SEO Done Right Cares about Content Architecture

Parents of picky eaters all over the world have long fought the battle of food presentation, going to great lengths to make mealtime fun and enticing (3D triceratops pancakes, anyone?).

For some, this means making sure each food on the plate is separate and not touching. For worried parents, recent research sheds some light on this. No, your kids don’t have some strange obsession. They are simply trying to get a better understanding of what food is actually on their plates.

Annemarie Olsen, one of the researchers in a study by the University of Copenhagen, says it can be as simple as they “prefer to eat the different elements in a certain order or that the clear delineation just provides a better overview.”

This is not unlike how website users like to consume content and how Google likes to crawl and index it.

SEO done right cares about content architecture quote.

The Best Way to Architect a Site

SEO siloing is an age-old technique that we have been implementing at Bruce Clay Inc. for over 18 years (we invented it in 2002). It implements the advice that cutting-edge SEOs give on content today. It supports relevancy, quality, hierarchy and much more.

And did you also know that this technique supports what Google has been recommending from the start?

Siloing structures a website’s content by grouping related webpages together in categories. These categories support both desired keywords/search terms and the expertise of a website.

  • It’s siloing that creates proper content architecture that helps both users and search engines.
  • It’s siloing that creates relevant content for people to find in the search results and to spend more time on a site.
  • It’s siloing that demonstrates authority when it comes to being a subject matter expert on a topic.

Content architecture in SEO is as important as ever. As search engine algorithms refine quality results, websites must work harder to be relevant.

Siloing is the foundation for creating an expert website that drives more visibility in the search results and more traffic to your site.

Your content needs to be a part of the whole answer for searchers.

Remember: Google looks at the whole of the website to determine if it’s relevant.

The navigation of a website is important in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. It can also help search engines understand what content the webmaster thinks is important. Although Google’s search results are provided at a page level, Google also likes to have a sense of what role a page plays in the bigger picture of the site.

– Google, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide

Your goal with content architecture? Ensure that your users don’t have to go anywhere else for more information on the topic. Plain and simple.

Providing the whole answer is especially key when you consider how RankBrain can take into account user engagement with the search results.

Create an Organized Website

Moving about a website has to be easy for both users and search engine bots. So organize your content in a clear and deliberate hierarchy based on how people search.

For example, a power tools website might organize its content into silos as follows:

Content hierarchy diagram for a power tools site.

Content should be interlinked in a way that shows users how they can get around to find more of what they are looking for and communicates to search engines what the topical theme is.

Make it as easy as possible for users to go from general content to the more specific content they want on your site. Add navigation pages when it makes sense and effectively work these into your internal link structure. Make sure all of the pages on your site are reachable through links, and that they don’t require an internal “search” functionality to be found. Link to related pages, where appropriate, to allow users to discover similar content.

– Google, Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide

This hierarchy creates depth on a subject, and naturally, relevance to search engines and users.

Elevate Website Authority

The content that populates your website silos also needs to provide tremendous value, not just weight.

Google uses things like its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines as part of a feedback loop for how it constructs its algorithms. One of the ways Google assesses the quality of page content is to determine how authoritative it is.

Just some of its guidelines for expert content include:

  • “Written or produced in a professional style and should be edited, reviewed, and updated on a regular basis.”
  • “Contain factually accurate content presented in a way that helps users achieve a better understanding of events.”
  • “Represent well-established scientific consensus on issues where such consensus exists.”
  • “Come from ‘expert’ or experienced sources that users can trust.”

When you have organized content that provides the whole answer to users, you are providing a good experience and elevating the website’s authority.

Make Your Website Enticing to Consume

With everything we know about how Google defines quality, how it crawls and understands a website, and how its algorithms determine which results are best, we know that intentional content is king. And its golden crown is content architecture.

So we must work to be that attentive “parent” of our website by understanding what users and search engines want in our presentation of content. And it’s not a one-pot meal.

For more information on this topic, see our in-depth article on SEO siloing.

Do you want more revenue from your website? Fill out a request or call us to discuss how we can help you.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (7)
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7 Replies to “SEO Done Right Cares about Content Architecture”

Yes, adding suitable categories to group the blog post is an effective method to improve the user experience. This also helps with SEO. I always add internal links to every blog post. It kind of helps to make my blog reader spend more time on the website efficiently.

Love reading your blogs! Siloing makes so much sense to the reader and to google crawling the website. Enjoyed how you wrote the description

I’ve discovered your site and blog recently and it’s a real eye opener. SEO is much more than I thought it was and with your checklist, I’ll be able to sort between the items I can do and those I’ll need help extra on. Thanks.

Hi Bruce, My understanding of what you present here is that the model is moving back to an old-style blog-consistent updates, insights from industry leaders and influencers, and a simple framework that facilitates ease of use.
The underlying principle is that no web site is any longer a set-and-forget proposition. Also, part of this is the active recruitment of email subscribers and offering genuine feedback when they appear to comment.
I am guilty of leaving a website too long unattended and wondering why the rank drops over time. It is now almost as urgent to schedule website updates for blog posts–especially “updated”–as it is to attend to the social media schedule

Hey! Hope you are fine.
Yes! You’re right SEO done right cares about content architecture and it’s really very helpful for my affordable SEO agency. Thanks for this.

I took your SEO course about 10 years ago and the importance of siloing was one of my biggest take-aways. We now silo all our websites and have built a custom cms that isolates the silos to improve page rank.

Hi Bruce, My understanding of what you’re presenting here is that the model is moving back to an old-style blog – consistent updates, insights from industry leaders and influencers, and a simple framework that facilitates ease of use.
The underlying tenet is that no website is a set-and-forget proposition any longer. Actively recruiting email subscribers and offering genuine feedback to comments when they appear is also part of this.
I’m guilty of leaving a website untended for too long and wondering why the rank drops over time. Now it’s almost as urgent to schedule website updates – especially “updated – date” for blogposts as it is to attend to social media scheduling.


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