What Is The Semantic Core (SILO Structure/Architecture) In SEO?

What Is The Semantic Core (SILO Structure/Architecture) In SEO?

If you’re my regular reader, you have probably seen a mysterious term, Semantic Core, numerous times in my articles. I promised to write a blog post on the subject. Today, it’s time to explain to you what Semantic Core really is, and why is it vital for SEO.

I don’t know the author who introduced this term. Besides, various SEO experts used to regard the same topics differently. However, in my opinion, there is no better term than the Semantic Core, which might characterize the proper website structure more correctly.

I bet your goal is to gain more organic traffic. Every day, Google complicate the way to obtain free visitors to your website. But I claim that there is one old-school method which might increase the visibility of your website in Google. No, I don’t talk about backlinks. I want to discuss the structure of your site.

  1. What is the Semantic Core?
    1.1 The difference between GoogleBot and visitor
    1.2 The notion of relevance
    1.3 Made For AdSense (MFA)
    1.4 Semantic Core and SILO Architecture
  2. How to start creating the Semantic Core?
    2.1 Define what your site is really about
    2.2 Create the SILO structure thanks to menus, categories, tags, and custom taxonomies
    2.3 Find the topics for your blog posts correctly
  3. An excellent example of SILO Structure and Semantic Core
  4. Semantic Core and on-page optimization
  5. What tools to use to create the Semantic Core with the SILO structure?
  6. Conclusion

Now you see the list of items I want to discuss with you. But first, I’d like to say that there is another term which correlates with the Semantic Core. This term has been introduced by Bruce Clay. I accept his vision of the subject. However, in my opinion, Bruce describes the method of the Semantic Core optimization which he calls SILO. I’d like to use his term in my article. Nonetheless, I want you to get acquainted with his article as well.

What is the Semantic Core?

I can’t foresee the future of the Internet, but currently, the world wide web consists of billions of HTML pages. As a result, the primary content you face every day while browsing the Internet is the text content.

When a search engine started to analyze the Internet for the first time, the bot was making crawling text on web pages. Little has changed in recent years. Even to analyze images and video, Google, and other search engines use the text pointers, such as ALT tags, etc.

Accordingly, the primary target of GoogleBot is still the text content. All the words written above are evident to the vast majority of webmasters and even non-specialists.

Nevertheless, there are some details hidden from the eyes of ordinary people.

What’s the difference between how GoogleBot and visitor analyzes a website?

You can’t see the full picture of a website. You can only browse the pages and navigate thanks to the internal links and menu. Meanwhile, GoogleBot is capable of analyzing the entire structure of the website.

Let me show you an example.

Can you answer the following questions:

  • How many times the phrase, Semantic Core, meets on this page?
  • How many times the phrase, Semantic Core, meets on the website?

I bet the first question was not difficult for you. All you needed to do is to push Ctrl+F (CMD+F on MAC) and to type the word, Semantic Core, in the search string of your browser.

But I doubt you were able to cope with the second task. The only thing you could do is to use the search string on my website. At the same time, Google is capable of crawling and analyzing your entire content, including its structure.

Summing up, unlike GoogleBot you can’t see the entire content of my website. However, you can see its structure!

The notion of relevance

Of course, you know that your blog post/article must be relevant to a given keyword to get in the TOP 10 SERP. But few know that Google also evaluates the relevance of the entire website regarding this keyword.

This detail is vital from the SEO point of view. It looks evident, but few can grasp the essence.

If you study your competitors, you may stumble upon a site which doesn’t fit any guidelines. However, this site is in the 1st place by a low or even mid-competition keyword. Is it a mistake made by Google? Sometimes it is.

Most webmasters who use the so-called black-hat SEO practices are aware of the semantic core. They also use the so-called SILO structure/architecture to construct their websites.

Google regards such websites to be relevant to a particular, as a rule, low-competition or even long-tail keyword. That’s why the search engine used to rank these, as a rule, over-optimized websites so high.


Sometimes, it is essential to look up at the black-hat SEO methods to determine the advantages hidden behind them.

If you are the experienced webmaster, I bet you aware of the-so called MFA site. MFA is an abbreviation, which means literally “Made for AdSense.”

