Content marketers and SEOs love to talk about “evergreen content” — a form of content creation that produces timeless and relevant pages.
What many SEOs don’t realize is just how powerful the evergreen strategy can be for their overall SEO strategy. An evergreen page, properly created and used, can add massive SEO value to a website.
In this article, I will explain what an evergreen page is, and how to create them for your website. Be prepared for some surprises. The evergreen strategy may be much different from what you expected.
What is an Evergreen Page?
Let me settle one thing here at the get-go. I’m not going to explain how to write evergreen content.
Evergreen content, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, is a mindset, not just a style of writing. Creating evergreen content is not easily outdated or irrelevant. What I’m explaining in this article is how to create the pages that contain that content.
For sake of definition, an evergreen page is a single page on your website that consistently earns organic traffic for a given keyword.
Pretty general, huh? That’s the point. Evergreen is a comprehensive strategy rather than a method. By this definition, your homepage could be an evergreen page. In fact, the homepage is one of the most likely candidates for the evergreen strategy. A blog article could be an evergreen page. Even some e-commerce pages qualify for evergreen potential.
Let me show you some examples of these evergreen pages. Notice the different styles of pages, and the different qualities that characterize each one.
Product Category Pages
Many e-commerce SEOs pull their hair out over the pain of optimizing hundreds of thousands of pages for specific products. Another complicating factor of e-commerce sites is that many pages are dynamically generated, creating a mess of URLs and a loss of SEO potential.
Evergreen pages can solve this conundrum. Let me show you.
When I type in “outdoor grill’ or”gas grill,” Home Depot’s product category page is in the top organic 1-3 results on Google. Why?
In large part, it is because they have a product category evergreen page. Although the featured products on the page may change occasionally, the evergreen nature of the page doesn’t.
- It has a keyword-driven title: Gas Grills, Charcoal Grills & Grill Accessories
- It has a keyword-driven H1: Grills & Grill Accessories
- It has plenty of content
It’s an evergreen page, but this doesn’t mean it lacks conversion optimization.
It needs each of these elements in order to qualify as an evergreen page.
To make your e-commerce pages evergreen, here is a strategic tip. Focus your evergreen strategy on category pages. These are the pages most likely to gain rank. Plus, you can focus on a handful of them, rather than trying to optimize every single product page, which could be an insurmountable task. The URL structure of product pages is often perfectly adapted to the evergreen strategy.
Little Tikes, for example, uses this method in their category page for playhouses and clubhouses. The page has sufficient optimization, producing an evergreen strategy that gains traffic for these keywords.
The page has both content and a conversion-focused product selection, giving them great evergreen potential.
Content Driven Pages
Content is what drives the evergreen page strategy. Consider, for example, the keyword “graphic design software.” It’s a highly difficult work to rank for.
The top organic result for “graphic design software” isn’t a software site at all. It’s an article. The article outranks Canva, Adobe, Cnet, and Best Buy.
Content. The page is a 600+ word article with helpful illustrations, great formatting, and well-written content.
This page earns tons of traffic and huge organic keyword ranking, precisely because it has an evergreen content strategy.
A homepage is a powerful place for unleashing the evergreen strategy. Notice how this is done in the homepage below.
BDry uses a lot of content to advance their strategy. The homepage has testimonials from users, four videos, a map, social plugins, trust seals, and star ratings. All of this content reinforces the keyword-driven strategy.
As a result, BDry is the number one result for several significant longtails and local queries.
How do I Create Them?
Now, let’s talk technique. What can you do to create evergreen pages for your site?
Pick a Single Longtail Keyword
Your evergreen page should focus on a single longtail keyword. Head terms like “SEO” and “Apple” probably aren’t the best target terms. Instead, go for the longtail terms that describe your product or service.
Create a Keyword-Driven URL
One characteristic I’ve noted in many evergreen pages is their focused URL. Many times, the top-ranked results have a one-to-one correlation with many of the words in a query.
