A content silo ensures that search engines index relevant content on your client’s website—and this can lead to better rankings. It also provides a great reader experience when local searchers find relevant content for each stage of their buying journey.
However, when creating a content silo, copying what competing local businesses are doing won’t cut it.
You need to differentiate your content silo by identifying the underlying core terms behind local searches and aligning them with your client’s business objectives to create relevant categories. Then, once they’re live you’ll want to set up rank tracking to see how you’re doing.
Throughout this article, we’ll explore several ways to create a differentiated content silo that will outrank the competition.
What is a content silo and why do you need one?
A content silo is a website structure that allows you to organize, create, and publish content around specific categories. A silo lets you structure your content more efficiently for both search engines and users, by grouping content into clear sections on your site.
Content silos take different formats that vary from one local business to the other, depending on needs and goals.
That said, why do you need a content silo?
With 88% of customers equating the buying experience to the quality of the products and services you sell but only 57% of small businesses pursuing any content marketing, you have a competitive advantage when you can unify the buying experience with relevant content.
You should then make sure that they can find said content whenever they need it on their buying journey. A content silo will help you do that.
Let’s assume you have a content silo based on the products your client sells locally. For example, let’s look at Hunter Douglas:
Source: Hunter Douglas
Potential customers won’t start by landing on the homepage if they don’t even know whether the company exists.
Depending on their needs, their search will reflect a specific intent. If a searcher looks for energy efficient window treatments, here’s the search result they might get:
Notice the search result coming in the first page leads to Hunter Douglas. Once the searcher visits the page, they’ll join one of their categories, “Browse by Need.”
All the content in this category is linked together. This means once a reader clicks on one category, they get all the information they need based on their intent.
For example, if clicking through the search results for energy-efficient window treatments, the links in the blog content point to their product page listing different energy-efficient shades.
A potential customer then has an easy time finding what they need. They view the business as one that understands their needs, which opens the door to conversions and sets the stage for customer retention.
Besides, from a branding perspective, being the local business that has structured their content to ensure ease of access and unifies their buying journey. They don’t have to move from one place to another to find what they need.
Even in a local setup, the customer buying journey isn’t linear. Still, customers look for solutions to their problems and prefer using the most convenient path to arrive at these solutions.
If you create a content silo with content that acts as the vehicle to their destination, then the experience you deliver is as good as the product or service your client sells.
Why is creating content silos a challenge?
Creating content silos is a challenge for two reasons:
1. Bad advice that’s hard to shake off
In previous years, “publish content daily at a specific time of the day’’ seemed like sound content marketing advice. After all, if your competitor was publishing two or three times a week, then all you needed to do was to hustle and increase your publishing frequency to outdo them.
The problem with taking only this advice is that initiatives around publishing quality content don’t feature anywhere in your content operations.
2. A lack of clarity on where each piece of content fits
This problem comes up when you’re either publishing too much or too little content. Potential customers are at different stages of the buying journey. What you publish needs to satisfy their intent to help them move to the next stage of the buying journey.
If your content strategy and content don’t align with their needs, then creating a silo seems impossible.
Creating content silos is an approach based on principle (quality over quantity) and being mindful of evolving customer expectations and an effort to deliver better buying experiences.
How to create content silos for local SEO (with examples)
The first step when creating content silos is to identify core terms for your client’s site and make sure they align with your client’s business objectives.
If you’re working with a window cleaning business serving local clients, the core term in Google searches will be based on the different types of services your client can provide such as “power washing services”, “residential washing services” and “commercial washing services.”
Source: Next Level Window Cleaning
You can also create categories based on the type of content you want to create for your client’s local business. For example, Lawn and Weed Expert has several informational categories based on what potential customers look for:
Source: Lawn and Weed Expert
Or, create categories based on location, if your client serves different locations:
Source: CorePower Yoga
A point to note is that when creating a content silo for a multi-location business, make sure that the Google Business Profile links point to the corresponding landing page for that location within the same silo.
Lastly, differentiate your blog content by creating categories based on frequently asked questions about the product your client sells:
Source: Budget Blinds
Once you identify core terms that make up your categories, identify relevant modifiers for each of these categories to expand them to find content ideas.
Use the Five W’s (Who, What, When, Where, and Why) to create more ideas covering different types of search intent. Here’s an example of lawn care questions with an accompanying content idea:
- Who: Who is the best lawn care service provider?
Transactional search intent: “Best lawn care service providers in South Wales”
- What: What is lawn care?
Informational search intent: “Ultimate guide to lawn care”
- When: When should I take care of my lawn?
Informational search intent: “How to maintain your lawn during fall”
- Where: Where can I find lawn care services?
Navigational search intent: “10 locations that [business] provides lawn care services”
- Why: Why is my lawn dry?
Informational search intent: “How to treat brown patches on your lawn”
Use a keyword research tool to identify long-tail keywords and start creating content around them. They’re easier to rank for since fewer local businesses are trying to rank for them.
Besides, long tail keywords indicate more clarity in intent, which is often transactional.
Once you create content for each core term and its related modifier, organize the content in different folders using relevant URLs and tags, and then link the pages together. Using our lawn care example:
- Core term: lawn-disease-protection
- Relevant content sub-category: Red thread, Fungus/Mold, Dry Patches, Brown/yellow patch
- Example of related content with relevant URL: /lawn-disease-protection/yellow-patches/
Pitfalls to avoid when implementing content silos for local SEO
By now, you already have some ideas about what type of content silo to create. Before you get started, here are a couple of pitfalls to avoid:
Creating too many silos at once
Most of the examples we’ve shown above are from established local businesses with several silos.
Their content strategies have evolved over time, allowing them to create more silos and get better results from their efforts.
If you’re working with a local business that launched recently or has never had any content silo before, start with one category, improve on it, and then create a new one.
Creating content that doesn’t satisfy search intent
After identifying a core term that reflects what potential customers are looking for, create content that satisfies search intent to improve the quality of your silo and establish credibility.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to capitalize on the benefits of increased organic traffic to your website.
Poor internal linking
The goal of the silo is to make sure relevant content is linked together for proper crawling and indexing by search engines.
Link relevant content together by using relevant anchor text that makes it easier for crawlers to index all your content properly and for readers to understand the context behind the link.
A solid content silo helps you achieve your content marketing objectives by helping you focus on creating content that drives business objectives.
And if you’re creating your first silo, start with one silo and build up from there. Identify your core terms and relevant modifiers to use and then create content that satisfies search intent.
Once you do this, add relevant tags, URLs, and add links to relevant content within your category to help search engines index your content so that it shows up in search results.
As you go, keep an eye out for improvements you need to make to location-based content, new categories you need to create, old content to update, and so on. Doing this will make sure all your content is fresh and relevant to your readers.