What is Evergreen Content and Why Should You Care?

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If you’re new to the field of blog management, you may have heard the phrase “evergreen content” thrown around time and time again by industry experts. But what is evergreen content and why is it so important to your blog’s overall success? Let’s clear up these questions and more by taking an in-depth look at the role this important content type plays in your blog’s success.

Target your audience with contentFirst of all, evergreen content has nothing to do with fir trees, nor with the color of the text it’s printed in. Instead, evergreen content represents the posts and articles on your blog that will always be relevant to your audience, compared to topics that may change over time.

This distinction is best explained with an example…

Suppose you run an introductory SEO blog. In this case, an article titled “What is SEO?” could be an example of evergreen content, as the definition of the acronym “SEO” isn’t going to change in this context. That definition will always be helpful to industry newbies, and the topic itself will continue to provide enduring value to the blog’s audience over time.

On the other hand, the post topic, “What are the Current SEO Best Practices?” isn’t an example of an evergreen topic, as every single Google algorithm change necessitates a revision in recommended SEO techniques. If this post were published to our basic SEO blog, its value would only persist as long as Google’s recommendations remain consistent, meaning that it will quickly become outdated.

That, in a nutshell, is what evergreen content is. It is content that will always be considered up-to-date and that will always be of primary interest to the readers of your blog. But what this definition doesn’t answer is why evergreen content should play a role in every blog manager’s arsenal.

In response to the second part of our question, it’s important to understand that evergreen content offers several key advantages to blogs and their readers:

  • From a blog management standpoint, evergreen content is more effective than date-oriented content, as it can be written once and enjoyed by many different readers over time. Publishing evergreen content diminishes the workload on blog managers, as these posts can be re-run in the future while still providing value to the audience at large.
  • At the same time, evergreen content benefits readers by providing basic information that’s crucial to understanding and enjoying other articles posted to the site. Following our SEO blog example above, a reader coming to the site without any SEO background would be lost without our introductory “What is SEO?” article, rendering further blog content that builds upon this basic definition useless to this reader.

Sound good? If you’re ready to get started creating compelling evergreen content for your website, be sure to take a look at the following guidelines on how to use this publishing style appropriately:

Evergreen Content Can Take a Number of Different Formats

When it comes to writing your evergreen content, simply starting out can seem like the most difficult part of the entire process. After all, how can you distill all of the enduring knowledge you have to share with your audience into a few simple posts?

If you find yourself stuck at the starting line, consider any of the following post formats to help jumpstart your creative process:

  • “How to” guides and tutorials: Process-based documentation often makes for great evergreen content, assuming the techniques you describe won’t be changing in the near future.
  • Resource lists: Similarly, groupings of popular industry resources provides a great starting point for beginners in your niche, though you’ll want to periodically check your links to be sure that none of the resources you reference are taken offline.
  • Unchanging stances on industry issues: This can be a tricky one to use in your evergreen content (as few things in this world are truly unchanging), though you should be able to come up with at least a few position descriptions on broad topics that aren’t likely to change significantly.
  • “Frequently Asked Questions”: FAQ posts can provide helpful guidance to beginners in your field, making these articles important parts of your evergreen content campaigns.
  • Industry definitions: Finally, you can’t go wrong with evergreen posts that define common acronyms and jargon phrases in your industry. These definitions aren’t likely to change, meaning that you can write this content once and benefit from it over time.

Of course, there’s nothing in the blogging rule book that says evergreen content must be printed in text-based article formats. If the thought of writing out all of these different post formats as text sounds mind-numbingly painful to you, consider creating evergreen content in audio or video format as well.

Evergreen Content Must Be Kept Up-to-date

Now, the overall goal of evergreen content is to create posts that will benefit your audience for a longer period than a single time-sensitive read. However, it’s worth acknowledging here that very few posts can be created that will remain perfectly up-to-date over time without a little assistance for you.

For example, let’s take our “What is SEO?” post topic referenced earlier in this article. Consider that, in 2010, Google and Bing both formally acknowledged that social signals play a role in overall search engine optimization. Therefore, if you had written your definition post before this date, your information might still be technically valid, without giving your audience information that’s fully correct.

