Grow Your SEO with Evergreen ContentBy Greg Snow-Wasserman
This article is part of an SEO series from WooRank. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.
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When it comes to publishing content on your website, the sky really is the limit these days. One of the most important and beneficial types of content you can use is evergreen content. Every business website needs it, no matter the size, industry or conversion goal. In this article we’ll cover the definition of evergreen content, how to create it and how it benefits your business.
What is Evergreen Content?
As you probably figured out from the word “evergreen” in the name, evergreen content stays relevant and useful over a long period of time (as in a matter of years, depending on your industry) with little to no upkeep. You can use it as a reference source for other bits of content as it still has value to readers. So what makes something evergreen, instead of just a normal piece of content?
- Permanent: The value to readers stands the test of time. Barring a few small changes like an updated link or image, you won’t need to touch it to keep it up to date.
- Quality: Of course your goal is to always put out quality content, but evergreen content is on a different level than your typical article or blog post. You need to put serious time and effort into researching, writing and designing to reap the full benefits of having content that’s evergreen. If your article isn’t good enough to attract a substantial number of views (and links) when it’s first published, it’ll never become evergreen.
- Value: Evergreen content is usually a definitive piece on its subject. It should be where other people first look when they want to learn about a subject. Ideally, evergreen content is so valuable readers are inspired to share it with others. WooRank’s SEO guides, for example, are in-depth, detailed and definitive articles about their particular subjects.
How-to posts are one of the most popular types of evergreen content. These are great for evergreen content because people will always be looking for how to do something, so your content will constantly be attracting fresh sets of eyes, introducing your business to new people. Other popular types of evergreen content include:
- Interviews: Publishing interviews with industry experts is a great way to attract searchers, and having well-known names associated with your site will help lend your name some authority.
- User guides: These are somewhat related to how-to guides, in that they’ll help users achieve a specific goal, like learning to use a specific feature on their new phone. You can easily keep these articles up to date with slight changes every time a new version is released, and any significant overhaul to the product is an opportunity to publish a new piece of evergreen content.
- Customer reviews: These could also be testimonials, depending on what type of business you have. They’re incredibly popular with shoppers. 61% of shoppers said they look for customer reviews before buying a product. They’ve got good staying power because the review will always be relevant to the product, and potential customers will trust you more. And you don’t need to worry too much about having a negative review – they can actually help improve visitors’ trust and most shoppers aren’t deterred until you have two or more negative reviews.
- Curated lists: Definitive lists of tools, news, techniques or other resources have great potential to become evergreen. A great example of this is WooRank’s blog post on free keyword research tools. SEOs will always need to do keyword research, so they’ll always be looking for free keyword research tools. A list of several different tools that fulfill a need in every step of the keyword research process is useful to readers and will only need slight tweaks in the future to remain relevant.
How to Turn Content into Evergreen Content
The first step in creating your evergreen content is to check your analytics. Sort your pages in descending order by pageviews (or clicks, depending on what platform you’re using for analytics). Content that isn’t already getting traffic won’t be evergreen, so only take a look at your top results. Eliminate any pages that are time-sensitive like news articles, new feature releases, anything event-specific, etc. Look at the keywords people use to find your content and, if possible, choose content that ranks for any of your targets.
Once you’ve picked an article, spruce it up a bit to make sure it’s still totally relevant. If you find yourself rewriting large sections to bring it up to date consider moving on to a different article; true evergreen content doesn’t require a lot of babysitting.
- Examples: Make sure names, features and links are still up to date. Product manufacturers and service providers change names, get bought or close up shop all the time. Replace any examples that you deleted if possible.
- Statistics: Consumer behaviors and market trends change, so make sure any statistics you used aren’t wildly out of date. They don’t necessarily have to be the latest numbers available, but they still need to back up your point.
- Links: Make sure all the links you use are still unresolved. Search engines will like your content more if you don’t send your users through redirects.
- Calls to action (CTAs): The point of your website is to convert readers. Make sure your CTAs use the right terms/branding and send users to the right places. Having your highest ranking content sending potential customers to a 404 page because you moved your email signup page is a nightmare scenario.
While you’re refreshing your content, optimize your pages for search engines at the same time. If you publish content frequently, daily or several times a week, you might not be optimizing every single post to rank on search engines. Evergreen content requires special consideration. If you haven’t done so yet, do some keyword research on your article’s topic to find the best keywords to target for your audience. Carefully consider what keywords your evergreen pages are optimized for and what related keywords you can target.
What Will Evergreen Content Do for You?
