Silo structures can make it easier for readers to find and navigate your online content. They also enable search engines to crawl your pages more efficiently. For those reasons, you may be wondering how they work and whether you can implement them on your website.
Fortunately, silo structures are not as complicated as you might expect. Plus, you don’t need to have an established blog to benefit from them. By looking at some examples of good site structures, you can easily replicate this strategy on your own site.
What are silo structures?
You’ve probably heard of silos before. They are conical containers used for storing grain, sawdust, and other raw materials.
The term “silo structures” is used to describe a type of site architecture that mimics the shape of those containers. It’s a hierarchical system, where you have your main topic at the top, branching out into two or more subcategories. Under each of these subcategories, you’ll find a group of relevant posts.
For example, let’s say you have a blog about making money online. You might cover three main approaches: offering freelance services, starting your own online business, and creating a passive income stream. Each of these three categories can be treated as a silo.
Let’s take “creating a passive income stream” as an example. Under this category, you might have the following subcategories:
- Affiliate marketing
- Online courses
- Digital products
Then, nestled within each subcategory, you would have posts that cover more specific topics. For instance, under affiliate marketing, you might find:
- How to get started with affiliate marketing
- Best affiliate marketing programs for beginners
- Top affiliate marketing tools
- Common mistakes to avoid in affiliate marketing
As you can see, this enables readers to find and navigate your content more easily. In turn, this can lead to higher engagement rates and lower bounce rates.
A well-structured site can also help search engine bots crawl and index your content more quickly. Plus, it enables them to understand your content through topical relevance, which can help you rank higher for a variety of related keywords.
For example, if you have a lot of posts on affiliate marketing, all organized under the relevant category and connected through internal links, it shows search engines that you’re an expert on the subject. This can boost the rankings of all posts in that category.
Examples of websites with effective silo structures
Now that you have an idea of how silo structures work, let’s look at some real-life examples:
Typically, silo structures work best for websites that cover a wide range of topics in a broad niche, such as travel. Readers who stumble across your site can easily become overwhelmed by all the different subjects and pages.
In this case, you might want to organize your travel content by destination. You could even create categories for different types of travel.
Wanderlust Magazine does this very well. If you navigate to Interests, you’ll find subcategories such as Cycling and mountain biking, Food and drink, Islands and beaches, and more:
Each subcategory contains three further subsections: guide, trips, and articles.
Let’s say you want to check out some posts for Rail journeys. Clicking on Articles will take you to an archive of posts filed under that subcategory:
The Destinations section is structured in a similar way. You’ll find categories for different continents or regions, with subcategories for countries within that area:
Then, for each country, you’ll find a list of related trips, articles, and other relevant information:
As you can see, Wanderlust helps visitors plan their trips according to their interests, or find relevant information about a particular region or country. This facilitates a seamless user experience, enabling audience members to plan their journeys from start to finish. This in turn helps the site make a profit through affiliate sales.
Let’s look at another website that uses silo structures. This time, we’ll look at a more specific niche (fishing), rather than a generic topic like travel.
Even if your content is more focused on one subject, you can still use a silo structure to organize it. For example, Take Me Fishing has a “How To Fish & Boat” section that covers various types of fishing, with information on each activity.
In fact, if you click on this section, you can see the silo structure quite clearly:
Let’s say you want to get into fly fishing. You might select Fly Fishing Basics to get started. There, you’ll find a collection of posts for beginners:
If you go back to the Fly Fishing section and select Fly Fishing Gear, you’ll see a similar structure:
The fly fishing gear is organized into subcategories, like rods, reels, lines, and hooks. If you click on an item, you’ll be taken to a page with more information about that product:
You might notice that this page contains links to the parent categories, Fly Fishing and Fly Fishing Gear, as well as other posts within those categories:
Having a strong internal linking strategy can help search engines crawl and index your site more quickly. Therefore, this is something you’ll want to incorporate into your silo structures.
Tips for creating silo structures on your WordPress blog
As we have seen, silo structures can be implemented across a variety of blog niches. Let’s look at three tips to help you get started, regardless of your particular niche.
1. Do some topic research 🔎
First, you’ll want to conduct some research to identify topics that are relevant to your niche. Ideally, each one should have a decent search volume.
For example, let’s say you run a food blog and have a section dedicated to kitchen appliances, such as air fryers. By using Google’s Keyword Planner, you can explore high-volume keywords for that specific appliance:
Using this information, you might create the following subcategories for your Air Fryer section:
- Air fryer recipes
- Air fryer brands
- Air fryer tips
Then, you could enter those keywords into Google and use the More to ask section to see what questions people are asking in relation to each topic:
These questions can help provide some topic ideas. For example, you could write about the pros and cons of cooking with air fryers, things to know before buying an air fryer, etc.
2. Categorize your topics 📚
Once you’ve established a list of topic ideas in your niche, you can start organizing them into silos. You might want to do this the traditional way, using pen and paper. This will help you flesh out the structure and content of your site visually.
Then you can add these new categories and subcategories to your blog. In WordPress, navigate to Posts > Categories. There, you can create a category for each main topic:
To create a subcategory, simply select a parent category for that topic. In our example, we placed the subcategory Vegetarian Air Fryer Meals under the parent category Air Fryer Recipes.
You might even want to create tags to further organize your content. To do this, you just need to go to Posts > Tags:
For example, we have a category called Air Fryer Brands. We might create a post with a roundup of the best air fryer brands on the market, which will be filed under this category:
We could also add the tag best kitchen appliance brands to the post. This way, readers can more easily find the post in our brand round-up archive.
3. Create pillar content for your subcategories 📋
Finally, you’ll want to create some “pillar posts” for your categories. Also known as “cornerstone content,” this is an in-depth piece on a particular topic, with links to relevant posts in the same category.
Let’s use our Air Fryer Brands category as an example. Within this section, you might publish reviews for individual brands. You might have a post about the Ninja Air Fryer, another one for the Russell Hobbs air fryer, and so on.
In this case, your pillar post might be a comprehensive round-up of the best air fryer brands on the market. Each section within the post will link out to the complete review of that brand.
Let’s look at a different example. If one of your main categories is Affiliate Marketing, you might create a complete guide on the subject:
This post may include sections such as “best affiliate tools,” “how to join affiliate programs,” “mistakes to avoid,” etc. Within each section, you can link out to posts that cover these specific subjects.
Cornerstone content can be a great way to build internal links. Plus, it will further help search engines understand the structure of your site and index pages accordingly (so they can show them to the right potential readers!).
You may want to consider creating a pillar piece for every main category in your silo structure. If you’re not sure what to focus on, you can carry out some topic research (as shown earlier) to identify popular search queries. Then, you can address many of those queries in a comprehensive post.
Silo structures can help users navigate your site more easily. Plus, they enable search engines to find and index your content more efficiently, which may lead to higher rankings. This is also a straightforward technique: it’s about organizing your site into distinct sections and populating each section with relevant, high-quality posts.
👉 To recap, here’s how to get started with silo structures:
Do you have any questions about implementing silo structures on your WordPress blog? Let us know in the comments section below!