The battle to create fresh new content is one that every marketer and small business website owner fights day in, day out. Under constant pressure to fill a website with new posts, articles, news and press releases, quality and creativity can often wilt.
Creating good, quality content may not always be possible when you are under pressure to produce a certain quantity of information too. But if you try and meet Google’s guidelines each time you update your site, you’ll likely be familiar with their suggestions as to what good quality content should contain. Under the usual list of requirements – originality, freshness, uniqueness, engagement, relevance, authority – you should also now add a new consideration: evergreen.
Evergreen content is not a new concept. But as Google introduces tougher and tougher ranking signals, considers more external influences and as your industry gets saturated with an ocean of virtual content, considering this established principle can help your content marketing campaign to be more well-rounded. It could even help you get an edge on competitors who focus on new SEO fads and forget the tried and tested techniques that continue to be relevant.
Evergreen is a term that was coined to describe content that is not time-sensitive and will be just as useful in the long term as it is in the short term. It isn’t content that is driven by current events or news items so press releases, product announcements and launches are all out. Rather it is something that a reader could happen upon in 12 month or 6 years time and still find the content informative and useable.
Unlike the majority of your blog posts, articles or other web content, evergreen content acts as a reference point, whose value will not diminish with the passage of time as news-based content will. This type of content will often be based on the principles surrounding your particular niche or industry. An article on the history of the internet for example could be considered to be a piece of evergreen content. An article on the Panda algorithm would not be considered evergreen as a new algorithm change would render that information outdated. If you sell cars, an article on the release of a new Ford model would not be evergreen. A piece on how to change a tire would. If you sell clothes, an article on how to tie a shoelace or a man’s tie would be evergreen. An article on this season’s fashion trends would not.
Creating evergreen content does require a little more forethought and a lot more research. It can also require more curation and care over time. While evergreen content is designed to stand the test of time, that doesn’t mean that it won’t need updating every now and then. Labeling a content evergreen should not be considered an excuse to let the content gather virtual dust. Depending on your industry, it may need updating to remain current if a major new development arises, allowing the page to still be considered a worthwhile reference further down the line.
Think of a dictionary or encyclopedia, which are classic examples of evergreen content. Even if you have an older version, published several years ago, you can still refer to it and get reliable, trusted and helpful content. However, at the same time, the publishers would be remiss if they didn’t update their entries with new information as it became available – new scientific research for example which deepens our understanding of a disease or a natural phenomenon should be incorporated into the original listing to keep that evergreen content evergreen.
The reason for putting in all of this effort to create one piece of evergreen content – instead of say five pieces of regular content – is traffic. An evergreen piece of content will remain naturally relevant, which means it is more likely to continue to attract visitors, readers and referrals over time. This makes it exponentially more valuable that a regular piece of content which may peak in the first seven days after its publication and then fade away. Having a piece of evergreen content you can rely on will help with your search engine marketing by providing a constant inbound stream of links – there’s no time limit on when the piece needs to reach its saturation point so you can still tweet a link to it or share the post in 12 months time, bringing in a fresh new batch of readers and potential customers.
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