Does SEO Silo Structuring your sites work?

Dinesh (aka Jhangora) asked this question on one of my lenses:

“I noticed that successful lensmasters like you and Tipi interlink their lenses a lot. I read online that this type of silo structure does not work. Does it work?”

I had to look ‘silo structure’ up. It’s a term like link-wheel: meant to help people interlink who aren’t naturally good at it. It’s about having a good internal directory structure, keyword based, and then building online webproperties that mimic that property, and interlink where appropriate (a buddhism page on one blog would link to a Buddhism page on another website and vice versa). See: … Back-Links

Greekgeek added in the forums that it appears that it’s a type of site building where one ONLY links to related pages. Dog pages don’t link to Cat pages, and vice versa – for instance.

The one issue I have with this article is that it sounds a bit forced. I don’t replicate elsewhere – as in create a precise duplica of the site structure with different content. Instead I pick popular topics from any of my online properties and expand on those topics on other platforms and blogs. And then interlink. It looks WAY more natural that way (duplicate sites in terms of site structure are VERY likely to be a flag for Google that something fishy is going on). It’s also more fun. It lets me blog about what I want, keyword optimized of course, and then when I hit a topic that attracts visitors, I can work with that to make a bit more of a mark on the online world in that niche.

The result is natural content, wherever I go online, maximizing the potential of each platform (building debates and quizzes on squidoo for instance), and pointing my visitors (and search engines) to related content I have also built.

Whatever you want to call that strategy, it is basic SEO and yes, it works.

A bit more spelled out and applied to Squidoo specifically:

1) Links are essential to SEO, especially links between related pages (whether on the same site or not)
2) On platforms like Squidoo, you get the best links through the categories and tags. However, that also means linking out to about 30 pages you don’t own, per lens. It’s a two way street.
3) To compensate for that, I ALSO link out to a LOT of my own lenses on each lens. At least 20, these days. Less if I link out to my own online projects elsewhere.

If you look at my own blogs, and at my website, you’ll notice that there I have a lot less internal links per article. That’s because I own the whole site, so there’s no competition going on. Also – if there are only a few links per page, individual links will have a higher ‘weight’ in the search engines. And since on my own sites I control every link I give, I can decide PRECISELY which pages need or deserve that link best.

A plus in Squidoo is (over say Hubpages) that with the my lenses module you can automatically link to your best performing lenses in a niche. Say my spiritual gift lenses: I have quite a few of those these days. They all have one tag in common and the top 20 of those will be linked from a LOT of spiritual gift lenses, making it even more likely for them to show up in the search engines. The seasonal ones are going to get INTO that top 20 when the time is right, and move OUT again (making room for others) when it’s no longer the season.

And it works for users too: they were more likely to be interested in spiritual valentines gifts than spiritual Christmas gifts last week. And any one on a spiritual lens, is likely to be interested in spiritual gifts.

Another issue is that interlinking your online stuff like this, by topic, means that you add keywords to your lens.
Stray phrases used in the introduction of one lens, may help another lens rank. I often discover new subniches that way – like the series of spiritual christmas decorations Dinesh has been making for me smile It started when someone came to one of my Christmas lenses, I forget which, looking for Buddhist Christmas Decorations. Which I of course proceeded to make a lens about: (btw cafepress has GREAT christmas tree ornaments).

Let me conclude this post before I stray too far off topic: interlinking what you do online is VERY important and anybody saying that siloing doesn’t work is either ignorant, or lying (don’t want your competition) or mean that replicating sites precisely and THEN interlinking every page is not going to work. But then, most people will never be that perfectionistic anyhow, so it’s not much of a danger.
Interlinking your online stuff, by topic, as granularly as possible, is NOT going to be a problem, as long as you’re human about it. Most people are. Of course it helps if the content you produce is, at least occasionally, so remarkable that people will link to it without being asked. But that’s another story.

3 thoughts on “Does SEO Silo Structuring your sites work?”

  1. Hi Katinka, thanx a lot for the post, and links to my Squidoo profile and sites 😉

    What I meant by a silo structure was – too much random linking. Links are certainly important as far as SEO is concerned (I personally think content is more important). However, my opinion is that a pyramid structure is better, both for a good user experience and SEO rankings.

    Of course more important is to renew domains in time. I am careless and was a couple of days late in paying hostgator the money for my primary domain and it is down for the past 3 weeks. It used to get the most traffic among my sites (150-200 visitors a day). I wrote them an email but no reply, should contact them again.

  2. Personally I don’t think there is any reason to try and measure whether content or links are more important. They both are, and it’s about 50-50. Though of course, without good content you can’t rank – so in that sense it’s clear that content is more important.

    I do agree – for normal sites – that hierarchical interlinking (as in a pyramid) should be the basic structure. However, that should never stop anyone from cross linking between subsections in a site that are related. Many pages are relevant for several topics and should get links FROM those topics.

    Buddhist books for kids for instance, should be linked from Buddhist pages, Books pages and Kids pages. Or preferably from Buddhist book pages, and kids pages.

    I don’t think I DO a lot of random linking. In general my links are very deliberately within niches. Shaking it up every once in a while with a random link can’t hurt -but on the whole, on topic linking is very important.

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