What is evergreen content and why it’s important for SEO
Here's why creating evergreen pieces, not just trends-focused or timely ones, is key for a winning content marketing mix.
Evergreen content is content with a long lifespan.
It is also incredibly important for search engine optimization (SEO).
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about evergreen content – including what makes a topic evergreen, why evergreen content is important and some examples to inspire you.
What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content refers to any type of content that remains ever relevant, ever accurate, and ever useful long past its publication date.
Think of it this way: Evergreen trees always look green and fresh, even in the dead of winter.
By the same token, evergreen content always looks green, fresh, and up to date – even if it was published two years ago.
(Two years old is positively ancient by the internet’s standards, but if your content is evergreen, that’s not a problem.)
To be considered evergreen, your content must pass these checkpoints:
- It’s written on a topic that doesn’t change drastically from year to year. (For instance, new research doesn’t continually come out, which makes old ideas/ways of thinking about the topic obsolete.)
- It contains knowledge that’s foundational to a realm of study or skill.
- Most of the information is perpetually useful.
- Most of the information is perpetually accurate and relevant.
- It can have a few outdated facts or references, but these must be minor (you can update them with little effort).
And, if your content contains any of these hallmarks, it is not evergreen:
- Seasonal information or information tied to a specific date, event or year.
- Research or statistics that will eventually lose relevancy as they fall out of date.
- Research or statistics that are regularly updated. (For example, a new report is released annually, so the prior year’s stats become obsolete).
- Content tied to current fads or trends.
Examples of evergreen content topics
Here are a few good examples of evergreen content topics:
- How to tie a shoe
- 10 tips to manage your personal finances
- How to choose a paint color for your kitchen
- Beginner’s guide to content marketing
- How to teach your dog to heel in 7 steps
Examples of content topics that are not evergreen
On the flip side, these are good examples of topics that are not evergreen:
- 5 ideas for your kid’s Halloween party (Seasonal topic)
- ChatGPT launches in November 2022 (News)
- The local football team beats their biggest rival (Sports news)
- 10 SEO trends to watch in 2023 (Current trends/tied to a date)
- Content marketing research report for 2022 (Research tied to a specific year)
Why evergreen content boosts SEO
So we know that the defining feature of evergreen content is a long lifespan past its initial publication date.
Whether you read it now, two months from now, a year from now, or two years from now, the information it conveys should largely remain accurate, relevant, and useful.
But why does this matter for SEO?
By their very definition, evergreen content topics are ones that people are interested in no matter the circumstances.
They’re “old reliables.”
That won’t change with the time of year, the season, the current events, or the latest research. Evergreen topics are perpetually relevant and interesting.
People always look for and depend on the evergreen knowledge presented in evergreen content.
What does that mean for SEO?
The evergreen content pieces you optimize for search will earn clicks and visitors more steadily than your more ephemeral pieces because people are constantly searching for those topics on search engines.
To summarize, evergreen SEO content = a steady, reliable influx of potential customers.
Evergreen SEO content is also sustainable.
You only have to put in the resources to create this type of content once. It will need few, if any, updates. And it will keep bringing in a steady stream of visitors over a long period due to the evergreen interest in evergreen topics.
Lastly, if you created a high-quality piece of content geared for conversions, that piece will also bring in leads.
In the end, you’ll get much more out of your evergreen content piece over the long term than you will with your “trendier” content.
It will perform over months and years versus days and weeks without the need to throw money at it.
In this case, maybe we can also refer to evergreen content as “eco-friendly” for your brand.
Types of evergreen content to focus on
Some content types lend themselves to evergreen topics more readily than others.
For example, “how-to” content is a type you’ll often find has evergreen potential.
That’s because how-to topics usually involve evergreen knowledge that never goes out of date.
- how to tie a shoe
- how to bake a cake
- how to prune a rose bush
Another great option for evergreen content is the humble but popular listicle.
While it may seem trendy because of the sheer number of listicles that are published daily, it actually lends itself to evergreen topics quite well.
- 10 tips for baking a cake
- 5 ways to unclog your kitchen sink
- 50 greatest books of all time
Don’t forget about informational content. This may include foundational articles such as 101 and beginner guides that provide a general overview or introduction to a topic.
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5 evergreen content examples
Ready for some evergreen inspiration? Check out these five examples of evergreen content.
What are transition words?
This blog post by Yoast SEO on transition words is evergreen because this knowledge is a principle of English grammar. Employing transition words helps make your writing easier to read.
DIY wood fence tutorial
This tutorial on building a wooden backyard fence is a great example of an evergreen video content.
