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Evergreen Content and why your SEO and Brand will thrive because of it

What is Evergreen Content?

When you think of evergreen the first thing that may come to mind are trees. Much like the ones you might find in the mountains. According to Merriam-Webster, an evergreen is a plant having foliage that remains green and functional through more than one growing season. By design, the evergreen is one that persists even in the harshest conditions and generally thrives where other plants will perish and otherwise be no longer relevant. Likewise, evergreen content is information that will continue to be useful over a longer period of time and otherwise stay “Green” to your readers. So unlike content topics that are expected to be forgotten in the near future, evergreen content is not only lasting but also sustainable.

A good point of reference for this type of content is thinking about topics that are not likely to change in the near future, or otherwise become a reference point for other ideas still to come. One example of an evergreen topic is a universal ‘How To‘ statement, such as:

  • How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  • Train your dog how to sit.
  • Learn how to change a light bulb.

Although these topics might have answers that evolve in the next decade, the basic effect of them will end with the same result – which is fulfilling a fundamental need. To say that evergreen content is timeless would be incorrect. Even the pine trees that thrive in the Sierras of California, if you remove their source of life, light, and water, they too will wither and die. This remains true of evergreen content that is abandoned and no longer maintained. To be sustainable each piece of content must be nurtured to continue to thrive.

As a content strategy, evergreen content does take more time to create and maintain but it is well worth the work to have content that will not only be long lasting but both help supports the SEO health of your website and the relevance of your brand’s message.

How Do You Create Evergreen Content?

There are a few steps in creating good evergreen content. Following are a few types of evergreen content strategies:

1. Choosing a good format

Lists (ie. Top 10 reasons/tools/methods…)

Instructional “How To” Tutorials (ie. DIY blogs, educational lessons, frequently asked questions, etc.)

Informative Posts (ie. defining processes, explaining the methodology, infographics, case studies, etc.)

Videos or Slideshows (content can be any of the above)

Although using a format is a good start, it’s important to remember that evergreen content needs a purpose. But using these formats to house your content is a good way to engage your target audience better, drive traffic, and increase the readability of it. Keeping your content accessible is beneficial to ensure the user experience is not only preserved but improved.

2. Brand integrated and industry inspired.

It can’t be overemphasized how important it is for your evergreen content to make sense for your brand and/or industry/product/service. Having a tutorial for saltwater snorkeling for your brand of cheese products will only increase the website bounce rate. Confusing your target audience will impact the overall SEO health of your site in a negative way. Every brand/industry should have a wealth of topics to build solid evergreen content from. Brainstorm and staying on target is a powerful combination for creatively building good site content. There is always room to add a noteworthy perspective, a more in-depth and detailed description, or a creative use of a new format for brand/industry topics.

3. Quality content with a clear message.

Being quality content doesn’t mean squeezing in every possible keyword into a 10,000-word dissertation. Being clear, concise, and well-written are more important than word stuffing. Making sure your content is easy to understand and interesting will be much more useful and improve the user experience. Google not only crawls your site for relevant content but keep in mind it also takes note of bounce rates. If your readers are not spending enough time reading your content it lowers the value of it. Fluff just doesn’t cut it over the long haul. The goal here is to improve SERP ranking and brand recognition.

4. Observe best SEO practices when writing.

  • Keywords – Each evergreen content topic should be written with significant focus keywords in mind. Instead of stuffing every keyword, choose a few keywords to focus on and connect back to them while writing. Yoast suggests keeping your keyword density between 0.5% and 2.5% since Google’s algorithm continues to evolve. Then if possible, these keywords should also be linked back to from within your site.
  • Content-Length – Try to make evergreen content somewhere between 1,000 words to 2,500 words long while considering the fact that it needs to be readable and interesting. For short format posts you can shoot for 300-700 words but keep in mind it may not have the same SEO impact as a well-written longer format post.
  • Topic Title – Give it a decisive title with your topics focus keyword and a telling description in 50-60 characters (yes characters, not words – titles should not be a mini post).
  • HeadingsUse only one H1 tag which is reserved for your article title. Use a few H2 tags for the sections of your article and H3 tags for your subheads and so forth. Google pays attention to heading tags hierarchy and expects your heading tags to become the outline of your article. So as your content section breaks down into further subcategories use the H4-H6 tags when appropriate.
  • Images – Incorporate images to help identify with your target audience, increase the readability of your content, engage your reader, and ultimately improve the user experience. Above all else do not forget to fill out your image alt and title attributes. These should be clean and concise descriptive statements about what the image shows and/or represents. Do not keyword stuff your alt and title attributes. Only use organic focus keywords that directly relate to the image (hint: pick images that allow for keyword use). And let’s not forget to size and optimize your images to be appropriate for their placement.

5. Write for your target audience.

Know who you are speaking to. Your target audience is your customers, clients, and fans. Using too much technical language can lower the readability of the content for your audience. Write at a level that is not only easy to understand but can keep the readers’ attention engaged. It is important to excite them about not only the message your conveying but the inherent value of your brand. The bigger picture here is conversions. When you create content you are communicating to your reader, establishing a connection, and making them do something. Most evergreen content posts are looking for a conversion that turns an organic reader (someone who just happens upon your post via a search engine) into a relationship. This bond between your brand and the reader is key.

6. Provide social share options.

Every well-written evergreen article deserves to be shared. Make sure there is an easy way for your readers to do so. This option can also increase the life of your post and its Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking.

How Do You Maintain Evergreen Articles?

Every piece of content has an expiration date at some point. The long-term goal of evergreen content is to keep it relevant.

  • Once created, evergreen content can be relevant for years and continue to draw traffic and increase SERP ranking. As it becomes less relevant it may be time to put more research in and make the updates to bring it up to speed. One of the great perks of true evergreen content is its ability to evolve as the world moves forward.
  • Put those social shares to work. As your evergreen content backlink network grows it will continue to be a reference and the amount of quality referring links will increase. Well placed social share buttons can have a snowball effect over time as shared links become shared links. As the word spreads the popularity will, in turn, increase its SERP ranking and this will then increase its share rate and so on.
  • Open comments on evergreen content that has high rates of traffic. A strong thread of comments on your post will build more links and increase audience engagement. This form of dialog tells Google that your content is not only very relevant but of high quality to incite this surge of user engagement.
  • Use CPC campaigns based on your focus keywords to draw more traffic from SERPs. Programs like Adwords from Google and Facebook Ads Manager can be great ways to revitalize an older post and bring in a renewed flow of traffic. Using a CPC campaign to jumpstart a link sharing campaign can be a viable method to increase the life of your older post.
  • Repurpose Content. Established evergreen pieces that have performed well have the legs to cross over into other mediums and circles to not only widen your audience reach, increase your brand’s authority & value, but also get a much higher ROI. Just remember to always link back to that original article.

Is Evergreen Content Right For My Brand?

Every brand has its own unique message, a specific niche, and/or perspective. Evergreen content that is built with your brand and industry in mind has the influence to pull your target audience as well as establish a higher level of authority and nurture customer trust. When it comes to branding you want your message to be clear and consistent. The voice of your brand is the tone of the ongoing conversation while the evergreen content is the dialogue to keep your audience engaged.

Choosing online content can be a difficult process that can quickly backslide into filler posts. It is important to take the time to choose the right type of content will become the building blocks to establishing your brand’s authority and strengthening your connection with your readers. Evergreen content is the right choice for any brand looking to secure industry authority as well as building customer confidence.

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