“What’s Google’s SEO Perspective On Content Silos?” A Googler Answers

Are content silos still relevant in today’s SEO world? The answer may surprise you.
SIA Team
August 27, 2021

If you’re not sure what website siloing is, it’s part of a larger concept called site architecture. In short, site architecture has to do with structuring your site (that is, the various pages of your site) in such a way that the many pages are organized in an easy-to-understand, logical way. 

I have a question for you. (You may not know the answer, but by the end of this article, you’ll hopefully begin to have an informed insight.)

Here it is:

Is website siloing a strictly (or solely) SEO concern?

It certainly is most known in SEO circles. Webmasters may have an intuitive sense of site structure, but I think the terms site structure and siloing are most developed in the SEO world. 

At the ~26-minute mark of Google’s most recent English Q&A session for webmasters, John Mueller, who’s a Search Advocate at Google, fielded a question. 

The question basically asked, “Does it make sense to create content silos with  focused internal linking on specific topics?”

Mueller’s response was: “So, from my point of view, I would not see this primarily as an SEO move, but more as something that you might do for users…”

Remember that question I asked, about whether siloing is strictly an SEO concern?

Well, now you have a bit of an answer. That may come as a bit of a surprise, because while siloing does have a place in SEO, some of its proponents can take soloing to an extreme. 

For example, I’ve heard (or read) somewhere that to do proper siloing, you can’t link from a page in Silo A to a page in Silo B. Instead, you can only link from a page in Silo A to another page in Silo A. 

Do listen to John’s words to confirm my feeling on this, but as part of his response, he does say, “I wouldn’t focus on that level,” (or, to that extent). 

But, Siloing and Structuring Are Valuable…If They’re For the User

And this brings us back to one of the tenants of good web page creation: design primarily for users, not for robots. Yes, you can take search engine bots into consideration, but it should hardly ever be done at the expense of the user experience.

Siloing can be great if there’s a certain topic you’re really strong at, and you’ve organized your content in a way that makes it sequential and easy for people to understand. 

Yes, There’s SEO Value In Architecture and Siloing

Another thing John said was that, “I would focus really more on kind of creating a strong part of your website or your whole website that is focused on a specific area because that makes it easier for us to understand what this website is about.”

So, what I think Mueller is asserting is that Google can understand certain sections of a website, and that makes sense. A series of pages within a certain subject should be more tightly linked among each other than they will be to pages not on the same subject. 

In short, siloing is good, but do it first from a user perspective, then secondly from an SEO perspective.

Source: Google Search Central YouTube video