I assume we can all agree on the fact that if the foundation sucks, the building will suffer.
The same goes for your blog.
Believe it or not, the way you structure your blog can make it or break it as far as getting traffic from the search engines is concerned.
There are different approaches to a successful blog structure – some arguably work better than others.
However, the point of this post is not to get you to spend countless hours restructuring what you already have; although in some cases, I must admit, that seems to be the only plausible way to go.
You see, there's an IDEAL way to structure your blog and the better/easier way for the rest of us.
I am the “easier way” kind of gal in this particular instance and that's what we'll be talking about today.
But in the beginning, there was some theory…
Blog Structure Makes a Difference
To your search engine rankings, that is.
Search engines catalog all the pages on the web according to their subject (check out how Google works for more on that).
The better you manage to zero down on the subject, the more likely you'll outrank your competition.
Just publishing a post based on a keyword, throwing in some deep linking from both within your blog and other sites might not do the trick – as you well know it, I am sure.
On the other hand, if you manage to organized your content in such a way that it screams “Relevance!” to the search engines, you are much more likely to grab that coveted spot on the first page of Google – whatever the term.
The name of the game is SILOING or THEMEING – the generally accepted term for this type of site organization.
First of all, what is siloing?
Siloing is a way to structure your blog by using categories or pages to create a string of content themed around a particular keyword.
Successful siloing is generally achieved by creating several pieces of content (a silo) on the same topic, interlinking the content within the silo, linking TO the silo from other posts, BUT not linking OUT from the silo.
Confusing? It can be.
Blog siloing is a complex issue that most of you don't REALLY need to spend hours upon hours studying and implementing.
For those of you who do want to learn more about it, here are some of the best resources around – in all honesty, these bloggers did a far better job explaining the subject than I ever would:
- SEO Siloing: Building a Themed Website by Bruce Clay (the silo image above came from his blog)
- Siloing Revisited by Lisa Barone (you'll also find links to her other posts on the subject there)
Here's also a great video overview by Michael Gray:
And now that you have a bit more subject knowledge behind your belt, allow me to explain how I learned to adopt the concept of siloing without having to control every single angle and link on my blog.
Posts VS Pages
This is what prompted me to write this post to begin with.
I am sure we were all quite curious to see how our blogs did in the last PR update… not that we care… oh, wait a minute – of course, we do!
And it wasn't only the home page I was interested in; I also wanted to see if I got any high PR on my interior pages as well.
If you are not sure how to check for your inner pages PR, read this handy post that will guide you through that:
So as I am checking the rank for Traffic Generation Cafe, I am starting to discover one interesting pattern: most of the higher ranking URLs on my blog are not posts at all – rather, they are pages on my blog.
Let me step back for a second.
When I first started blogging (and for a while after that actually), I couldn't figure out what the difference was between blog pages and blog posts and why I would want to use one over the other.
I assume there are at least a few of my readers who are in the same boat at the moment, so let me give you a quick rundown on the two.
- Pages are static; posts are dynamic.
- Posts are displayed in chronological order on your home page, archives, category and tag pages, etc.
- Pages are not sorted by date; they are not classified by categories or tags.
Generally, when we think of a blog, we think of a site that publishes updates (posts) on a regular basis. It's a short-term circuit of ever-changing information, if you will.
Pages, on the other hand, contain more of a long-term information that is not meant to be buried in the archives.
Good examples of that are Contact page, About Me page, etc.
However, pages don't have to stop at “contact me here“. When used properly, they can do wonders for your blog structure and SEO and, consequently, for your SEO traffic.
In other words, pages are a great way to put the concept of siloing into practice on your blog.
How to Build Silos Using Pages
… step by step.
Step 1. Establish Theme Keywords
Brainstorm several keywords that go hand-in-hand with your overall blog theme.
They shouldn't be long-tail; 2-3 word top level keywords.
Let's say you have a blog about fruit.
This general theme can be subdivided into several subthemes:
Those can be further subdivided into different varieties of apples, pears, and oranges.
For instance, your apple silo might look something like this:
Step 2. Write Highly Targeted Content Within Silo
Start with writing an in-depth article on your top broadest keyword – apples in our example.
Publish it as a PAGE, not a POST.
Do not link to any other posts on your or any other blog from this article. No links, period.
Make sure you pay close attention to your on-page SEO like title tags, description, header tags, etc. If you have no idea what I am talking about or just want to make sure you do it right, grab a free copy of my SEO report.
Next, write an article on one of the apple varieties, say Fuji apples.
Publish it as a PAGE, not a POST.
Link it to the first article about apples in general with “apples” as your anchor text. Do NOT link out other than that.
Then, rinse and repeat with each of the apple varieties, each time linking the new page with the previous one ONLY with a targeted anchor text.
Step 3. Link Building
Link Within Silo Only.
This step is very important, so I am willing to repeat myself here.
The whole idea behind linking within the silo only is not necessarily the potential pagerank leakage, but rather establishing the relevancy to the topic at hand.
Of course, that doesn't apply to external links going to the silo – you still need to build those just like you would with your site in general or any of the posts you write.
Step 4. Promotion
You need to promote your silo pages just like you would any of your blog posts:
- bookmark 'em
- share 'em
- tell your lists about 'em
- build links to 'em…
To see what I do to promote my “hot off the press” posts, take a look at this:
Step 5. Close Comments
This is a debatable issue and you can test it either way.
My personal opinion is that comments on pages you'd like to rank highly on Google are an impediment or, worst, an obstacle.
They dilute your theme by adding more text that has nothing to do with your content. Plus you open up a can of worms with potential spamming issues.
I used to keep the comments open on my pages, but have recently decided to go the other way with one of them and see if that page does better in search engines without the comments present.
Out with the Old, in with the New
This strategy of using pages instead of posts can also be applied to the content that's already ranking highly for a nice keyword, but was originally published as a posts, has a bunch of links within the post body, plus comments of course.
So here's what you can do with such posts:
- update and improve your content creating a new page for it;
- change the slug of the original post to something like “post-name-original” or “post-name-part-1”;
- publish the new page under the original post URL.
By doing that, you greatly improve your chances to rank even higher for your keyword since now your page “lives” in a much more controlled environment.
I wouldn't abuse this technique, but I would certainly use it for content that has a good chance to bring in loads of targeted search engine traffic – this way you'll make it evergreen, prominent, and easy to update.
There you have it: blog structuring for the rest of us.
Once again, this post is not meant to dot the I's and cross the T's on the topic; just give you a good understanding of how you can structure your future content better to give it a much-needed push in the search engines.
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