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If you’re involved with SEO and content marketing, you’ve probably heard the phrase “evergreen” content” and been told that your site needs to have it.
So, what is evergreen content, and why is it important for SEO?
Let’s dive in.
What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content can be defined as content that doesn’t have an expiration date. It stays fresh, useful, and relevant no matter when someone reads it, with minimal to no updates. For content to be considered evergreen, it should maintain relevance regardless of its publication date. Since it is not time-sensitive, it continues to rank for important keywords and drive traffic long after it is first published.
So why is it called evergreen?
Just as the evergreen tree retains its leaves throughout the seasons, evergreen content is considered sustainable and lasting. It revolves around a topic that is always relevant to readers, regardless of the current news cycle or season. As a result, evergreen content retains its value over the long-term.
What evergreen content is not:
Content that is not evergreen quickly becomes outdated and irrelevant. Most of the content published by the news media is not evergreen content. For example, a story on the 2020 US Presidential Election, however well written and memorable, became obsolete as soon as the election concluded.
Content that is seasonal focuses on holidays or on repeating events is not evergreen, as interest will increase and decrease over time, depending on the time of the year. The same applies with reports and statistics, which become outdated as time passes and more data becomes available.
Fashion, politics, technology or TV shows, and pop culture are topics that are difficult to turn into evergreen content.
Evergreen content does not include:
- News articles
- Statistics or numerical reports that are likely to go out of date
- Articles about a specific holiday or season
- Content-focused on a current trend or pop culture fad
- Trend-based content
Common evergreen formats
Some of the more common evergreen formats include:
- How-to content
- Product Reviews
- (Some) videos
Writing in these formats does not automatically make your piece evergreen, but they’re easier to turn into evergreen content than others.
Evergreen content topics
Most cooking recipes are a good example of evergreen content topics, and likely the reason the Cooking section of the NYT was able to launch their own subscription service with great success. People will always search for a good recipe for pasta all’Amatriciana, regardless of the season. On the other hand, a Thanksgiving recipe isn’t considered evergreen content, as it only maintains its relevance during the Thanksgiving season.
Other evergreen content topics often include healthcare, wellness, fitness, parenting, careers, love, and finance.
It’s important to address evergreen topics that are relevant to your business. If you promote travel, relevant evergreen topics might include “How to find unique accommodation anywhere in the world” or “How to travel Europe by train.”
Here are some more specific examples of what would be considered evergreen articles:
- 10 ways to travel the world on a budget
- Top tips to overcome writer’s block
- How to quit your job and start freelancing
- Step by step guide to writing a book
- How to write a short business plan
- Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- Technical SEO Glossary
Since these topics will continue to be relevant into the foreseeable future, they are all considered examples of evergreen content.
Why is evergreen content important?
Evergreen content, which remains in demand regardless of when it’s read, has many advantages including:
1. Workload efficiency
From a content management point of view, evergreen content can be reused and repurposed in the future, with minimal updates. The more you can use the content you create, the more valuable it becomes.
2. Creates authority
Since evergreen content has no expiration date, it maintains your expertise and authority on a topic over a long period of time. Furthermore, high-quality content on topics related to your area of expertise will help you establish your authority and develop trust with your audience.
3. Drives regular organic traffic
If the evergreen topic has a high monthly search volume and the corresponding article provides relevant and valuable information, you’ll get a steady source of traffic to your website long after the content has been published.
4. Achieves high search engine rankings
Google doesn’t rank outdated content when responding to search queries. Since evergreen content is timeless, it tends to rank higher than other types of content.
5. Builds backlinks and reduces website bounce rate
Quality evergreen content not only increases the chance of websites linking back to your content, but it also keeps readers on your website longer, thus telling search engines your content is valuable.
Evergreen SEO: How to do keyword research
Evergreen content is one the pillars of any successful SEO strategy. Website owners would do well to strike a balance between producing evergreen content that provides a long-term steady source of traffic and taking advantage of short-term trends and fresh keywords with explosive search volume.
Since evergreen content becomes even more powerful when combined with SEO techniques, site owners who focus on site-relevant topics with consistent search traffic potential can easily dominate their niche and massively increase their readership.
How to leverage evergreen content in your editorial strategy? The first step is to find the topics and keywords that are best suited for your niche.
Start by brainstorming keyword ideas. Think about topics that are related to your business objectives and that are informational and not seasonal. Then, use the following criteria to narrow down your keywords:
- High search volume
- Stable or upward search trend
Consistent, informational search intent
1. Choose keywords with a high search volume
Evergreen content is costly to produce. It requires significant resources in research and writing time that must be justified by targeting a keyword that can potentially deliver a high amount of organic traffic.
To do that, you need to use a tool that can provide you with the search estimates for each keyword. You can use Ahrefs, or if you want a free alternative, you can use Google Trends or Keywords Everywhere.
For example, for the “what is meditation” keyword, here’s the result from Keywords Everywhere:
You’d have to decide, based on your experience, what constitutes an appropriate high search volume for your content.
2. Look for keywords with a stable or upward search trend
Even if your keyword has a high search volume, you need to look at the big picture to see how that search volume is evolving over time. If it’s trending downwards, even if you are able to position your content in the top positions of the SERP, you will get less and less traffic over time. It’s not a good investment of your time and resources to produce content for such a keyword.
