Hey Rand, Do You Mean Siloing?
Rand was over at SEOmoz yesterday talking about the process of "sculpting" where site owners and SEOs can use the nofollow attribute on boilerplate and unimportant links to control link flow and funnel PageRank to their most important pages. Sounds smart, eh?
Well, of course it does, Rand, and we’d like to formally welcome you to the PageRank optimization party! PageRank funneling, or PageRank optimization, has by and large always worked. It’s something we’ve been saying for a long time through our concept of siloing.
I kid. We love Rand!
Truthfully, we were really glad to see the folks at SEOmoz talking about sculpting/siloing/whatever you want to call it and even more glad to see that people seemed excited about it. Siloing is an advanced search engine optimization technique that when used correctly can help solve the problems that occur when sites accidently dilute their available PageRank with erratic and unfocused linking.
Chances are that if you visit the blog, read any of the ongoing 6-part siloing series, attended SEO training or were there to listen to Bruce’s SMX Give It Up presentation, you’ve already heard about siloing and the benefits that creating a hierarchal organization structure can have on your site. We hope you’ve already taken steps to integrate siloing and weren’t waiting on Rand to give you the formal okay.
However, if you were and are now just educating yourself, you can learn more about one of our favorite search engine optimization techniques by checking out our newsletter articles Building A Web Site Theme With Silos (Part 1) and Siloing Revisited. However, I’ll also try to give you guys a simplified version right here. Both because it’s helpful and because I don’t do technical all that well.
So what’s siloing?
Siloing, as you may or may not know, is our way of categorizing content in your site based on a theme. The theme and sub-topics are obtained by the target key phrases for that content. Siloing categorizes the content both structurally and virtually. Structurally, it is how the content is categorized on the server which includes the directory structure of the site. Virtually, it’s how the content is linked together in the site because PageRank also works for pages internal to your site, not just external links.
PageRank funneling is just one part of what we call siloing. It’s the ‘Virtual’ part. It works by using the rel=”nofollow” on pages that are unimportant on your site.
This does two things for you:
- It decreases the number of counted links on the linking page because links with rel=”nofollow” are not counted. This, in turn, increases the value of the links on that page.
- It allows the links to only go to important pages of your site.
Why does this help increase rankings? Because of the PageRank algorithm. Originally, the PageRank idea was developed as a way of modeling human behavior. It gives us an automated way to figure out which pages are more important than others on the Web. The assumption was that a human user is more likely to link to pages that are informative or valuable in some way. So in theory, a page that has a high amount of inbound links should also have a high value. However, this didn’t take into consideration the fact that most sites globally-link to pages that are only valuable to users who are already browsing their site (e.g. a Contact Us page). Adding the rel="nofollow" to these types of links basically removes the PageRank from the pages they go to and redistributes it to other pages on the site.
Optimizing PageRank is a good starting point, but siloing takes the idea one step further by taking keyword relevancy into account. In a properly-siloed linking structure, the important landing pages have the most PageRank going to them, AND this PageRank is coming from pages that share a common theme and contain relevant content. Think about it… what is Google more likely to rank: A page with inbound links from random pages, or a page with inbound links from relevant pages?
That’s really the idea of siloing at its core. For more advanced information, I’d really encourage you to read all the siloing articles. And, if you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments. I’ll lock one of our analysts to a chair and make him help out.