Evergreen content is not just a nice-to-have… it’s a growth mechanism no matter which industry.
Great content can help lower customer churn rate, build engagement, drive conversations with digital communities and expand your brand reach potential new customers. Whether you’re a high-flying SaaS company that wants to promote their project management software or you’re an ecommerce startup fresh out of the blocks you’ll probably have considered an SEO strategy in your efforts, at some point.
However, imagine that you’re a news website or publisher that relies purely on ephemeral or time-sensitive content to drive traffic. You rank well on Google Discover and your click-through rate is excellent for the daily headlines you put out. Then imagine that all of your writing staff got sick, or you had a temporary incident that paused all outgoing content.
Without evergreen content, the basis of this article, your traffic, and ad revenue, would be in a severe crisis.
It’s important that, for publishers, you are never just reliant on a single source of traffic. That’s why creating SEO-friendly evergreen content is so essential to driving more traffic and ad revenue.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. However, nowadays we can understand it as: “Demonstrating to Search Engines that we are offering what USERS are searching for.”
Google currently holds 92% of the search engine market share worldwide and 75% of people don’t look past the first page of Google. Optimizing a piece of evergreen content so that it ranks high on the first page of search engines is a long-term investment that could pay off for months, potentially years.
Moving into 2020 your evergreen SEO efforts are also more important than ever with the implementation of voice search. People will be scrolling less and relying on their bots to search for them more. This means that you’ll ideally want to not only rank on the first page of Google but hit the all-important rich-answer boxes with your SEO efforts.
How can you get to this position and hold the title? With evergreen focused SEO content.
What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content takes its name from an evergreen tree, like a fur or a pine that’s known to be green all year round. Evergreen content is aiming to do just that, to be green/relevant all year round and beyond.
Evergreen content is just going to go from strength to strength in 2020 as readers’ trust in social media platforms is noticeably on the turn, people are now looking to other sources for their information.
This article is broken down into two sections. First of all, we’ll dive into how to technically write your individual content pieces to rank best on search engines. The second section will focus on evergreen SEO content. This section is largely here to help you determine a route to market and content topics to write about. Combine these two sections in your publishing SEO strategy to create SEO-friendly evergreen content that works.
Top Tips for writing SEO-friendly evergreen content
The technical side of SEO
Headlines and titles
Headlines and titles can be the make or break of your article. It’s the first impression you give a reader and often the determining factor on whether they actually read the blog. Make sure you try to involve your keywords in the headline or title but more so, don’t let the article be misleading. If your title suggests you’re going to reveal one piece of information and the reader can’t see that information instantly then your bounce rate will increase and your article will lose authority and a chance of ranking.
Link in and out (to your own articles)
Search engines rank content by the number of links to that particular piece of content. Content that’s useful tends to have more links to it, both within your site and from external sites as well. Make sure all of your content is interwoven, where it makes sense. Take this a step further and ensure that the anchor text (the text that is hyperlinked) works as a title in itself; it should inform the reader on the content they’re about to click through to.
This is essential in ensuring that your content is deemed as insightful. Shorter pieces of content, such as press releases or campaign material doesn’t tend to rank as well as long-form content. There are tools out there that can suggest article lengths for you depending on your subject or keyword but try to aim for at least 1,200 words, between 2,000 – 3,000 is fantastic.
Keywords are, of course, still relevant to the success of your article. But there was a time in which people were “keyword stuffing” to push the article up the ranks. Due to this, Google has since grown smarter and instead, focuses on user intent. User intent is now a central factor in content and search engine optimization and is eclipsing individual keywords as a dominant ranking factor. So only write with your keywords in mind but use them where they make sense.
Firstly, to maintain great website speed, make sure to keep image formatting and sizing to a limit so that they don’t affect the page load speed. For example, in 2020, voice search assistants are said to value quicker loading pages, so to reach those searchers, page speed optimization really is a high priority. As a first step, analyze your current website speed with PageSpeed Insights to assess
Also bear in mind that the faster web crawlers can access your website, the more possibilities you have of being discoverable with your content, whether it’s in Google Discover or Google search!
There are a few ways search engines can deem your content as “high quality.” A couple to look out for are:
- Backlinking from external sites
- Average time on page (considering the word count).
If you’re impressing search engines with all of this then your content will be labelled as high-quality and rank higher than others.
Answer common questions
Use Google search to see what else people are asking around your topic. Take note of what they’re asking and make sure you answer their questions in your own piece. Better still, use these questions as H1s, H2s, H3s etc.
