Silo Theory: How to Rank Content With Topical Authority
How to show Google that you're an expert in your niche
If you just launched a new site the most common course of action you’re going to take is staring at a blank page in Google Docs for hours at a time while your WordPress dashboard is open in a separate tab.
This is the point where you all of a sudden realize that there’s dozens of different YouTube videos you can watch for “research” (researching is productive, right?). Netflix starts to seem like the most appealing thing in the world. It’s what everyone else is doing. Why should you force yourself to think and struggle when you can sit back and be entertained like everyone else in your social circle?
The normie working world and educational system have programmed you to want a “path” to follow. You’ve been taught that taking risk is “irresponsible” and that “being prepared” is what “mature, responsible adults” do.
With WiFi income that’s mostly bullshit. There is no specific step-by-step path. But there is a broad structure to how you publish your content that you should follow, while customizing it to your niche and personality.
Today I’m going to talk about Silo Theory and how you can demonstrate topical authority using a strategic approach to content creation.
You can’t demonstrate topical authority without silos
In the early days of SEO, it was possible to create a “site about everything” and have it rank highly in Google. Think about sites like The Wirecutter. Unlike modern Authority Sites, The Wirecutter reviews basically every type of consumer product out there. What do car baby seats and portable bluetooth speakers have in common? Nothing.
Writing about every topic under the sun USED TO BE a winning strategy. In 2022 it’s a death sentence.
If you’re starting a website from scratch and you want it to rank in Google, you first need to break it up into distinct topical categories. When I talk about “silos”, this is what I’m referring to.
If you look at the website apetogentleman.com, you can see that they broke their site into five main silos; style, grooming, hair, lifestyle, and watches.
If this were a brand new site, I’d recommend that the owner pick only one of those five categories to focus on exclusively.
Let’s say that you’re the proud owner of this site and you chose ‘grooming’ as your initial silo. That means that you would exclusively write articles about male grooming topics in the initial stages of your site’s development. You need a blend of best-of lists, reviews, comparisons, and (most importantly) informational content.
You’ll notice that your rankings will improve over time as you fill up the silo with more content. As you interlink the articles together with contextual internal links, Google will start to view you as an expert in the sub-niche of male grooming.
When you’re in this stage you’ll spend the majority of your time on keyword research. Expect to have Ahrefs open in a new tab 24/7. By the time you’re done filling up your initial silo you’re going to be so sick of male grooming that you can’t even look at a can of shaving cream without getting pissed off.
The exact point when you can’t even stand thinking about the silo anymore is the moment when the universe decides to reward you with traffic (weird how that works).
If you’ve done a good job covering the topic thoroughly and writing articles that target a variety of different search intents, your keyword will start rising in the search results. Traffic is going to flow to your site and you’ll start earning affiliate commissions or e-commerce sales.
You can move on to another silo once pages from the initial silo are ranking on page one in Google.
Don’t abandon the first silo once you move on to the next. The majority of articles you write should target keywords in the second silo, but continue sprinkling articles into the first so you don’t lose your progress. Google always favors freshness, both sitewide and within subtopics on your site.
If you stop adding content about a specific subtopic then the posts in that silo are going to start dropping in the rankings because they aren’t gaining relevant internal links. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than watching months of progress slip away in real time. Try to avoid this.
Once your site is established you can start filling in the silos 2-3 at a time. After a few years - once all your silos are properly filled out and you’ve built enough links - you don’t have to stress out about it as much. If you see a lucrative keyword you can have your writers create an article for it and put it in its appropriate silo. Since the silo already has content, it’ll be easy to point some internal links to the new post and it’ll rank fairly quickly.
This is the phase of your site’s development when things are on cruise control. Anything you publish ranks - fast. Even if your article isn’t perfect it’ll still rank thanks to the topical authority and domain authority you’ve built up over time.
If you want to get to this point then you need to put in the work now. If you would have started three years ago you’d already be on cruise control.