So when I first started blogging, one of the topics I’d often come across is to write “evergreen” content.
From SEO forums to SEO videos to SEO gurus, the buzzword is thrown around all over the place, but with little-to-no explanation of what it actually is. Or how to actually write it.
After doing this for 8 years, I think I can touch on this topic and answer the question for you.
(Disclaimer: I’m no SEO guru. I’m just a regular guy and these are my thoughts on it.)
If you’re just starting out, by the end of this guide, you should have a good understanding of:
- What is evergreen content?
- Why should I write this type of content?
- How to write evergreen content?
- Does XYZ count as evergreen?
Without further fluff, let’s dive right in!
What's in this guide?
So, what is evergreen content?
Evergreen content is basically an article that talks about a topic that stands the test of time.
For example, let’s say you’re writing a “how-to” guide about “how to tie a tie.”
This keyword phrase alone already gets 100K-1M searches in Google every month:
Whether it was 20 years ago or 20 years into the future, the process for tying a tie will largely remain the same.
So if you wrote an article for it (which I don’t recommend you do) and ranked on the first page of Google, you’ll continue to get traffic for that keyword phrase year after year.
Basically, you only need to write it once and forget about it. Then you’ll continue to get traffic and reap the rewards of your work indefinitely.
In reality, you’ll probably have to go back to it every now and then and update the article.
But the big picture is that you write about it once and the article stands the test of time.
Why is evergreen content useful?
As you can probably guess, writing about topics that rank forever in the SERPs is worth your time.
Would you rather write a detailed, in-depth article about a topic once and forget about it? Or would you rather spend the same amount of effort to write about something that only ranks for a given period of time?
There’s been plenty of evidence that Google prefers long-form content. This is why you’ll often find lengthy articles dominating the first page of the search results. So if you’re writing about something, you should definitely opt for long-form content.
Then comes the actual work.
Whether you’re writing it yourself and paying off a ghostwriter, there’s going to be resources put into it. If you’re spending all this time writing about a topic that’s only popular or trending for a set period, after it dies out, your article’s organic traffic will dissipate!
This is where the power of evergreen content comes into play.
Let’s put this into real-life topics to demonstrate.
Let’s say you run a computer blog that writes about the latest computers, how-to guides, and related topics.
For your next article, you plan to write a 6,000-word pillar post.
Here are your two choices:
- “How to speed up your Windows computer”
- “New updates for Windows 2019”
And our exhibits:
Which one do you think will pay off over time? Which one do you think will continue to get searches clear into the future?
The choice is obvious- “How to speed up your Windows computer” will grab more traffic overall.
Sure, Windows updates for 2019 may scare you tons of traffic. For 2019.
After that, the only people that’ll be searching for that keyword phrase are those who are backtracking or doing research.
The first topic will last throughout the rest of 2019 and beyond. At least until the next Windows OS rolls out, where the directions may change. But that’s probably going to net you more traffic overall than the second topic. And more traffic = more money for the same amount of work.
Do you see how evergreen content pays off?
(I just made these topics up and I have an idea if their traffic numbers will actually play out how I said they would.)
This is why you should always write about evergreen topics- the work you put in pays off for much longer than timely topics.
But, what if evergreen content doesn’t work in my niche?
Yes, that’s totally possible.
Some niches, especially news sites, simply can’t work with evergreen content.
You could supplement your news with another category dedicated to just evergreen articles though. This way you can pick up traffic on both your news articles and evergreen articles.
Other niches that are dedicated to events at a specific point in time also don’t work with evergreen articles.
Think of niches like:
- Release dates (games, movies, shows, etc.)
- “Latest” articles (new releases, previews, first impressions, etc.)
- Specific events
There are niches where evergreen isn’t appropriate. And that’s totally fine.
But for the rest of you- if you’re able to write about topics that are constantly and consistently searched for, do it. It’s much more worth your time.
Because evergreen content is so popular among anyone who’s done basic SEO, many of the first page results are already saturated with excellent content. In this case, you should shoot for long-tail variants that are less covered and write an article about that.
Instead of: “how to get rid of smelly towels”
You write: “how to get rid of smelly towels without using chemicals”
(I totally made those up also.)
Typically, the more words that are part of a phrase, the fewer competing articles there are. This is known in the SEO community as a “long-tail” keyword. You can write a pillar article on a longer phrase to dominate it and answer the searcher’s query.
Make it evergreen and you just may rank for a long, long time.
How to write evergreen content
Writing the actual content isn’t any harder than writing for any other topic.
Set up your blog. Choose a fast WP theme. And start writing!
The only difference is that you’re writing for a topic that always gets searches, no matter than year or season.
Some evergreen topics may “dip” in interest, but as long as it has a predictable cycle, then you can expect traffic to pick back up eventually.
Content length, formatting, semantic keywords, and media all don’t matter. Don’t confuse yourself. Evergreen content is written the same way as any other content. The only difference is that you’re choosing a topic that always has search queries. That’s it!
No need to over complicate it.
How do I tell if my topic is “evergreen?”
The easiest way is to simply ask yourself this:
Will people still be searching for your topic in 1 month? How about 1 year? 1 decade?
- If the answer is yes, then it’s an evergreen topic. Hands down.
- If you’re unsure, write it anyway. More quality content on your site only helps.
