Tips for planning and writing evergreen content

By Rachel Hand topicIcon Copywriting, SEO

If you're one of our clients, you'll know how much emphasis we place on content. It's an absolutely vital element of any SEO campaign, from optimised fixed content pages to regular news and blog updates.

But increasingly, you may be hearing about evergreen content, and how important it can be.

Just as the name might suggest, an evergreen content piece is permanently fresh, relevant and useful.

While the interest in news or topical blogs is soon out of date, and their usefulness therefore limited, an evergreen piece can build up authority over time; if the information it provides is timeless, it will accrue social shares and links over time too.

With the right topic, you could therefore reap the traffic benefits for a long time to come, while conveniently positioning yourself as an authority in that area.

Finding evergreen keywords

As an expert in your field, you may already know of the perfect topic. For example, a question you yourself have previously Googled, or a question your clients or customers repeatedly ask you, could be an ideal topic to target - particularly if you know there isn't currently a similar resource online. Furthermore, there are some simple techniques that could help you generate ideas for your content.

Google Webmaster Tools

See the average ranking of your site for a wide range of search queries from the last 90 days - including longer tail phrases and questions.

What to look for: a reasonably long tail keyword with a high number of impressions and a low average position. This means it's a potentially lucrative keyword to target, but you're currently not ranking very well; perhaps a standalone, optimised guide dedicated to this topic would reach the first page?

AdWords Keyword Planner

In the AdWords Keyword Planner, you can see how many people are actually searching for any informational or advice-related term you can think of, and optimise a piece around this keyword.

What to look for: a phrase keyword with a decent volume; but remember, 20 or 30 searches per month is not to be sniffed at, if you multiply that by 12. Searching for that keyword on Google will then show you what you're competing with - could you outrank these results with your unique, high quality knowledge?

Types of content to create

Evergreen content will always be a resource of some kind. Resources provide specialist, user-friendly, helpful information, and are not geared towards selling anything. The easiest way to do that might be a step-by-step, 'how to' or 'top tips' blog, on a topic that will never go out of date. But if you have a little more time, data and creativity on your hands, going the extra mile could pay off by making your content even more appealing and engaging. Examples could include:

  • An in-depth report or whitepaper
  • Incorporating survey results or case studies
  • Videos or slideshows
  • Quizzes, checklists or comparisons
  • Visual content, such as graphs, diagrams, screenshots and good old-fashioned images

Leveraging evergreen content

Perhaps you know exactly what evergreen content means, because you already have a piece on your site; such as a blog post from long ago that still brings in plenty of traffic. For example, on theEword website there is a blog from a couple of years back about pitching a press release via email. Over the life of the piece, it has brought in almost 5,000 visitors, 93 per cent of whom came through organic search, with the number of visits steadily increasing over time.

Month after month, this is one of our top entrance pages, with press release themed keywords frequently appearing in our top search queries in Webmaster Tools. It quite simply offers useful information on a topic that lots of people search for - thus making it evergreen content.

If the same is true for you, why not revisit that piece that brings in so many visits? Investing some time in making it more visual, a little longer, or including more data could improve its impact still further, while ensuring the user journey from that point is as simple as possible may reduce the bounce rate and see you benefiting more from those visits.

Whether it's a new piece or an old one, sometimes just writing it isn't enough; you may need to give it a little push by promoting it. There are a few options here:

  • If you need to do it for free - Social media is the perfect way to share content, and there's no harm in sharing it more than once, or experimenting with hashtags.
  • If you do other marketing - If you have an email newsletter, this is the perfect type of content to include. Meanwhile if you're with an SEO agency, evergreen content is great material for outreach, and if pitched correctly, can gain you a lot of valuable links.
  • If you have the budget - You may also consider paid content promotion platforms.

Final thoughts

Although this is a useful element of an SEO or general online marketing strategy, it's a relatively low cost, easy and even enjoyable one to implement. Evergreen content is simply about answering the questions that people are searching for, and offering resources that help others. And ultimately, that's the kind of content Google wants to rank highly, and the kind of business that people want to work with.