Wordpress structure: Should pillar pages be category pages

13 replies
  • SEO
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Hey,

I've been searching for an answer to this high and low but think I've missed something simple along the way. (AKA sorry if it's been answered before!).

I'm looking at creating a Wordpress site structure for a travel-related blog site. I'm keen to build strong silos/clusters with each topic. I just can't seem to decide which is better from an SEO standpoint: (1) Use the category page in WP as a landing page/pillar page and beef that out with 5,000-word+ of content with images and all on-page SEO. (2) No-index the cat/tag pages totally and use a standard WP page as my pillar.

My instincts say go with (2), but my reservations are that it would automatically create duplicate content (but I guess that's solved if I no-index) and it would betray the directory/subdirectory format I want to go with for my URLs (website.com/destination/activity-in-destination).

Cheers!
#category #pages #pillar #structure #wordpress
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  • Profile picture of the author SerpTrust
    You can go for parent/child pages and I think there's an option to setup the permalink structure in such way that you get website.com/destination/activity-in-destination, though you'd have to check that to be sure.

    There are also plugins that allow you to make a category page behave as a regular page or you can do it manually by making a copy of your category.php and give it your category name.

    There is also this: https://wordpress.org/plugins/add-category-to-pages/, which allows you to assign categories to your pages which might just give you the structure you're looking for without going through all kind of hoops.

    Technically it doesn't matter much either way if you go for option 2 and no-index the cat/tag pages, you can easily do that with Yoast SEO or All In One SEO plugin.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lermontov1
    Thanks!

    So there's not a preference for Google to prioritize WP pages over WP category (archive) pages. I can just use the archive page for my pillar content and it shouldn't lag behind in the SERPs just because of what it is?
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    The key thing to remember here in building the type of structure you wish to build.. Wordpress "Category" pages are "Dynamic". What this means is every time the Category page is clicked on, it is created. IE 5 users goto your category page, and obviously it loads 5 times. BUT each time it is loaded within a session is separate from those loaded in other sessions. Basically even tho it is the X Category Page it is actually the "X Category Page Load 1", "X Category Page Load 2", "X Category Page Load 3", "X Category Page Load 4", etc ect

    To create a TRUE Silo structure you will need to use the PAGE option to create these pages, this will be "Static" and thus be much better for SEO uses.

    Originally Posted by SerpTrust View Post

    A page is just a page, simple as that.
    Uh no, that is simply not true. a page may be a page, but there is a difference between a "dynamically session built page" and a "page" in WordPress

    My overall suggestion on the topic would be to use a "Page" and then you can insert text etc with a Category shortcode inserted to get much the same effect. BUT keep in mind even with this, as you add a new story within a category you are in essence changing the SEO properties of the page ( for better or for worse )
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    • Profile picture of the author Lermontov1
      Hey,

      Thanks for this detailed reply. Even if it's confused me a little more!

      So, from an SEO structure standpoint, it's best to anchor my silos on pages. I'm guessing that with that I should no index my cat pages? And then build a site structure around page links coming off a main menu. Wouldbthis work with breadcrumbs, though - I can't seem to see how the URL structure works without using the category pages as the landing page for the pillar.

      Thanks for the help!
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      • Profile picture of the author DABK
        Savidge is right. Use page. It matters a lot.


        Originally Posted by Lermontov1 View Post

        Hey,

        Thanks for this detailed reply. Even if it's confused me a little more!

        So, from an SEO structure standpoint, it's best to anchor my silos on pages. I'm guessing that with that I should no index my cat pages? And then build a site structure around page links coming off a main menu. Wouldbthis work with breadcrumbs, though - I can't seem to see how the URL structure works without using the category pages as the landing page for the pillar.

        Thanks for the help!
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        Originally Posted by Lermontov1 View Post

        Hey,

        Thanks for this detailed reply. Even if it's confused me a little more!

        So, from an SEO structure standpoint, it's best to anchor my silos on pages. I'm guessing that with that I should no index my cat pages? And then build a site structure around page links coming off a main menu. Wouldbthis work with breadcrumbs, though - I can't seem to see how the URL structure works without using the category pages as the landing page for the pillar.

        Thanks for the help!
        Yes, you want to build structure on "Pages". URL structure is exactly the same.. just title the PAGE that will be a Category head as you would a cat page. To be absolutely honest here I WOULD NOT have a single WordPress built CAT page on the site at all, if your primary intent is SEO.

        You can still build out your navigation, instead of using Cat pages.. just point to the PAGES that are your cats. Aside from the type of page you will be using the end user functions stay the same and the URLS for the most part stay the same ( I believe using pages is better )

        If you have further questions please feel free to ask!
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        • Profile picture of the author Lermontov1
          Thanks!