Even though Google spokesmen claim that they managed to find a remedy against MFA, these sites still exist in SERP.

Of course, one may argue that most of these websites keep on rising so fast thanks to thousands of backlinks which were obtained manually. However, I affirm that some webmasters use the sophisticated methods to promote such sites.

Intuitively or deliberately these guys apply the SILO structure for their MFA sites. But what is their secret?

Semantic Core or SILO Architecture

The key word here is the relevance. But I want to discuss the structure of a website, not a page.

Everything is clear with a page, which is relevant to a particular query. We call it the on-page SEO optimization. But when we are talking about the website, we apply the term SEO. However, SEO is the comprehensive term which includes a lot of subtopics.

But could the website structure be relevant to a particular keyword? I claim that this fact is one of the most sacred secrets that the guys who stand behind Google wanted to hide from us.

The primary goal of a search engine is to show you the results that are relevant to a particular key phrase. You know that there are millions of pages that fit the keywords. Nonetheless, what if there is a website which entirely covers the topic? Is it possible? Why not?

I don’t want to claim that such a site must be in the TOP 1 of the SERP. But this website may exist, at least in the TOP 10. Moreover, this website site may not have backlinks at all. But why Google ranks it so high?

The reason is that the website has many pages which covered this topic entirely. Besides, the site structure has been created in such a way that Google can be sure that its decision to rank this website in the TOP 10 was correct. In other words, Google appreciates your efforts to provide the comprehensive answer to the desired question for a visitor.

The fundamental reason for such a decision by Google is that you managed to explain for the search engine that your website has entirely covered the topic of the search query, thanks to its correct structure (SILO architecture). That’s is what I call the Semantic Core, while Bruce Clay nicknamed it the “SEO Siloing.” Both Bruce and I were talking about the Themed Websites.

Creating the Semantic Core

Each of you uses the Semantic Core as well as SILO Structure while creating websites. But I doubt that you pay due attention to the topic.

In fact, any modern CMS includes all the necessary instruments for building the Semantic Core and SILO architecture. But you need to realize what details you need to take into account.

Try to define, what your site is really about

The common mistake of the beginners is in that they have no idea about what the primary subject of their website is. As a rule, they start a blog as a personal diary. Later, they see that Google started to reward them with the organic traffic. Their next step is to reconstruct the website in such a way to fit it under the Google needs. Unfortunately, such a strategy is mistaken.

You need to know the primary idea of your website yet before its launch. I can say more; you need to purchase a domain after you managed to build the Semantic Core. Does it sound strange?

If your goal is to get profit from Google AdSense, thanks to your blog, follow the next steps:

  • Find a unique idea
  • Undertake keyword research
  • Determine the parent topic
  • Purchase a domain which contains a high-competition keyword in its name
  • Create the structure of your website using the mid-competition keywords
  • Write 500-1000 articles containing the low-competition and long-tail keywords

In other words, you must present your website as a pyramid from top to bottom for GoogleBot. Is it clear? Let’s continue to figure out.

SILO Structure/Architecture

I wrote a comprehensive article on the subject of keyword research. I want to convince you to read it first since you need to know the basics. But right now, I want to explain to you what do I really mean by the term SILO Structure (Architecture).

I bet most of you use WordPress as the CMS for your websites. Even if you use another content management system, the principle of the building of the Semantic Core remains the same.

  1. Your website and its domain (name) must be targeted to a high-competition keyword
  2. All the menus, categories, tags, custom taxonomies are your mid-competition keywords
  3. Your blog posts/articles must include a low-competition keyword in their title and H1 heading
  4. It would be perfect to use the long-tail keywords inside your blog posts

But the more tricky approach would be using the following scheme.

  1. You target your entire website for a low-competition keyword
  2. Use the menu items, categories, tags, and custom taxonomies as the long-tail keywords
  3. Your blog posts/articles must contain only ultra low-competition long-tail keywords

If you were lucky to find the appropriate long-tail keywords for the entire structure of your websites you have a chance to gather the thematic long-tail organic traffic without any backlinks. That is how the Semantic Core works. Is it clear now or still complicated?

