What is Evergreen Content and How to Create It
Content is what drives visitors to your website, no matter what line of work you’re in. Your content is what establishes a relationship between you and your visitors, and also what helps that relationship (and your website) grow: through content, you gain your visitors’ trust and establish credibility as a source of online information. It stands to reason, then, that your content’s quality is a major draw for new visitors and return visitors alike. And evergreen content is a matter of quality.
In this article, we will be discussing a kind of content which is not time-sensitive, and can therefore keep drawing your visitors for months, or even years: how to produce it, how to update it, and how to make it work for you. But let‘s begin at the beginning. Here‘s what we‘ll be talking about:
The clue is very much in the name: evergreen content is content that stays relevant for long periods of time. Web content does not just disappear after it’s published and accessed by early readers. Normally, it can still be found, but not all content retains relevance. News (especially the weather), time-limited special offers, fashion tips or things of that nature tend not to matter after a short while. Evergreen content, on the other hand, is not time-sensitive or seasonal.
Typically, you’d consider instructional articles, listicles, and product reviews evergreen. Home repair instructions and recipes are mostly obsolescence-proof, as are reviews of classical literature or film, for instance. Original content such as essays, stories, glossaries and such also tends to last for a very long time.
But it’s not all black and white, though. Say you write a how-to article, as we so often do, about a piece of software, and some time down the line the software stops being updated or is abandoned altogether? Or, you publish a list of 15 tips for admin area safety and then one of the methods becomes irrelevant due to changes in WordPress’s inner workings, or a product you have reviewed gets pulled off the shelves?
Still, you might get a good couple of years of traffic from it. This is what makes evergreen content evergreen.
Conversely, you can hardly call content evergreen if it tends to become irrelevant quickly. This is not to disparage non-evergreen content: after all, news is vital, but not evergreen.
The same goes for any current reports, seasonal trends in pop culture and fashion, basically anything which relates to situations or data which change quickly.
There are a few tricks which you can use to turn some of your non-evergreen content a little evergreener, though, and we will go into those in a moment. But first, let us take a while to discuss why evergreen content is good for your website.
In the simplest of terms, evergreen content lasts longer: it gives your readers more value over time. This means that there is more of a chance of search engine users looking it up.
An article which retains value over time also has more backlink potential, especially in the long run, a lower bounce rate, and all that generally helps your website gain authority.
While frequently updated blogs and other websites have a slight advantage over old content, old content can still rank highly on SERPs. What this means is that, if a piece of content is relevant to search engine users‘ interests, it can keep your blog in the results pages for a long time. This means more visitors, and therefore more traffic, and it doesn‘t need frequent updates to work.
Furthermore, you can very easily use an evergreen post to link to other, more time-sensitive posts in case the content allows for it, again leading to more readers getting to see your latest content.
Now we get to the meat of the issue, though we have touched upon it before. The first thing to think about is the topic.
Evergreen content tends to approach obsolescence-proof topics. This is why instructional articles and tutorials tend towards it – how likely is the best way to patch a bicycle tyre to change over time? The same goes for product reviews: so long as it‘s on the market, people will want to read up on it.
Another type of articles which tend to do well for a long period of time are listicles – list articles – and one of the reasons for it is that they stick to the basics. The more information you hand out, the more likely is it that a piece of it will go out of date. This is also why beginners‘ guides tend towards the evergreen: the fundamentals have a longer life.
Along the same lines, evergreen articles tend to avoid overcomplicated or technical language. You can and should use an evergreen article to link to other resources on your website (or other websites), but with evergreen content you need to cast your net wide, as it were.
Still, this doesn‘t mean you can just slap together a string of clichés and call it evergreen. Well-researched articles carry an air of trustworthiness, and this should be especially evident in articles meant to be read by a lot of people over a long period of time. Expert opinions and think pieces are actually prime examples of evergreen content.
A thing you need to bear in mind always is keyword research: your evergreen articles need to correspond to relevant keywords. But if a lot of your articles deal with the same topic, you risk keyword cannibalization, ultimately harming your SERP rankings. Do your homework and optimize for search engines, but don‘t overdo it.
Evergreen content sounds a little too good to be true, doesn‘t it: set it, forget it, and watch the visitors trickle in for years. And, as most things which sound too good to be true, it is: evergreen content requires updates to be fully effective.
Evergreen content‘s long life makes this easier for you, in a sense: update your articles when new data becomes available, and you will be keeping it fresh. Perhaps you have created a list of, say, best autumn reads, and a new book you would like to endorse has hit the shelves. Perhaps a product you‘ve reviewed has a new version, even if it‘s just a new colour variation. Perhaps you now prefer a different brand of auto repair supplies, and you want to mention it in your car maintenance tutorial.
Or perhaps some of your details are out of date. Bring them up to date or expunge them from your text if you can. Check your grammar and spelling, and readjust your phrasing to conform to your keyword research.
It needn‘t even be a genuine update: perhaps you have just come into possession of better illustrations for your article, or filmed a better video to show alongside it, or found an external resource you wish to link to. Each of these cases will give you a reason to put your evergreen content on the front page of your blog again.
There is another benefit to an update: a new publication date. This signals to the search engines that the article is, if not new, recently updated, and may help you reach new users.
As we‘ve spent the majority of the article discussing, evergreen content does not typically contain time-sensitive data. This is why you shouldn‘t approach presenting it to your visitors as something urgent, shiny and new. It‘s not just for now: it‘s there to stay and be potentially useful to your users for years or decades, even.
Instead, leverage your content‘s innate characteristics: if it is content for beginners, consider separating your evergreen content into a Begin Reading Here section or a Most Popular section.
When done correctly, you can use your evergreen content to build your authority in your field of interest. Trust takes a long time to build, and your evergreen content is the ideal tool for the long term.
The last thing we would like you to remember is that, while an article will have a single publication date (which can be pushed forward with an update, as discussed), there is no limit to the amount of times you can promote your evergreen content on social media. All it takes is working out when is the best time to post on social media and fitting evergreen content into your social media strategy.
Evergreen content is a great way to integrate your content creation plan with your marketing strategy. Keeping it up for a while will pay off in the long run, but you shouldn‘t rely solely upon your old content, especially if you don‘t update it with regularity. If it is at all compatible with your brand, consider investing more time in creating evergreen content or even repurposing some of your old content – especially content for beginners – into evergreen content.