How do you build a blog that generates masses of traffic over time and ranks for important keyword without spending tons of time and effort constantly trying to find new topics to write about?
Introducing evergreen content.
Evergreen content is the secret weapon of successful content marketers. They use evergreen content to drive traffic, boost lead generation, build brand awareness and increase Domain Authority - all the things that can bring astronomical business wins.
In this article, learn what evergreen content is, why it’s important and how you use it in your content marketing strategy.
What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content is content that doesn’t go out of date.
Its name comes from the evergreen, which is a plant or tree that retains its green leaves all year round.
We know what you're thinking - surely ALL content goes out of date at some point.
But what makes this content evergreen is the fact that it revolves around a topic that is ALWAYS relevant and useful to readers, no matter what's going on in politics, news or anywhere else in the world.
Take this great example of evergreen content: How To Fry an Egg
This post was published in 2017 and it is a classic example of evergreen content. After all, the ways you can fry an egg don't really change!
Why is evergreen content important for SEO?
#1. Attract regular traffic, month after month after month.
The most important reason to create evergreen content is to get regular organic traffic to your site.
Google’s goal is to provide the most relevant, useful answers to people’s queries. Creating evergreen content is how you can ensure your content is ranked high and you can attract a regular stream of organic traffic to your website.
People will always search for your content, so you’ll always get traffic.
Simple as that.
Take a look at what happened with Ahrefs. The company started focusing on evergreen content instead of content that was quickly outdated (like trends and news). The result? They saw a massive spike in views and visits to their blog.
Here's another example from Backlinko. The article attracted a spike in traffic when first published:
But because it is evergreen, it is still bringing in significant amounts of traffic 3 years on:
#2. It creates link magnets
When you publish high-quality content, you attract external links - that's the best SEO weapon in your arsenal.
Let's say you create an infographic that answers a common question in your niche, other site owners might include this image in their content with a link and credit back to you, and other companies or media will want to link to it and share it. It also becomes the piece of content that people share on social media when someone asks a question.
Why does all this matter?
Because the data proves that link building is one of the most important ranking factors for any website.
Websites that rank for high-competition keywords have incredibly strong link profiles:
Image source: Backlinko
Links get your content seen, boost your domain authority and drive more organic and referral traffic to your website to convert - and evergreen content is a sure-fire way to boost your backlink profile.
#3. Your content is providing lasting, compounding value
People are always seeking information. That's not going to change. So if you can answer their questions, that's where you can show that you're providing real value.
This is great news for your long-term digital marketing results.Not every type of content will carry the same value over time. By creating evergreen content, you can ensure your digital marketing strategy will be as effective next month as it is right now.
One more brilliant reason to create evergreen content?
It saves marketers so much time and effort. Instead of churning out new content all the time, creating evergreen content lets you do more with less. It has an incredible ROI.
We're not saying you should never cover seasonal topics, but you shouldn't let these types of post become the staple of your blog. Otherwise you will always be chasing your tail when the content goes out of date and you constantly need to find new content to attract visitors.
Common evergreen content formats
What are some common evergreen content formats? Here are the top formats to add to your strategy:
Tutorials and How to Guides
How to guides and tutorials are some of the most long-lasting solutions for evergreen content. They take a topic and provide instructions, step by step.
The only industry that should be wary of relying on tutorials as evergreen content is the tech industry, as they are likely to require updates when software changes.
These could be blog posts or videos.
While videos aren't always the best way to present evergreen content (they can date more quickly), instructional videos providing useful information, like how to change engine oil, have more longevity than a less practical video.
Ultimate Guides and 101 Guides
How many ultimate guides do you click on? We're going to estimate A LOT. That's because ultimate guides are some of the most powerful forms of digital content available today.
These guides are designed to focus on one topic and guide the reader through understanding it in detail, from the very first definition.
Ultimate guides are often defined by the following:
Long-form – typically an ultimate guide will run at least 3000 words in length.
In-depth – an ultimate guide targets a large, broad topics and delves into the details, usually including definitions, glossaries and examples.
