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- Statistics or numerical reports that are likely to change and go out of date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.
- Top Tips
- Instructional “How To” Tutorials
- Encyclopedia-esque Entries
- Product Reviews
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
- Finance/Saving Money
- 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, you may find that there is less content on the web about your topic, making your evergreens even more valuable.
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:
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.