When looking at Google Trends for the keyword “what is meditation”, we see that it has a stable search trend. People tend to search for that keyword at any point in time, independent of seasons or current events. This makes it a good candidate for an evergreen content piece.
If we look at keyword variations from the same theme, we can see different trends. For example, if we wanted to target the keyword “meditation tips”, we can see that it has a downward trend:
From the outset, it might look like a solid evergreen content candidate with a healthy search volume, but the trend tells us that the return we’ll get in organic traffic will only diminish with time, so it’s probably not worth the effort.
Consider this instead:
The keyword “mindfulness for kids” not only has a search pattern that is free from seasonal influence, but it has an upward trend which tells us that getting a content piece in the top search results will generate more and more traffic each year.
3. Only select keywords with consistent, informational search intent
The last thing you need to consider is the search intent behind a keyword. To do so, start by analyzing the search results for the keyword you’re evaluating.
Check to see if the top results are:
- Not related to current events or seasonal content
- Stable (with a specialized tool, you’d be able to see how much traffic the pages in the SERP are getting. High CTR implies a stable SERP).
How to promote evergreen content
1. Promote on social media
When your content is first published, you’ll likely share it on all your social media platforms. But since your evergreen content is likely to remain fresh, there’s no reason you shouldn’t share it again months and even years after it has been published. If it remains relevant, it’ll still engage and generate reactions from your audience in the future.
You can do more than just recycle old content, too. You can also repurpose specific parts of your evergreen content by reusing ideas from that content in various formats. You can adapt your evergreen content to produce:
- Ebooks and reports
- Presentations and slide decks
- Podcast episodes
The repurposed content can be used to feed other content channels or create lead magnets, and can be linked back to your evergreen content. But remember that the content probably can’t be used as-is. You need to put some extra effort to adapt the content to the new format.
2. Republish as new
You can also republish evergreen content. To do so, find evergreen content on your website that hasn’t been updated in a while, and update the article content accordingly. Then, before publishing the newly updated article, amend the publish date.
The post will now be at the top of your blog feed and archives, improving the discovery of your evergreen content in navigation and internal search.
3. Search engine and social media advertising
If your content has a transactional objective with a call to action and you have the budget, you can also take advantage of social media advertising to boost traffic to your evergreen content.
The recommended approach is to find content that already has a high engagement rate on social media. Then create a custom audience (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have audience targeting options) that will likely interact with that content.
4. Build links
Links are essential for evergreen rankings because pages with fewer links are easier to outrank. No matter how often you update a page, if it only has three backlinks, it won’t be hard for a competitor to outrank you.
Content governance on evergreen topics
No matter how timeless and relevant your evergreen content, at some point, you’ll likely have to revisit it for an update. Evergreen content should be updated 1-2 times per year. Critical and top-performing content should be revisited more frequently, on a per quarter or per month basis.
To identify the evergreen content worth regularly updating on your site, use a web analytics tool and a SEO audit tool to identify all content that:
- Has a steady flow of visitors.
- Maintains high ranking for certain keywords.
Once you have a list of your evergreen content, you should establish a process to audit these content pieces periodically. You should look for:
- Changes or new developments regarding the article topic
- Examples or statistics that need to be updated
- What no longer applies or is outdated
- Invalid internal and external links, as well as any new linking opportunities
- CTA improvement opportunities
- Opportunities to improve SEO by adding related keyword terms into meta-data and headers
- Any other opportunities to improve the overall quality of the article
Remember, you don’t have to change or update evergreen content as often as you do topical content. But, when your content’s evergreen rank drops in the SERPs, it’s worth looking at the content and figuring out why it’s no longer relevant in the eyes of Google.
Tips for writing evergreen content
It’s not enough that your evergreen content remains relevant and fresh years after it has been published. It also has to be memorable and high-
quality in order to achieve and maintain a high ranking position in the SERPs.
Focus on content quality first, but ask yourself these questions as well:
Is it the most complete article on the topic?
In-depth, long-form articles tend to perform well in search results. Your evergreen content should aim to be the definitive resource for the topic you’re targeting, so be thorough and complete. Don’t leave anything on the table. Your content should demonstrate your authority in the field.
Is it accessible to beginners?
Avoid overly complex or specialized language and jargon. Your writing should be clear, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go deep inside a topic. The idea is that someone without expertise should be able to read and understand your article. Experts, after all, won’t go looking for help.
Is the topic narrow enough?
Choosing a specific topic will give the writer a needed focus to deliver interesting content. It’ll also likely have less competition.
Your evergreen content can become your cornerstone content. You can grow your site around that cornerstone content in a hierarchical way that is easily understood by both search engines and users.
Drives search traffic from core keywords
The main benefit, of course, is the steady flow of traffic and high-rankings you can achieve in your core keywords. You can dominate the keywords more closely linked to your business by developing evergreen content that answers informational queries.
Ultimately, the best content marketing strategy relies on a mix of both topical articles and long-lasting evergreen posts. But, while both types of content have value, evergreen content plays a unique role in developing authority and trust.
By creating content that remains fresh and relevant long after it has been published, you can dramatically increase your content’s potential to bring traffic to your site. Furthermore, by finding the topics and keywords best suited to this type of content, you can leverage SEO to your benefit.