A link silo is an internal linking strategy that increases your site’s authority for a given topic. For some background on the thought behind it and why it’s useful, keep reading. Otherwise skip ahead to the strategy.
The Philosophy of Building Authority
Any search engine’s primary “customer” is the searcher. After all, that person is looking for information and if that search engine can’t produce good answers no one would use it.
Google and Bing’s ongoing algorithm updates are a reflection of this. Who are the authorities on any given topic? Who could best answer this user’s question?
Building that kind of authority on your own site is about showing why you’re an efficient and reliable place to find those answers. That’s as much about literally having the information as it is about presenting it well and reinforcing it properly. When it comes to link building and silos, we’re talking about the reinforcement.
Building The Link Silo Hierarchy
Search engines like to see a clear hierarchy of information. If you’re a service shop that offers brake services, for instance, subtopics of each individual brake service reinforce the main page that talks about them in general. If there are a bunch of topics on the site that aren’t clear how they actually relate to each other, search engines will have a harder time identifying what your site is about. As a consequence, the site won’t be considered an authority on your key topics.
When building or restructuring a website, it’s a good idea to identify your main products or services early on. Each of those major topics needs a primary page, or a landing page. That page needs to serve as the primary sales tool of that topic. That is to say that if a person ended up on that page, the page fully explains the topic and is persuasive enough (verbally and visually) to inspire a sale (or other action).
To follow our above example of a service shop, you might make a Brake Services page as your landing page. Every time you make a subpage or a blog post that covers an aspect of that service, such as Rotor Polishing, it needs to link to the Brake Service landing page. These subpages can also link to each other to show relatedness, such as a “Brake Symptoms” page that references the “Rotor Polishing” page.
But if they also link back to that top level Brake Services page, it reinforces a couple things to search engines over time:
- This site deals heavily with brake-related matters for automobiles, and might be an authority on the topic.
- Of the content related to brakes, the Brake Services page is the go-to resource for what this site is about.
Creating Physical Hierarchy
You can also create a readable sense of hierarchy to search engines in a more direct sense. WordPress and most other design platforms allow you to create subpages of multiple layers. Usually by default the page URL of the “parent” page precedes the subpage in the structure, which shows like this:
When search engine crawlers explore your site they will note these kinds of relationships between pages. That can also convey importance of main topics as well as the general structure of your site. It’s still beneficial to use internal links within these subpages as well, though.
And for blog posts that support subpages or the parent/landing pages, the internal linking is necessary since a post can’t be a physical subpage.
We’ll cover more in-depth aspects of link structures in future posts. This should give you a good grasp of the basics, and like all the basics I share with folks I can say this: if this is all you learn about link silos and these tactics are all you use, you’ll still see tangible benefits from doing so.
Just like the basics of on-page SEO I teach people. There’s more to SEO than just that bit, but if all a person did was create a whole bunch of well-optimized pages based on the keyword research we went over, they’d still meaningfully push their site forward.