Evergreen content is a critical part of content marketing. Here, we’ll teach you what it is and what you can do to make yours more effective.
Table of Contents
- Evergreen Content: Definition & Basics
- Do I Need an Evergreen Content Strategy?
- What Is and Isn’t Evergreen Content
- How to Create Effective Evergreen Content
- Additional Tips and Tricks
- Final Takeaways
1. Evergreen Content: Definition & Basics
If you’re in web marketing, you’ve probably heard this before:
Strong content marketing strategies use evergreen content.
But you may be wondering,
What exactly is evergreen content?
Just as its namesake suggests, evergreen content is any content that remains relevant and interesting to readers, regardless of time.
Take the following articles for example:
Compare these to:
- Best Holiday Cookies 2017: 14 Delicious Recipes to Make for Santa
- 5 Trendy Dental Fads That Are Wreaking Havoc on Your Teeth
- Google confirms mid-December search ranking algorithm updates
See how any reader might visit the latter pages only at the time of their publication or at a certain time of the year? Meanwhile, the pages about burgers, brushing your teeth, and search marketing may come in handy any time from January to December, year after year.
This distinction is ultimately what makes certain content “evergreen.”
While topical or time-sensitive content loses relevance over time, evergreen content is always “fresh” and draws in new readers for months, or even years, after the original publication date.
2. Do I Need an Evergreen Content Strategy?
Evergreen content provides websites with a reliable means of generating traffic over time.
Because search engines use a complex algorithm that factors in webpage relevance, dated or expired content is less likely to appear first on a search engine results page (SERP). Evergreen content, on the other hand, is the opposite.
While time-sensitive content quickly fades away in the internet world, evergreen content remains at the forefront. As a result, businesses incorporate it into their marketing strategies knowing that it will produce sustainable results.
However, it’s important to note that a website does not have to produce only evergreen content to succeed. Time-sensitive content also has its own value in generating web traffic, especially by capitalizing on current trends.
3. What Is and Isn’t Evergreen Content
Still confused about what content counts as evergreen? Consider some leading evergreen and topical content websites, and what they’re known for:
|Evergreen Content Websites||Topical Content Websites|
As encyclopedic resources crucial to everyday fact-checking, the evergreen sites above won’t go out of style anytime soon. By contrast, the topical websites listed produce articles that are relevant for only a limited amount of time. Evergreen content thus does not include:
- Breaking and current news
- Seasonal and holiday topics
- Current trends in fashion and culture
- Statistic-heavy articles
These subjects generally focus on a certain time frame, giving them a limited shelf life.
Take a look at the following examples. Can you identify which content would be considered evergreen?
|“10 Simple and Healthy Avocado Recipes”||vs.||“Avocado Prices Hit New Record in May”|
|An article about the 2016 U.S. presidential election’s voter turnout rates||vs.||Wikipedia’s page about presidential elections|
|“A Field Guide to Nature Photography”||vs.||“2017 Winners of the National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest”|
If you guessed the avocado recipes, Wikipedia’s presidential elections page, and the nature photography guide, you nailed it!
Of course, the deciding factor about whether an article is evergreen depends on the piece’s angle, as the above examples demonstrate. Avocado recipes will remain relevant so long as avocados exist and are eaten, but a news article about a rise in avocado prices will quickly become obsolete. Likewise, a general guide about nature photography and a page about presidential elections will outlast content that is specific to one year.
It’s also possible that some topics can’t be evergreen — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Writing about trending topics can reel in a broader audience and spark ideas for future content. It’s all about finding the right balance between the two.
Evergreen content often appears in the following forms:
- Tutorials and instructions – This includes the ever popular “How to…” guides about topics that users will search for any time of the year. For as long as readers need to learn how to do something, this type of content, like WikiHow’s “How to Get a Job,” will remain evergreen.
- Definitions, histories, and overviews – Explanatory content is timeless, as definitions generally never change — and it is precisely because of this that Wikipedia shines on the evergreen leaderboard. Product reviews also fall into this category, although a word of caution: brands that frequently release new models do not make for good evergreen products to review.
- FAQs – With no shortage of industry or product newbies in sight, FAQs like Microsoft’s or IKEA’s make a worthwhile and sustainable evergreen tactic.
- Lists – This includes tips. Like FAQs, resource lists and tips draw heavy web traffic from newbies, especially because they are easy to read. Check out Lifehacker’s Top 10 Tricks for Shopping at Amazon for a good example of a list that maintains year-round relevance.
