Search engines award keyword rankings to the site that proves it is least "imperfect" for the relevancy of a subject or theme. By nature, search engines try to dissect a site into distinct subjects that add up to an overall theme representing a straightforward subject relevancy. However many web sites represent a disjointed array of unrelated information with no central theme, and this results in poor keyword rankings. Siloing will clarify your Web site's subject relevance and lay the groundwork for high keyword rankings.

The term siloing originated as a way to identify the concept of grouping related information into distinct sections within a Web site. Much like the chapters in a book, a silo represents a group of themed or subject-specific content on your site. The reason this grouping is such a high priority is that search engines award "keyword" relevancy or keyword rankings within their index based on the page or site with the most supportive relevant content.

Google was founded on the concept that a Web site should physically be organized like a doctoral dissertation. A dissertation has a clearly identified table of contents where each chapter is laid out to reinforce the overall dissertation theme as a whole.

This three-part article will seek to provide real word examples 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 our five segments will be on the importance of building a keyword-rich "siloed" themed Web site. In essence, this could serve as a step-by-step tutorial on how to implement clear silos that define keyword relevancy site-wide. Often, there are great organizations hidden from widespread exposure because they lack an organic search engine optimization strategy, or their strategy does not include enough attention to clear subject relevance or siloing. I would like to take this opportunity to offer guidance to one such organization, Heifer International, using it as an example.

Heifer International's mission statement envisions a world of people living together in peace and harmony by sharing resources akin to the philosophy: "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but teach the man to fish and he will eat for life." Heifer International fulfills its mission by enabling communities to receive livestock from donations around the world and then teaching those communities to care for the animals and pay forward the gifts to surrounding communities. The Heifer organization does more than just hand out food, they teach members of various communities to care for themselves and those around them. After evaluating their current website I can see many opportunities to organize their content into themed silos.

Search engines evaluate multiple segments throughout a Web site's construction before awarding subject relevancy, which equates to keyword rankings. This introduction will give an outline and brief description of each segment. Each subsequent article will provide a full tutorial on how to fully implement those segments.

Segment 1. Subject Theming

If you don't have a clear idea of what the primary theme of your Web site is, search engines and users will be confused, as well. Begin by creating a simple outline: Define the major theme or primary subject that you want to become relevant for and create an organization chart or linear outline to cement your ideas in place. Often it is not until you actually put pen to paper that major subject complications or contradictions surface.

Diagram 1: Subject Organization Chart

Diagram 2: Word Sentence Outline

  • Major Theme
    • Subtopic 1
    • Subtopic 2
    • Subtopic 3
    • Subtopic 4

After completing this exercise, ask yourself what keyword phrases users actually type into the search engines when looking for this information. Going back to, we can see how search engines may become confused as to subject relevancy. After a lengthy evaluation of Heifer International's top level pages, we discover that of the 103 keywords that places in their keywords tags, only 15 words have activities of 100 or more searches a day. Of those, is ranking in the top 50 placements in the search engines for only two keywords.

This concludes Part 1 of Building a Web Site Theme With Silos. Look for Part 2 on Folder/Directory Structure and Link Structure next time.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

July 6, 2007

Bradley Leese is a Senior SEO Analyst for Bruce Clay, Inc., an internet marketing firm specializing in organic search engine optimization.

Search Engine Guide > Bradley Leese > Building a Web Site Theme With Silos Part 1 of 3