Chapters - they’re almost always broken down into sections or chapters.
Gated content - often ultimate guides are put behind an opt-in form to help capture subscribers and leads.
List Posts or Listicles
List posts are some of the most effective forms of evergreen content because they provide your audience with easily digestible, useful information. They are easy to scan and quick to understand.
Love them or hate them, there is a lot of data that proves that listicles perform better as evergreen content.
There have been all sorts of studies on click through rate, organic visibility on search engines, social sharing, and so on.
Another simple format for evergreen content is a checklist.
A checklist takes your reader through a process in a step-by-step format. For example, it could be a checklist to getting a mortgage or one for moving house - both of these are processes that don't really change much.
The great thing about a checklist is that it can also work well as gated content – add some simple design layout and graphics, and you can include it as a download to gather new leads.
Consider writing about the history of your industry, product or service. After all, these facts will not change over time.
Tools and calculators
Find something your users always want to calculate, and you've found yourself some evergreen content. It could be something as simple as calculating how much paint is needed for a wall, or the payments required for a credit card.
The idea is to keep the tool or calculator simple to use and agnostic - in other words, don't make it too specific to your products and services.
Infographics can be an effective format for evergreen content. They combine visual storytelling and useful data into one piece of content that is compelling, engaging and easy to understand.
Here's what HubSpot says about infographics:
“An infographic is up to 30 times more likely to be read than an article — and since it's visual content, it's also 34% more effective in persuading an audience in comparison to verbal presentations alone.”
When optimized properly, infographics can also help you appear in Google Image Search:
If you’re not creating glossary content to engage with your target audience, you’re missing out on a simple opportunity to expose your brand to prospects.
Are there common terms and phrases in your industry that people need to understand? You can group them into a simple glossary that helps explain the meaning in layman’s terms.
What is NOT Evergreen Content
To better understand what kind of content is considered “evergreen,” it's worth looking at what is definitely not evergreen. Essentially, we're talking about anything that can go out of date quickly:
Statistics or reports that can date
Political themed content (e.g. relating to presidential elections)
While this content won't be relevant indefinitely, it is still beneficial to your website and users. It can help you rank for a set period of time, for important on-trend keywords. And it can also help you start building your brand.
For example, writing a long-form article on the "Top adventure gear in 2021" might not be relevant in a year's time, but it will help you rank for a top keyword right now, and help boost your brand's credentials.
Which types of format are the best for evergreen content?
Backlinko and Buzzsumo analyzed 3.6 billion articles to better understand which formats are the most common for evergreen content. To calculate how evergreen a piece of content was, they used the “Evergreen” metric, which looks at shares and links that occur 30 days after an article was first published.
What did the study find?
List posts and how-to posts are the two “most evergreen” content formats. Added to that, content types with the highest proportion of evergreen content include “best of” lists, guides, data-driven research and industry reports.
By comparison, presentations and press releases (unsurprisingly) tend to be the least evergreen - they go out of date too quickly.
To put a number to it, a list post is 15 times more likely to become evergreen than a presentation.
Another content format that is not evergreen is podcast episodes, with podcasts being 4.28 times less likely to be evergreen compared to a list post.
Top evergreen content examples
There are lots of brands out there creating exceptional pieces of evergreen content that hit the mark. Here are some best practice examples of evergreen content:
#1. The Stay at Home Chef: How to boil eggs
We can't talk about evergreen content without finding content on the one thing that everyone should know how to do: boil an egg.
This is a great way for the website to rank on Google and get in front of (extremely) amateur cooks.
#2. Bank of America: Mortgage glossary
Bank of America's no-fuss glossary helps people with the mortgage terms they don't understand. What better way to make it easy for potential customers?
#3. Studiobinder: Ultimate Guide to Camera Shots
This content by Studiobinder is a great example of an ultimate guide executed brilliantly. It includes all the ingredients - definitions, great visual design, chapters, and even videos.
#4. REI: Beach Day Checklist
REI is renowned for its helpful guides and articles for campers and adventurers, and this one is no exception. What we love about this checklist is the simple tick-box layout which makes it instantly practical.
