased
  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    I am totally confused by that plugin...

    Aren't category archives doing the same by default in any WP installation? i.e. listing all the posts in a category?
  • Profile picture of the author RobKonrad
    Hi guys,

    I actually use a (paid) silo plugin on a couple of my sites.

    Basically, the idea of a silo structure is as follows:

    You usually have a top navigation, maybe category navigation, but if somebody would visit your page, click on let's say a category and then on a post, at some point he'd be "finished" browsing deeper into your page; all he could do is go back up another "level" in your homepage (so e.g. Home => Category ABC => Post 1; user can go back up to Category ABC and then select Post 2, but then it's the end again).

    What the SILO structure does is basically interlink ALL pages/posts on your website, so that at the end of each post there's a link to another article, and at the end of that there's a link to another article/post, and so on.

    So baiscally, if you end up on ANY page of your website, you can "click through" ALL PAGES of your website and will then end up again on the initial post.

    This is supposed to make life easier for spiders, who can crawl through your WHOLE page once they land anywhere.

    The pages I'm using it on are doing pretty well, so it makes sense to me to use it; on the other hand, there is a lot of other optimization going on, so I can't tell if the silo plugin/structure is the KEY....

    Cheers,
    Rob
    • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
      Originally Posted by RobKonrad View Post

      You usually have a top navigation, maybe category navigation, but if somebody would visit your page, click on let's say a category and then on a post, at some point he'd be "finished" browsing deeper into your page; all he could do is go back up another "level" in your homepage (so e.g. Home => Category ABC => Post 1; user can go back up to Category ABC and then select Post 2, but then it's the end again).
      Not necessarily true... it's very much theme dependent:

      In one theme that I made on single post view (which you consider a "dead end") I had two different link pairs on the top and on the end.

      TOP - Next/Previous post in chronological order

      BOTTOM (end of post) - Next/Previous post in the same category

      All this can be done without any plugin, just adding a single line of code to the single.php template.

      You, guys, like to over-complicate everything with plugins
    • Profile picture of the author outwest
      Originally Posted by RobKonrad View Post

      Hi guys,

      I actually use a (paid) silo plugin on a couple of my sites.

      Basically, the idea of a silo structure is as follows:

      You usually have a top navigation, maybe category navigation, but if somebody would visit your page, click on let's say a category and then on a post, at some point he'd be "finished" browsing deeper into your page; all he could do is go back up another "level" in your homepage (so e.g. Home => Category ABC => Post 1; user can go back up to Category ABC and then select Post 2, but then it's the end again).

      What the SILO structure does is basically interlink ALL pages/posts on your website, so that at the end of each post there's a link to another article, and at the end of that there's a link to another article/post, and so on.

      So baiscally, if you end up on ANY page of your website, you can "click through" ALL PAGES of your website and will then end up again on the initial post.

      This is supposed to make life easier for spiders, who can crawl through your WHOLE page once they land anywhere.

      The pages I'm using it on are doing pretty well, so it makes sense to me to use it; on the other hand, there is a lot of other optimization going on, so I can't tell if the silo plugin/structure is the KEY....

      Cheers,
      Rob
      what paid plugin do you use? I have only ever seen ONE
      and its $147, too rich for my blood, considering most WP plugins are free
  • Profile picture of the author RobKonrad
    Hi Istvan,

    no overcomplicating here

    I totally see the point that this is possible to interlink posts WITHIN categories using a next/previous post issue.

    What's missing in your "handmade" solution, imho, is the flow over the WHOLE page:



    so basically it linterlinks to the NEXT category once you've reached the "end" within a category.

    (this is from the sales page of Dan Raine's plugin which I use).

    I just had a look at the plugin code, it does some more stuff than that - some nofollow tricks, some stuff on archive pages and blogroll pages, making sure that certain themes don't get messed up - but yeah: nothing of this couldn't be done with some lines here and there in your theme.

    IF - you know your way around, which isn't true for most beginners.
    The plugin is really just set and forget.

    But let's stop here :p or we'll probably confuse some readers more than we help, hehe...

    Cheers from Switzerland,
    Rob
    • Profile picture of the author yukon
      Originally Posted by RobKonrad View Post

      Hi Istvan,

      no overcomplicating here

      I totally see the point that this is possible to interlink posts WITHIN categories using a next/previous post issue.

      What's missing in your "handmade" solution, imho, is the flow over the WHOLE page:



      so basically it linterlinks to the NEXT category once you've reached the "end" within a category.

      (this is from the sales page of Dan Raine's plugin which I use).