In the example below, Kalzumeus outranks Conversion Rate Experts. Conversion Rate Experts has a more authoritative page (PA 53), and a higher number of links (135), but Kalzumeus (PA 36, 6 links) has a closer query/URL relevance.
The page title is the single most important SEO element on the page. Optimize your title. Optimize it well. Much of your SEO rankability depends on this crucial element.
In keeping with good SEO strategy, you should optimize your H1s. Sadly, I’ve seen some SEOs who try to create evergreen pages with no H1. This is a mistake. After checking out your title, web crawlers look at your headings to find out how relevant they are. Make sure that they see a nice longtail keyword in the H1.
Lots of Content
Stocking your evergreen page with content is what truly makes it evergreen. You simply cannot have an evergreen page without having plenty of great content.
Give your content the attention and care it deserves. Use a nice visual layout, images, videos, links, and most importantly, just plain helpful copy.
Update the Page Regularly
One of the mistaken beliefs about evergreen content is that you can make it and leave it. Since it’s evergreen, you can simply create the page and allow it to flourish, right?
Google’s algorithm prefers to front-load the SERPs with fresh content — that is pages that have been updated recently. Old pages, no matter how awesomely evergreen they are, may be viewed as “stale” by the algorithm.
This preference for fresh content is known as the “freshness factor,” and dates back to Google’s 2003 algorithm patent. The freshness factor affects the way that Google loads content based on query and based on the updated status of the content.
Moz’s Cyrus Shepard explains, “All other factors being equal, fresh content degrades over time and is less successful for certain queries.”
I want to emphasize this point, because it sounds paradoxical. After all, if a page is truly evergreen, then why is it necessary to make regular changes and updates? Many SEOs and content marketers not realizing the dynamic appetite of the algorithm, simply neglect their evergreen pages once they are created. Instead of constantly curating this search gold mine, they let it just sit there where it loses efficacy.
Eventually, some old evergreen pages will simply collect dust and fade into oblivion. The secret of truly successful evergreen content is keeping the page fresh. Instead of being blinded by the whole “evergreen” analogy, think of your page as a houseplant that brings beauty to your home. In order for it to keep giving beauty, you have to keep watering it, pruning off old leaves, adding nutrients, and placing it in the sunlight.
Evergreen pages should have value on their own merit, but they need your regular attention in order to make that value even higher.
The simple takeaway is this: Update your evergreen pages. How much should you change? How often? Here are some of my personal guidelines, that are reinforced by Moz’s research:
- Change the page’s content once every three months.
- Change at least 25% of the content. Deleting, adding, or moving all qualifies as “change”.
- Add additional pages, too. You can enhance your existing evergreen content by building out more content on the site as a whole. Add 20-30% more pages annually.
- Make changes to the most significant areas of the page — H1, above-the-fold content, meta descriptions, etc.
- Make sure that the page has a consistent rate of link acquisition (earning inbound links). Evidently, link acquisition rate has an effect on the freshness factor. Pages that regularly earn new links to them are considered fresher and more likely to appear higher in the SERPs.
- Try to earn links from other fresh sites. The type of link that you acquire also has an effect. Google evidently prefers incoming links from other sites that reflect fresh qualities.
- If you have any control over inbound anchor texts, don’t change them. Changes in anchor text, especially significant ones, aren’t seen as a good thing.
- After you update your evergreen content, you should distribute it socially again. This allows it to have increased user engagement, which is an additional layer of freshness.
If you want to create evergreen pages, don’t simply view them as a one-and-done methodology. Instead, regularly return to these pages and continue optimizing them for maximum success.
Evergreen is a comprehensive strategy that should characterize much of your SEO activity. Evergreen is not a single silver bullet, but rather a wide range of strategy that will impact your entire site.
If you think evergreen, act evergreen, and create evergreen, you’ll start to see amazing results. It might even feel miraculous.
How do you create evergreen pages?
Featured Image: Allen Cooper via Shutterstock