How to Silo Your Website: The Content

The following is part of the series How To Silo Your Website. Be sure you have read parts one and two: How To Silo Your Website: The Masthead and How to Silo Your Website: The Breeadcrumb. In this part, we will be taking a look at the content area.

This isn’t so much about conserving pagerank or link equity, but more about funneling it where you want it to go …

When I talk about the content, I mean the part of your website template where the information is. At the time of the writing of this post it is my belief (and the belief of many others) that links in this area are weighted differently than links in other parts of your page (ie: sidebar, footer, and masthead). For you to get the most value out of your internal site structure and internal anchor text, this is where you do it.

I’ve written before about the value of evergreen content, news-related content, seasonal content, predictive content . I’ve also written about how to write interesting content with around keywords and keeping posts on topic with narrowly focussed subjects, which you can review at your leisure.

What I’d like to talk about is how you link it all together. In the breadcrumb part of this series I spoke about the value of having a flat site architecture. For a silo or theming approach to SEO, this means limiting the links in your posts. You want to link only to other content that is relevant and good for the end user and to other sections or posts within the same silo. This isn’t so much about conserving pagerank or link equity but is more about funneling it where you want it to go.

I have written before about using tags and categories and auto linking high level keywords within the text. This is a critical part of internal linking for maximum effectiveness. You can see this strategy in use at Wikipedia (George Washington, Henry 1st, Marylin Monroe) and The New York Times (Senate Votes to Confirm Elena Kagan for U.S. Supreme Court, BP Done Pumping Cement Into Well, A Chance to Re-examine Aaron). In the case of the NYT, look first at the words then look at the SERP’s for those words. The NYT has more trust and authority than you do, but smart use of internal anchor text helps them rank well for high level news concepts and news figures names.

When you set up the links, it’s critical to use identical or nearly identical anchor text for each of the links. Sometimes you will have to deviate a little for sentence structure, but ideally it should only be one or two words. This is hard if you use a writer who doesn’t write for the web and omits keywords within their posts. A trick I use to get around this is use parenthesis like this (see Adsense Tips & Tricks for more information). Another tip is to put links to related posts or similar articles as an inset or at the end of each article.

One last point. The one place you want to reduce or eliminate links is on product pages. The only links you should have on those pages are to other products, buying guides, or reviews. Once someone has entered the conversion funnel, you want to limit the amount of ways they can leave. As an example of this, notice how the masthead on amazon becomes unclickable during the checkout. It’s not to limit page rank or link equity (spiders should never get into your cart … ever): it’s to minimize cart abandonment.

What are the takeaways:

  • Minimize number of links in the content area.
  • Link only where it benefits users, connects to high level keywords, or stays with silo.
  • Use consistent anchor text when linking.

Next in this series: How To Silo Your Website: The Sidebar.

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