Do you want to know a trick that helps companies build incredible search visibility, one that…
- stands the test of time and
- drives them insane traffic month after month after month?
It’s writing evergreen content.
In fact, if you look at the strategies of the most successful companies, you’ll find timeless content at the heart of it all.
And here’s everything you need to know to use it in your strategy too.
What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content is a type of content that targets topics that typically retain consistent interest over time.
Overall, all evergreen content shares three key features:
- It focuses on timeless advice rather than specific or timely information. In other words, it delivers information almost everyone in your audience would care about at some point.
- Such content also religiously matches the user intent.
- It delivers broad but generic information about the topic.
Here are a couple of examples of such topics:
- How to start a business. There will always be people interested in going on their own and researching how to do so.
- What is the 80/20 rule? The informative content that describes some known things, people or events is unlikely to become obsolete, at least not in our lifetime (although I might be wrong here, of course).
- How to do keyword research. Although the actual process might slightly change over time (as new tools or data sources emerge,) the interest in finding out how to go about it will, most likely, remain constant over time.
The most common evergreen content types
Not every content type will work for creating timeless pieces of content. Some of them – like news reports, for example – are time-bound by default.
Others, like technical articles or help documents, focus on topics that, with some minor exceptions, will not work as evergreen ones.
What content types work as evergreen?
- Various tutorials and how-tos. Much of the evergreen topics focus on learning how to do a particular task, after all.
- Complete and ultimate guides. Evergreen content often targets a full breadth of information on a specific issue or topic.
- Educational tips and advice, although not in the format of a tutorial. Again, this is because evergreen topics often have that educational element in them.
- Listicles, revealing a complete set of steps, items, tools, etc., required to complete a task.
Here, on the other hand, are some formats that you might find difficult to incorporate into your evergreen content strategy:
- List of statistics. Although the interest in the topic might be timeless, statistics, by default, will go out of date over time.
- Report findings. No matter what issues the report covers, the format pretty much forces the content creator to think about the information relevant to a reader right now.
- Current news reports, for obvious reasons, of course.
- Discussions and opinionated articles. The ideas included might relate to issues that are hot and commonly discussed now. However, there’s a big chance that either the object of the discussion or the opinions presented will go out of date pretty quickly.
Evergreen topics target common problems that people experience over and over again. Losing weight, saving money, earning more, finding a perfect job are some great examples of popular topics that never lose interest.
Look at the image below. Topics relating to finding a job generate consistent interest year over year.
Now, compare that with a trend for the term finding a job during Covid-19 pandemic:
Naturally, there has been zero interest in the topic before Covid. And there will be none once the pandemic is over.
Some evergreen topics might also experience a temporary spike of interest due to some recent event.
For example, the interest in “home fitness” has been consistent over time but it has peaked significantly during the lockdown. That, however, does not mean the topic is no longer timeless.
These topics might also experience peaks of interest at different times over the course of a year. However, those peaks will be consistent year over year.
How to find the best topics for evergreen content
Bad news first – Evergreen topics are rarely exciting.
No, I mean it!
Just look at the examples above. They’re dull.
But these are the challenges your audience encounters over and over again, and they can keep bringing them to your site.
Tip: When creating content that aims to remain relevant over time, you have to stay away from topics that are cool, hip, or trendy right now. Instead, you have to target information your target audience is continuously interested in.
The process starts with conducting keyword research. Here’s how it goes.
1. Brainstorm general topics that fit your SEO content strategy
I typically define these topics as descriptions of your audience’s different areas of interest.
If you run accounting software, your core topics might include “sales tax”, “bookkeeping”, “getting paid faster”, and so on.
If you’re a fitness coach, those topics might revolve around fitness workouts, healthy living, etc.
2. Evaluate results using the evergreen topics criteria
Focus on keywords with relatively high search volume and consistent trends over time (for this guide, I’m using Mangools’ KWFinder).
Look for phrases that relate to common problems, challenges, or information that users would be continually searching for.
Eliminate all phrases that seem time-bound or reference any time-bound events. Use common sense or focus on the search volume trend of the keyword to detect keywords that are not popular in the long term.
Guess which keyword from the following list is not evergreen?
Although Halloween crafts is a perfect keyword for a parenting blog, it won’t work as evergreen content as it’s only relevant during a short period of time throughout the year.
Besides the search volume trend, you can also switch to the Google Trends data in the keyword detail to see the relative popularity of the topic from a longer perspective.
How to write evergreen content
There are several things you must do when writing evergreen content:
1. Evaluate the competition and the search intent per keyword before writing
Another bit of bad news, sorry – Evergreen topics are often highly competitive. Because of their timeless nature, many other brands will target them in their SEO strategies.
