Comment on SEO Silo Theme by Jeffrey Smith.

SEO Silo Structure David:

You’ve mentioned “If the developers of the SEO Design Framework read this, feel free to comment and correct anything I got wrong” so, please publish this comment as our response.

As a competitor (and I love you for that), we genuinely appreciate any legitimate feedback about our products as this ultimately allows us to improve them.

However, after reading this suggestive “review” of our framework, it was obvious that you’ve never actually tried the product (which defeats the entire purpose of a review” and only assessed the sales site.

I can understand and allow you to represent your own brand any way you like, but taking pot shots at a product that you clearly haven’t tried and positioning it as a review is simply poor taste.

Aside from the fact that you obviously have your own “competing” product to sell and wanted to position this as a review. A true “review” typically implies that you’ve actually used the product (not merely speculating on its features).

While this was clearly (or unintentionally) a promotional tactic using the old problem /agitate / solution modality with your product as the obvious solution, in all objectivity I’d like to set the record straight.

To address your point about Google Page speed and insights, we have traffic to our other properties, so SEO was not part of our soft launch strategy.

Our purpose was to erect the sales site strictly as a way to educate our userbase on the product and SEO was not a primary concern. It does not imply it is not a concern, simply not part of the launch strategy… When we do start targeted keywords in the SERPs, trust me you’ll know it.

However, the page in question had a number of videos and was rather large 1.8 MB and some of the video scripts were render blocking the CSS which resulted in a low page score for page insights. We have eliminated many of those scripts (as they included a slider and media players)which were largely responsible.

Nonetheless, with over 200 ranking signals obsessing on a few does not a review make. The site still loads on average between 2.5 – 3.5 seconds scoring 40-50% faster than all sites online (without optimizing the scripts).

Since that time, we’re removed a number of scripts and you are welcome to re-run the test (if you like) if you feel that somehow it will validate your opinions on ranking factors.

Even on your own blog you clearly stated this about pagespeed. “From 12 months ago this Matt Cutts YouTube video discuses pagespeed, confirms it’s a small ranking factor (12 months ago) and they MIGHT in the future incorporate pagespeed more.“


Yet, you used that as the very basis for your “review”.
Search engines take over 200 ranking signals into account when assigning relevance scores for rankings. To speculate that those two metrics alone (pagespeed and pagerank sculpting) are the definitive prime directive of Google’s algorithm is just that “speculation”.

Aside from the negative sentiment and suggestive tone of your “opinions” on ranking factors aside, I believe something was lost in translation.

While we are all entitled to our opinions about SEO and which strategies yield results and which do not, the measure of true SEO is rankings (not opinions).

So, I suggest we apply the same public scrutiny to your own website (which is clearly your product) I prefer to use a more primary metric to draw conclusions “rankings” which is after all what SEO is all about.

Hence, I have taken the liberty of running your “optimized websites rankings” vs. the SEO Design Framework’s (so called not an SEO theme’s rankings) and here is what we found.

The phrases your site is clearly optimized for “such as SEO Theme, WordPress SEO Theme, etc) we found the following (you are nowhere near the top 10, in fact in the 100+ category for the keyword WordPress SEO.

We also ran our “so called unoptimized site” and ran that for our phrases too – and we were in the top 10 for WordPress SEO Theme, SEO Theme, and in the 40’s for WordPress SEO (not bad for a new site with a few dozen backlinks).

So, I find it hard to consider your opinion “expert”, but, I digress. In either case, I am happy to clear up any confusion about our products and would like address your points.

When you make reference to the “usual SEO mistakes and terrible SEO” you discovered on our sales site and made two references to pagespeed and pagerank sculpting preference (as the only two metrics for your post), I would encourage you to assess your own on page SEO using RANKINGS before dissecting or speculating about others.

So, to address your so-called “SEO assessment”, put simply, the premise of taking ONE metric (or rather two page speed and nofollow) and basing an entire argument on whether or whether not that metric is prominent (out of hundreds of signals Google uses to rank a site) is irrelevant.

Page speed can be fixed

Also, to argue over which deprecated metric “Pagerank and Pagerank Sculpting” works or does not work is also irrelevant. So, whether or not a link is nofollowed by choice is hardly definitive.

About the more concrete points gleaned from your “review”…

1) About the silo builder you said “From the video it requires a lot of manual effort to build a silo links structure”

This is simply not true.You can build a silo in less than 1 minute, no coding or modifying files. Just add the silo term > add categories > add posts > save changes and then you can implement the silo navigation through shortcodes or the SDF silo widget.

For the dynamic silo linking you can implement shortcodes in contextual areas with or without excerpts, use the SDF Silo Widget (which automatically creates the internal linking of the silos, categories and supporting articles/posts).

2) Also, you made a point about us forcing the user to change their permalinks.

Siloing will work regardless of permalink structure, however, the fact that we suggest using custom permalinks vs. query based is merely to include those shingles in the URL. However, it is not required.

3) You Said “it’s the equivalent of manually creating WordPress Text Widgets with the links you want on a sidebar”. Once again not true.

BTW Stallion Responsive has multiple ways to silo links, looks like the SEO Design Framework has one (basically an editable category widget).


The SEO Design Framework does all the internal linking of parent child relationships and requires you to do nothing more than (a) use the widget or (b) shortcode to implement the silo navigation. We’ve even included the silos in a custom navigation option (which you can implement on any page or post) to override the typical default top navigation.

So, sorry to rain on your parade here David, but, your assumptions and looking from the outside in were mere speculation at best.

In reference to taxonomy, the silo builder creates a new page, subpage, category and supporting article taxonomy, there is no need to rewrite anything, nor are we suggesting that.

In addition you can also use the deeplink juggernaut from SEO Ultimate to Silo within categories if you do not wish to use the framework. So to clarify, there are a number of ways to silo within the framework for site architecture.

So, siloing is a wrap.

3) You Said “On second thoughts I don’t think they have a display widget feature. If not that’s not a silo SEO link structure.”

Once again, FALSE. We do have display widget functionality inside the SEO Design Framework (which you would have known if you used it). For those unfamiliar with the terminology, it simply means you have the ability to control widget behavior and either show a widget on specific pages or hide a widget on specific pages (based on your preference).

Another kicker we coded was, if you have a silo widget present, it only displays on the pages that are in the silo, so, ordinary pages outside the silo do not have navigation from the silo displayed.

In closing, before you do any more reviews only to promote your obvious self aggrandized products, be a gem and actually try them first okay?

I believe the adage is, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. So, just be mindful about the same scrutiny of your own products (which I am unable to locate in search results). So, rather than keyword sniping the phrase “reviews” for competitors names get in the top 3 for your main keywords instead.

All the best,

Jeffrey Smith