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Content Category Siloing


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11 replies to this topic

#1 pinch

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 02:54 PM

I've been reading up on SEO Silos www.bruceclay.com/seo/silo.htm and how to organize your internal linking.  According to the linked document, you should have an entry page for each category and most (if not all) of your external pages about a particular category should link to the entry page for that category. Do you guys buy into this tactic?

 

My site is supports multiple sports and each sport has it's own dedicated application page; these application pages are the main reason that people use my site.  I used to have an entry page for each sport and that entry page would link to the application page (and other pages associated with that category).  However, since my entire site is predicated on these application pages, I wanted to reduce the chance that users would leave the site before seeing the application pages.  So I cut-out the middle man and made the application pages themselves the entry pages. In my mind, I wanted to get the user to my application pages as quickly as possible and the previous entry pages were just an obstacle toward that goal. 

 

My issues is that, despite the application pages having the most external links and social shares of any pages on my site (except for my home page), they are not ranking well in Google for my target keywords.  Although I cut the previous entry pages out of my navigation, they are still indexed in Google and ranked #2 for my target keywords, yet my application pages aren't showing up except for exact match searches. 

 

I so believe my application pages are not ranking well because:

  1. The application pages are just that: a unique UI for performing a specific function.  As such, they have next to zero on-page content.
  2. The UI on these pages has TONS of links to external sources, which are necessary and there to assist the user when using the application.

So, I'm thinking I may be hurting myself by having entry pages which are not ranking well in Google.  I'm wondering if I should go back to having keyword-rich entry pages for each sport that my application supports, then linking to my application pages from these entry pages?


Edited by Jill, 30 January 2014 - 03:04 PM.


#2 chrishirst

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 03:36 PM

WOW!

 

So Bruce Clay invents a "buzz phrase" for something the rest of us have been doing for years, ....

 

ie: Doing things that make a site highly usable for real people

 

</sardonic>

 

And for Search EVERY page is an 'entry' page.

 

they are not ranking well in Google for my target keywords

 

We don't pay any attention to rankings here, simply because you are the ONLY one that sees the same results that you see.



#3 Jill

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 07:37 PM

See this article on site architecture. It's the way I've always found it best to do these things.



#4 pinch

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 11:23 PM

Thanks for the link, Jill.  It seems like the best solution would be to have a top-level category page that is content-rich, so maybe I'll revert my application pages back to the 3rd-level and live with the consequence.

 

From the article it also mentions that things such as blog articles are usually down at the 4th level.  Like most websites, I have a single blog that posts topics about multiple sports.  So my architecture currently looks like this:

 

  • Main Site
    • Sport 1
    • Sport 2
    • Sport 3
    • Blog About Sport 1, Sport 2, & Sport 3

instead of

 

  • Main Site
    • Sport 1
      • Blog About Sport 1
    • Sport 2
      • Bog About Sport 2
    • Sport 3
      • Blog About Sport 3

 

I think the 2nd option would make the most sense, but it would be much more difficult to implement/maintain as it would probably require multiple installations of my blog software.  Do you think the SEO benefit of the 2nd approach could out-weight the extra legwork?



#5 chrishirst

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 08:05 AM

Don't go along the "content rich" route. "content rich" leads to "keyword rich" leads to 'keyword stuffing'.

 

 

 

Do you think the SEO benefit of the 2nd approach

Who cares. ... Do whatever is best for users and search engines will love you for it!



#6 Jill

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 08:57 AM

How is either one different from the other?

 

Even with version 1, I would assume you'll still be linking to the relevant sport blogs from the relevant sports product/service pages, right?



#7 pinch

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 09:09 AM

How is either one different from the other?

 

Even with version 1, I would assume you'll still be linking to the relevant sport blogs from the relevant sports product/service pages, right?

 

Yes that is true as far as the linking goes.

 

So in my new design I want the right-column to show the most recent blog/forum content related to sport you're currently browsing.  Filtering this data based on the category you're currently navigating through should be easy enough, so in this scenario the only difference would be that you're accessing sport-specific content from a different directory (/blog) than the sport you're targeting (/football).  This would be true for all sports.


Edited by pinch, 31 January 2014 - 09:10 AM.


#8 qwerty

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 11:51 AM

You mention that you cut the previous entry pages out of your navigation, but they're still ranking. Are they still getting the traffic you'd hoped the app pages would get?

 

And do they still serve some purpose? If not, maybe you could delete them, 301 their URLs to the app pages, or move the app pages to their former URL and 301 the app page URLs to the URLs of the former entry pages. If they do serve some purpose, maybe you could combine their content with that of the app pages.



#9 chrishirst

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 12:32 PM

Set yourself a "Random user test"

 

go to Google (or Yahoo!)

 

Type [site:www.yoursite.tld] followed by two or three words that you expect your site URLs to show for into the search box, eg;

www.domain.tld golf hockey football

On the results page click through to any result. You have seven seconds to decide which looks the most likely and the least spammy.

 

When you get to your site page, you then have seven seconds to decide what to do next.

 

If you can't decide what you want you to do next, your optimising has failed because other people won't know either.



#10 pinch

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 01:04 PM

You mention that you cut the previous entry pages out of your navigation, but they're still ranking. Are they still getting the traffic you'd hoped the app pages would get?

 

And do they still serve some purpose? If not, maybe you could delete them, 301 their URLs to the app pages, or move the app pages to their former URL and 301 the app page URLs to the URLs of the former entry pages. If they do serve some purpose, maybe you could combine their content with that of the app pages.

 

Thanks qwerty, those are good suggestions.  

 

After doing a bit more digging into the analytics I think I may have made some mis-guided assumptions.  Looking at my organic search numbers for the last 6 months, my application pages are receiving about 300% more organic traffic than my old entry pages (I didn't want to remove the old entry pages from the index b/c I wasn't sure which route I was going to go). 

 

However, my conversion rate for searchers landing on the application pages is 2.01% compared to 11.61% for the old, content-rich entry pages.  At the same time, the bounce rate of the application pages is 48.88% compared to 23.34% of the old entry pages.

 

So it looks like presenting the user with a content-rich entry page to my application may be a much bigger payoff after all, even if I'll lose a few users before they make it to the application.  For users that actually make it to the application page from the old entry pages (rather than landing there directly from Google), their conversion rate jumps from 2.01% to 9.02%.

 

 


If you can't decide what you want you to do next, your optimising has failed because other people won't know either.

 

Thanks, point noted. 


Edited by pinch, 31 January 2014 - 01:06 PM.


#11 pinch

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Posted 02 February 2014 - 07:00 PM

Could I get myself into SEO trouble by treating authenticated users a bit different than visitors.  For instance, would it be justifiable to take authenticated users directly to the application page, by-passing the entry page? 

 

This would improve usability for site members, and the search engine spiders wouldn't detect the difference anyway, right?



#12 chrishirst

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 09:44 AM

 

Could I get myself into SEO trouble by treating authenticated users a bit different than visitors

 

If you do, then just about every single website on the Internet that has a "membership required" or "registered user only"  section is going to be in the same boat.






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