Man writing evergreen content on laptop

If you’re writing content (or having it written) for your website, you may have heard the phrase ‘evergreen content’ being mentioned as content strategists draw up their plans. Terms like this are part of the broad and constantly evolving marketing lexicon, and you may be interested in what this particular one refers to.

It’s an idyllic-sounding phrase, but what does it actually mean? Is it a risky choice to take, or is it just part of a healthy content strategy?

 

What is evergreen content?

Evergreen content is content that will, in theory, always be relevant. This type of content should need only occasional updates to ensure it remains truthful and relevant.

A good example of this is SEO guides, which become outdated due to constant algorithm changes and advancements in the ways search engines behave.

Evergreen content is the gift that keeps on giving. Its ability to draw in readers should be just as good – if not better – several years down the line as it was when it was first posted.

This type of content doesn’t need to be vague or general to stay relevant. Well-written content around niche topics can stay evergreen just as effectively as broader topics that are widely recognised, particularly if that piece of content comes to be the de-facto best source of information on that subject.

Websites that have earned a high spot in SERP rankings are keen to hold on to their place, which is why it’s now common to see a post denoted with information that specifies when it was originally written and the date of its most recent update.

Some content, particularly news articles, will employ an opposite approach by pointing out when an article is more than two years old. By doing so, a publisher is signalling that its content is not evergreen, and information within might have become outdated.

 

Why is it called evergreen content?

The term is borrowed from the name used in botany to describe plants that last through various seasons and weather changes. Evergreen trees retain their foliage throughout winter while other trees shed their leaves and turn barren for a time.

The concept is similarly applied to content, replacing long, cold winters for changing political, informational and cultural paradigm shifts, and indeed anything that can threaten the accuracy and relevance of content over time. Every piece of writing is a product of its time. For instance, a guide to making content strategies written in 2010 will most certainly not be up to par with one written today.

Evergreen content can’t always simply be ‘planted and forgotten’, though. It will often need occasional updates to stay current. In the case of some subjects wherein knowledge is constantly changing, those updates may need to be more frequent. Content such as reviews, however, will often stay relevant without the need for updates besides the occasional link to a newer iteration of a product.

So, the name is not meant to represent content that is automatically timeless. Rather, it’s more sustainable than short-term content that will easily ‘die off’ with time.

 

Why is evergreen content important?

Evergreen content is important for a number of reasons and, depending on the reasons you want visitors to your website, it may be an essential cornerstone of your entire content strategy.

It shows dedication

Evergreen content shows a certain level of dedication beyond a one-off piece of content. Businesses aiming to keep their blog updated with a steady stream of content may assume they don’t necessarily need to worry about a piece becoming outdated in a year’s time. It will be buried by newer posts and nobody is going to be reading it anyway, right?

Don’t forget that just because a page is ‘old’ by the logic of your website, it isn’t gone and Google certainly hasn’t forgotten it. The page will still be indexed by search engines and if somebody searches the keywords linked therein, it will still appear among the results for that search.

By writing a piece of content designed to be evergreen and committing to regular updates, you will send the signal to visitors that you’re dedicated to being a source of information that stays relevant and you’re not just looking to be a content mill. This leads to further benefits…

You earn trust

Dedication to your content and the outward expertise of your website means that people will come to trust you as a source of knowledge and information. This can lead to backlinks to your evergreen content, further increasing its strength in the SERPs and leading more people to it.

Sources like news outlets that are looking to be trustworthy sources of information will be looking for high-quality sources in turn. Which would appeal most to somebody trying to point to trustworthy information: a week-old article or one that has been continually updated over the past five years?

It keeps you adaptable

Evergreen content is written with change in mind, making you ready to adapt in the wake of shifts in your market and in global events. If your content team is bearing this in mind, you may find that you’re quicker off the mark with updates than competing information sources.

Additionally, those who haven’t written evergreen content may be looking at writing a whole new article as opposed to updating an existing one, further consuming their time.

You’re imparting value

Good inbound marketing should be looking to give something to its customers in the form of useful information, helpful tips, and meaningful interactions. Evergreen content can achieve that in a big way, often single-handedly.

Timeless guides and how-tos can be built up over time to become invaluable one-stop sources of information, presenting ideal entry points for customers and valuable opportunities to drive them towards your sales funnel.

Your content burden is eased

Having a piece of content that you can rely on every year means less planning from scratch every time you need to make your plans. For example, a plumbing business could write ‘the ultimate guide to getting your boiler ready for winter’, with occasional necessary updates, and make that an integral part of their marketing in the coldest months year after year.

