- Evergreen content is relevant for a long time and provides value to your audience long after you publish it.
- Trend-focused pieces, news articles and pop culture events are examples of timely content – the opposite of evergreen content.
- Evergreen content can get you higher search engine rankings and make up a large portion of your traffic.
- This article is for small business owners who want to improve their content marketing efforts by incorporating evergreen content into their strategy.
Sometimes, content has a shelf life. Regardless of how engaging and well written it is, it's only relevant for a short time. Evergreen content is the opposite. Long after these pieces are published, they continue to bring in viewers and provide value.
When you're planning content initiatives for your business, it's necessary to add evergreen content into the mix. Here's why evergreen content is important to your content marketing campaign and your audience far into the future.
What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content is content that stays fresh for a long period of time. With evergreen stories, you are creating search-optimized content that is not tied to current events or that moment in time. These are topics that will engage your audience and serve a purpose at any point in time. There is steady interest in these pieces and their traffic remains relatively even, whereas you may see a spike and then a drop in views with timely content – i.e., content that isn't evergreen.
Here's a real-world comparison as an example: If you were at the grocery store, evergreen content would be a nonperishable item, such as canned beans, that can be consumed years later with no issues. Trending or timely content is more like a gallon of whole milk – it's only good for a week or so.
Key takeaway: Evergreen content is material that provides value to your audience long after you have published it.
Examples of evergreen content
Evergreen content can come in many forms:
- How-to guides
- Buying guides
Evergreen content can also be adapted across various industries. As long as you have a clear idea of how you want this content to help your audience, you can create something long-lasting. Here are a few examples.
- How-to posts: These articles give readers guidance through a process.
- Guides: This type of content breaks down complicated topics or processes.
- "A Guide to YouTube"
- "The Ultimate Grammar Guide"
- "Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy"
- "Guide to Bitcoin Investing"
- Listicles: You can make a concept more accessible with a numbered list.
- "10 Ways to Cope With Stress"
- "7 Ways to Reduce Pollution"
- "6 Examples of Renewable Resources"
- "8 Small Dog Breeds"
- Questions and answers: These posts answer a key question.
- "When Is the Best Time to Buy a Car?"
- "What Should I Know Before Buying a House?"
- "Where Can I Buy Stocks Online?"
When you intend a piece to be evergreen content, you should avoid these types of stories:
- Trend-focused articles
- News articles
- Pop culture articles
- Statistic-based articles
- Product announcements
Adding a year ("Best Vacation Spots in 2021") or season ("Best Summertime Activities in New York") to the title can limit how far your content can stretch. While they might still attract viewers after they are published, they will not be as evergreen as pieces that aren't tied to a certain time period.
Key takeaway: You can create evergreen content in several formats and for many industries. The key is to ensure the content will be useful, interesting and relevant to your readers for a long time.
Why evergreen content is important
Evergreen content is the gift that keeps on giving. Search engine optimization company Ahrefs credited evergreen content with growing its own blog from 15,000 visitors a month to about 200,000.
Evergreen content is important because it can help you accomplish these tasks:
- Rank higher on search engines. With the right keywords and focus on timelessness, evergreen content has the potential to rank high on search engines. These pieces tend to be long and high-quality, which can push you to the top of search engine results pages.
- Drive traffic to your site. Because evergreen content can rank higher on search engines, it can send serious traffic to your website on a regular basis.
- Build your backlinks. Evergreen pieces are relevant for a long time, so they can generate backlinks, which is when other sites link to yours, over long periods. Backlinks give your website more credibility, and this helps you rank higher on search engines.
- Offer great value to your audience and company. Whether you are writing these pieces in-house or hiring a freelancer for them, evergreen articles can provide value to your audience and your business years after you have spent the time and money to produce them.
- Set your company apart as a thought leader. These pieces should be on topics that tie back to your business, which can position your brand as a leader in its industry. This is especially true if you rank on the first page of search results for the relevant keywords, which will give audiences confidence in your knowledge of that topic.
- Generate leads. Evergreen content brings more people to your website, which gives you more opportunities to attract and convert them.
- Promote it over and over again. Unlike content that is only relevant for a short time, your evergreen content can be promoted on your social media channels over and over and still appeal to new audiences.
- Do less work. If you successfully create evergreen content, you don't have to create as much new content, because it's already doing so much heavy lifting for you.
Key takeaway: Evergreen content has several benefits, such as driving traffic to your site and setting you apart as a thought leader in your space.
How to research and write evergreen content
Evergreen content revolves around keywords. So, before you can start writing evergreen pieces, you need to find out what terms are relevant to your business and can make an impact.