      I just had a look at the plugin code, it does some more stuff than that - some nofollow tricks, some stuff on archive pages and blogroll pages, making sure that certain themes don't get messed up - but yeah: nothing of this couldn't be done with some lines here and there in your theme.

      IF - you know your way around, which isn't true for most beginners.
      The plugin is really just set and forget.

      But let's stop here :p or we'll probably confuse some readers more than we help, hehe...

      Cheers from Switzerland,
      Rob
      IMO, that's a very poor silo structure, just because the person that created that plugin is trying to control link flow above & beyond what's necessary for a silo.

      A silo is a themed group of pages, any page in that group should be able to navigate to the other pages in that group, not just a single link flow direction like that plugin flow chart you posted.

      Also, your flow chart is linking from the bottom of dogs silo to the top of the cats silo for no reason, you just broke the dogs silo for no reason. Might as well not bother to silo.

      Think of a silo landing page as a bucket, you have 10 internal pages in that silo, all in the bucket (silo landing page), each silo page can be reached from any other page in the bucket.

      No human would follow that plugin flow chart for long. Has to be both human & SERP friendly.



    • Profile picture of the author mojojuju
      In the chart posted, why on earth is "Dogs Keyword Post #5" linked to "Cats" and "Cats Keyword Post #5"? Those links seem irrelevant and arbitrary and those links seem to be there based on the (false) assumption that Google would have difficulty indexing the site without them.

      I think the chart could do without those links and could benefit from some natural linking from within article text to other relevant articles.

      It would be better IMO to link Dogs Keyword Post #5 to another Dogs Keyword Post. Same for the Cats posts.

      Also, back in the day, when nobody used CMS systems, sites were organized using a hierarchical and categorized directory structure. It was taken for granted as the common sense way of doing things. Doing it that way was the way people organized their sites because it would be stupid not to.

      "Silo"?

      Everything I've read about "silo structure" seems to be just a new way of describing the old common sense way of structuring a site and it seems unnecessarily surrounded with other needless jargon.
  • Profile picture of the author outwest
    Silo structure I have been studying it for about 4 months and it is by no means simple
    it seems simple by the charts, and it does make sense
    finding a plugin though that is designed to keep the silos tight is not easy

    for example most default wordpress structures BUST the Silo structure by putting "recent posts" on all of the pages, by default

    you dont want to do this since those recent posts could be any posts on any topic unrelated to THAT silo, and thus confusing to the serps

    also even links to , contact us, privacy policy etc, IMO kind of break the Silo rule
  • Profile picture of the author RobKonrad
  • Profile picture of the author outwest
    Ya see $147 bucks too high IMO
    I wouldnt pay that, Hell I only paid 97 for Market Samurai

    I would rather pay my programmer to write a custom code, than pay someone 147
    at least after that I could make money from it
  • Profile picture of the author outwest
    I contacted my programmer in India MUmbai today
    he is currently writing for me a silo plugin , which will later be for sale
    this guy is an excellent programmer

    I rather have my own custom software I had written if I am going to pay 150 bucks
    How much you want to be I dont pay that much more to have it written?
  • Profile picture of the author SiteSmarty
    Istvan is right. You don't need a plugin. The idea behind the silo system is to link "like" articles just like the above diagram illustrates.

    It's easier manage using pages instead of posts. Use anchor text to link page to page.

    - You need a launch page.
    - Link to that launch page from your menu.
    - Make a title for your topic and bold/underline it.
    - Under that title use bullet points and and place a link to a page for a related article.

    You'll notice in the diagram above they link from Post#5 in dogs to the Cats title. You place that last article from the get go and link it. Then all other article pages go above that article.

    Then all you do is write and article using a page, and link it using anchor text. This way makes it easy to manage as you don't have to touch your last article that links to the different title.

    Note: The easier way is to just link to like articles when you write a post or page. You'll get the same results without the hassle.
  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Trust me, you will never silo a Wordpress theme with a plugin.

    Just like Istvan said, it's theme dependent, matter of fact it's 100% theme dependent.

    Even with a silo plugin, If it siloed the site structure, you'll still have the rest of the theme to deal with (header, sidebar, footer, etc...).

    It's just not going to happen with a plugin, you'll need a custom WP theme to clean up the other typical WP junk that most people think are cute, fun, or pretty (lol).
  • Profile picture of the author outwest
    i Want to Thank Yukon for jumping into this thread. He is probably the MOST knowledgeable Warrior on this topic

    Oh Ok Yukon I thought You said you were writing or attempting to write a plugin for silo structure

    Are all the silo posts in each bucket Pages? Or just the main Silo Landing Pages are pages and the rest of the supporting articles(or whatever you call them) in each bucket are posts?

