With the right strategy, digital content can be the gift that keeps on giving. Trending (i.e. time-sensitive) content can be an important part of your editorial plan, but evergreen content can perform long after publication. Evergreen content describes the content that continues to be useful to readers long after it’s published. For example, publishing a piece of content on the ‘Most Popular Baby Names in 2020’ will no longer be as relevant for an intrigued parent-to-be in 2021. But a piece on ‘Best Kid Jokes’ can remain relevant each year, since nothing about the topic is tied to a particular date.
Some examples of content that is not evergreen would be news content, daily horoscopes, content about a certain trend, pop-culture fads, election content, or content covering a specific set of data points or research. Here are several examples of top-performing evergreen content from creators in the SHE Media Partner Network:
Regardless of the day, the above four pieces of content remain relevant to the person searching on Google for those topics.
Benefits of Evergreen Content
1. People search for it year-round.
Google is looking for relevancy between what a user searches for and the information you provide in your content. In order for your content to show up in search results, someone will have to search for it. Evergreen content frequents the search results since the topic always includes some sort of key-phrase.
2. And they link to it.
Because much of the content around the web is passed around from site to site, it’s common to resource where you get your information. If your content becomes a trustworthy resource for users, people will often link to it. The number of high-quality backlinks pointing to your website is one of the heaviest weighted SEO factors in Google’s search algorithm, as it has been since day one. People link to useful, usable information.
3. It can build authority for your brand.
As you focus on creating accurate, well-written content in your niche of choice, you will begin to gain traction in the search results for this topic. Using strategies like the content cluster, you will continue to write more related content on said topic and eventually establish yourself as a trusted authority. That’s the plan, anyway. It takes time though, so don’t give up when this takes more than 6 months. Stay on the course, consistently produce content people value and you will get there.
4. Fills out your editorial calendar on slow news days.
If your typical content is celebrity sightings and news events, some days are slower than others. Leverage evergreen content to get traffic on these slower news days.
5. The shelf-life of evergreen posts can be years.
For news content, 90% of a post’s traffic will come in the first 30 days. Well maintained evergreen content can drive traffic for years to come. For publisher sites, it’s important to understand your content inventory so when you’re deciding on new content angles to publish, you’ll know to go back and refresh an older version of the same angle instead of publishing another covering the same. It’s better to have one version of must-have gardening supplies and update it each Spring than to have ten published pieces on gardening supplies. Cheaper too.
But What About the Post Date?
Evergreen content does take some effort to maintain. If the idea is that this content doesn’t grow old, then it should always reflect current information. If your article headline is ‘The Best Oscar Dresses of All-Time’, then each year after the show you should update your post to include new dresses. You always want the best for your user, and that includes the most current available options. Another example, let’s say you share with your readers your favorite pajama brands and you discover a new favorite. Update the post to include it, that’s what is best for your user.
If your URLs do not include the date (or break in some other way when doing this..), AND you actually update the content to make it better, fresher, newer, more interesting, etc. then we’ve seen the best traffic results when the post date is brought current. Also important to note – whenever you try any new strategy like this, test a few, and measure the performance before fully implementing.
Evergreen Post Formats
The most common post formats for evergreens are listicles, galleries, tutorials, how-tos, FAQs, product reviews, and roundups. If you aren’t already incorporating evergreen content into your trending news types, it’s time to start!