So, if you’ve never heard of the topic of this post, today I’m going to explain what evergreen content is.
As a new blogger you’ll be coming across lots of terms and concepts that are unfamiliar and confusing.
In my efforts to walk you through some of this, you’ll find a bunch of posts here that aim to speed up your learning: one of them offers specific tips for new bloggers, which you might find useful.
Today’s post focuses on something you’ll need to understand in order to make your blog permanently relevant.
Evergreen content is something that increases the shelf life of your posts so it’s vital you understand what it is and how to produce it.
Defining Evergreen Content
Evergreen is a lovely use of imagery for me. Like trees that retain their leaves throughout the year (hence they’re always green), evergreen content comprises articles and posts that never go out of fashion and are always (or practically so) relevant.
Certain topics have more relevance at a specific time: they are time-sensitive. For example, the things you hear about in the news today are highly relevant right now, but by this time next year they will be less relevant.
Although news items have a historical importance, they are less likely to be relevant to us a year from now. They have a shelf life after which the buzz around them tends to die down.
Evergreen content is the opposite of this, being useful, interesting and relevant possibly forever, or at least for many years after you publish it. It is not time-sensitive.
Why is it so important to make a distinction between content that’s trending and therefore time-sensitive and content that’s evergreen?
Well, it’s important to have both types of content on your blog. However, the visits they drive will have a very different profile.
Time sensitive content like news will drive a spike in traffic upfront but then tend to subside as time passes.
Google Trends Example
I’ll show you an example using Google Trends by looking at the year 2016 for the US demand for a time-sensitive keyword search and an evergreen keyword search.
This chart shows the search trend for the keyword phrase “france vs portugal euro 2016“.
You can see a big spike for this search phrase during the week July 10 – 16, 2016. This represents the searches made for this phrase around the time of the 2016 Euro soccer tournament final between France and Portugal, which took place on July 10th. It’s clear that there was a huge surge of interest for this during that specific period.
Immediately after this period, the number of searches made for this phrase drops substantially. It doesn’t completely stop but the searches for it decrease enormously.
Conversely, the chart below shows the US search trends for the keyword phrase “how to start a blog” during the year 2016.
We don’t see the huge spike that we see in the example of the time-sensitive keyword demand trend. What we do see is the trend for this search phrase remains pretty constant. Hence we might think of the phrase “how to start a blog” as being a search query that has evergreen demand.
I mentioned earlier that both time-sensitive and evergreen content are important for generating traffic, so let me flesh this out a little.
Writing time-sensitive content is great for capitalizing on events or news that is relevant now. If you’re lucky you can generate a short-term spike of visitors to your blog using this approach. This will perhaps increase your reach and result in people discovering you and coming back.
However, publishing evergreen content tends to deliver more stable visitor numbers over a sustained period.
Types of Evergreen Content
The next thing to think about are the different types of evergreen content, to give you some ideas for writing. If you understand what some of these different types are, you can start to think about how you might create content that is resistant to short-term demand for it.
Tutorials & “How to” Guides
This is one of the most common forms of evergreen content for practically all niches.
Examples of how to guides are how to start a blog (shameless self promotion 🙂 ).
Joking aside, tutorials and how to guides are ideal for topics that don’t change that much. So some other examples might be:
- How to Create a Pinterest Account
- A Guide to Building Links
- How to Use Twitter to Increase Your Reach
- Installing WordPress
Get the picture?
Although changes with the platforms mentioned will occur (Pinterest, Twitter, WordPress) and require you to adjust your content, the topics will continue to be relevant in the long-term.
Where how to guides and tutorials are not so resistant to time are in technology niches. An example might be:
- How to set up email on the iPhone 6.
You can see that topics like the iPhone 6 example will either:
- Need to be modified whenever there is an operating system update (the process to set email up might change)
- Or the topic will become less relevant over time as the technology become obsolete (thereby making your guide less likely to be attract visitors).
Another example in this category are beginner guides. These may be similar to tutorials and how to guides, but they will be specific to people who have little or no knowledge of the topic.
Glossaries too provide an opportunity to produce evergreen content and therefore potentially valuable on an ongoing basis to your site visitors.
An example for SideGains would be a glossary of online marketing terms (that reminds me… I need to make one!).
Glossaries can be useful for almost every niche: admittedly some may be more restrictive than others, but there should still be some scope.
