You can easily argue the story of Adam and Eve is one of oldest examples of evergreen content. Millions of people still read the Bible’s biblical accounts, translate them, and actively seek them out – myriad of lifetimes later. That’s an impressive accomplishment!
Today’s authors, especially those creating blog posts and landing pages, rejoice when their content continues to attract attention even just months after it was published. Why do some posts outlive others? We’re glad you asked.
What is Evergreen Content Really?
The purpose behind online content development and a Holy Text is a ‘tad’ (read significantly) different. However, the hope for its longevity is the same – attracting a large audience.
This is what evergreen content is. It’s content that continues to attract organic traffic long after it’s been published. We’re talking months and even years. This doesn’t mean that a piece will get massive amounts of traffic right out of the gate.
In fact, a large majority of pieces deemed ‘evergreen content’ grow their organic pageviews over time. As a post or page is indexed, visited by regular readers, shared on social media, and linked to from external sources, its Google rank increases. This, in turn, helps it attract more organic traffic.
Typically, there are two types of evergreen content:
1. Timeless Evergreen Content
Timeless evergreen content is content that remains relevant and accurate no matter how much time has passed. It’s not impacted by changes in culture, updates to rules and regulations or shifts in industry best practices.
This type of evergreen content doesn’t need to be updated regularly. It can simply keep existing and attracting visitors in its original form. As you can imagine, this timeless evergreen content is extremely rare. Common examples are entertainment and media. People still search for the cast of Seinfeld, for example.
2. Sustainable Evergreen Content
Sustainable evergreen content is the most common form of evergreen content. This is content that requires occasional maintenance – such as updates to reflect the most recent industry standards or new research. While this certainly requires more work on your end, the traffic brought in is worth the additional time and resources required – as long as you have a goal to leverage the traffic.
How to Create Evergreen Content
Whether it ends up being evergreen content or not, writing relevant and engaging copy is an investment. If we could have our way, every piece we write would be evergreen. Does this happen? No. It doesn’t happen for anyone.
Why? Because there’s no silver bullet or surefire strategy to creating evergreen content. The good news is, there are some key strategies and approaches that can help you create and maintain content that continues to attract organic traffic long after it’s published. These include:
Publish Original Copy
Duplicate content refers to content that appears in multiple locations throughout the web. Technically, Google won’t penalize you for having duplicate content on your site. However, it can cause your Google rank to suffer and your site to lose traffic. This is in large part because Google values originality (and so do your readers!), so it gives original content a higher rank.
This doesn’t mean your post has to be a completely out of the shower original thought. If it is, that’s great. But more often than not, you’re going to discuss a subject that’s already been covered elsewhere. To make your content original and valuable, you need to introduce a new perspective. This could include:
Sharing your professional advice
Sharing an experience
Providing a more detailed and thorough explanation/how-to
Investigating a subject more closely
Exploring a new angle on a topic
Asking a question in a new way
Make it Reader-Friendly
In a lot of ways Google rank is a cyclical cycle. The more traffic you get, the more it helps your rank, and the more Google sends traffic your way. However, traffic (aka Pageviews) isn’t the only factor Google uses to determine the value of a page.
It’s far from it.
There are roughly 200 factors (that are generally known and speculated) – not counting the secret ones – that Google uses to evaluate your page. Important usability factors can include page speed, how the content is written and structured, how much content there is, and more than we can write about in this one post. To try and put it succinctly, does the page load quickly, securely, and correctly, with content that is clear in intent, skimmable, and mobile friendly?
All this doesn’t necessarily mean just write more content. You don’t want to add a bunch of words just for the sake of adding words. It does mean make your content reader-friendly. This means remembering your visitors have a short attention span and are likely to skim your blog post.
You’ll want to use headers to create an easy to skim outline. Breaking up paragraphs helps give readers a visual break. Incorporating images is another highly effective tool for grabbing a visitors attention and communicating your message.
Time on Page is an analytics measurement you can use to gauge how reader-friendly your content is and how effective your updates are. The longer visitors stay on your page, more often than not, the more valuable a visitor will typically consider your content to be.
It’s worth noting, there’s a lot more to evaluating page value than simply looking at Time on Page. Different types of pages are intended to perform differently. You’ll want to consider how far down the page visitors are scrolling and whether they are engaging with your page.
You’ll also want to take a look at a page’s bounce rate. A page with decent inbound traffic, but a high bounce rate and low time on page warrant some consideration. Is the intended action to give the user a quick answer? If this is the case, a high bounce rate may be expected, just ask Rand Fishkin:
However, if you want users to explore deeper into your site, it may be worth revisiting the content. Furthermore, you’ll benefit from running a quantitative (what and where) and qualitative (why) research to understand what barriers exist?
Your analytics help you understand what is happening - make sure you’re collecting the right data.
Optimize Your Content with Schema
Schema is an incredibly powerful markup (semantic vocabulary) that helps search engines deliver a more complete result to users. This is code embedded in your website, meaning it’s invisible to visitors.
However, it can significantly boost your website’s search result real estate displaying relevant details like menus, events, products and services.
Invite Quality Inbound Links
Inbound links are another factor Google uses to determine the value of your content. The more high-quality sites (read valuable and trustworthy) that are linking to your content, the better.
You don’t want to pay for spammy service to link to your content. However, it can be worthwhile to identify blogs and websites with audiences what might benefit from your content. You can send an email to the website admin, sharing a brief overview of the post you just published, a link to it, and a recommendation of where on their site they might link to your post.
Evergreen Content Strategy to Maximize Traffic & Leads
Creating an evergreen content strategy isn’t some special, unheard of practice. Your content marketing team should always be trying to create evergreen content by using principles and best practices to attract leads, increase conversions, and improve your return on investment (ROI). These include:
Identifying Relevant Topics
Your content marketing team should get to know your business. They should learn about the products and/or services you provide, the problems your business helps solve, the benefits you offer, and the questions your customers have. All of these areas of interest help lay the groundwork for relevant topics that not only relate to your business, but are of interest to your ideal audience.
Conducting In-depth SEO Research
Once your content marketing team has identified potential topics for blog posts or landing pages, they should then conductive in-depth SEO research. This will help the identify keywords with a high volume of traffic (a lot of people searching for it) and a low competition (not a lot of other sites providing an answer, no regular quick answer results, results with old dates, or few ads).
Monitor and Maintain
The best content marketing teams know that a blog post isn’t a one-and-done investment. They monitor the performance of posts after they are published, updating the posts as needed. This can help content remain relevant and accurate. Discover quick updates and high-level improvements to strengthen old content for a better rank.
Start Developing Evergreen Content
Ready to start seeing a long-term benefit from your content marketing investment? Talk to our creative team today to explore ways to strengthen your content marketing strategy to increase leads and drive sales.
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