As a result, even the most everlasting of evergreen topics must be occasionally revisited to ensure that they’re up-to-date and 100 percent correct. Ideally, the topics you choose for your evergreen posts should minimize the amount of follow-up that’s needed to ensure these posts remain valuable resources for members of your audience. But despite your best efforts, periodic updates—say, at least once every month or two—may still be needed to give your readers a comprehensive overview of your chosen subject.

Evergreen Content Shouldn’t Be Buried on Your Blog

And finally, you’ve gone to a ton of effort to produce valuable evergreen content for your readers, so don’t let these articles become buried by the influx of new posts on your blog.

If you post evergreen content as standard blog posts and then make no effort to call them out to your audience, they’ll wind up buried in your archives—never to be seen again. Instead, you need to make an effort to call out these valuable posts so that they’re immediately obvious to new site visitors (especially those beginners who will benefit most from their content).

There are a few different ways you can do this. For example, you can:

  • Create a “Start here” page on your website that lists your evergreen posts as a reference point for new readers.
  • Create training guide pages on your website that point industry beginners to the evergreen resources that will help them get up-to-speed.
  • Call out these “Top posts” in a special section on your blog’s sidebar.
  • Re-run them periodically on your blog to expose the highest possible number of readers to your evergreen content posts.

As with your post format options, the specific way you call out your evergreen articles doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you simply do it! Taking the time to both publish high-value evergreen content and make it available to your readers will go a long way towards both your website’s authority within the natural search rankings and your overall perception as a leader within your industry.

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Minerva Studio

Sujan Patel
Sujan Patel has over 12 years of digital marketing experience and has helped hundreds of clients increase web traffic, boost user acquisition, and grow their businesses. He’s currently the VP of Marketing at When I Work, the top rated employee scheduling software. In addition to his role at When I Work Sujan co-founded ContentMarketer.io and wrote the book on Growth Hacking titled 100 Days of Growth.
Sujan Patel
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  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    “even the most everlasting of evergreen topics must be occasionally revisited to ensure that they’re up-to-date and 100 percent correct.”

    Thanks for pointing that out. Chances are your evergreen content is still going to be 90% accurate but small changes are bound to happen overtime. Very few industries are completely stagnant. But providing the majority of your content is still relevant (albeit with a few tweaks) why not let valuable content keep working for you? The best content is the kind that keeps bringing in readers over time.

    • http://elitecontentwriters.org/ Deni Saputra

      I do agree with you Nick (especially for the last statement) that valuable content is that will work to bring the readers over and over.

    • http://www.rankwatch.com Sahil

      I totally agree with you guys Nick and Sujan. A basic guide for beginners, easily understandable presentations, industry specific dictionary, beginner videos etc, all these different types of contents will always be evergreen and rookies will often be badly in need of them. Evergreen contents helps the sites to build domain authority,good brand reputation by helping the domain get some high quality natural links and lot of search and social media traffic over a long period of time.

  • http://www.brandignity.com Maciej Fita

    I like to refer to it as “timeless content” because a post like that one indicated above should bring a certain relevant benefit to readers even if they bump into it years down the road.

  • http://www.adam-wagner.net Adam Wagner

    I am in the middle of a redesign on my blog , and one of the sections I am excited to add is for evergreen content on several key topics for my readers.

    As content marketing continues to increase in popularity, it is nice to be reminded that this does not just mean a revolving door of new content. Evergreen content is just as vital as fresh content for any blog or content marketing strategy. Evergreen content helps provide an anchor for the company/blog that can be used as a jumping off point for the rest of the content development.

    Great post!

  • Geno Thampi

    Evergreen topics are really indispensable, but if the aim of the content to get converting traffic, I still believe that trending, newsworthy topics are vital.

  • http://www.ntouchmarketing.com Ryan

    Evergreen content can help ease the burden of constantly coming up with new information. Also many of the blogs that I have seen that use it do not have a ton of fluff articles that many use when they are running out of information. It is something that all blog owners should look at and incorporate into their blogging strategy.

  • http://www.performancing.com David Jones

    The round up of all Matt Cutt’s SEO videos at http://www.theshortcutts.com is a great example of evergreen content