Bruce Clay of Bruce Clay, Inc.

Bruce Clay

Founder and president of Bruce Clay, Inc.

Industry leader, speaker (300+ sessions), International offices, 3 books, and generally recognized as godfather of SEO (started in Jan 1996). Services are mostly SEO (consulting, tools, training) and PPC.



How To Build A SEO Silo Website Structure To Rank As A Subject Matter Expert

It sounds crazy to say this, but my company is actually older than Google.

We were around 20 years ago when Google first published The Webmaster Guidelines.

Some of their early guidelines were to have a clear hierarchy, don’t have excessive links, and to have a clear structure that relates closely to what people are searching for.

Expert session

Tactic that has had the biggest impact on Bruce’s success

Building an SEO silo website structure to rank as a subject matter expert

Result if you follow the steps in Bruce’s session

Higher traffic, better search ranking, and the ability to be seen as a subject matter expert by Google using a technique known as SEO Siloing

Full session with video, notes, audio and discussion inside EHQ Club. Learn more

Expert session snapshot


A great way to start, of course would be to go to my website. We have a full 32 page PDF on it and full instructions on how to do it. The simple things are, you have to understand how people search. And then you have to make sure you have that content.

So, to some degree, you start with keyword research, you look at, okay, this is what I’m selling, this is how I make my money selling it. This is the good side, you know, the good components of all that.

You want your third of the keyword research, one of the things that you’re also going to need to do is identify what’s referred to as the persona, who are you selling to, and a primary reason for knowing that is that every word has a different the degree of ambiguity to it.

So, for instance here, if you search for the word hammer, I think everybody knows what a hammer is. But the number one result in Google is an art museum at UCLA. The Armand Hammer Art Museum.

Number two, is a vitamin. And number three is I think, MC Hammer. So, there’s ambiguity around the keywords. So, if you do not know who you’re targeting, you can’t come up with the right keywords.

And if you can’t come up with the right keywords and the right kind of content for your keywords, you cannot determine how to create your navigation. So, you have to do that. There are all sorts of subcategories here. But basically, it’s a brainstorming exercise up front.

Then, we recommend we identify the keywords that have the highest return what makes you money everybody should follow the money. That’s always a good way to do it.

So, I have all my keywords and I understand who I’m selling to, and I understand how I make money. Now I can start to determine what my navigation structure would look like. And my navigation should be on how they search. There’s also something referred to as a unicorn.

And a unicorn is other than a mythical animal. It is a topic that right now everybody’s talking about. So sometimes that becomes an additional homepage, sub link or some category like that. You have to understand what’s really going on.

You do some content gap analysis. In other words, you look at your competition, because if they’re the competition for this main keyword, what are they also writing about?

We’re kind of straying a little bit, but there’s something called the Semantic Web, where Google is trying to rank websites, based upon the match between the intent of the query and what the query was really trained to do versus keywords, say it’s more of a seeming concept than it is a specific, “Oh, I put this keyword on the page concept”.

They’re looking for solutions to the query, not just keywords for the query. So, we got to understand that navigation is bigger than just keywords across the top of your page. It really helps to have your navigation be your silos.

But somewhere in there, you’re also going to concern yourself with the customer journey. And that journey, of course, is something you’re going to pay attention to. So, you’re going to build your navigation, you’re going to understand how people will flow through your site.

Then you have to make sure that your content that goes under that navigation actually is about that subject. If you have vague content, it’s not good. If you just have filler content, sometimes people say, “Oh, I have 500 words, I need 1000”. They just fill it in. If that’s what you have, your quality is suffering, and therefore you’re not going to rank.

So, you actually have to have content of substance that lines up with your keyword structure, on your build up, your landing pages. You put it in, you build your site, map around it, and tie it together. I’ve kind of simplified what would be about, you know, 15 steps, but fundamentally, it’s a straightforward process of knowing where you make your money.

Knowing how people search, making that your top nav, building a concentration of data that matches that keyword and is logical and is quality. Just putting your site together and going. We’ve done some remarkable things with siloing.

We typically see a 32 maybe 300% increase in organic traffic. That’s sizable. The best case we had was we had an auto site. They were doing 1.7 million uniques a month. We siloed their site. 32 hours later, they were at 16.4 million uniques a month. Which is pretty good.

And it’s across everything. Doesn’t matter if you’re a big business, small business, any business, your keywords or your keywords. Your competition is probably still using dumb navigation, not keywords specific.

And if you build it right, Google will appreciate that you are a subject matter expert, you have all this concentration of information about what the person just searched for. And you have a tendency to, as I said, go up and ranking as a subject matter expert, your on page is really strong.

And more importantly, once you start ranking, and once you start showing that you have a concentration of information about the query, people start linking to you. And those combined things are what really causes traffic to jump.

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