At the end, there's a list of related checklists and guides to help the reader find more information, while showing the brand's prowess in all things outdoors.
#5. Bankrate: Mortgage Calculator
Bankrate's mortgage calculator is a brilliant example of a resource that people want to use on a regular basis. It fulfils a need, especially as there are thousands of searches every month for "mortgage calculator". It looks good and is easy to use, giving users exactly what they want from a tool.
According to SEMrush, the result is a humungous 2.4 million organic hits every single month:
Tips for SEO Content longevity
Even though your content is evergreen, there are still some maintenance tricks you should do to ensure it stays relevant and ranking high.
Refresh content every year
You might notice that your content stops ranking high for the target keyword and traffic drops. Why would this happen to evergreen content?
Sometimes, the evergreen status runs out. It's down to you to examine the content and figure out why it’s no longer relevant to Google (and therefore your target audience).
Usually, it’s because part of the content has become outdated or irrelevant, such as:
Year in the title
Run through the content and refresh any sections that need to be updated.
If you've linked to helpful resources which aren't around anymore, this will bring the article down in the rankings.
Thankfully, fixing broken links isn’t difficult. You can use the free online tool Broken Link Checker.
Type in your domain URL and click “Find broken links". You'll get a notification of any links that you need to repair. Take this change to add new links to better resources.
This makes your content look much more valuable to Google.
All that’s left now is to republish and repromote the content.
Create a short evergreen URL
An evergreen URL is an address on your site that doesn’t need to change. It is a permanent addition to your site’s internal architecture.
Let's say you are creating an evergreen post on makeup tips.
The URL would usually look something like this:
But, an evergreen URL would look like this:
You can do this for your seasonal page too, for example, Mother’s Day, Christmas, and Black Friday. The goal is not to have the date in the URL so that it will get authority over time and Google will value it better.
Use the year in the title
This might seem to go against everything we've just taught you, but sometimes it makes total sense to add a year to your content title.
Because people often search for queries containing the current year (e.g. “Kitchen trends in 2021”).
By using the year in your title tag, you increase the relevance of your post to your audience right now. This means higher rankings, more search traffic and increased authority.
So what happens when the year is over? Does all that hard work go to waste?
Not necessarily. You simply remove the year in the title.
Some SEOs change the year in the title, but it's more honest to remove the year all together.
Avoid using language with a short lifespan
Wherever possible, avoid words and phrases that can date your evergreen content:
“Earlier this year”
“Back in March”
The rule for content marketing applies to evergreen content too: links are essential.
Backlinks are one of the MOST important search engine ranking factors you can use.
Think of every link back to your content as a vote. The more websites that link back to your content, the better it performs in search engines.
A study by Ahrefs showed that the number of unique websites (“referring domains”) linking back to a site was strongly correlated with the amount of organic traffic received from search engines:
How many links is enough to rank on the first page?
Plug your target keyword into Ahrefs Keywords Explorer and see what it says under the Keyword Difficulty score.
Monitor your evergreen content
Whatever you do, don't let your evergreen content fester on your site without any monitoring. As with everything you do in digital marketing, you need to monitor, adjust and test your content.
Remember, new content is being published every second of every day. Some of it is going to be competing for your keywords, so you need to stay ahead of the game.
Former Amazon chief Jeff Bezos once said “Focus on things that don't change.” In content marketing, this is evergreen content.
If you want to watch your content marketing results soar and generate SEO wins, you should be including evergreen posts in your content marketing strategy. It can be time-consuming to create, but the return on investment is a no-brainer - you will see visitors coming back to your evergreen content time and again, often many years after you first publish it.
But of course, evergreen content is only one piece of the puzzle.
To truly dominate the rankings with content, you need to ensure your website is properly optimized, targeting the right keywords, generating backlinks, and more.
That’s where we come in.
Claim your FREE digital audit today. You’ll get a free 30-minute strategy call with one of our Growth Gurus, as well as a free audit of your current online marketing AND a 6-month multichannel game plan, including content marketing.