Keep in mind that structuring a page in one of these ways does not necessarily mean it will be evergreen. For instance, an article titled “10 Predictions for the 2018 Golden Globes” does not become evergreen by virtue of being a list. After all, the article is clearly only relevant for 2018. By contrast, a page titled “The Difference Between the Golden Globes and Oscars” is not limited to a particular time frame.
With that in mind, it is ultimately a page’s substance that determines whether or not it is evergreen.
4. How to Create Effective Evergreen Content
Strong and effective evergreen content is well optimized for search engines and generates steady web traffic. To achieve this means focusing on content quality and visibility.
According to Google, page quality refers to how well webpages achieve their purpose. You may be wondering, “Purpose? What purpose?” Google goes on to define this as how a page helps users. In other words, webpages must clearly benefit readers. This can be broken down into three main parts:
- Comprehensiveness and Depth – Detailed and informative content builds trust with consumers and helps users achieve their goals. After all, search engines want to give users the best results possible, and shallow, lackluster information will not fulfill user needs.
- Interactivity – Incorporating interactive elements like quizzes, infographics, and comparison images into your content helps to increase user engagement and can even teach you about your visitors. It can also make pages more shareable.
- User Experience – This refers to how a page facilitates reader usability, e.g., how readable it is, whether the page layout is easily navigable. Even if a webpage is rich with information, a poor user experience that turns visitors away reflects poor quality.
Maximizing the quality of your content will ultimately make it more appealing and decrease webpage bounce rates, the percentage of visitors who leave a site after viewing only a single page.
Visibility is a metric for how visible a webpage is in organic search results. With 64% of web traffic coming from organic search results, visibility makes or breaks how easily discoverable a website is.
- Number and Quality of Backlinks – The more backlinks (links directed towards a page) a website has, the more relevant a search engine like Google will consider it. But these can’t be any ole backlink — more important than quantity, backlink quality factors into search rankings. This means it’s important to get referring links from high domain authority websites, or websites that are reputable and well established.
- Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions – These two types of “meta tags” tell both search engines and users what your webpages are about. Since meta tags have limited word counts, they should be clear, direct, and include a page’s target keywords. Although meta information does not directly determine a page’s position on SERPs, it is critical to enticing users to click on your website.
- Technical SEO Considerations – You can have the best content in the world, but if you screw up robots meta directives like noindex, nofollow, canonicals, or your robots.txt file, nobody will ever see your website. Furthermore, if your website is poorly built, slow, and not mobile-friendly, Google will also reduce your visibility because they don’t want to reward websites that have a poor user experience. And for good reason: according to Google, 53% of mobile sites visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.
When it comes to creating evergreen content with both high quality and high visibility, there are three must-do’s: conducting keyword research, satisfying user intent, and becoming a link magnet.
Step 1: Conduct keyword research
Before creating anything, first define your content’s purpose and target audience by doing keyword research. Keyword research provides insight on the most popular search queries to give content creators an idea of how to approach a topic and who to target.
Check out the following tools for conducting keyword research:
- Answer The Public – Pulling data from Google and Bing’s auto suggest results, Answer The Public sheds light on search query data by revealing the most common phrases and questions related to a target keyword.
- BuzzSumo – One way of gauging a topic’s popularity is by analyzing its social performance. BuzzSumo analyzes target keywords and reveals shares across Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Keyworddit – As “the front page of the Internet,” Reddit garners over 1.3 million unique visitors a month. Keyworddit makes use of its popularity by analyzing the keywords popular in each subreddit.
- SEMrush – SEMrush provides comprehensive data and analytics about keywords, including their monthly search volume, related keywords, and cost-per-click.
Needless to say, it’s challenging to find a unique topic that hasn’t already been written about. With that in mind, consider looking into long-tail keywords. These topics tend to be more niche, and though they receive less search traffic, they also have less competition.
Step 2: Satisfy user intent
Keyword-based strategies are not the only key to SEO. As mentioned above, content quality includes usability, making user experience optimization critical to getting your content to the top positions of Google SERPs.
After all, webpages are made for people, not search engines. With that in mind, it is crucial to understand user intent, or what users want or expect out of your website. The better structured a website, the more easily users can navigate it.
Broadly speaking, there are three types of user intent:
- Navigational – Users want to locate a specific website. For instance, instead of entering a website URL into a browser’s navigation bar, users search for “youtube.”
- Informational – Users want information about a topic or an answer to a question. Fact checking is a common example of an informational query.
