Digital MarketingContent MarketingKeeping content evergreen: The importance of self-reference and timeless topics

Keeping content evergreen: The importance of self-reference and timeless topics

Top articles on Google SERPs are typically >2,000 words long. Why evergreen content matters for making sure your business gets found online.

Evergreen content is one of the most effective ways of making sure your website stays fresh and relevant over months and years of varying output.

Named in reference to plants that keep their green leaves throughout all of the seasons, evergreen content behaves similarly — maintaining its readability and accuracy over long periods of time in a way that makes it just as shareable in four years time as it is today.

How do you create evergreen content?

Well, firstly, it’s important to avoid any time-specific references in your content, or mentioning anything that could lose relevance in the foreseeable future. For example, making a point about ‘social media trends in 2019’ may be something that interests your readers, but it has little chance of drawing an audience for more than a few months.

Typically, the most prominent of evergreen content is considerably longer in length than your typical article and written in greater depth.

This is because the level of insight provided needs to be enough to fend off any similar thoughts that may pop up on competitor sites over the years to come. Backlinko is a great example of evergreen content.

screenshot of backlinko showing good example of evergreen content: "SEO tools: The complete list"

The website is all about publishing long-form pieces that get updated a few times a year. However, most of its content stays relevant for months and years.

analytics of backlinko showing how their content stays evergreen, driving sustained traffic

The result is a piece of content that’ll remain the first port of call for search engine queries and returning visitors for a long, long time.

Typically, evergreen content takes the form of ‘how to’ guides, FAQs, extended definitions and glossaries — all of which provide a platform for your audiences to keep revisiting into the future.

In a similar vein, the act of keeping your wort intrinsically self-referential is vital for keeping your website flowing with traffic. Internal linking helps create flowing arteries that readers all around relevant pages, showcasing your knowledge and encouraging them to return to learn more.

So how exactly does having content that never runs out of date benefit your website in terms of SEO? Let’s explore further.

Sustained search engine rankings

The length of evergreen content and its level of deep insight is looked upon favorably by Google when it comes to ranking the text within their results pages.

SerpIQ has found that the top articles returned from search queries into Google are typically all above 2,000 words in length, and first place on the rankings tends to be closer to the 2,500-word mark.

bar graph, "average content length of top 10 results" from serpIQ. Positions 1-6 all have more than 2300 words

This quirk bodes well for authors who like to produce longer evergreen articles for their website, which in some cases can top 10,000 words.

On a quality in-depth piece, you’ll have ample room to position your work to rank for a series of low-competition keywords that are relevant to the subject matter. Using this approach to your advantage, you’re able to put your content under the noses of its intended audience.

The heightened keyword density of longer articles doesn’t play a role in Google’s preference. But longer pieces give you the ability to cover more aspects of the topic in depth and answer more potential questions your viewers may have.

Higher traffic and longer leads

Given the prominence that longer, keyword optimized evergreen articles enjoy, authors can expect their work to be visible enough for internet users to navigate onto their pages in larger numbers than a typical 500-word post.

This, coupled with the timeless relevance of evergreen content, means that you can benefit from being in a position to maintain higher levels of traffic over long periods of time.

The great thing about SEO is that once a post ranks highly, it tends to stay there — provided that it doesn’t become dated. As your piece will be designed to withstand the test of time, you’re likely to reap the rewards far into the future.

Given that this form of content is an ideal tool for attracting new visitors to your website while showcasing your knowledge, your evergreen content also becomes a great means of generating leads.

Be sure to optimize your content to draw more of your audience into subscribing to your services. Don’t turn your content into a sales pitch by any means. But with a small infusion of business references, you could turn your evergreen article into a long-term cash cow that has the power to create subscribers without you needing to lift a finger or launch a marketing campaign.

Self-reference also plays a strong role in maintaining higher levels of traffic on your site. Be sure to include plenty of internal linking to ensure that readers are aware of similar articles that can hold their interest and encourage them to continue to draw on your knowledge.

For example, pages with more internal links pointing at them get crawled more frequently by search engines.

bar graph, "crawl frequency by inlinks range" showing that if you have >200 internal links, crawl frequency goes up to 5.09 per day

Finding value in sub-niches

Insight isn’t hard to find online, and in a vastly competitive climate, it’s easy for your content to get lost in a sea of similar thoughts and opinions.

To create truly relevant evergreen content, you’ll need to attack sub-niches. This is the perfect method of finding some priceless space online and providing an in-depth piece that will be regarded as invaluable for readers that would otherwise be starved of coverage.

Finding value in sub-niches also helps develop a monopoly over any future competitors. If you create a piece that contains all the information a visitor could need on a subject, then it can quash interest in any subsequent articles covering the same topic.

Once again, it’s important to conduct internal links appropriately to expand on your sub-niche. Even if just to draw a visitor out into reading similar posts on your site. This enables your evergreen content to become a gateway for more general, shorter content that’s published onto your pages.

Things to consider when creating evergreen content

To make the most of your evergreen content it needs to be promoted early on. While one of the great appeals of this type of material is that it has the ability to grow in popularity over time, by bringing traffic to the article early it can establish a substantial readership that may use the wealth of information as a future reference point and continually return to your site.

It’s also essential to interlink your content effectively. Evergreen posts are a big draw for audiences that crave a deeper understanding of a topic, or who are looking for a longer read regarding a sub-niche, but by embedding relevant references to your other work, you can introduce visitors to the rest of your website and build interest in your more general posts.

Finally, make sure that you occasionally make small updates to your evergreen post. While it seems counter-intuitive to edit an article that’s designed to stand the test of time, you may publish more relevant pieces in the future that could benefit from interlinking with a flagship piece. Furthermore, your content could gain value with the addition of new information and resources as they happen.

Dmytro Spilka is Head Wiz at Solvid Digital. He can be found on Twitter at @spilkadi.

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