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What is Evergreen Content? Your Guide to Long-Lasting Content That Boosts SEO

By Megan Marrs October 16, 2012 Posted In: Blogging Comments: 17

 

Evergreen Content Guide

If you’re involved with SEO, content marketing or any kind of web marketing, you’ve probably heard the phrase “evergreen content” and been told that your site needs to have it. So what is evergreen marketing, and why are evergreen articles good for SEO?

Today we’ll be explaining the basics of evergreen articles, how to write an evergreen content piece, and why incorporating evergreen posts into your blog strategy is essential for killer content marketing.

Evergreen content definition

Evergreen content is SEO content that is continually relevant and stays “fresh” for readers.

So Why is it Called “Evergreen”?

The term “evergreen” sounds familiar even to the non-marketing ear because evergreen trees (usually the pine or fir variety) are often used to decorate homes at Christmas. The evergreen tree is a symbol of perpetual life because they retain their leaves throughout the seasons, rather than shedding. Like the trees, evergreen content is considered sustainable and lasting.

Maybe you are thinking, “Hey, wait a minute. All content online is sustainable; the articles and blog posts don’t ever disappear.” When we talk about a piece of content being “evergreen,” we mean that evergreen content is content that continues to be relevant long past its publication.

To better clarify what kind of writing is considered “evergreen,” we can examine what types of pieces are specifically not evergreen.

What Evergreen Content is Not:

  • News articles
  • Statistics or numerical reports that are likely to change and go out of date
  • Pieces about a specific holiday or season
  • Articles focused on a current trend or pop culture fad
  • Latest clothing and fashion trends

Evergreen web content has (virtually) no expiration date and ideally will retain its value over the long-term. Anything written about this year’s presidential election, for example, is not evergreen content because it will become obsolete six months from now and many keywords associated with that topic will end up in the Google graveyard, never to be searched again.

Common Evergreen Formats

Below are some common evergreen formats you might consider in generating lasting content.

  • Lists
  • Top Tips
  • Instructional “How To” Tutorials
  • Encyclopedia-esque Entries
  • Product Reviews
  • Videos

Writing in these formats does not automatically make your piece evergreen, but these structures tend to work well with evergreen writing. Videos are especially effective when you need to illustrate how to do something, like how to frost a cupcake or how to grout a tub. If videos aren’t possible, consider using a series of images (photos or illustrations, diagrams, etc.) to your advantage.

Evergreen Article Ideas

Some subjects just never get old! Here are some evergreen article ideas that are old as humanity:

  • Love and Romance
  • Food
  • Finance/Saving Money
  • Parenting
  • Weight Loss
  • Jobs and Careers
  • Pet Care

Of course, it’s important that you address evergreen topics that are relevant to your business. If you sell office supplies, relevant evergreen topics might include “how to keep your desk organized” or “different pen types and when to use them.” If you’re looking to generate leads for your landscaping business, a post on what types of plants work best in your climate would work as an evergreen article.

The problem with generating good evergreen ideas is that often it feels as if the best topics have already been covered, maybe even in excess. In this case, the key will be to add a unique viewpoint to a popular topic, or go into more depth and provide additional details. Look for long-tail keywords that have volume but not super-high competition. If you have a specific niche market, you may find that there is less content on the web about your topic, making your evergreens even more valuable.

What Is Evergreen Content?

Examples of Evergreen Content

Here are some specific examples of what would be considered evergreen articles.

  • How to Build a Dog House – Clear, concise tutorials with attractive photos make great evergreen pieces.
  • 10 Ways to Enjoy Bacon – Can you imagine a future where people don’t like bacon? I sure can’t.
  • Top Tips to Soothe Crying Babies – There’s always a regenerating population of new parents, and those with screaming babies are probably pretty desperate for advice. A quick “best tips” will hold its value for years and new parents can share the list with their panicky peers.

These are pieces that would be considered evergreen content because the topics will continue to be relevant into the foreseeable future.