Regardless, glossaries are a type of evergreen content that will be useful to beginners and more advanced readers, which broadens their usefulness.
Problem Solving & FAQs
Take a look at site like Quora and you will find thousands of people looking for answers. Quora is a very popular site and serves a need for people looking for help. For each question you will see numerous other questions from lots of different people that relate to it.
Many of the questions that you see in sites like Quora show that certain topics generate a demand for responses we might see as evergreen.
FAQ and problem solving articles are a great resource for content that will not go out of fashion quickly
Testimonials provide a double win for you!
Firstly they are evergreen. Someone bought from you or used your services and had a fantastic experience. If they provide you with a testimonial, it retains relevance forever.
Secondly, testimonials are an endorsement of you, your services or your products. As a consequence they are trust signals that give potential buyers (or visitors to your site) a huge degree of confidence to buy from you.
Testimonial pages are great as you can add more whenever you get a new worthy piece of feedback to post.
Back Stories or Experiences
Your experiences of course happened in the past. However, your reaction to things you’ve experienced or your understanding of how they relate to now or how they made you the person you are today remain relevant.
I’ve made several posts at SideGains like this such as:
- What Happened and How The Heck Did I Get Here?
- Google Adwords Mistakes: Don’t Take Your Eye Off the Ball
- My 11 Worst Jobs & the Experiences I Had in Them
- The Law of Attraction: If You Build it, They Will Come
In these posts I speak about experiences I’ve had and what I gained from them. They may or may not bring lots of visitors in themselves, but because the content is evergreen they provide something useful to anyone who reads them, irrespective of the date they read it.
Historical Information & Analysis
Following on from back stories and experiences, historical information can provide an unlimited source of analysis that remains evergreen.
Again this type of post uses information about events or activities that are facts (albeit from the past). Although they are historical, by grouping them together they can provide an interesting full-picture view from the present.
An example of evergreen historical content might be:
- The History of Google
- How Microsoft Search has Evolved in the Last 20 Years
- How Have Search Engine Changed Since 2010
Again this type of content can be modified whenever new relevant facts become available, but the core of the content will be evergreen and therefore not need to be updated.
You’ll have seen list posts whether your recognize the terminology or not.
List posts are those articles you see online with this type of title (I’m going to be creative here):
- 20 Reasons Why Your Content Sucks
- 15 Ways to A Better Life
- 30 Bloggers You Should Know About
So… list posts are effectively a list of items on a discussion topic that you wrap some words around!
In terms of producing long-lasting content, I find list posts naturally provide a format that makes them easier to write. As long as I identify the items in the list I want to discuss beforehand, I find posts like this tend to write themselves.
Photographic Images & Graphics
If you’re a photographer or graphic designer, the images you create are the result of what you do for a living.
They might appear in your portfolio as a way to help generate more work but they are also a type of evergreen content.
Your images can be used and reused over time and despite changing tastes, they always remain relevant.
Graphic images can be recycled, modified or rebranded in endless permutations for different content channels, whether they’re blogs or social media accounts.
I need to be careful with this one since not all products present an evergreen content opportunity.
I’ve already touched upon the technology niche, so it’s no surprise that reviews about high-tech products may go out of fashion quickly as demand for them declines over time.
Products having a longer shelf life and are therefore more evergreen are things like:
- Fitness equipment
- Non-fashion items of clothing and footwear (especially relating to work environments).
Perhaps not the most exciting examples, but hopefully you get the point!
Examples of Evergreen Sites
There are some sites that practically only ever produce evergreen content. You’ll know a few of them:
All these sites produce content that predominantly has longevity. Each of these have been wildly successful and they’ve been built with masses of evergreen content.
- Evergreen content is something that never goes out of fashion or that has a long shelf life.
- It’s polar opposite is time-sensitive content.
- Both evergreen and time-sensitive content are valuable but they drive visitors in a very different way.
- Depending upon your niche, focus upon evergreen content for posts with longevity but include a smattering of trending items.
- There are many different types of content that have a longer shelf life. Some of them such as lists can be easier to write than others.
- Be sure that your evergreen posts add value and follow Google’s E-A-T content quality guidelines.
That’s all folks!
Do you have some thoughts on evergreen content? Drop me a comment below and let’s talk about it!