In Part 1 of this series, we started our journey toward providing a real world example on how to identify the elements for building an information-rich site that serves both users and search engines with the elements that provide top keyword rankings. The focus of section 1 was Subject Theming, which emphasized the importance of building a keyword-rich "siloed" themed Web site.
You will recall that we used the Heifer International Web site as our example. To review, Heifer International's mission statement envisions a world of people living together in peace and harmony by sharing resources. Heifer fulfills its mission by enabling communities to receive livestock from donations around the world, teaching communities to care for the animals and pay forward the gifts to surrounding communities. An evaluation of Heifer’s current website provides many opportunities to organize its content into themed silos. Now, to our discussion on the grouping of site content within its folder and directory structure, and then continuing with the all important site link structure.
Segment 2. Folder/Directory Structure
The grouping or organization of content on your site is of great significance. Recall the analogy of a Web site being compared to a book: the table of contents describes the overall subject in the introduction and then breaks down into different chapters that support that major subject. The different chapters are the different top level folders, while each chapter is made up of HTML pages which may be compared to the individual files within that folder.
The folder or directory is the physical organization of the files (Pages) in that root directory. The structure is mapped from the URLs after the search engines spider the pages. Because a spider cannot physically read the files on the server, the site owner can use several strategies for dynamically organizing data, making even the most ornery Content Management Systems (CMS) flexible for implementing directory structures. There are 2 separate ways to understand how a directory structure looks visually:
Diagram 3: URL Structure
Get Involved Directory
http://www.heifer.org/Get_Involved/index.shtml http://www.heifer.org/Get_Involved/Business_Partnerships/index.shtml http://www.heifer.org/Get_Involved/Business_Partnerships/Support_Other_Businesses.shtml http://www.heifer.org/Get_Involved/Business_Partnerships/Value-Added_Partnerships.shtml http://www.heifer.org/Get_Involved/Volunteer/index.shtml http://www.heifer.org/Get_Involved/Volunteer/Community_Volunteering.shtml
Diagram 4: Windows Explorer Example
Learning to group related subject files on your website will provide greater primary and supporting subject relevancy while also lending a strategy for identifying which sections of your site require greater amounts of content.
Segment 3. Link Structure
There are three major subjects that define what impact link structure has on implementing silos on your site. Internal site linking is the nature of how pages are linked within the span of your site, whether it be linking between major silos or cross-linking related subject pages. Outbound or External linking represents the often misunderstood and much needed offsite links to "expert" sites that are subject-relevant and provide resources to users that the site will not or cannot offer. Finally, Inbound linking is the format by which other Web sites link to the pages on your Web site. Learn to understand the difference between links from sites that support your theme and links from sites that have no subject matter relevance. The first are good but the second kind may dilute your subject relevancy.
By having sites with unrelated subject matter link to your site it causes the "expertness" relevancy to be diluted. The purpose of inbound links is to reinforce subject relevance. This is a major issue for a number of sites that engage in webrings or purchased links because they often originate from a completely irrelevant site.
For example, 90% of Heifer International links are from fast food restaurants or sites that sell used cars. These links do not count very much toward Heifer International's relevance because they are not subject matter experts in their own right and cannot vouch that Heifer.com is a great resource.
Diagram 5: Link Structure
On Page Elements
Probably the least understood element is the importance of tying together on page elements with the overall subject theme of a Web site. What are the elements within the page that will complete subject relevance? Remember that all search engines interpret subject relevance by examining over 100 algorithm factors. The site with the greatest sum of required parts is awarded the highest rankings. Subject relevance is determined by the clear organization of related content with close attention to detail, proving that your site is the "least imperfect." This means that the content can be easily spidered and is organized to reinforce major themes, subtopics and related subjects with keyword density, frequency and distribution in mind.
Diagram 6: Keyword Density
This concludes Part 2 of Building a Web Site Theme With Silos. Look for our conclusion with Part 3, focused on the importance of keyword rich content and site maps.
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Bradley Leese is a Senior SEO Analyst for Bruce Clay, Inc., an internet marketing firm specializing in organic search engine optimization.
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