    And Each page in the bucket (good analogy) links back to the Silo landing page for that bucket? And Vice versa? So each page in the bucket can see each other page in the bucket basically?

    This is becoming more clear, if my above analogy is correct
  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    OK, I don't consider myself an expert in this silo-thing... however, parts of the theory/technique are just common sense and good design + good content.

    As far as I know, initially, the "silo" system in information management used to be a negative thing

    Seemingly, these guys used the silo structure in web(flow) design as a positive - and effective - SEO technique the first time: Advanced SEO Tutorials and LSI

    Now, he also has a graphic for exemplification here:
    Silo Website Design (scroll down!)

    If you look only at the arrows (and nothing else) then you'd see the linking from one silo to the next - as it was shown on the plugin's salespage.

    HOWEVER! At a closer look you will realize the plugin author and many of his followers never really understood the CONTENT part of the technique: in the original example, if you read the topics in the 'boxes' are very much related - the sub-sub-themes are all different aspects of the same sub-theme (cat health care)... that's why you can go from the bottom of each to the next. It has never been intended to link unrelated silos with each other!

    But the plugin creator just did that^^

    It is also worth noting that applying mechanically such a structure without understanding the basics of LSI wouldn't help much. Actually, the whole idea grew out from doing SEO using LSI keywords as article topics in the silos.

    I still think with a bit of theme/template tweaking and using
    - categories
    - category templates
    - context-relevant menus and submenus
    you can achieve the whole idea in WordPress - without any plugin.

    [and some people think I am a monomaniac when saying all day long "you should know how to organize your CONTENT before even downloading WordPress"... ;p]
  • Profile picture of the author outwest
    I understand how Silos are structured however I am confused if the Silo Landing Pages are the only pages, or the Supporting articles within each Silo(bucket as Yukon puts it) are also pages, or are those POSTS

    and how are those linked with each other back and forth

    Siloing seems at first glance to be somewhat logical but the longer you look at it the more you realize it is not as simple as it appears at first glance
  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    In what Yukon posted I don't see any Page (as WP Page opposed to post)

    All I see is categories and posts: the "green" webpage (not Page!) is a category archive with custom category template - needs some work but works perfectly.

    The "yellow" stuff are posts in the same category. For navigation use: Function Reference/next post link « WordPress Codex and its pair.

    If you need you can use conditional tags in the sidebar and display only navigation links inside this category.

    My point is: you can really customize your silo-type website built with WP to give you the best results... if you are willing to dig a bit into the WP features & templates & template tags etc. Everything is there, people just don't use it.
    • Profile picture of the author outwest
      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      In what Yukon posted I don't see any Page (as WP Page opposed to post)

      All I see is categories and posts: the "green" webpage (not Page!) is a category archive with custom category template - needs some work but works perfectly.

      The "yellow" stuff are posts in the same category. For navigation use: Function Reference/next post link « WordPress Codex and its pair.

      If you need you can use conditional tags in the sidebar and display only navigation links inside this category.

      My point is: you can really customize your silo-type website built with WP to give you the best results... if you are willing to dig a bit into the WP features & templates & template tags etc. Everything is there, people just don't use it.

      Yes but if you read some of Yukons Other posts in other threads his linking structure is very intricate, its not simply categories and posts, as far as I could tell. its very calculated, I will try to dig up where he posted about how he links

      I know that on Clickbump
      Scott Silo theme he has, (actually all the templates are capable of this)
      have Category landing PAGES.............and within those are POSTS, which display ONLY in
      That CATEGORY.............

      Starting to make a bit of sense but I dont want to use Clickbump themes for my new Niche Site, I want to custom structure a wordpress theme
    • Profile picture of the author outwest
      Istvan thanks very much for your helpful PM
      cleared up a lot of wordpress issues
  • Profile picture of the author outwest
    This is a post Yukon Made In Another Thread, I think it makes a lot of sense, I cut pasted it, Yukon Hope you dont mind



    Yes, the green silo landing page is an authority page all by itself.

    You want the green landing page to act as an authority buffer between silo supporting pages & the Index page. This will help later on (see double/triple SERP listings below). The goal is to rank the green landing pages for each individual keyword, it doesn't matter If the Index page ranks or not, chances are it will still rank for a variety of themed keywords.

    The green landing pages support the Index page. When you start creating multiple silos all themed on the root keyword (dog), then 10+ silos later, you have some serious authority on the subject (dog).

    Think of each silo as it's own micro site, the green silo landing pages would represent a micro sites Index page, while keeping each individual silo landing page 100% on the subject (dog).

