“Evergreen content” is a term that is regularly tossed around in the world of search engine optimization (SEO). In terms of botany, “evergreen” refers to a plant that has foliage and that stays green throughout all seasons. The same principle applies to evergreen content; you are attempting to create content that remains green, relevant, and useful over time.
Effective content marketing is vital to the success of your site — especially with the growing popularity of ad blocker usage — and being aware of the best practices for creating evergreen content that lasts goes hand in hand with overall content marketing goals.
1. Address Topics That Are Timeless
Whether your content is keyword-focused or linkable-focused, you want to ensure that the topics you are covering on your site are valuable and useful regardless of time.
Let’s say that you are a business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce site that sells prescription eyewear (glasses, contacts, sunglasses). While it makes sense to cover “The Best Glasses of 2021,” this content becomes outdated as soon as 2022 rolls around the corner — even if this topic drove an immense amount of traffic to your site in 2021.
While this kind of time-sensitive content is valuable, you should also aim to create topics that do not lose value over time, for example, topics like “A Guide to Glasses Repair and Maintenance,” or “Methods to Keep Your Glasses Clean.” Although they may need some revisions as new considerations/tips arise, they will remain useful and relevant as time goes on. They will also create unique opportunities to internally link to content on your site.
Note that it isn’t just the topic that makes something inherently evergreen — it also comes down to how you create your content and what you do to nurture it.
2. Focus on Style
The style in which you cover a topic is just as important as the topic; even simple phrasing can make a world of difference. For example, saying something such as “last year” or “lately” isn’t an evergreen phrasing. Instead, try phrasings such as “following 1995”, or from “(date) to (date).”
Similarly, you want to avoid too much speculation about the future — what may happen or what will happen. Analyzing trends isn’t inherently wrong, but you want to do so in a way that isn’t binding you to a fixed outcome. Merely analyzing and predicting future trends is not an evergreen way to go about this, but making predictions about how those trends will influence or change something will remain relevant as time goes on.
3. Assess, Revise, Repeat
Creating new content is great, but it may be useful to revisit older content on your site. As time goes on, even the most evergreen content needs to be reassessed and revised to comprehensively address the topic and remain competitive in the space it is meant to. “Content freshness” is one of the many Google ranking factors to consider since a new Google algorithm update indicates how they prioritize more recent search results. As a result, updating old content can help boost SEO traffic.
Keeping the same example from above, if you have a page covering “Important Insurance Considerations for People Who Need Glasses,” and a new law regarding insurance arises, it makes sense for you to go back and contextually cover this within your old article. Additionally, if you include statistics, laws/regulations, or other useful citations that have since become obsolete, it becomes inherently important to replace or to remove this information from your content entirely. As you assess and revise your content, it is important to go through and look for new internal link opportunities to new content, or old content that has been revised that now makes sense to mention contextually.
It may be helpful to create an ongoing revision calendar to help you remember to go back and look at what top-ranking results cover in the SERPs as opposed to your content. If you haven’t revisited your content in the past six months, you should.
4. Promote Your Content
Simply publishing your evergreen content on your site may not get you the results you expect, so it is important to promote your content on multiple platforms — this also applies to updated or refreshed content. Social media marketing is a great example of how to do this, as social media can effectively support SEO. Studies show that there are millions of social network users worldwide and that number is expected to continue growing as time goes on. By promoting your content on various social channels, you can help increase your viewership. This is important to consider when you revise or update your pages as well. Just because you update your pages, doesn’t necessarily mean that search engines automatically crawl your page after it is updated. But you can promote new content as it changes or is revised to get additional viewership and potential new backlinks. Below are some examples of popular social channels that numerous organizations use to promote their content — some notable examples are:
5. Leverage Your Evergreen Content
As you create new content, your evergreen content can get lost in the weeds over time. You should aim to leverage your evergreen content wherever possible. This can take many different forms — some methods include:
- Creating a “Top Posts” or “Important Information” pillar on your site: This space can be used to house all of the different information that remains relevant, useful, and actionable over time, and the information that you believe is important for your readers;
- Linking internally: Internal linking can help promote your product pages, but it can also bolster your overall authority. This doesn’t exclusively pertain to text, as you can also point internal links to your images. When you create good evergreen content, it is generally something that has extreme relevance within your niche and garners mentions across many other pages on your site. Your evergreen content can facilitate consistent internal links that both bolster and sustain the relevance, authority, and timeless value of that page;
- Building links: Similar to the example above, building links to your evergreen content can help highlight your content outside of just your site. It should be noted that although your information may be extremely relevant and evergreen in your space, this does not always automatically happen — there are numerous tactics used for effective link building, but it is always the case that links are earned, not given;
- Utilizing sidebars: Use sidebars on your blog page to feature evergreen content for readers that are viewing other content that exists on your blog;
- Sending out newsletters that contextually point to your evergreen content: This can help you re-promote important evergreen content that has been on your site for a longer period of time by reiterating its importance;
- Utilizing social media: As mentioned above, you can highlight your evergreen content by promoting it on all of your different social media channels. This is extremely important to do after you have revised and updated old content.
6. Cover the Basics and Tailor to Your Audience
Laying out foundational ground is important in creating evergreen content. This ultimately comes down to understanding your niche and tailoring it to your audience. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What information is holding your customers back from purchasing?
- What are common pain points felt in your space that you can address?
- What information is necessary for customers to keep up with changes or new trends in your space?
- What information does a new customer with no experience need to understand your product or service, shop with confidence, and move forward through the conversion funnel?
- What information do existing customers need to continue using your service, or purchasing your products?
These types of questions can help you determine the foundational information that deserves mention on your site, all while solidifying your branding. Covering important terms/considerations/definitions, providing insight into the history, addressing common pain points, creating how-to’s, offering buyers guides, and any other relevant foundational information you find in your research is quintessential evergreen content. It will help lay the groundwork for all of your other content while creating natural internal linking opportunities. This comes down to understanding your customers, training them in areas they need help, and continually searching for gaps in your content that need to be filled.
7. Perform Ongoing Research
There are always opportunities to create new, innovative, evergreen content for your site, and doing this effectively requires continual research. You can do this by staying up to date on industry news/trends/common pain points in your space, analyzing your competitors to find content gaps, and using tools like SEMrush to identify what searchers are looking for, and how they are doing so.
Additionally, creating evergreen content is not a one-and-done type of process; it requires continual research to make sure that the information that you provide remains relevant, authoritative, and up-to-date. This goes hand-in-hand with revisions as mentioned above.
Circling back to the botany metaphor used earlier, evergreen plants are green regardless of the season. Their structures enable them to thrive during off-seasons where most other types of plants cannot. This does not mean that the evergreen plants do not need maintenance and work — they do — and the same concept applies to evergreen content.
Yes, evergreen content is structurally built to last, but it will need intentional nurturing to continue to thrive as time goes on.