Wordpress Pillar Structure Basics - Categories?

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  • SEO
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Hi Guys

sorry if it's a noob question. I'm setting up a new blog and want to kick it off with a good SEO structure from the get go - so I don't end up having to change everything 5 mins down the line.

I've looked into pillar content / structure on Wordpress and found some useful stuff. But I am still a bit unclear on some points.

So step 1 is fairly clear - select main silo keywords and create the main pillars as PAGES
Step 2 create appropriate menu / submenu structure
Step 3 create killer content within / geared around / specific to those silos.

All good so far.

However there is the matter of blog categories in WP. I can't find any info on best practice for actually setting this up.

If for example we have a site about cheese - www.cheese.com - then say I want to break it down into
- English Cheeses
- French Cheeses
- Swiss Cheeses

Should I create categories with keywords, to put the appropriate posts into? Which would create links to category list pages from the breadcrumbs (if I set the permalink structure to site/cats/posts). Or, create 1 general CHEESE category, stick everything in there? And hide or show categories in permalinks?

On posts I've read there seems to be a gray area around categories list pages vs pillar PAGES.

If anyone has some simple pointers or guidelines on the most effective way to set up pillar pages, categories and posts I would be very grateful, many thanks.
#basics #categories #pillar #structure #wordpress
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  • Profile picture of the author King Manu
    You worry too much about technicalities.

    Categories are there to HELP your audience navigate the content. If you have more than 5 pieces of content for each category, you should definitely have them.

    If you don't have enough for every category, then it's no point in having all the detailed categories you mentioned.

    One thing that is important to remember is that your tags should always be different from categories. Tags will help your audience find specific things.

    SEO is always about user experience. That's what Google monitors and cares about.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
    This article explains it all.

    Keep in mind that Google puts more weight on User Intent rather than SEO navigation. Also keep in mind that the SILO navigation/category structure directly affects the Google Bots.

    Here is how I structure my SILO categories:

    Food for Cooking
    + Cheese
    + English Cheese
    + French Cheese
    + Swiss Cheese

    Main KW (Food) | User Intent (Cook aka Cooking) | Main Category
    + Main Category variant (sub-category)
    + Sub-category KW variant
    + Sub-category KW variant
    + Sub-category KW variant

    Permalink structure:
    In the minute it took me to write this post.. someone died of Covid 19. RIP.
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    Real Real Silo structure within the confines of WordPress would NOT use Categories.

    Silo structure at its most basic and I would argue best is page after page after page.

    Using Categories within WordPress does some funky stuff with SEO and leaks juice. So using a Category page and then linking pages to that is in the purest sense a mistake.

    Instead of the Category option that some have suggested I might suggest the "Tag" type link structure. Something like:

    <insert .com>/tag/page-name/

    This would be he cleanest easy to use option. there is a Custom permalink but that gets a bit more complicated that identifies a primary Page, and then stacks pages below that.

    Keep in mind with Silo its NOT just an easy to use structure for people to get from point A to point B. If you want that, you use Category type structure. Silo is the bottom page linking to the page before and only the page before. And that one links to the page before and only the page before. There should be no linking down the silo, only up the silo.

    Hope that Helps!
    Success is an ACT not an idea
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    • Profile picture of the author Gaia Media
      Thanks Savidge that was the most useful reply.

      So yes, I have also read elsewhere that use of categories in a pillar structure is not advisable. Consensus is, pages > posts is the way to go.

      What other posts didn't explain was exactly how to handle categories, since you need to put posts into one category or another.

      So as my research turned up, you are shooting more for main pillar PAGES, drilling down to posts. So to be specific - what exactly are you doing with your categories? Are you trying to keep category links etc out of the picture entirely on the front end?

      Any pointers would be much appreciated thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    So lets really dig deep here. So I read this thread and saw the answers and I was like WTF? that's not Silo... so I did a search... the thought of using "Categories" within the discussion of "Silo" just doesn't go together.

    Lets start with this.. basic Silo structure would be the primary page or top of the Silo. Below that would be subject pages stacked one on top of the other. So If we have a silo for "APPLES" we would have the following pages stacked below it.:
    1. Red Delicious Apples
    2. Golden Delicious Apples
    3. Macintosh Apples
    4. Ambrosia Apples
    5. Cortland Apples

    With Silo.. there is minimal linking. on the Apple pages listed in the numbered list there should only be 1 maybe 2 links on the page in total. This generally means in wordpress the navigation bar would be removed.

    A single link heiarchy would look like page 5 linking to 4, and then 4 linking to 3 and then 3 linking to page 2 and then 2 linking to 1 and page 1 links to "APPLES" With this you are controlling the flow of juice. it only has one way to go and that is up 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, ending at the Target page.

    With that said lets make this very clear this is a Strategy for pushing juice where you want it... it as nothing to do with User experience or readability or any of that. You send backlinks to pages 5 thru 1 and the flow of all that juice ends up on the "APPLES" page.

    To adapt a bit for usability etc, something I have done is removed the nav bar and then on the very top of the page introduced a link to the next page up. I then write out the text about whatever apple. on the bottom of the page like a Author Box or the like I will include a link to the "APPLES" page. Adding the 2nd link makes the page a bit moe usable - but not really

    In terms of Juice... we understand that the page has 100% juice. the link on top will push something like 75% and the link on the bottom will push 25%. If you were to add a navigation bar into this with say 18 links in it.. you have just diluted each links juice pass to something like 5% each overall.

    I will also say this... Keep in mind no where within the domain should there be a link to any of the silo pages. You only want linking to these pages to occur from outside your domain.

    I have been known to use a strategy like this from time to time just to give a page an extra little bump to move it from listing in the serps on the top of page 2 to the bottom of page 1 as I work on other things to make it rank better.

    Hope that Helps!
    Success is an ACT not an idea
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  • Profile picture of the author Gaia Media
    Hi thanks for all the answers. Although they answer a bunch of other questions, they don't really answer my question.

    We have answers varying from 'don't worry about it' to 'deep hardcore juice chasing'. Which is good I would be asking the juice chasing questions later most likely. This whole concept is basically the old mininet model for juice chasers, but done internally. Kinda.

    However in terms of 'creating a more organized and logical structure of related keywords such that Google will better understand it' the consensus is that nav is fine since it's not a landing page - that the top pillar page needs to be a page not a post (nor a category page). That pages should link out to related posts and vice versa.

    My problem is, at no point is anybody talking about categories - since you need to be dealing in categories if you are making WP posts. You can't put posts into no category. So the question is basically should I

    - put keywords into categories and make them part of the permalink structure?
    - should I NOT put keywords in, and make them part of the permalink structure?
    - should I call them anything, and not make them part of the permalink structure?

    There's 300 posts I've looked at, all saying 'yeah, pillars = pages > posts" but not one soul saying anything about categories structure for pillar content in WP.

    If anyone has in info, or experience setting up pillar structure in WP, and having dealt with the categories issue, please let me know thanks
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