URL Silo Structure, Virtual vs Physical Silos?

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Hello everyone,

Im going to ask a question about something that has been bothering me for a while since different SEOs do different things, its silo structure....

Which structure is more successful for targeting keywords, physical or virtual?

Ill use a affiliate keyword as an example "best vegan protein" If I am building a site and I need to create a silo structure there are two options...

Physical Silos (Matt Diggity, Authority Hackers)
nutritionfakesite.com/protein/best-vegan
nutritionfakesite.com/protein/best-whey
nutritionfakesite.com/protein/best-rice
Linking-silos link between related silos and link up to their top silo in this case /protein
(url structure here is predicated on not double counting keywords and making sure that you have categories, you can convert your main category into a page if you like and rank it, but you need categories for the silos to reside in hence the "physical" name.

Virtual Silos (Kyle Roof)
nutritionfakesite.com/best-vegan-protein
Linking-siloes link between related silos and link up to their top silo in this case /protein
(url structure here is based on a keyword basis, you go straight for the keyword in the URL (most of the time). For internal linking you then link related pages to the url and back this way your internal linking essentially creates the relation and silo without and url structuring.)

So with these two structures, which would be the winner for ranking? In my older affiliate sites I have went with the virtual silos, but looking at the physical silo it definitely looks more trust worthy, I would personally trust a physical silo since to me the site looks like it has alot of content vs a one off best page.

Has anyone experimented between the two, what do you guys think?
 

mackem

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I like physical silo structure. Not for fancy SEO reason but just because it makes more sense in my head.

From what I've read, both work you just have to be consistent and disciplined with how you structure and link.
 

turbin3

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@mackem makes a great point. I like the idea of physical silos, specifically for categories and sub-categories. Call it OCD but, it's just easier for me to reason about my site structure when I can see that relationship between categories. I detailed some more thoughts on this subject in the big site structure thread that started around this time last year.

What I use pretty much all the time now is a mix of physical and virtual silos. The categories and subcategories get the physical silos. The posts themselves get virtual silos. For a Wordpress site, this just works by default, as long as you're assigning categories a parent category where necessary.

Just think, have you ever had to re-categorize posts before? Now imagine you had to do this with physical siloed post URLs. Over time, that's gonna mean lots of redirects when rearranging posts on your site. With virtual silos for the actual posts, you can re-categorize to your heart's content and not have to worry about the post itself having issues.