So, to stand a chance at ranking there too, you must know why people search for this information. You must understand the search intent behind their search. This information will help you plan content to deliver on their expectations.
2. Cover the topic in full
A great way to approach writing it as if you were helping beginners.
This way, you’ll cover every aspect of the topic and provide value even to people at the beginning of their journey into its discovery.
I recommend using the so-called 10x Content Strategy – understand what makes the top-ranking pages for the keyword so good and create even better content than theirs.
There are two reasons for doing so:
- To provide a good user experience. In turn, that will retain customers on the page for longer, sending strong positive engagement signals to the search engine.
- To expand the topic’s coverage and ensure that the page ranks for as many relevant keywords as possible.
3. Avoid including any time-bound information
Look, I could be tempted to add the current year to this post’s headline.
I could play on a reader’s curiosity this way, after all. Because why would writing evergreen articles be different this year than in the years before? That could entice someone to click and visit the page.
But that wouldn’t help me in any way. Adding the date to the headline would be tricking the user to read my article and make the advice relevant to a specific year.
Of course, I could edit the year next year, but users are not stupid. Nor is Google.
Here’s an example of a time-bound article from Mailchimp’s blog:
Again, nobody says it is a bad topic, but it’s hardly going to be an evergreen piece visited over and over throughout the years.
If you’re creating evergreen content, make it evergreen.
4. Do not split your content into separate sections
Finally, a common mistake I see with evergreen content is to split it into chapters. Each chapter, then, becomes its page, with the main content serving as a table of contents for it all.
Now, I can see the logic behind it. Each page can then target separate, highly relevant keywords, further increasing the company’s organic reach.
But that’s now how evergreen content works. Creating multi-page guides is an entirely different (and highly powerful) strategy.
If you want to create evergreen content, make it a single page.
This way, you’ll get all its benefits and the organic reach you need for the topic.
How to retain your content’s evergreen status
Here’s the thing – To drive traffic and leads, your content must stay up in the SERPs, right?
But that’s neither easy nor guaranteed when so many other brands target the same topics and keywords.
So, here are the 4 rules that will help you keep your content ranking and driving traffic and leads:
Rule #1: Review and update the content regularly
It’s an easy mistake to make – Since you’re targeting more general topics, you can write the content and leave it like that. There’s no need for updating it, right?
Sure, the topic might not evolve much. But the information about it or specific solutions you’ve included might change.
- New data and research might shed more light on the problem.
- New technologies might make previous ways to overcome the issue obsolete.
- New tools might change the way you’d approach solving the problem.
Tip: There’s a handy free tool by Animalz that can be connected to your Google Analytics account and identify pages that may need an update based on the declining traffic.
Take the terms we’ve looked at above – home fitness. The core of the topic will, most likely, never change.
Most people searching for it will look for information on how to stay fit by exercising at home, right?
But the way they can achieve it will change.
In the past, home fitness meant using weights or kettlebells. Today, however, we can also train with TRX, use exercise bands, and more.
The problem remained the same. Solutions to it, however, have changed significantly.
To keep your content evergreen, you must review it regularly and expand or update with any new information regarding the topic.
Rule #2: Add interactive elements, if there aren’t any
Interactive content types – videos, charts, graphs, interactive graphics or maps, etc. – will help you achieve one thing:
They will engage readers more and keep them interested on a page for longer.
This one thing, in turn, will have a significant impact on the page’s rankings. It will boost engagement signals and tell the search engine how valuable the content is to readers.
And since Google aims to deliver the most useful content to its users, it will be more likely to keep your page in the SERPs.
Rule #3: Keep building links to the page
Fact – Links are still a crucial ranking factor. Perhaps not as critical as they once were, but they still hold weight.
To rank your evergreen content, you will need to build links. But don’t stop doing that once you reach the first page.
Continue building links to ensure that no other competitors will outrank you with the more authoritative page.
Rule #4: Interlink the page with any new relevant content you publish
This is where the “set and forget” mentality can hurt your evergreen page’s rankings too.
To remain relevant, the page should interlink to your new content that’s relevant to the topic.
Every time you publish a page on topics similar to what you cover in the evergreen content, go back to it and add internal links to that new content there.
This way, you’ll keep on increasing the page’s relevancy and authority on the topic.
A great way to keep your relevant pages interlinked is to create the so-called content hubs. This way, you’re consciously creating content around certain topics and linking the main content piece with other supporting articles.
And that’s it…
That’s everything you need to know about evergreen content.
What’s left is to start finding evergreen topics and create those pages to build a timeless presence in the SERPs.