Before people start to build their sites, they need to have their keywords as well as an organizational plan. Organization is not only important to give users the best experience possible, but it also plays an important role in search engine optimization (and is growing in importance). The process of organizing and categorizing a site is known as siloing, and it needs to be taken into account by everyone with a website.
Choosing the niche level
The first step in organizing a site is to consider how deep to go into the niche. For example, a site about golf would likely be too broad a topic and very difficult to rank for. Therefore, it is necessary to go deeper into the niche. A step further into the niche could be “men’s golf.” However, even that would likely be too broad a topic for most people. Thus, they might want to further narrow the main theme of the site to something like “men’s golf clubs.” A smaller site that is more narrowly focused could perhaps only cover a certain type of golf club.
How far people go into their niches should center on how big the site will be and how much they plan to put into it. A bigger site in which considerable time and resources will be devoted to can go for a broader niche while smaller sites need to stay more focused.
Categories and siloing
All but the smallest sites need to be organized around categories. Using the golf example again, a site about golf clubs could be categorized by the type of club. Depending on the size of the site, there could be five to six main categories with these main categories divided into two or more subcategories each.
Each category, or silo, can be thought of as kind of a mini site under a common theme with internal liking kept within the categories/silos or to and from the main page (use nofollow when linking outside of the silo). This will enable the keywords to mutually support each other in a theme, concentrate their power and help them rank higher in the search engines. It makes sites easier to navigate and more popular with visitors.
Start with keywords
The site structure should in part take into account keyword phrases that have beatable competition. By optimizing a site for these keywords, webmasters can get their first natural visitors to their sites. As the site’s size, links and traffic grow, so will its ranking, which will in turn bring in more visitors from more broad searches. Some tools for finding these keywords can be found at how to find a niche.
At the same time, do not obsess too much with keywords. They key to a good site is to have the organization and content that will offer the best user experience. To some extent, the right keywords will come naturally.
Deciding on categories
Once the keywords that will be utilized have been decided upon, a blueprint of the basic site structure and categories should be made. This can done based on the seed keyword phrases that will be used as well as the future planes for the site. It is also a good idea to look at the competition to see what they are doing. Do a search of the main theme keywords and look for ideas from the top ranked sites. Then, draw a layout for the site.
For example, a site on golf clubs might be divided into such broad categories as drivers, irons, putters, wedges, etc.
Basic layout and linking
Keep in mind that the basic layout should be somewhat triangular shaped. Starting with the theme of the site and the main categories, the structure will widen towards the bottom with the subcategories and the target keyword phrases (often called long-tail keywords) at the bottom.
Each category should have a single landing page where all the pages in the category link to. These landing pages in turn need to be easily navigable to from the top page.
Linking and other search engine optimization efforts should start with these long-tail keywords and move up the categories (to those phrases with more traffic and competition) as the site begins to rank and get natural traffic.
With the right planning and structure, building a website is not only easier, but the site will be better for the users and the search engines. Any investments in time and money put into planning before building a site will certainly pay off later.