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Evergreen Content: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Increasing Your Web Traffic

By: Joyce Chou   January 02, 2018

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

  1. Evergreen Content: Definition & Basics
  2. Do I Need an Evergreen Content Strategy?
  3. What Is and Isn’t Evergreen Content
  4. How to Create Effective Evergreen Content
  5. Additional Tips and Tricks
  6. 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:

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

  • Wikipedia – general encyclopedia
  • IMDb – film and actor encyclopedia
  • WebMD – medical ailment encyclopedia
Topical Content Websites

  • TMZ – celebrity gossip and news
  • ScienceAlert – science breakthroughs and news
  • TechCrunch – technology breakthroughs and news

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:

These subjects generally focus on a certain time frame, giving them a limited shelf life.

Hand with watch and laptop

Unlike time-sensitive content, evergreen content does not expire.

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!

Big Tip
Some topics may be more “evergreen-friendly” than others. For instance, general articles about love and romance are more likely to stand the tests of time than articles about technology, given the industry’s rapid changes.

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.

Common Types

Evergreen content often appears in the following forms:

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.

Laptop with data and analytics on screen

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of tailoring web content so that it is displayed as a top result on search engine results pages.

Quality

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:

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

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.

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:

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.

Big Tip
Targeting an evergreen keyword or topic with high search volume can take months, or even years to succeed. Your content will need to be more comprehensive and useful than all of your other competitors — which could require heavy investment depending on the keyword — and you’ll need to employ a link building strategy in order to compete.

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:

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.

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:

Tablet with social media share buttons

Social media is a powerful tool for sharing your evergreen content with a large audience.

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.

Think timelessness

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.

Big Tip
Regular updates can do wonders for your web traffic. Check out Benjamin Brandall’s case study of how updating an evergreen post increased its pageviews by 486%.

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.

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