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In the context of SEO, “evergreen” refers to an asset with value that will not diminish quickly, or a strategy that is effective over time, not just in the near term.
In terms of online content, “evergreen” refers to any content that has long-lasting relevance, or which retains its value and appeal over a long period of time. Something that is evergreen may be seen as the opposite of something that is truly news — evergreen content is not designed to go viral or trend on social media; evergreen content covers topics of perennial interest in a way that remains as useful and accurate as the day it was published, even months and years later.
As it concerns SEO, “evergreen” means any SEO asset that will not quickly diminish in value over time, for instance by targeting keywords that people no longer search for, or providing an asset that quickly loses its ability to earn links.
Ultimately, showing up on Google’s SERP once doesn’t guarantee you will stay there, or even that you’ll show up there ever again. Earning a lot of links with an asset doesn’t prove that your site as a whole deserves to be seen as a trustworthy authority. Search is constantly evolving, and an evergreen content strategy is one that helps keep you relevant and ranking over time.
There are several elements that can influence how evergreen a piece of content will be, and that you can review to determine whether your content has a longer or shorter shelf life, including:
Some hypothetical examples of evergreen content include:
While it is conceivable that some of these topics could eventually lose relevance, they are unlikely to in the foreseeable future, and therefore would still be considered evergreen.
Content is a valuable asset, and therefore it is important that it can retain its value for as long as possible. This is especially important in the context of SEO because the value of an SEO asset can compound over time. Authority signals for a domain can accrue over time, and internal links can share authority signals between pages. Therefore, if one asset promoting authority loses its value, the authority of the rest of the website may suffer.
By contrast, while trending content can garner a lot of traffic quickly, it is often unsustainable. However, it is possible for content to cover something that is trendy, while also remaining evergreen, and that is often ideal.
Should All Content Be Evergreen?
Not necessarily; depending on your niche and the needs of your audience, you may have to provide some pages that are more topical, or which have an expiration date on their relevance. If a trend or news item is of particular relevance to your brand, or you know it is important to your audience, it may be expected of you to weigh in or provide clarity. In such a scenario, it certainly may be useful to choose a topic that is highly trending, even if its value is ephemeral.
For example, a clothing company that wants to boost traffic for a seasonal collection may benefit from content about breaking news or something happening in popular culture, if it is in some way topically relevant to the clothing line. However, existing evergreen content on the website could also certainly boost the efficacy of such short-term efforts.
The same clothing company may notice that there is consistent search volume around queries like “[celebrity name] fashion,” [celebrity name] style” and other similar terms that will vary depending upon the times and the trends. Though optimizing for a specific celebrity’s style based on current searches would likely prove to be a short-term strategy, optimizing for the intent behind the searches (celebrity fashion) could prove to be more evergreen. Further, the company could elect to publish content on fashion icons (Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O., etc.) that could help capture some of the intent behind these queries.
It is often absolutely possible to adjust existing content so that it is more evergreen. In fact, it is a good idea to regularly update your content in general. The following steps should be taken when updating old content:
Additionally, some topics that inherently have a limited time frame for relevance must be updated regularly to retain their value. Some examples of such content would include articles about minimum wage, top ten box office hits, and information about elections.
Content isn’t the only component of SEO that can be optimized to consider long-term value. As another valuable asset in an SEO campaign, marketers should also ideally utilize evergreen link building techniques. While many blackhat SEO strategies such as PBNs can sometimes offer fast results, those results are usually not sustainable, because they are building poor quality links. Said links are often from a limited number of disreputable websites that have little relevance to the target domain’s content. Additionally, a sudden, steep incline in backlinks may appear suspicious to the Google algorithm, if the site doesn’t show an ability to continue earning links, even at a modest pace, after one massive influx.
Characteristics of Evergreen Links
In order to be evergreen, backlinks should demonstrate the following qualities: