Experts say you need evergreen content — but just what is it and how can it help your blog? Stacy Jackson explores this buzzword and its importance in your content marketing strategy.
Evergreen content is content that endures the test of time — if not forever, then at least a few years. It’s not a post about the latest trends, nor is it time-bound or unique to an event such as an election, conference or holiday. This type of content stays fresh and relevant due to the sticking power of its subject matter.
Evergreen content is best summed up as follows:
- It’s sustainable past the publication date
- It addresses virtually unchanging information, processes or practices
- It helps beginners and newcomers — your prospects, customers, employees and stakeholders
- It’s not typically for experts
Think about some of the popular how-to or informational sites such as eHow, About.com, WebMD and IMDb. These hubs are full of evergreen content that is sustainable, virtually unchanging, useful to newbies and not typically written for experts. Now think about your business or niche and apply an eHow or IMDb mindset — which subjects and formats would work to attract and inform new prospects and readers? Some popular evergreen formats to consider include:
- List posts
- Product reviews
- Best practices
- In-depth definitions or explanatory pages (like a Wikipedia entry)
What are the benefits of evergreen content?
Evergreen content provides useful information, yes. But it also serves up three significant benefits to your business.
1. SEO and ranking
Because the subject matter is virtually timeless, evergreen content can help you improve your keyword rankings. This content is timeless for a reason — people are always searching for the answers to questions that this content addresses. When you develop your posts, videos or other evergreen formats, create them with SEO in mind or work with an SEO expert to ensure your content is properly optimized. What’s the point of timeless content if it’s not searchable?
Maybe you’re thinking, Hey wait a minute — doesn’t Google reward FRESH content? Yes. So, doesn’t that make evergreen content less valuable? After all, it becomes aged. You need to think like a foodie or someone who appreciates wine: There’s a difference between aged and spoiled.
Or as Google itself put it, “Different searches have different freshness needs.”
Someone searching for information about a specific annual trade show probably expects the most recent information. Someone who searches for tips to maximize networking results at a trade show probably wants the most relevant information. Google’s algorithms likely evaluate several data points to determine how fresh results should be in response to a query. With that said, even evergreen content can be freshened up.
Freshness isn’t all about the original publication date. It’s also about the continued relevance of a piece of content. As this recent Moz post points out, Google can still evaluate your evergreen content as fresh, thanks to these other factors and signals that can impact SEO:
- The amount of change on a web page. Freshen up your evergreen content with updates as they become available. For example, if your evergreen content is a resources list, you may add new ones and remove resources that are no longer relevant. If it’s a tutorial page for a product or process, update the page as new product versions are rolled out or as changes in processes take place.
- The rate of document change. A frequently changing page might be considered less significant than a page that has fewer updates. It’s good news for your sustainable content.
- The rate of new link growth. If you created a great piece of evergreen content, your rate of new links acquired should grow. If it’s useful and fairly unchanging, people will trust it and share it on social and link to it on their sites.
- Links from fresh sites. Evergreen content can be considered fresh by association when fresh sites and pages link to it.
- Good traffic and engagement signals freshness, too. If you’ve written the quintessential guide on plate spinning, plate spinning aficionados from across the globe will visit your site and encourage their friends to visit, too. A well-written piece of evergreen content that attracts traffic continuously may still be considered fresh by Google’s standards.
2. Increased traffic
If you pay attention to search engine optimization when developing your evergreen content, you are going to see an increase in traffic to your site. But remember, it takes more than just good SEO to drive traffic. Consider how else you might use and promote this content. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Feature it in email newsletters
- Perform outreach to introduce your evergreen content to influencers
- Develop guest posts for authoritative sites in your niche or industry and reference your evergreen content in the post. If they won’t give you a dofollow link, who cares? Would it be nice for SEO? Sure. But if it’s a great blog read by your target audience, don’t let a nofollow link stop you from publishing there and gaining referral traffic
- Share your evergreen content on social media
- Listen for opportunities on social media and forums where you can provide the content as an answer to someone’s question
- Mention — and link to — your evergreen content in other blog posts and resource pages
- Create calls to action in your other blog posts that feature the evergreen content
3. Lead generation
Here’s where the time and attention to evergreen content can really pay off for your business. When you take the time to create a solid, stand-the-test-of-time asset and plan for its ongoing use and promotion, you generate leads. You just need to prioritize its value and placement in your lead generation and nurturing process.
Is this content highly valuable and something that qualified leads are likely to access? Consider gating it. If your evergreen asset is valuable but not necessarily an indicator that a lead is qualified, allow users to freely access it, but include a call to action that helps move the prospect further along in the sales cycle.
Another way to use your evergreen content for lead generation is to feature it as an offer in one of your email nurtures. A valuable, in-depth piece of content can lead to deeper engagement and open the door for sales conversations.
Are you ready to create evergreen content?
There are some incredible benefits to creating evergreen content. It can help your keyword rankings, drive more traffic from numerous sources and increase your leads. Just be sure to balance your topical, timely blog posts, videos and other updates with these sustainable, long-lasting assets.