How to invest in stocks
Foundational knowledge on a topic, like this beginner's guide to investing in stocks by Investopedia, is prime real estate for evergreen content.
Easy pie dough guide
In this extensive guide to making pie dough, the author goes way beyond a basic recipe and talks about the science behind a flaky crust.
They offer encyclopedic knowledge on how to produce the best pie crust you've ever had. This type of knowledge is always relevant to bakers everywhere.
File under: "Evergreen."
Cybersecurity ultimate guide
In the ever-changing world of tech, evergreen topics are hard to find. However, some pass muster and squeeze into evergreen territory, including cybersecurity.
Why? Because, as long as the internet exists, people will use it to store their data. And, no matter what the technology looks like, people will always be interested in protecting their data from malicious entities.
Thus, this HubSpot blog on cybersecurity is a good evergreen content example. It will be relevant for at least a few years, and when technology inevitably changes, the article can be updated to follow suit.
4 tips for writing evergreen content
As you write evergreen content, all the imperatives for writing high-quality content will apply.
That said, here are a few specific tips to ensure your content won't need an update in three months. (True evergreen content won't need an update for a long time.)
1. Keep examples, jokes, and asides timeless
Avoid even passing references to cultural events, news, or trends that will quickly become dated in a few months.
Don't use them as examples or make jokes about them (if your brand voice calls for jokes, that is).
For example, many social media marketing articles from a certain period of time referenced now-obsolete tech like Google+ or Vine – and once those apps/services died, those mentions had to be edited to keep the content evergreen.
That said, sometimes, it's impossible to predict whether a trend will actually morph into an entity with a legacy. Either way, try to keep your discussions of trends to their own blog posts.
2. Only link to sources that will stand the test of time
Linking to research and data is a great way to add credibility to your content. Just be careful about how you do this when you write evergreen content.
For instance, only link to sources when absolutely necessary, such as when you need a stat to prove a point, or when a particular research report is integral to understanding your topic.
And, when you must link to a source, choose that source carefully. Don't link to obscure websites that may or may not disappear in a year, but rather trusted entities with a solid, proven online presence.
Some studies or reports that are a few years old may still be fine to link to – but only if these are outstanding or unique examples of research in their field or contain data you can't find anywhere else.
And, if all else fails, audit your evergreen content regularly to ensure your citations and outgoing links are still relevant and working. If some facts or statistics are outdated, updating them with new ones should only take a few minutes.
3. Write with readability in mind
Keep readability top of mind as you write evergreen content.
Readable content is easy to understand. The ideas are clear. Your audience can learn from that content with no problem.
And endlessly readable, evergreen content is content that will pull in endless results.
How do you write readable content? To jostle your memory, remember that readable content is:
- Structured well, with a logical flow from section to section and point to point.
- Organized into sections with headers that tell readers what to expect.
- Formatted to make the text scannable, with features like bulleted and numbered lists, short paragraphs, and headers that stand out from the body copy.
- Written to explain ideas and concepts clearly, without jargon or unnecessary words (fluff).
- Written for the particular knowledge level and understanding of the target audience.
Evergreen content not correctly optimized for search engines will not pull in the results you're hoping for.
To do its job, your evergreen content needs a fighting chance with proper SEO attached to it.
Here are the basic steps to start with:
- Tie your evergreen topic to a keyword your brand can rank for. Need help with researching keywords for blogs? This Orbit Media article is a great resource.
- Write your content to help the reader, first. As you write, aim for helpfulness above all. Forget about using the keyword. You can always edit the text later to include more instances of it. But the first draft should be all about creating the best content on the topic.
- Include your keyword in major spots. Headers, the first paragraph, image alt text, and the meta title and description are biggies.
- Study what's ranking at the top of Google and mirror the structure – but add your unique angle. Include all the information the top articles include, but do your best to make your evergreen content better and unique to your brand. Explain concepts in the brand voice, using its unique expertise. Don't parrot what's already out there. What can you add about the topic that hasn't been said one million times already?
What is evergreen content? A standby in your content creation lineup
Evergreen content should be a workhorse in your content marketing strategy.
Create it well once, and it should perform for months, even years.
Pay attention to the topics you choose for evergreen content – make sure they're relevant to your business and have staying power in terms of reader interest.
Is the knowledge foundational? Is it endlessly useful? Will people care about it later just as much as they do right now?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you have a winning evergreen content topic on your hands.
To keep this content working hard for you, tie it to a keyword you can win and optimize it for search engines.
Evergreen content that ranks in the top 10 of Google has tremendous power and potential to bring in steady website visitors and potential customers for the long term.
Create evergreen pieces alongside your more trends-focused or timely pieces, and you'll have a winning content mix.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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