Follow these steps to find keywords:
1. Make a list of topics.
Start by thinking about what topics are relevant to your business and how they can help your audience. For example, if you are an insurance company, your list of topics may include these:
- Certificate of insurance
- Liability coverage
2. Use a keyword tool.
While the topics are important, they aren't content. Keywords will lead you to your evergreen content. To find what makes sense for you, use a keyword tool, such as Google Trends or Moz. You want to find terms that:
- Have high search volume. Search volume is the number of searches for a particular keyword over a period of time. If the term doesn't have a high search volume, then it's not likely that audiences will find it. At the same time, remember that you may have more competition for keywords with higher search volume. The ideal keywords have both high search volume and low competition.
- Trend well. If a keyword peaks and drops, then you know it's not suitable for evergreen content. You want to look for keywords that aren't declining in popularity. Instead, they will trend upward or remain consistent over time.
- Have consistent search intent. Look for search intent (the reason someone conducted a search) that doesn't change over time. For example, before 2020, a person may have typed "best face mask" into a search engine to find a beauty product. However, in the past year, they were likely looking for masks to wear outside their homes, as the pandemic made it necessary. Therefore, that keyword does not have consistent search intent.
Following those steps will help you build out your keywords. For the insurance company in the example above, the keyword results may look like this:
- Certificate of insurance
- "What is a certificate of insurance?"
- "How to get a certificate of insurance"
- Liability coverage
- "How much is liability coverage?"
- "What does liability insurance cover?"
- "Deductible vs. copay"
- "Deductible vs. coinsurance"
Once you have your keywords and know what stories you want to create, it's time to write your evergreen pieces. You should ensure the following:
- Your content ties into the keyword. It's hard to outsmart Google, so if you're aiming for traffic for the keyword "best practices for email list building," don't write about how to communicate with a potential customer over the phone. When someone reads this piece, they should find out exactly what they need to build their own email list. In other words, don't try to use a popular keyword to drive traffic to an unrelated piece you want to promote.
- Your content is well written. Well-written content tends to rank higher than sloppy content, so before you publish, pore over it to check for errors. Professional-looking content that shows attention to detail and writing quality helps your audience trust you.
- You sound credible. Fact-check your content. Double-check that your research is correct, and use language that makes you sound like an authority on the subject.
- You communicate clearly. Avoid jargon and overcomplicated explanations. Make it as clear as possible; your audience will respond to simple, concise content.
- You use sections and subsections to make it easier to read. While the goal is to get your audience to read the entire piece, the truth is that they may only scan it. Since this might be the case, you should make it easy for them to find the exact information they want by breaking up your content into clearly labeled sections.
- You avoid time-based specifics. Try to avoid using years or the words "today" or "yesterday." You don't want the content to appear outdated when someone reads it months or years from now.
Key takeaway: Your starting point is to find relevant, high-ranking keywords for your content. From there, if you focus on writing clear, well-written content that helps your audience, you'll be able to build evergreen pieces that engage them.
How to refresh evergreen content
You should regularly check to see if your evergreen content is still ranking well. Regardless of how much work you put into it or how good it is, it could fall in the rankings over time. If you see your articles' traffic slip, it may be time to refresh your evergreen content.
This doesn't mean you should completely rewrite your content. You want to add to whatever you already have. Google will be able to tell when you have updated your pieces, which can push you back up in rankings if you do it well.
Here are some ways to update your content:
1. Correct any outdated information.
While true evergreen content generally stays accurate as time goes on, sometimes things change. For example, if you published a piece about how to use Twitter a few years ago, it may be out of date because the social media channel has made updates, such as increasing the word count of tweets. While the general concepts and principles the article explains might still apply, you also want the details and numbers to be up to date.
2. Add new text.
Revisit your piece and consider what angles you may have missed on the first go-around. It might be quotes from experts or an entire section that you didn't include. In the example of "How to Use Twitter," maybe you can add a new section that describes how to become a verified user.
3. Check your links.
Are there any broken links in your text? Are the links the most relevant ones you could use? Can you find more credible sources to link to? Do an audit of your links to make sure everything still makes sense and adds value.
4. Add new media.
An easy way to breathe fresh life into your content is to add new media. For example, you could create an infographic that summarizes the information in a certain section, or embed a podcast that further explains the points in the article. You could also add videos or slideshows.
5. Make it interactive if possible.
Interactive elements such as polls and quizzes encourage your audience to stick around longer and maybe even share the piece. This will signal to Google that this is relevant content that needs to rank higher.
6. Double-check your grammar and spelling.
Even if you were thorough before publishing your piece the first time, it might still have spelling and grammar errors. Read the piece out loud or the sections in reverse order, which helps to pinpoint patterns and mistakes you may have missed.
Key takeaway: To ensure your evergreen content continues to rank highly in search engines, reevaluate it periodically for complete and up-to-date information and links, opportunities for new media and interactive elements, and spelling and grammar.