Any website, in its core function, is very similar to a library. It’s a container for information. It imposes structure on the information.
There are many different ways to structure information on any given website. Maybe the most popular, and the most simple one, is a flat structure. It assumes that pages are horizontally aligned one next to the other. There’s no complex hierarchy, only the homepage is above the others.
What’s the Website Silo Structure
A silo structure is another way of organizing information on a website. It creates a certain hierarchy where different topics are divided into different vertical branches. It looks like a strict organizational hierarchy where every employee reports only to one manager and all the managers report only to the CEO.
Imagine, for example, that your website is about pets. One of the categories can be “food for pets.” In that category, you can have many different sub-categories such as “dog food”, “cat food”, etc. And in the sub-category of “dog food,” you can have different pages related to dog food, for example:
- What’s the best dog food
- What food should your dog avoid
- Dry dog food
- How to stop food aggression in your dog
Using this kind of structure, you can easily build authority. The key is to start with broad categories, then drill down to the sub-categories, and finally, to cover as many keywords on separate pages under the particular sub-category. (As shown above.)
Besides this, imposing the silo structure on a website also makes it easier to interlink the pages from the same category. Because, in this case, category = topic, you can add relevant links to lower, higher and same-level pages on any given page in the category.
How It Affects Conversions
However, not everything about the silo structure is beneficial to the visitor or the website owner. In this article, a strong case is presented against siloing content.
First of all, the author claimed that silo and category aren’t the same things. A category is a set of items with shared characteristics. A silo, on the other hand, is a “repository of content that is only accessible under one specific category.” And because of that characteristic, content placed in silos can be hard to find.
The author explains that visitors who come to a website and don’t immediately find the content they were looking for, often click the back button and leave your site.
The worst consequence of that is, of course,lack of conversions. Even if a website is ranking on the 1st page of Google, there’s no guarantee that it will produce any sales. A confused visitor isn’t likely to buy anything or even to subscribe to the newsletter. As I’ve already pointed out, he’s most likely to just leave the website.
How to Fix Those Issues
One way to make your content easier to find on a website with the silo structure is to include the so-called wayfinder sitemap or site index in the global navigation. They help visitors to find their way out of the particular silo if they ever get stuck in one.
It must be noted, however, that those conversion-issues aren’t something that you should immediately be concerned about.
Conversion can be an issue if and only if you get some traffic to your website. If you’re not getting enough traffic, the first thing you should think about is the search engine optimization (SEO.) If you’re just starting, don’t worry about sophisticated dilemmas. Just follow some simple guidelines to start with and then, after you get some data about the visitor’s behavior, you’ll be in a position to make smart, data-driven decisions about the content and the structure of your website.