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Guest Post By Helen Cartwright
In Search Engine Optimization (SEO) circles, you’ll hear the term “evergreen content” thrown around. If you create content as an SEO strategy—and you should, just ask Google—understanding and applying evergreen content to your website should rapidly make its way to the top of your ‘to do’ list. It’s that important.
If you’ve been paying any attention at all the past few years, you know that Google has made it mission number one to crush all SEO techniques that don’t involve providing value to searchers. You’ve probably heard it before, but we’ll repeat it for fun: “Content is king!” To that, we’ll add: “And evergreen content is the best.”
What Does That Evergreen Mean?
The best way to think about evergreen content is an article that never loses usefulness or impact with the passage of time. It’s eternal. Ten years from now people will still be interested enough to slow down in their daily rush to read and engage with it. To get more specific, let’s think about it like this: an article about Justin Bieber’s latest music release would be about as NON-evergreen as you can get.
An article such as this has a couple of things working against it. The first is that Justin Bieber’s shining star is likely to fade as the years march on. In five years, it is highly improbable that people will be as interested in him as they are now. In ten years, even less. And those who might still pause to read an article about his music would probably already own the music in question and not have much interest in reading about it again.
Here is a quick list of the kinds of topics that tend not to be evergreen:
- Time period related statistics
- News stories
- Content targeting daily trends or current celebrity actions
- Fashion trends
All of the preceding will have a lifespan of a month or less, maybe even days or hours. After that, no one will care. In general, this is not the kind of content you want to build your website on. You probably suspect the obvious drawback to a non-evergreen focus. Your website ends up carrying around a lot of dead weight that no one ever looks at, and the only way to stay relevant is to pump out new material at an exhausting rate.
How To Create Evergreen Content
Lucky dog, we’re about to let you in on the way to craft your evergreen content that sucks in visitors year after year. It’s not a complicated task. You just have to understand what the final result should look like.
Aim At Beginners:
An excellent way to create a piece of evergreen content is to target beginners. As you write, assume the reader is starting from square one on the topic. This sets you up to draw in the largest number of readers, especially if you have a great title, because even readers with some knowledge on your chosen subject are likely to have enough interest to stop and see if there is a new tidbit to learn. If you do your job of writing an awesomely readable and enjoyable piece of content, there’s a good chance they’ll click around to other things you’ve written.
Precision In Topic Selection:
Don’t make the mistake that an evergreen article targeted at beginners should be general in nature. No! How interesting does an article titled, “How to Be Happy,” sound? Not very. But if you get into the nuts and bolts of the topic and end up with something like, “7 Incredibly Simple Steps to Becoming the Happiest Person Alive,” well, then you have something. Both the title and article should be precise and actionable. Only specific advice has the potential to become evergreen.
Stick With A Simple Format:
With this type of content, you’re not trying to create the next great work of literature. Remember, the goal is to get people to read and share the content. Your best bet is to stick with a familiar and proven format like a list, sequence of tips, reviews, or precise and concise Wikipedia-style articles. The process of creating evergreen content is not the time to try out wildly creative—and indecipherable—prose.
The Value Of A Picture:
There’s a reason YouTube has been a mainstay at the top of the world’s most popular websites for years; people love videos. They also love images. The best evergreen content makes proper use of one or preferably both. The reality is that most people don’t like to stare at a text-packed screen. Employ short, punchy paragraphs and break up the monotony with videos embedded from YouTube and high-quality images with a Creative Commons license. (The latter simply means you are free to use the images without fear of a copyright violation.)
Revisit The Topic Now And Then:
Even most evergreen posts aren’t truly eternal. Things change. Life moves on. Don’t be afraid to come back to these posts and refresh them with updated material or new thinking that you’ve acquired on the matter. We’re not talking a major overhaul but just enough to keep it as fresh as possible. And don’t forget to let it be known in your social media accounts that you have updated the article. A new surge of visits could cause a nice bump in website traffic and, depending on your product or service, more money in the pocket.
A Final Thought
In most cases, no website should be populated entirely with evergreen articles. You can’t ignore present trends and broad interests because those types of posts are also good Google juice. Take a mix-and-match approach. You might even have more non-evergreen content than evergreen.
There’s no secret ratio. Think of the evergreen content as the sound basis of your web business. While the rest of the articles wax and wane in popularity, the evergreen stuff keeps churning away in the background, bringing in visitors and dispensing great information.
About the author: Helen Cartwright writes for helencartwright.com and as a ghostwriter. She’s been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post and Entrepreneur.com.