How to Create a Winning Evergreen Content Strategy

For better or for worse, content is still king in the world of Google SERPs and SEO. Whether the idea of having to think up relevant blog ideas for your company or your clients fills you with dread or with joy, if content isn’t a part of your online marketing strategy, you’re almost certainly missing out. That said, content creation. can admittedly be a headache. Even if you fall on the more creative side of the SEO spectrum, it can still be tricky coming up with quality blog ideas time after time and keeping on top of the latest breaking news and trends in your industry. 

Whether you want more time to focus on other areas of your business, or you’re simply tired of writing one-off articles that gain a little traction for a month and then are never to be seen again by user or Googlebot alike, evergreen content may be the answer to your prayers. In this post, we’ll explain how you can create an evergreen content strategy for long-term SEO gains. 

What is Evergreen Content? 

Evergreen content is content that always retains its relevance to readers, regardless of the time of year or current trends. As any keen botanists out there will know, in the plant world, evergreen trees retain their leaves in every season, hence the title. This content is usually used in the editorial world and most content-based companies will have an evergreen strategy in place. You’ll notice for example newspaper sites tend to post either breaking news and current think pieces, or they post more general articles that will always be of interest to readers.

Evergreen content isn’t just useful for editorial magazines however, it’s also something that can be massively taken advantage of in the SEO world, regardless of your industry. If you’re writing relevant content that stands the test of time, that’s a boundless supply of free organic traffic potential just ready to be tapped. So, if you want to gain long-term organic traffic from your content, in the words of the great Will Young, you need to “make it evergreen”. 

Why is Evergreen Content Important? 

While it may require a little more research before writing, green content is far less labour-intensive than news-based content long-term. If you have limited resources and simply don’t have the time to write regular trend-based blog articles, I’d highly recommend branching out (pun intended) into those leafy evergreen avenues. By choosing a topic with a good search-demand and a low level of competition, that steady stream of organic traffic should come flowing in month after month, providing more long-term benefits & driving new users to your site, with comparatively little effort on your part.

What Should my Strategy be? 

1. Conduct in-depth keyword research & competitor analysis

There’s absolutely no point in writing content without doing proper research. Even if you think you’ve chosen a great evergreen topic – you need to first guarantee there’s a search volume for your target term, and second guarantee that your site has a chance of ranking for that term. Use keyword tools like SEOMonitor’s topical tool (pictured), SEMRush , or Google Keyword Planner to identify some topics & terms that tie into your company’s areas of expertise. 

screenshot of SEO tool SEOMonitor

2. Decide on target topics & keywords to include in each post

In general, if the search volume is very high, it’s likely a huge site will be dominating the rankings for that area. Make sure to do a quick Google search to see whether you think you’re in with a good chance before putting pen to paper. Don’t be afraid to target more long-tail terms with slightly lower search volumes – it’s all about finding your niche and giving yourself the best chance of success. 

It’s also worth doing some competitor research to see what topics your rivals aren’t thinking of covering, or what topics you think you could do a better job of. Maybe you’ll find a topic area with lots of opportunity for scalability – for example if you want to write about the best specific activity to do in one place, it’s likely there will be a search volume for that activity in multiple places. 

3. Plan what style of post best suits the topic & target phrase

There are a few avenues you could go down when creating a structure for your evergreen posts. Some of these will depend on the search term – try to think what type of article the user will want to read when they search for that term. If they’re searching for the history of the mars bar, they may expect a more academic, essay-style, article. If they’re searching for the best places to swim in London – they’re probably looking for a list. If they’re searching for George Clooney, they probably want an all-encompassing ‘everything you need to know about him’ from his age, height, shoe size and marital status (tragically no longer single). 

In general, Google tends to favour listicle-style articles for a lot of queries as it believes these will best help answer the user’s query. A quick and easy way to construct your blog would be to choose a list of the top 5-10 things specific to the query. If each option has approximately 100 words of text describing why it’s one of the best, this will also ensure the blogs are at the optimum word-count to rank, as articles need to have at least 400-500 words to have ranking potential.

4. Write the damn content 

After all this prior effort, writing your blog should now be a piece of cake. Try to have a list of a few terms you’d like to try to include within the text for extra SEO brownie points. Try to avoid using too many dates, seasonal aspects, currently relevant jokes etc. which may eventually show to a user & to Google that this content has a sell-by-date. Also make sure any external (and internal) links are also evergreen – i.e. not likely to be removed, redirected in the future. Nothing says, I haven’t looked at this content in over 6 months like a bunch of redirects & crawl errors. 

5. Optimise

As with the content itself, when conducting your normal SEO blog optimisation, keep thinking those evergreen thoughts. When writing the URL slug, make sure it’s unique and evergreen-friendly, with no dates or numbers in the URL, even if you have them in the H1. This will allow you to go back and update your articles without the URL becoming outdated. Page titles & Meta descriptions if possible should also be kept vague – while there’s nothing wrong with including numbers or years here, you must remember to update them if you change the content in the future. This is the same for any headers or copy which may reference the number of options in your listicle or any year-based options e.g. ‘the best new and upcoming films (in year X)’ – that’s right, even time-related articles can be turned into evergreen posts with the correct amount of planning.  

6. Share & promote

Once live, promote the post on social and try to gain some backlinks to up its ranking chances. Make sure the post is linked to internally & is in your XML Sitemap, so Google has the best chance of crawling the content. 

7. Track progress

Keep an eye on engagement, shares, traffic  & rankings – if you use a keyword tracking tool, be sure to track the target keywords used in the article. Also check Google Search Console regularly to see whether these articles are bringing in any traffic. Check these things at least once a month – if you see rankings begin to drop or traffic to begin to decline, consider editing the post to try to provide a ranking boost. 

8. Leverage content to retain & improve rankings

Google likes to know you’re making an effort to be as relevant as possible to users, and it rewards you for your efforts. Updating your articles on a regular basis (every month or two) is a great way to show you’re committed to producing that quality content Google loves. If you’ve stuck to our advice and created a listicle, this is by far the easiest type of evergreen content to update; If you’ve got a list of five, simply add a sixth option. If you tried to navigate the choppy waters of sustainable rather than timeless content and some of your information has gone out of date despite your best efforts- go in and update it to make sure you’re still the most relevant result. Share on your social channels each time there’s a big update, and always make sure that you’re proactively trying to make your content better than ever. 

If you need help developing your content strategy, get in touch with us today. 

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    Chris Simmance, Marketing Consultant and International Keynote Speaker

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