Examples of Evergreen Sites

These sites are major producers of evergreen content:

  • about.com
  • wikipedia.com
  • answers.com
  • imdb.com
  • ehow.com

These sites publish huge quantities of evergreen articles on a wide variety of topics. Wikipedia, for example, ranks on the first page for almost half of all Google searches! However, in an effort to churn out pieces, some of these evergreen sites end up producing low-quality articles. It’s good to visit these sites not only to see good examples of evergreens, but also to investigate how some of these sites are lacking, and what you could write to improve them.

Evergreen SEO: Combining Sustainable Content with Popular Keywords

Evergreen content is a valuable part of a good content marketing strategy, but it becomes even more powerful when combined with SEO techniques. Consider basing your evergreen pieces around keywords you’d like your site to rank on. Even the most lasting evergreen piece isn’t worth much if people aren’t searching for that topic or if it doesn’t relate to your business.

Be sure to follow basic SEO techniques like on-page keyword optimization (but not keyword stuffing!), making use of your images’ alt text, and including social sharing buttons. The more search-friendly your evergreen article is, the more it can be seen, shared, and linked, driving traffic for months or even years to come.

Tips for Writing Evergreen Content

Don’t Write for the Experts – Sometimes you may feel the urge to write a piece showing off your expertise of a certain subject, but this can be a big mistake. Experts are less likely to be searching for help—your audience is primarily beginners, and you want to generate content aimed at them.

Avoid Overly Technical Language – Because most of your content is for beginners, complicated, technical language could scare them off, so stick with more simple rhetoric.

Narrow Your Topic – If you write about too broad a topic, your piece will be much longer, and more likely to lose the interest of beginner readers. Broad topics tend to be shorter keywords, or head terms, with more competition. Writing a broader piece also is more difficult for the writer. Simple, specific topics like “How to Throw a Roundhouse Kick” vs. “Guide to Powerful Kick Techniques” are more grabbing.

Link Posts Together – If you’re doing a complete guide on a topic such as “Guide to Bike Care,” divide that broad topic into narrow, specific pieces such as “How to Oil Your Bike Brakes” and “How to Replace a Bike Tire,” and then link those articles together. This is great for SEO, and lets readers solve a specific need while also guiding them to additional relevant articles.

Don’t Rely Exclusively on Evergreen Writing

Evergreen web content is very valuable, but that isn’t to say that all your content needs to be evergreen – timely, topical pieces have their value as well.

Earlier I discussed how any pieces discussing the 2012 presidential election do not qualify as evergreen writing because they will soon be obsolete; the advantage of writing about the 2012 presidential, despite not being evergreen, is that currently it is being searched and discussed a lot. A piece about something timely like the 2012 presidential election could drive a lot of traffic to your site for the next few months, but afterwards will be virtually worthless. The same applies to an article that uses recent statistics and is heavily researched. Pieces like this are still very valuable and important, but they won’t be around forever.

An evergreen’s value is that it has the potential to continue to bring traffic to your site for many months, or even years into the future if it is true evergreen web content. The best content marketing strategy relies on a mix of both topical articles and long-lasting evergreen posts.

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Comments

Tuesday October 16, 2012

Adam (not verified) Said:

Hey Megan,

That was a really useful article. I think I'll have to bookmark it and refer back to it from time to time. 

Thanks.

Tuesday October 16, 2012

Megan Marrs Said:

Thanks Adam, I'm glad you like it!

Wednesday October 17, 2012

Jayna (not verified) Said:

Very interesting post. I like the examples of evergreen content.

One thing I was both interested in and mystified by was the fact that you mentioned how important it is not to do "keyword stuffing" when you optimize content. But the keyword stuffing link went nowhere. Also, this post contains almost 50 uses of the word "evergreen." So I'm interested in your take on what is and is not keyword stuffing.

Wednesday October 17, 2012

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Whoops -- the stuffing link is fixed. As for whether this article is "stuffed," I really don't think so. There are entire paragraphs that don't contain the word "evergreen."

