There’s nothing mysterious about the idea of “evergreen content.” It’s quite simply content that lasts. However, its utter simplicity belies its enormous potential as a cornerstone of any content marketing initiative.
Content that lasts is content that readers return to. It’s content that attracts new readers just by being there. It gives you an audience that’s constantly incorporating new members, because it’s always relevant. It’s always useful or, at least, interesting. It’s timeless content that people tend to bookmark once they know it’s there. It’s “sticky,” as they say.
It’s also the kind of content that people tend to find in the first place, because truly evergreen content has a way of achieving enviable search rankings for several reasons.
1) It’s valuable content: Evergreen content tends to be long or, to be more jargon-friendly, it tends to have a high word count. The algorithmic preferences of search engines aren’t exactly transparent, but experience bears out their preference for the longer form.
Obviously, the presence of more words yields an opportunity to use more keywords – and to do it without keyword-stuffing – but there’s more to it than that. By its very nature, evergreen content contains valuable information, and lots of it. When the content is valuable, the keywords come naturally.
2) The value of evergreen content is recognized by both humans and machines, and their mutual affection for the evergreen produces the kind of synergy that drives rankings higher. Again, the precise mechanism behind that phenomenon isn’t always clear, and the search giants have no interest in making things any clearer, but experience in the dark arts of SEO bears this out.
3) As an added benefit, highly ranked content that has stood the test of time tends to stay at the top of search results. Once entrenched, it can be difficult to dislodge. As a result, great content can generate significant traffic long after its initial publication.
An investment in evergreen content is one that can pay off for a very long time, certainly for long after it’s paid for itself in full. And, while it pays off in rankings and in leads, it also pays off in a less quantifiable way by growing your reputation as an expert source and by generating mountains of good will. And it does all this over the long haul, constantly renewing itself.
If you’re going to shoot for evergreen, this is not the place to skimp. It’s something worth getting right.
The classic evergreen is a definitive guide to one of your key subjects, the kind of guide that may need a minor update from time to time but that never loses its usefulness altogether. With that Platonic ideal of the evergreen in mind, much of the best content of this type is content that’s aimed at beginners, not experts.
Ask us about the guy who became a blogger on swimming pools and saw sales of his custom-made pools boom. In another example, let’s say that you run a site devoted to cable and wireless technology. Your evergreen content might consist of a thorough rundown of the factors to consider when choosing a cable modem. You might have to tweak that content from time to time as new technology emerged, but the heart of what you’ve published needn’t change much. A lengthy article about installing non-standard firmware, while useful to a more limited audience and certainly worthy of a link from your original piece, would not be the place to start creating something evergreen.
When thinking about beginner-focused content, your audience does matter. If you’re running a site aimed at professionals in a given field, the definition of “beginner” isn’t quite the same definition you’d apply to a B2C site or to a site aimed at obsessively fanatical tinkerers. Your most evergreen content may be a little more advanced, but the principles, and the potential payoff, remain the same.
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