- If the answer is no, then see if you can add your own twist to make it into an evergreen niche.
- Rather than writing about “how to get the best black friday deals 2019”
- Change it to “how to get the best deals for black friday”
You’re basically just omitting the year. But because of that, now your content is relative to this year and all the years following.
That’s not the best example, but you get the gist of it. You can write about the same topic and make it evergreen by twisting some words around. Change your keyword phrase. Change your topic.
Again, not all niches can write this kind of content. If you own a news site or other site where content is time-sensitive, then evergreen content may not be useful.
But for the majority of bloggers, there’s always a way that you can add some quality content that’ll get traffic time and time again.
Take the time to write it once and reap the rewards forever- or at least until you have to update it again, as you’ll have to keep it relevant.
There are too many niches to answer this question. There are a few free tools you can use to determine the interest in the topic. But the single tool that I’d suggest is none other than Google Trends.
Just plug in your article topic and check out the search interest over time.
- Is it conscient?
- Is it increasing? Or decreasing?
- Does the traffic fluctuate? Is it seasonal?
- Are there enough searches for the topic at all to register?
This keyword is evergreen:
But this one, not so much:
Pretty extreme examples, but do you see the difference?
Keyword Planner is a tool you can use to check monthly search volume.
You’ll need an active Google Ads to account to use it.
AnswerThePublic is a nice tool that spits out actual search queries people are searching for. You can use this to see alternative phrases you can use to switch up your topic. Or you can use it to get some new ones.
How do I format the article?
There’s no specific way to format evergreen, perennial content.
You can write it and format it however you like! It’s not like there’s an “instruction manual” that you have to follow.
For this type of content, my favorite types of articles are:
- “How-To” guides
- Information articles (like the one you’re reading now)
Let’s go into each one briefly.
The “how-to” stuff are exactly as they sound like. They’re “how-to” tutorials that teach a searcher how to do something.
This is perfect for perennial content because as long as the subject matter doesn’t change much over time, you’re all set for writing a complete guide to it. Be sure to cover as much of the topic as you can.
And don’t skimp on anything!
You want to make your guide the “ultimate” guide that’s complete and comprehensive.
This way, you’ll do better on the SERPs because you have everything in one place. It’ll likely also get shared more by readers since it’s the “best” tutorial they can possibly find. Quality content isn’t a lie.
This is basically a “list” of reasons. You’ve seen these before:
- 8 reasons why you need to get a Sheltie
- 12 famous Shelties who were in movies
- Top 6 best Sheltie toys to keep ‘em busy
(Can you tell I’m a Sheltie fan?)
These types of articles are all “listicles” in my opinion. As long as it has a number attached and goes through a list of reasons, it’s a listicle.
BuzzFeed is probably the prime example of this stuff.
This is also useful for perennial content because as long as the reasons are compelling and well-written, you can do pretty well.
You can even add more reasons or update previous ones when you go back to edit it.
Yes. You do need to edit evergreen content once in a while. But it’s better than writing a new post every other week!
This is what you’re reading now. It’s an article with information about a particular topic.
This one just happens to be a beginner’s course to evergreen content.
You can do the same with any other evergreen topic out there. It’s probably the most basic out of the three, but it’s the one I like best. It gets the most traffic in my opinion and answers the user’s query.
You just want to write about a topic in as much detail as you possibly can:
- Answer the main question
- Answer all subquestions
- Think of what else the searcher may ask while reading your article and include those also
The main point is to offer an article that covers the topic in-depth and thoroughly. This doesn’t mean you need to write a 12,000 word diabolical, definite article.
But it just so happens to be that when you write about something in detail, the article tends to be longer than briefly touching on a subject.
If you came to this post and your query was, “What’s evergreen content?”
Then I had a paragraph-and-a-half defining it for you, would you be satisfied?
Sure, if you just wanted to know what it means. Like, literally the blanket definition.
But what if you wanted to know how to write perennial content?
Or see examples of it?
You’d have to hit the “back” button and look elsewhere.
Since I covered both of those topics here (and hopefully answered them for you), that’s probably why you made it this far.
You see how covering something in detail just happens to make it an excellent resource? And because of that, the article just happens to be lengthier. It’s not that you set out and say to yourself “I’m gonna write a super long article that’s at least 6000 words.”
But rather, your mindset should be:
“I’m going to cover this evergreen topic in as much detail as I can.”Or something like that.
The latter will get you better results.
And that’s what you should focus on.
The reason why I really like info articles is just because of that. It lets you home in on one overall topic and really dissect it, kind of like how I (poorly) did here.
This is something you always consider.
Be the one authority in your niche and be the one pumping out all the quality content that everyone drools to read. If you can do that and ignore everything else you’ve learned about SEO/blogging, that’s enough to get you started on this path.
Please, don’t overcomplicate it! It’s really not that difficult.
In a nutshell, just write about topics that stand the test of time.
Essentially, you just have to write quality, priceless articles. That’s the key takeaway out of this whole post.
Evergreen content will let you reap the benefits of your hard work repeatedly and the ROI on your efforts will be exponential. You should always opt for writing about these topics when possible.
For most bloggers, they have the freedom to choose particular topics in their niche to write about. There’s no reason to not use it to your benefit.
What do you think? Will this change your writing strategy?