This is a guest article by Lorna Li. You too can be part of this great knowledge sharing community. Take a look at our guest blogging guidelines.
While on page SEO is important, it’s link building that will move the needle on search engine rankings. Link building, however, is a time and resource intensive activity. So it’s important you maximize the power of your link building efforts. To do so, you need to start with a well-themed website as the foundation of your site architecture.
This is what happens to your link building campaign!
Well Themed Websites Rank Better Naturally
Have you ever wondered why Wikipedia is the #1 competitor for nearly all keywords? Not only is Wikipedia one of the few websites in the world where the HTML / XHTML actually validates, it is informationally well organized, with a masterful internal linking structure that allows a clean indexing path for search engine spiders. Even Wiki pages with hardly any content or backlinks tend to float to the top. This is because search engines tend to award top rankings to websites that seem to be highly relevant to a subject that matches user queries. When you have a well-structured website built around solid themes of meaning, it’s much easier for search engine spiders to categorize and index these web pages in the SERPs.
When it comes to blogging, you get a head start in the theme silo game, because blogs have search engine friendly framework straight out of the box. Blog categories are your prefab theme-defining silos. You can also create sub-categories to further bolster your theme structure. Any pages you create under your blog categories and sub categories naturally reinforce the theme. And the blog internal linking structure is easy for search engine spiders to crawl.
Unfortunately, if you don’t understand the importance of theme siloing, you can undermine the power of your blog architecture without even knowing it. I’ve done this myself, and let me tell you, it’s a PITY to fix down the road. You’ll end up spending time and money on reorganizing your blog and 301 redirecting old pages, will drastically reduce the power of links built to the old pages. And you’ll spend more time and money on building links to pages that have weak, or no supporting silo structure, just to get them to rank.
Learn from my mistakes by following these theme silo best practices for your blog!
Blog Architecture Best Practices
The best place to start with site architecture is before your website or blog is built. Here are some best practices on theme siloing:
- Figure out what your theme defining keywords and your supporting keywords are. Your theme defining keywords will most likely be 1-2 word key phrases with high search volume. In a blog, your theme defining keywords can be easily to your blog categories. Your theme defining keywords will be discrete topics, so that there will be no overlap between one category and another. For example, if your categories are “Solar Power” and “Wind Power”, then “Home Solar” will be a sub category of “Solar Power”, not its own category.
- Map your keywords to target landing pages. In a blog, your category and sub-category pages well suited as the landing pages for your theme defining keywords. Tag pages will also work as well. However, you may prefer to have specifically designated money page to serve as the landing page for your theme defining keyword as well. That’s also OK. But having a pre- defined target landing page is critical, because it will serve as the pinnacle of your theme silo’s interlinking structure. There’s nothing worse than trying to rank a website for keywords when you have no appropriate landing page. This is an exercise in frustration and wasted time and money.
- Map supporting keywords to sub-pages that further reinforce your theme silo. In a blog, these sub-pages are typically the blog posts filed under a specific category. So if you have a blog category called “Home Solar”, then you want to create blog posts related to your supporting keywords, which could be “DIY home solar”, “home solar systems”, etc. The more content you have related to “Home Solar” filed under this category, the easier it is for search engine spiders to understand that silo is related to “Home Solar”.
- Create an interlinking structure that supports your silo landing page. Using your primary keyword as the link anchor text, create in content links within each blog post filed under a category theme silo and link up to the category landing page. Do not link across silos or you will dilute your theme structure. If you are using a related posts plugins, make sure that the related posts displayed only pull from posts within the same category as well.
The Benefits of a Well Themed Website
When a website is poorly themed, it will not receive the full power of your link building initiatives. So you’ll find yourself spending much more time and money in order to rank your website. I’ve often discovered small nimble, well themed sites outranking big brands in the SERPs, in spite of the big brand’s behemoth marketing budget. This is often because big brands have a more difficult time creating theme silos, as their websites may have been around longer, re-architecture is politically impossible, or technologically complex. As a blogger with a more limited budget, it’s in your best interest to spend less money on link building by having a better organized site.