          I was thinking of using pages and using a 301 redirect from the Cat page to the page that I use as the pillar.

          Would this work?

          Then I could use posts in categories to build out my content silo/cluster from below, linking them using breadcrumbs and interlinks to the parents.

          It just feels strange to be thinking about using pages as the only mode of content - especially that some long-tail stuff will be much better suited to post format.

          I'm discovering that WP doesn't really have an in-built architecture for siloing content I think..

          Thanks for the help!

          Best
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          • Profile picture of the author savidge4
            Originally Posted by Lermontov1 View Post

            Thanks!

            I was thinking of using pages and using a 301 redirect from the Cat page to the page that I use as the pillar.

            Would this work?
            The short answer is NO this wont work. I wont explain why - lets try something to get the idea across... Try this... go into WordPress and create a category. Once that is done I then want you to find and open the Cat page you just created and add the word "hello" The problem with this? There is no page to ad "Hello" to, and that means there is no page to 301 direct. Again Cat pages are "Dynamic" and are built per call. So in a single visit a visitor clicks Cat 1 fifteen times.. they will have created 15 cat pages.

            Try looking at this: https://mythemeshop.com/blog/how-to-...ink-structure/ it explains it probably less technically than I can LOL [/QUOTE]

            Originally Posted by Lermontov1 View Post

            I'm discovering that WP doesn't really have an in-built architecture for siloing content I think..
            It has actually gotten easier over the years, Now is not so bad. It obviously helps to understand what the different pages do, and how they work in relation to SEO ( dynamic vs static ) Regardless of what you might read WordPress is not so SEO friendly left to its own devices. Learning tricks like you are here goes a long way to making it better
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  • Profile picture of the author medicineman
    This is right. WP does not have built-in design for a silo. The user has to create it.

    Do it with this simple example.

    A site about fruit should look like this in the categories and tags:

    fruit>

    fruit> bananas>

    fruit> bananas> cavendish bananas

    fruit> bananas> plantain bananas
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  • Profile picture of the author Lermontov1
    So, I'm coming to the conclusion that the best sort of organization for my silo would be:

    PAGE>SUBPAGE>POSTS

    Where the posts have URLs that read /category/postname

    Then I de-index but do-follow the category archive pages by choice (done in Yoast).

    I use a plug in to be able to categorize pages but manipulate cornerstone permalinks so that there's no extra subdirectory involved (I don't want site.com/keyword1/keyword1 - I want just site.com/keyword1). I can also relax about these not competing because I will no-index my official cat pages (site.com/category/keyword1).

    That way, I can make use of breadcrumbs and still employ posts in the silo structure.

    Does this seem to make sense?

    Cheers!
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Originally Posted by Lermontov1 View Post

      So, I'm coming to the conclusion that the best sort of organization for my silo would be:

      PAGE>SUBPAGE>POSTS

      Where the posts have URLs that read /category/postname

      Then I de-index but do-follow the category archive pages by choice (done in Yoast).

      I use a plug in to be able to categorize pages but manipulate cornerstone permalinks so that there's no extra subdirectory involved (I don't want site.com/keyword1/keyword1 - I want just site.com/keyword1). I can also relax about these not competing because I will no-index my official cat pages (site.com/category/keyword1).

      That way, I can make use of breadcrumbs and still employ posts in the silo structure.

      Does this seem to make sense?

      Cheers!
      Ok so now I am seeing the road block here... You are optimizing the URL..

      IF you want a "true" silo structure you have to put Yoast suggestions to the side. Again, you DO NOT want Wordpress created Cat pages. You don't want to have to no-index this and that and all of that stuff.

      You create a Page, that will be your category lets say Apples. You then create posts about red apples and golden apples and apple pears - In wordpress you set these to the category of Apples so you get <yoursite.com/apples/golden-apples> as an example.

      Ok now we need to work out the navigation read this: ( https://smallbusiness.chron.com/page...ess-46383.html ) And with this we now have our Cat PAGES in out navigation.

      And with that I believe you have just achieved what it is you are looking for? - and there are NO wordpress Categories involved
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      • Profile picture of the author Lermontov1
        Hey,

        Thanks for this.

        Yep - I think I was struggling becuase I was looking at URL structure as the ACTUAL silo. But it's not - that's done with interlinking. I think you're right: A page and then out to posts is the best way to do this. And I'll make use of pages on my main menu.

        I still think it would be wise to no-index/do-follow my cat pages though, just becuase they will have URLs that are inevitably similar to the pages I use for my pillar posts?

        Cheers again!
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