Combined with the aforementioned boosts to your trustworthiness and authority shown by these updates, the company could also win extra business getting their name out during peak times, or earning a little bit more in times when the market is usually slower.

Contemplating wriing content that will become evergreen

How do you write evergreen content?

Evergreen content, like all of your content, needs to be relevant to the standpoint from which you’re writing. It may be that you’re already writing content that makes for ideal evergreen pieces, like product reviews or guides on matters that are constantly relevant like house sales or pet care. In these cases, the subject matter doesn’t need to change, but the approach to writing it may need to.

A great way of helping this along is by including an FAQ section answering the most common issues, backed up by thorough research into your target audience. You could also use questions directly from readers and customers and answer them for future reference, either sent to through customer service channels or requested through your social media channels.

Writing evergreen content should also find a way to showcase your unique approach to the topic, seeing as a lot of evergreen topics have been tackled many times previously.

This unique edge could come in the form of problems you’ve solved for customers in the past, expert advice or opinions from your staff, or your own analysis of existing information sources. This can make your content a kind of meta source of information, amalgamating other pieces and enhancing their value beyond just their sum.

While writing content intended to be evergreen, look at it as thoroughly and critically as possible. Ask yourself if there are any gaps that can be filled in with research, any customer problems you can anticipate and answer, any helpful readability features you could incorporate (delighting customers with such touches they didn’t expect or didn’t even know they wanted always goes a long way).

This is why listicles and step-by-step guides are so effective as pieces of evergreen content; they’re simple, digestible, and easily referable.

 

What makes good evergreen content?

This can be broken down simply, and somewhat mathematically. First, let’s look at some of the things that make good content:

 

  • Accuracy: Content that is accurate in both its information and presentation is inherently more valuable. Well-sourced content that has been written with sound and well-chosen language is worth more than vague language that makes sweeping generalisations (“everybody knows that X is better than Y”) and unsubstantiated claims.

 

  • Trustworthiness: Content coming from a source that has no credentials to speak of will not land well neither in the minds of readers nor the eyes of Google. Google’s EAT guidelines specifically factor trustworthiness into their appraisals of the content on their SERPs, and part of this is looking into just how much a person or business can be trusted in their chosen field. If people don’t know why they should trust you, the same goes for your content.

 

  • Relevance: Internet users these days are largely savvy to ‘clickbait’ – content that is headlined in a way that makes use of deceptive language to hook in reader attention, often without delivering on its initial promise. Research into clickbait has shown that its effects are not only not evidenced, but can be detrimental to the content’s performance. Ensure your content meets its goals and gets to the point. Respect your reader’s time.

 

  • Optimisation: This is more relevant for you than for your readers, but it’s important nonetheless if you’re writing content with SEO in mind. A beautiful piece of content is no good for your marketing efforts if it hasn’t been built with a specific goal in mind, making use of researched keywords and targeting customer needs.

 

If we take these and other aspects that make a good piece of marketing content, then apply the principles of being relatively timeless and easily maintainable into the future, we have good evergreen content.

Well-written pieces on specific one-time events or on a limited edition product may make for good content, but their ability to be evergreen is another matter. Good evergreen content has to be as sustainable as it is technically sound, and ideally something that will be shared and backlinked for years to come.

 

How do you identify evergreen content?

Some websites might make their evergreen content obvious by positioning it at the forefront of their website layout and showing how recently the piece was updated.

Content that is responsive to the latest trends or a current fashion isn’t evergreen and likely won’t be sustained into the future.

 

Where can I find evergreen content topics?

If you have existing content, it may be worth going through the topics that have been written around and the topics you have planned for future. Identify areas that present futureproof talking points and might make for good evergreen content pieces.

You could find evergreen content based on competitor research and seeing what others are doing, or you could find that there’s an essential gap in content that nobody else is covering (or at least covering in a good enough way).

You don’t want to simply copy your competition, but do take inspiration from their successes and think about how you can do it better.

 

Evergreen content as part of your strategy

Evergreen content is fantastic for your SEO, but it’s just a part of a comprehensive SEO strategy. We at Aqueous Digital are undeniable experts in designing a content strategy that will help your business stand out amidst the competition, even in highly competitive marketing landscapes like Manchester SEO.

To learn more about us and our services, contact us today.

This article was written by
13th July 2022

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