- Transactional – Users want to complete a transaction, whether it’s buying a product or booking a hotel. This definition of “transaction” does not only mean monetary purchases; transactions also include creating a Yahoo account and signing up for a free trial of Adobe Photoshop.
Understanding user intent can better shape your content in catering to user needs. Structuring and stylizing content accordingly enhances user experience, making for better quality.
Step 3: Attract links and links and more links
A webpage could achieve its purpose and yet still be invisible in the internet world. This is where links come in.
Search engines consider the number and quality of links to a website as indicators of its value and credibility. More quality links reflect positively on webpages, landing them in higher positions on SERPs. Consequently, to become a link magnet is to establish greater visibility.
There are many nuances when it comes to the science of attracting links, but simply put, if you want to reach link magnet status, you must:
- Create fresh, original evergreen content. Remember, your content should clearly and directly benefit users. It should also be well structured and easily navigable to create a positive user experience. Check out our piece on content creation myths for more insight on taking your content to the next level.
- Identify good link partners. These are sites that might link to yours based on subject relevance. Look for partners that link to your competition, or even consider linking to your competition, as Yahoo did. Strong link partnerships help to increase content exposure as well as the chances of receiving more links.
- Avoid link farms. Link farms are clusters of websites that link to every other site within the cluster in spite of having unrelated content. This is a form of spam by which site owners try to enhance a page’s visibility. As to be expected, search engines penalize websites that partake in link farm practices.
- Promote your content. Share your work through social media and email, or by trying advanced methods to reach a larger audience. For instance, contact industry publications that may circulate your work among their own readers, and incorporate social media share buttons so that your work can easily be retweeted and reposted. The more users have access to your quality work, the more likely one (or some) will decide to link it.
5. Additional Tips and Tricks
Besides ramping up content quality and visibility, here are a few additional strategies for enhancing your website’s evergreen content strategy.
Keep it simple
Evergreen content commonly appears as guides, definitions, and FAQs, making it necessary to use layman’s terms. After all, why would an expert in a topic search for information about something they’re already familiar with?
Avoid using complicated terminology and jargon. Using everyday language will make your writing accessible to a wider audience, which will in turn drive more traffic and greater brand awareness. To find out the readability of your content, try using WebpageFX’s Readability Test Tool.
Creating evergreen content means creating with the aim of perpetual relevance. Sound tricky? You can generally judge whether a topic or angle is “timeless” by asking, “Will this information still be helpful six months from now? A year?”
There is no specific length of time that evergreen pages are supposed to last for — but certainly longer than the average trending article’s 2.6-day lifespan.
Play it safe by going easy on pop culture references and trends, which easily set time parameters around your piece. However, this does not mean that evergreen pages can be left alone for a decade after publication — the occasional update is still necessary to prevent a post’s staleness and to ensure relevance.
Mix it up with multimedia formats
Just because content is evergreen doesn’t mean it’s engaging. To boost quality, and thus draw in more readers, think outside of the textbox and incorporate more multimedia. Solid blocks of text are an eyesore and do little to visually engage consumers.
Consider including images, videos, infographics, quizzes, and other mediums to keep readers engaged and wanting to come back for more. Indeed, the Content Marketing Institute reports that 81% of users finds interactive content more attention-grabbing than static content.
Leave your content undated
This last one is optional — actually, debatable. Some marketers support removing the date from evergreen web content because users may otherwise use it to negatively judge a website. One case study describes a sudden nosedive in web traffic once dates appeared in their SERPs. Moreover, leaving content undated allows marketers to repurpose old work, extending their lifespan for sharing on social media.
Conversely, others suggest that removing a post’s date is duplicitous and makes users skeptical of a webpage. Instead, date-keeper proponents suggest noting updates when appropriate, e.g., “Note: This article has been updated as of December 2017.”
Ultimately, the decision to include or exclude an article’s date is a business decision that depends on the nature of the topic and the target audience.
6. Final Takeaways
Evergreen content is crucial for generating sustainable web traffic and building brand awareness in the long run. However, although it’s meant to be long-lasting, it still requires regular maintenance and upkeep. Review and edit your evergreen pages from time to time to keep them fresh and well optimized.
Of course, while top-notch evergreen content is essential to digital marketing, it’s not all that matters. Strong web marketing strategies are often well-rounded and make the most of both topical and evergreen content.
Need some help creating strong evergreen content for your website? Consider getting started with one of our expert writers.