Evergreen content, perhaps you’ve seen this phrase being used on your favorite content marketing site recently and found yourself wondering, “huh?”
Or maybe you think you’ve got the idea and are just looking for some detail so you can start putting your older content back to work, driving up your visitor count and improving your SEO.
Either way, this post is for you.
Let’s start with a brief intro, in case you’re in that first camp and don’t have a handle on the concept of evergreen content yet.
The phrase "evergreen content" refers to content that never needs to be updated, or rather that needs only small tweaks to stay relevant and up-to-date. The name is borrowed from evergreen trees, a name synonymous with long lasting freshness and perpetual life.
Evergreen content is content you post to boost your sites SEO, then you leave it there so it can continue working it’s magic and delighting your visitors for weeks, months, even years to come. A short list of content that is decidedly NOT evergreen:
- Holiday contests
- Political news
- Fashion trends
- Online fads or memes
- Really, anything with an automatic expiration date
OK, so what IS evergreen content?
Any content that’s relevant to your audience now, tomorrow, and into the future:
- How-to articles
- Top 10 lists
- Posts that start, “x Best Ways to…”
So it’s content that solves a problem for your readers, in a format that will stay meaningful. It’s content that won’t expire with tomorrow’s news cycle. It’s anything you create that connects your audience to your industry in a meaningful way.
Okay. So now that we've established what evergreen content is and is not, how do we use this information?
Make evergreen content that works for your audience
Write in a style that works for your target audience, not just for experts in your field. You may have some of them visiting your site (kudos!); however, these folks know they’re experts and will understand if your blog post isn’t written directly for them. Instead, focus on the interested lay person and aim for content that helps them understand your field better.
Keep your topics narrow. Broad pieces tend to lose reader’s interest after the introduction. Once they see there won’t be much in the way of detail forthcoming, they’ll look for more useful content. Also remember your audience is coming to you for information that helps them solve a problem. So by keeping your focus narrow, you can provide more details on each specific problem area you address—making the content useful to more readers.
Spread the love when you can. Readers love when you link to other useful posts, and so do search engines. This is called a “Topic Cluster,” and we’ll go into more detail below. For now, know that if you have other content that relates to the topic being discussed in your evergreen piece, link to it. This shows your reader that your knowledge is broader than this one piece and goes a long way toward increasing their trust in you, your company, and your content.
Make it work for you, too
If you know a piece is going to be evergreen when you write it, there are a couple of things you can do right from the start to ensure the piece pulls its weight. First, keep the topic narrow. As discussed above, this not only helps you direct the content to helping readers with a specific problem, it also helps your SEO by continuing to pull in new readers. By working a long-tail keyword you want to rank for into the piece, you can up its SEO pull even farther.
Next, evergreen pieces are ideal to use for topic clusters. By linking together several pieces on your blog, and maybe even throwing in a pillar page or link for an ebook or other downloadable content, you’re showing Google (and other search engines, but let’s be honest about who dominates that sector) that your site is authoritative on that topic. And authority in a given topic area is a large part of their newest algorithm, meaning your evergreen pieces will continue to rise up the rankings long after you’ve moved on to writing about new topics.
Working to your SEO benefit is also the fact that evergreen pieces tend to have lower bounce rates. Because readers tend to find these pages via a search engine, they’re more likely to stick around and read the whole article, rather than just skimming the headline and leaving. This shows the search engine that the reader was happy with the content, further improving the page’s SEO juice.
Further miscellaneous benefits to evergreen content
If you're focused on making your content evergreen, you're automatically going to be generating articles that help your existing audience, drawing in new readers with helpful content, and improving SEO for your site. And, continuing to tend your evergreen content going forward has benefits, as well.
- A/B test your titles: You can tweak the title on a piece of content, setting up an A/B test to see which version creates the better draw for new readers. This knowledge will help you create new titles going forward as well.
- Keeps you updated: By making it a regular habit to go back to your old content and read through it, making small tweaks to keep it relevant, you’re also reminding yourself of all the content you have out there. Now when you need a piece to promote a new ebook, you can use evergreen content, rather than needing to write something new that might end up being redundant.
- Remix and reuse: Find a great piece you wrote last year about the best ways to XYZ? Maybe it’s perfect to turn into an infographic. Now you have something to add to your social media schedule. Or maybe you have a tutorial you can turn into a video to put up on YouTube? Don’t forget to share it to Facebook as well. Or maybe you just really like this piece and it’s been a constant draw for new clicks, so insert it into the regular cycle of social media posts to up that draw even further.
All that being said, don’t forget to mix it up
As awesome and powerful a tool as evergreen content is, don’t let your timely pieces fall to the wayside. Too much of a good thing isn’t any better than not enough. Timely pieces are a fantastic way to get people’s attention and attract them to your site. These are the flashy pieces that grab folks attention. It’s the link to evergreen stuff that keeps them reading.
Think of your evergreen content as a stalwart companion: it’s always there for you, working it’s SEO magic in the background. Just don’t forget to tend to its needs by updating and tweaking it every once in a while to keep it fresh, and it won’t let you down.