Anyone who has ‘SEO’ as part of their job description will likely spend a significant amount of time building their link profile. Backlinks are one of the most important ranking signals in Google’s search algorithm; they indicate the amount of trust and authority people have in your website. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most difficult parts of SEO. Which is what makes evergreen content so powerful.
When you’ve done it right, evergreen content is natural linkbait. If your articles are high quality and have lots of value to readers, they’ll naturally want to share it by linking to it from their pages or sharing it on social media. Creating high quality, valuable evergreen content will benefit your link profile in multiple ways:
- Valuable content gets lots of links. In order for your content to achieve evergreen status, it needs to be definitive and in-depth. That means when other people are writing their own content, ideally, they’ll be looking to you as a resource. Once you’ve established your content as authoritative on the subject, you’ll acquire a large number of links.
- Quality content attracts links from quality domains. Of course having a link profile with tons of links from nothing but high authority domains is the ideal, but as you build to that goal remember that having quality is more important than quantity when it comes to your links.
- You’ll get the right kind of links. There’s been a lot made of the right anchor text for your backlinks to avoid running afoul of Google’s Penguin update. Evergreen content is great for this because people will link to it in a variety of ways: exact match keywords, keyword phrases, branded keywords and generic anchor texts. This will build you a diverse, strong link profile.
- It will maintain link velocity. Part of having a natural link profile is having natural link velocity. Since, by its very nature, evergreen content builds links without much help from you, it will continue to add backlinks at a steady pace.
- You’ll be protected from negative SEO. Negative SEO, the creation of spammy links pointed at a competitor to tank their rankings, has cropped up since Penguin. In fact, concerns over this practice resulted in Google and Bing introducing their disavow link tools. Evergreen content will attract quality links from authoritative, trusted domains, which will dilute any low quality spam links to your site helping to protect you from any black hat competitors.
On Page SEO
On top of building quality, natural links, evergreen content will give on page SEO a boost as well. Creating lasting, in-depth articles will help your pages in multiple ways:
- You get to use your keywords on the page naturally. This is extremely important in the post-Panda world — short, keyword-saturated content will look like useless spam to Google. If you’re writing 1,000 or 2,000-word pieces, you’ll end up with your keywords peppered throughout your page.
- Latent semantic keywords will appear automatically as you write. Search engines look not only at the exact match keywords on a page, but the words surrounding them as well. This will help them to show this page to someone looking for ‘evergreen content marketing’ and not evergreen content in the context of, let’s say, landscaping or Christmas trees.
- You’ll lower your bounce rate, which is an important ranking factor for Google. If people arrive on your page and stick around for a while, or even move on to interact with other pages, search engines will see that it fulfills searchers’ needs for that keyword. This will push it up the rankings, bringing you more traffic.
- Search engines don’t like thin pages, so in-depth content does well in the results. In fact, the top ten pages in Google search results average almost 2,000 words. Writing in-depth, long content will also help establish your page’s topical relevancy, an important aspect of the Hummingbird algorithm.
The Lasting Power of Evergreen Content
We’ve talked a lot about how evergreen content will stay valuable and relevant for a long time and how that will give you a nice consistent source of traffic. Which is great. But that’s not all we mean when we talk about the lasting power of evergreen content. You can leverage it to improve other pages on your site and future content you decide to publish.
- Depending on what form your content takes, you can turn it into another format. If you’ve got a how-to guide, checklist or user guide, turn it into an infographic and even a video. Publish it on your site or use it to promote yourself on social media. You could even offer it up as a guest blogging opportunity if you were so inclined.
- The link juice and authority garnered by your evergreen content will help your whole site, but you can also pass it on to other important pages through internal linking. Any credibility you build with your audience will also (hopefully) apply to the rest of your content. People will start to take you seriously as a source in your industry.
- Use it as a citation in future blog posts or articles, particularly if it uses proprietary statistics and/or qualitative research. As long as you keep these facts up to date you can save yourself research time in the future.
- Repurpose your content in other articles. For example, if I were to write a comprehensive guide to content marketing in the future, I’d definitely include a section on evergreen content, which means this piece will come in handy. There’s no need for me to reinvent the wheel in that situation. Just make sure to properly quote and link to the source article to avoid duplicate content.
If you’re doing content marketing for your business, not all your blog posts or articles can be turned into evergreen content. Plus, if you regularly post multiple times a week it’s probably not feasible to expect all your content to take root. But it definitely behooves you to find your most successful pieces and give them a little polish that will establish them as authoritative pieces on their subject. Doing so will improve your profile in your niche/industry and will have a positive impact on your SEO.
How have you identified your evergreen content? What do you do to keep it relevant to your audience? How has it benefited your SEO?