    It doesn't matter If you have 1 silo or 1,000 silos on the same site/domain, they still need to focus on the root keyword (dog). A focused site like this builds authority pretty quick.

    There is no fixed number for supporting pages, however I try to keep at least 10 supporting pages in each individual silo as a minimum & really that all depends on competition.

    If the #1 competition in the SERPs has 15 internal pages with my target keyword in their page titles:

    ( intitle:"keyword" site:domain.com )

    Ill defiantly try & build more pages in that silo than they have for their entire site, maybe even double that number of supporting pages to 30 pages in a single silo. Something like 30 pages would be an above average competition that your trying to out rank in the SERPs.

    Obviously I'm not going to build 1,000 supporting pages in a single silo, unless that keyword was bringing in some serious money at the top of the SERPs (position 1,2,3 in the SERPs).

    Again, I start with 10 supporting pages, build my external backlinks, then let the SERPs settle down & see what needs to be done next (more supporting page, more backlinks, both?).

    Expanding a silo site is pretty straight forward, like the screenshot below. Just remember the tighter the group of pages the better off that green landing page will be in the SERPs.





    Then with the tightly grouped silo you start getting into some cool SERP things like double/triple SERP listings for the same exact keyword. It's very cool to own 2 or 3 positions on page #1 in the SERPs, you can sometimes double the traffic for that keyword by planning ahead with the silo structure, & really requires no extra work that you wouldn't already be doing, the difference is the site is very organized compared to an average blog/site.

    Most folks just build a single new blog page then point external backlinks at the Index page or the new internal page, which is totally unorganized & just random posting.

    I think If more webmasters understood what a simple silo can accomplish they would change a lot of what they do as far as seo & content publishing.

    That link I posted to yed graph editor is one of the best things that helps keep me organized with my own silo sites. It's just awesome to be able to plan the site offline in a visual way, before I ever start building the site
  • Profile picture of the author Botelho11
    Banned
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    I also respect yukon for his very knowledgeable posts and insight.

    However, I don't think there is anything in hist posts (both what he posted earlier and what you quoted/pasted) that would contradict radically what I told you about the WP tools to be used. The contradiction seems to exist only in your perception.

    Yukon gave (you and others) a general schema of the web pages organized in silos.
    I gave you a specific description how to achieve it in a WP site. One possible way to do it (although I think it's the easiest in WP).
    • Profile picture of the author outwest
      Originally Posted by Istvan Horvath View Post

      I also respect yukon for his very knowledgeable posts and insight.

      However, I don't think there is anything in hist posts (both what he posted earlier and what you quoted/pasted) that would contradict radically what I told you about the WP tools to be used. The contradiction seems to exist only in your perception.

      Yukon gave (you and others) a general schema of the web pages organized in silos.
      I gave you a specific description how to achieve it in a WP site. One possible way to do it (although I think it's the easiest in WP).




      Ok lets make it simpler using the Bucket Analogy

      Each Bucket is a Silo Right?
      Lets Say each bucket has
      Article 1
      Article 2
      Article 3
      The MAIN Silo (bucket) Landing Page is Called BUCKET1.....And thats a PAGE (i ASSUME)

      I assume all the articles have a list on the side listing all the other articles in that BUCKET (or silo) But
      They do NOT link out to Other Silos, or to the Main Page of That domain, only back to the Main Silo Page, or to each of the other articles in That Silo

      Am I on the right Track?

      I am still confused if the articles are just posts in a category? or if they are actually PAGES
  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    You get confused because you don't seem to realize there is a difference when we speak about pages and/or Pages.

    A page = any webpage on the net or on your site... and Yukon was speaking in general about WEB-pages.

    A Page (with capital P) related to WordPress is always that distinct entry type you create and which is not a post. And Pages don't have categories and cannot be "under" a category!

    And again: Yukon did not talk specifically about WordPress-powered silo sites; what he outlined was the general idea of organizing webpages in silo structure - no matter how you created those webpages.

    And what I gave you it was a concrete solution how to apply that general idea to a WP-powered site. You can use it or you can come up with your own solution using WP. Or you can argue here till the end of the times...

    Oh, and don't assume... you know what they say about it (ass-u-me)

    Finally, I have to repeat what I said about the content: make sure you plan exactly the structure of your content... the technicalities (post or Page) are irrelevant!

    I could create Yukon's structure from the image in several ways using WordPress with custom templates. But because people get sidetracked if I give them more than one solution I just described the simplest one. Similarly straightforward would be a solution based solely on Pages and sub-Pages + conditional (context based) side menus for parent/child/sibling Pages.
  • Profile picture of the author blogfreakz
    hmm this reminds me of the Link Wheel strategy eh ... interesting

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