What is evergreen content?
When we say ‘evergreen content’, we simply mean web content that won’t lose its relevance and SEO impact within a short space of time (as many news posts do). Evergreen content might take the form of a blog article, but could equally be a video, podcast, report or other from of content.
The aim of evergreen content is to drive traffic over the long term, rather than having to keep creating new content to generate short time spikes in traffic, and in order to do this we need to provide useful content that is well optimised for the search engines.
Selecting your topics
Here are some criteria you can use to decide what your content is going to be about:
- Relevance – Will your customers be interested in the content? Will they find it useful? Will people who find the content directly through a search engine be likely to buy products from your site?
- Uniqueness – How many high quality pages are already appearing in search results relating to the subject? How can you make your content unique? How can you make your content better than the established competition?
- Share-friendliness – Is this the kind of content that someone might share with their online contacts?
- Reputation – Does the content demonstrate your specialist knowledge? Does it reflect well upon your organization?
If you’re still stuck after appraising your ideas against these criteria, just think of it this way: a business’ website should seek to digitally convey the knowledge a customer would receive in real life. Think of the website as your shop floor, and your evergreen content as the seasoned member of staff who always knows exactly how to solve the customer’s problem.
What is the customer’s question, and what is the response?
Creating the content
Every website is different and should be written for with a distinct ‘tone of voice’. You may have formulated your own writerly voice already – if not, you can find some tips on how to do so in our in-depth guide.
You have your subject. You have your voice. Now you need a plan. First, identify the form your content is going to take. Here are some examples:
- In-depth feature
- Blog entry
- Information directory
A lively mixture of content types is a great way to make your website seem dynamic and appealing, so in the long term, try to create content in a variety of formats.
The information used in your evergreen content is clearly the most important factor of all. Thankfully, it is usually the easiest thing to get right.
Gather all of the information required to complete your guide from sources within your organisation; supplement that info with some wider research; and write the content in your chosen form, using your chosen tone of voice.
We need to start with keyword research so we can factor words into our content that people are actually searching for. A great free tool to start with is Serpstat.com as it not only allows you to explore what people are searching for, but also helps you understand questions that people are typing into search engines. Answering commonly asked questions is a great way to build effective evergreen content. By using Serpstat you can start with a search phrase, get search suggestions and then select ‘Only Questions’ to se the questions people are asking related to that phrase.
Next, it’s time to think about search engines – it’s time to do some SEO! When it boils down to it, that’s easier than some of you might think.
Choose a phrase that people would type into Google to find content like yours. Now find a way to incorporate that phrase into the title of the page. Remember to include that phrase in the URL, Title and main Heading of the page. Of course SEO treatments can go much further than this, but these easy steps will suffice for now.
- Make it actionable – content that serves primarily to stimulate the mind can be important, entertaining and enriching… but content that teaches the reader in direct terms how to do something new or how to improve an existing skill makes a bigger difference in the short term. Have a browse through our blog – we always strive to include at least one actionable insight in our articles.
- Combine words and images – a combination of copy with rich media like images and videos is the most tried and tested way to please both your readers and search engines alike.
- Less is more – don’t over-complicate your content. Make sure every sentence serves a purpose.
- More is more – to rank well in web searches you’ll need plenty of content. We’d recommend a word count in the region of 1,000 for your most important evergreen content, and 400 or more for supplementary pages. The content of a page is one of the key factors search engines take into account when they decide which searches it should crop up for – so try to make it long, high quality and on-topic.
Proving it works
Once you’ve started titling your page titles effectively, you should start to see an increase in traffic from the search engines in the long term. The screen shot below shows a report in Google analytics that tells us how much traffic we have received to different content on our website. This report can be found under Behaviour->Site Content->All Pages.
We then want to drill into and find out how much of that traffic is from social media and how much is from the Search Engines. We can do this by clicking on the title of the piece of content we are interested in, then clicking on add “Secondary Dimension” and selecting “Source/Medium”, as highlighted in the image below:
We can now see for the piece of content we have selected that the majority of traffic is now coming from organic search in Google (227 Pageviews), some directly (30 Pageviews) and the rest, except for 1 Pageview from Facebook. This content was actually written over 18 months ago, so this demonstrates that once past the initial spike in social traffic, the content is now driving long term search traffic each month.
The title of the blog post works well in social media but it also answers a question, so has managed to pick up lots of search engine traffic over the long term.
Making the most of your evergreen content
Once you’ve given your first big pieces of evergreen content pride of place in your website navigation, you can a.) Give yourself a big pat on the back and b.) Start thinking about how you can turn that content into the greatest possible asset for your site.
Paid social distribution
Social media is a fantastic way to get your top quality content out to a wider audience – and you’re likelier to spark plenty of page views and shares if you’re willing to spend some money to stimulate the process.
The easiest way to do this would probably be through a Sponsored Facebook post, which will allow you to target appropriate interest groups at a relatively low cost. Start off with a small investment and see how many interactions and conversions you can attract. You should also consider adding your evergreen pages into your paid search strategy.
Use Google Analytics to find out how many users are reaching your site through your evergreen content pages, and what search phrases they are using to find it. You can then revisit your content and add in a few extra paragraphs relating to those phrases, in order to secure even better search rankings and increased traffic.