The topics for your blog posts

The primary goal in building the SILO architecture is to determine the right topics for your articles. No matter, what do you want to write in. The more important is that their titles contain low-competition or long-tail keywords. Sometimes, you could even use the exact match phrases.

I doubt that Google is going to penalize you for such an approach since the search engine is feeling a lack in covering low-competition topics. All the media outlets have already managed to cover the vast majority of vital issues.

But there still remain a lot of issues on the Internet people are seeking the answers to.

The best example of the correct implementation of the Semantic Core and SILO structure is wikiHow. By the way, you can borrow the ideas from this website. This project fills the gap people are seeking the keywords, starting from “How to… do anything.”

Let’s take a closer look at an excellent example of the Semantic Core

wikiHow is an excellent example of how to create your website structure. The guys who launched wikiHow were the high-end SEO experts. I don’t know whether it was an intuitive decision to create such a website or they did it deliberately. The only thing is clear is that they were aware of both topics, Semantic Core, and SILO structure.

Let’s undertake a small study of wikiHow.

  1. The primary goal was to appear in the TOP 1 SERP by the keyword “how to”
  2. The domain includes the high-competition keyword “how”
  3. The project has high and mid-competition keywords in the structure such as Arts and Entertainment, Finance and Business, Pets and Animals, Philosophy and Religion, etc.
  4. Each category contains a list of subcategories in the form of a tree structure
  5. Every blog post/article includes a low-competition or long-tail keyword
  6. There are a lot of long-tail keywords directly in the articles
  7. They have not purchased any backlinks; the growth of the project was natural

You still doubt that the Semantic Core works?

Well, let’s take a look at wikiHow in 2006. Is this project looking special? wikiHow seems awful from the modern point of view. But the proper Semantic Core and SILO structure they used to allow them to turn into one of the most visited websites in the world, # 127, according to ALEXA.

I’d like you to undertake the in-depth study of this website to figure out the advantages of the Semantic Core for search engines.

I still did not convince you?

Okay, I have another example of SILO structure for you. Go to listverse.com and study it.

Jamie Frater was one of the first who managed to find a micro niche and build the Semantic Core with SILO structure for his website.

His idea was to fill the gap for those visitors who want to know the interesting facts about anything. To grasp the structure of his project, please look at a series of screenshots.

Semantic Core and on-page optimization

Finally, I want to discuss the on-page optimization of your websites. By the way, I wrote a comprehensive article on the subject.

As I have mentioned above, GoogleBot and other search bots are capable of analyzing the entire structure of your website. I hope you realized thanks to this article that you must create the Semantic Core for your site using the so-called SILO architecture.

But, since your site mostly consists of pages, you should include them into your Semantic Core.

The optimization mainly boils down to the following steps:

  • Every title must contain a low-competition keyword
  • You must optimize the slug and include the keyword in it
  • Embed the mid-competition keywords in the h1 headings of your categories and tags
  • Use a long-tail keyword in the meta description if necessary
  • Use synonyms of the low-competition and long-tail keywords in your blog posts/articles

What tools to use

I don’t like to duplicate the content on my website. As mentioned above, I wrote a comprehensive article about keyword research. I strongly recommend you to read this blog post since it contains a lot of useful and essential data. But since I can’t leave this section empty, I’d like to showcase the toolkit here.

  1. Use the Google Search Console to gather the data about your current Semantic Core
  2. Log into the Google Keyword Planner to undertake research on the new keywords
  3. Use Ahrefs or SEMRush to define the parent topic and take the in-depth analysis of the long-tail keywords


I claim that it is essential to create the Semantic Core for your website. The SILO architecture is the right method of the implementation of the Semantic Core.

This article contains the basics of the Semantic Core. You will have to undertake the in-depth keyword research, to build the one for your website.

I realize that some data contained in this blog post are difficult to grasp and analyze right now. But I’m sure that over time, the basics described here will become more evident.

I hope your efforts to create the right structure for your website will end with impressive results. I’d like to convince you to study my SEO blog since it contains a lot of free useful and essential data. Good luck with SEO!

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