Building a Content Marketing strategy is an effort on multiple fronts. Attracting and engaging new leads demands following trending topics, talking about news in a specific area, and even updating the audience about what you are doing to bring better experiences to them.
But it is also about a plan to create and refresh evergreen content that lasts. These pieces will be the ones to consolidate your SEO and to solidify an authority in subjects that matter to your buyer persona.
While there’s no surefire formula to serve up high-performing evergreen content every time, a few best practices will improve your odds.
In this post, we will talk about:
- Why is it necessary to refresh evergreen content?
- How to give content an evergreen status?
- How to do the actual refreshing?
Why is it necessary to refresh evergreen content?
First, we need to consolidate the concept: good evergreen content is always relevant to your buyer persona.
It may not include new or trendy information, but it should provide good advice, be entertaining, or solve a more universal problem for potential readers.
Whether it’s two months or two years old, the best content drives traffic on its own through organic means or ongoing social sharing. As an example, here’s the traffic to one of the best evergreen blog posts in our Portuguese blog:
That happens not only because it has great SEO but also showing there is prevalent, long-term interest in the subject.
As a counterpoint, let’s see a blog post from the same period that either had a focus on hard news/punctual topics or was badly optimized to be relevant to that specific keyword:
As you can see, evergreen content gives a lot more return for the effort you put into it.
With some periodic updates, you can use the same structure to take advantage of Google’s good position for a lot longer.
Obviously, you can’t rely solely on evergreens to create a successful strategy. The secret is in balancing hot topics with sudden spikes in popularity and those built to last.
How to give content an evergreen status?
One thing to have in mind is that it makes more sense to invest in refreshing some specific content than it does for others. First, you need to identify those that have this potential. As we said, not every piece is made to retain interest for longer periods.
Doing that assessment, you find existing material or new ideas that can become evergreen.
If the content isn’t getting the traction you want, making sure you’re hitting all 4 of the following points, they will help you a lot!
Optimize the SEO
Think about what happens when you publish a piece of content. You blast it socially, you put it in an email, you feature it on your blog or website, and if it’s something big, you might even do some PR around it.
But what about after it scrolls to page two of your blog and people stop tweeting about it?
Well, nothing happens if it’s not SEO optimized. Maybe there’s some referral traffic, or maybe people find it within your site, but the content won’t have any ability to drive traffic unless you make an effort to promote it.
The good news is that optimization of existing content doesn’t necessarily take much work. To quickly get a read on how you’re doing, there are two steps to take.
Using this article as an example, when we search for the term “evergreen content”, on SEMrush, we get the variants:
- “evergreen content” gets 1.9 thousand monthly queries;
- “what is evergreen content” gets 480.
There were a few other related terms that got under 170 queries per month. This means that if you want to drive a high traffic volume, you should target the “evergreen content keyword”. But, because of this same high volume, it will be harder to rank.
Look to see if the content that shows up in SERP is consistent with what your article is about —and make sure that your content is superior to the ones you find.
Here’s the top current search results for “evergreen content”:
As you can see, other companies that work with Content Marketing are ranking — meaning that the competition comes from reputable sites with good authority.
You can use the already existing content to insight you with what the readers are looking for in articles with the keyword you will work with.
Once you’ve verified the subjects you need to address, optimize your existing article around them.
The image below includes all the basics for optimizing your keyword and its variants (if your keyword was “chocolate doughnuts”).
It also includes technical elements you should probably be building into your site, but if you focus on using your keyword the way “chocolate doughnuts” is used here, you’re on the right track:
Deliver value in your evergreen content
If your content isn’t performing, you also want to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself whether it’s any good.
Be honest with yourself, no sugar coating. If it reads like a poor Wikipedia article, it’s probably not something your audience — or Google — is likely to dig.
For example, it would have been easy for me to write this article like this:
- What is evergreen content?
It’s content that’s perpetually relevant to its readers.
- Why do I need evergreen content?
Because it makes you more efficient. You can create the content once and reap the benefits forever! And so on.
That article would’ve met the requirements of the perfectly optimized page infographic above, but would it have been really useful for the reader?
Bottom line, content will never be successful if it doesn’t inform, entertain, or help people solve a problem.
When someone googles something, they’re looking for an answer. Google’s goal is to give people that answer without having to click around much. Thus, your job when you create evergreen content is to deliver the best answer possible.
If you wouldn’t want to read the content you’re creating, chances are that nobody else will either.
“Quality content is the stuff that your audience actually wants to consume and share,” explains Michele Linn, vice president of content at Content Marketing Institute, in an interview with Scripted.com. “But more importantly, quality content is whatever drives the business for your organization.”
Make sure your content is still relevant
Say you did a blog post called “Top Social Media Sites.” You did a bunch of research, you optimized it correctly, and you delivered value to your reader. But then you let it sit around a few years. This is what you’d have:
A page like this will fall out of the rankings because it’s simply not valuable.
Often, refreshing a post like this won’t take a lot of work and — especially with a post that has had some success and a bunch of backlinks — it can be a super quick win to bring it up to date.
Develop a point of view
Finally, evergreen content will tend to do better when it has a point of view. This is kind of an extension of making sure it’s both valuable and relevant.
When you include a perspective that’s uniquely yours, you’re going to automatically set yourself apart from other people who produce similar content.
Your perspective — and the way you share it — can be the value your readers are looking for.
Having a strong point of view will also get people sharing and commenting. It can build an emotional connection that might not otherwise exist in an article titled “The definition of evergreen content.”
How to do the actual refreshing?
Now that we’ve talked a lot about evergreens and how to create them, an important question remains: how to refresh them constantly?
Take a look at some tips and learn how to keep your pieces always relevant!
Make sure it is still relevant
Some contents can be updated year after year and still be very helpful for people. But some can’t last forever.
Think about this: you can still refresh a post on the best mobile phones right now by updating the models. But what if in the future the phones themselves become obsolete?
Try to create a schedule and reevaluate from time to time if that content is worth being updated. Sometimes, it just makes sense to let it go.
Keep in mind that you’re updating, not rewriting
That’s an important tip!
Google knows when a piece is updated or changed completely. In the former case, it may treat it as a whole new content, and you will lose all the SEO results you already got.
So pay attention to the core of the article and try to do more adding than reworking. Also, keep the structure as intact as possible.
Interaction also leads to more sharing. The best evergreen content is the one passed around as if they were new and trendy doesn’t matter when.
Think about snippets
Snippets are featured results on Google Search known as “result zero” — as they appear at the top before the actual results and give a quick answer to objective questions. Here’s an example:
Being featured that way is amazing for organic traffic and the prevalence of evergreen content.
If you’re on Google’s first page for a certain keyword, update your content, optimizing it to the featured snippet. This can be a game-changer for your Digital Marketing plan.
Recheck your links
When refreshing content, we tend to give a lot of attention to, well, the content itself. But your link building is as important as the text and images when we talk about SEO and relevance.
So, when you refresh the piece, take another look at the links in it. See if any of them are broken, if they are too old or became obsolete on the matter.
You can also take the opportunity to add some more, leading to newer, optimized content on your blog and social media.
Promote the content one more time
There isn’t a rule saying you can’t promote an article from two years ago a second time, as long as they are still relevant and offer something new of value to your audience.
After updating it, treat it as new: share it on social media, include it in newsletters, feature it in your blog. Each new peak of accesses will contribute to improving its longevity.
With all this care to nurture and increment, the effort to refresh evergreen content can easily fit your marketing routine and provide a lot of return based on what you’re investing. So why wouldn’t you do it?
And to start practicing this idea with a real plan in mind, download our exclusive guide on SEO!