Friday October 19, 2012

Megan Marrs Said:

Hi Jayna. I completely understand your confusion around keyword stuffing. The word "evergreen" naturally shows up a lot in the post since it's a topic I am discussing in depth. The other cause of me using the term "evergreen" so often is that there aren't many other ways to refer to that type of content - "evergreen content" doesn't have many synonyms that would allow me to use more varied terminology. 

Usually when you witness keyword stuffing, it will feel very unnatural, spammy, and will use one specific phrase repeatedly even when there are plenty of alternative synonyms that could be used.

I hope that helps! Glad you found the post interesting.

Friday October 19, 2012

SEO Orange County (not verified) Said:

So, it seems the most important part of creating "evergreen content" is by making sure it is in no way time-sensitive; don't write articles about presidential candidates, or summer vacations because all of those topics will eventually be irrelevant. 

Tuesday October 30, 2012

Megan Marrs Said:

That's absolutely right - nothing time-sensitive can really be considered evergreen. That doesn't mean you shouldn't ever write time-sensitive pieces though, since articles about recent events or hot news certainly can serve their purposes and can generate a good chunk of traffic in a small time frame after they are published. But if you want to create posts that continue to bring in traffic for months or even years into the future, evergreen is the way to go!

Wednesday October 24, 2012

Sam Moses (not verified) Said:

Hi Megan Marrs

 Excellent work! 

  Evergreen content  is a nice one to use in todays eworld, may be these type of content can be used for few times.

Would it be possible to create a viral strategy through this.

Tuesday October 30, 2012

Megan Marrs Said:

Thanks Sam! It certainly is possible to create evergreen content that might go viral, although viral marketing tends to rely more on images, videos, and more interactive content. The problem is that usually items made in hopes of "going viral" tend to be time sensitive because they rely heavily on social media and word of mouth to grow, and often taking advantage of a recent phenomenon that everyone is already discussing on social media sites. Viral items grow very popular in a short period of time before dipping back into obscurity, while the goal of evergreen content tends to be more slow and steady, looking to withstand the test of time.  

Friday October 26, 2012

Hopbots (not verified) Said:

Megan.  Thanks for sharing your ideas for creating content that can last and useful for long term. As SEO agency we have to think very hard to come up with great content ideas. Some time creating content that can still usefull for longterm that best way to look at for long term sucess. I am sharing your post on our facebook page. good job !

Tuesday October 30, 2012

Megan Marrs Said:

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the blog post. Good luck with your evergreen efforts!

Thursday December 26, 2013

Deborah Reynolds (not verified) Said:

Great Post Megan, and cool name too - Megan Marrs, seriously awesome :-)

Keep up the great work - and stay evergreen with your niches for long term results :-D

<3 Deborah

P.S. I'm adding fresh SEO optimized content to my own site DAILY for optmal results, works like a charm and google LOVES it

Thursday February 06, 2014

Abhijit Gupta (not verified) Said:

Evergreen content is so important. t also really helps to develop out an editorial agenda and give your structure some bones. I know a lot of writers dislike evergreen content, but it really is an important part of an editorial plan.

Friday June 13, 2014

Dave Miller (not verified) Said:

Hello Megan,

See, evergreen works!! Two years later someone (me) is reading and commenting on the article!! Bravo! Actually, we are early stage with trying to implement the best possible SEO tactics for our site, and this article will be great when we start hiring writers to write content. Hopefully, I can get them to write for on-page optimization (many sports writers are old-school). Anyway Megan, this is a keeper article - one that I will bookmark and refer to (isn't bookmarking another great SEO tactic?).

All kidding aside, great piece and good luck!!

Dave 

 

Sunday July 06, 2014

ed soeliant (not verified) Said:

Hi, Megan,

evergreen content, and that google and blog visitors, fell in love with my blog. thank you.

Regards,

ed

Friday August 01, 2014

Will Lee (not verified) Said:

This is the first time to read the evergreen content. It was so helpful to get my head around :) Thanks!

Sunday November 02, 2014

Sandy@Workado (not verified) Said:

Thanks for posting this.  And for mentioning not to write like an expert.  Good point that experts wont be looking for you work. They'll already know it!.  

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