The semantic cocoon sets up a hierarchical architecture of pages linked together by contextualized links and a natural semantic universe. It reminds me of the SEO silo. The two concepts are similar and concern the organization of pages within a website to give juice to a target page using contextualized links from the lower level pages.
The semantic cocoon as developed by French SEO Laurent Bourrelly is an optimization of the internal linking, a thorough knowledge of the specific internal topic-sensitive PageRank formula but also a different starting point. While siloing consists in organizing the pages of a site around pages gathered by theme, a semantic cocoon will be set up to meet the expectations of the Internet user.
Silo SEO and semantic cocoon: what are the differences?
Let’s take an example with an e-commerce site that offers shoes for men. Siloing is an organization around a primary keyword (and often around products or services for sale), here “men’s shoes.”
If the subgroups are “sports shoes,” “boots and boots” and “street shoes,” it will be difficult to catch the Internet user who is looking for “comfortable shoes.”
Proximity between the two notions? Not really
Indeed, these two concepts have common points, and many SEO professionals reciprocally use both terms and thus maintain a certain confusion. The silo can try to insert a notion of semantics into its deployment, but a semantic cocoon is part of a real editorial strategy. The starting point of the cocoon is the definition of a persona.
The thematic silo
It is what we most often find on the web. Sites built in thematic silos are the majority. Sub categories organize the product sheets, each subcategory classified in its parent category. Everything is in its place. Nevertheless, as an e-merchant you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the search engine find what it needs to understand and, above all, classify the pages?
- Does the Internet user also have the same logic as yours for the classification of products?
- Does the Internet user find the answers to the questions he or she is asking?
E-commerce sites that use this semantic silo system have taken a further step. The notion of semantic writing is part of the project. We will try to please search engines and try to make them understand without ambiguity what the page’s purpose. Some will even try to insert a notion of semantic shift between the sub-category pages and the parent category page. In the case of the semantic silo, you try to answer the first question (I try to make myself understood from the search engine). But you left out the Internet user without solving the other two questions.
The definition of a semantic cocoon
The semantic cocoon is a system for organizing textual content intended to answer Internet users’ questions on a given theme and linked together by skilfully placed hypertext links.
The semantic cocoon places the Internet user AND his or her concerns at the center of the process. This sentence is essential… meditate on it! The keyword search will come in a second step. We will not only aim at positioning on a specific request, but we will cover the entire theme.
Your product is no longer the starting point for your actions but becomes THE answer to the Internet user’s question. It will allow you to make you understand engines; your site will become the most relevant, the most remarkable on the subject. Your visitors, prospects, customers must become your primary concern. The semantic cocoon will only be used to answer their questions.