This is the little snippet of copy that people see under your blog title in search engines. You have 156 characters to sell your blog, involve your keywords and manage expectations for click-throughs. Use these characters wisely.
Remove stop words from the URL
Stop words are little words in a URL that would normally tie a sentence together but are actually not read by a search engine. Words such as: A, the, an. All of these are unnecessary when you’re creating your blog link. If you have the ability to edit your URLs then make sure you just use the keywords from your blog title.
Otherwise known as listicles, they’re extremely SEO friendly. A search engine can read the structure of a listicle much better than bodies of text. Why? Because it’s filled with various titles, subtitles and headings that a search engine can pick up on. List posts that include the most relevant H1s, H2s, H3s will also have more opportunity to show up in rich answer boxes.
Involve other content types
Just because you’re posting a blog doesn’t mean that it needs to be all words. Make sure you break up your page and keep it engaging with images, videos and infographics where applicable.
That wraps up the technical side of SEO writing. There’s a lot to take in, make sure you use the above as a checklist to ensure your content has the best opportunity to rank.
Turn your technical SEO skills evergreen
In this next section, we’ll explore the evergreen side to SEO writing. This section is more based around style, timing and content type rather than technical structure.
Separate your content from traditional short-form content
When writing, make sure you steer clear of news, trend reports or anything that doesn’t require too much text or is specific to a particular moment in time.
How To’s or Guides are a fantastic way of creating long-form content and content that is searched for indefinitely. Identify a guide that’s relevant to your target demographic and find keywords or queries that you can fill your guide with so your target audience can find it easier.
Avoid seasonality when you can. You’ll need to disregard addressing the time of year you’re writing from. For example, Lead acquisition can be hard this time of year, after Christmas people usually spend less… By doing this you’ll give your blog a timelessness that will help it remain evergreen.
If you’re going for a seasonal blog that you want to be searched for at a particular time of year then this tactic works the other way around. You’ll need to thread specific search terms or keywords throughout your blog that are typical of the season. Just make sure you update the blog annually to keep it relevant.
Get backlinks from other evergreen pieces of content
A good backlinking strategy is a surefire way to support your evergreen SEO efforts. Identify other relevant articles that your article can be an expansion of. Reach out to these authors and ask if they can backlink to your piece. Grow from other evergreen pieces of content.
Feature your content in roundup posts
This is a great way to resurface your content in fresh ways as well as building internal links to your article.
Use facts and stats rather than opinion
By using facts and statistics, rather than sharing a heavily opinionated article, you build trust with the reader. When linking out to statistics you’ve found elsewhere to support your article make sure you’re linking to well-known brands.
Take this a step further by trying to involve stats from your own research. In doing so, your article is much more likely to be linked to from other brands.
Update your content
Make sure you periodically give your evergreen content a refresh. This doesn’t have to be much, but look to update the following:
- Up-to-date statistics
- Up-to-date images / video
- New links to recent articles
- The date on the blog
- Check that old links are still working
Make sure you’re letting people know the last time your article was updated in the first paragraph. This information will reassure the reader that the content they’re reading is still relevant.
Use Google trends and search volume
Make sure the topic you want to write about is regularly trending and has a relatively large search volume. If anything, you want to find a topic that has been increasing in search volume over time.
Most online businesses have identified a gap in the market that’s come about because of a problem that needs to be solved. Identify problems that are similar or directly in line with your product and answer those problems within your article. Better still, frame those problems as headers.
Use historical data
If you’re in an industry with a lot of history then you can bet that history is one thing that won’t change. If you write about the history of your product or your sector, the content will always be relevant and doesn’t need to be updated.
Evolve your content to fit other platforms
Instead of looking to create new content all the time, think of how you can upscale your evergreen content so it can gain more traction.
If a particular blog is performing well, convert it into content for other channels. Perhaps it will do better as a video on Youtube, and maybe you can create an email send-out focusing on its topic. Let the data inform your decisions and always be linking back to your main piece of content.
Find your niche
It can be hard to rank for popular search terms and keywords. Especially when you’re going up against evergreen content that has held its first page rank for a while. What you’ll need to consider is finding your niche. What can you write about that’s still relevant to your brand or product but has not been so heavily answered with an article?
15% of all search queries have never been answered before, there’s a gap for most things you just need to look for it. This takes quite a bit of research but you’ll be ranking much easier. More and more publishers are creating niches in their content fields. This helps to claw in more market share that can help sustain long-term article growth.
Write for voice search
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, 2020 is going to be an interesting year for the evolution of search and the effects this will have on search engine optimization strategies.
It’s rumored that around 75% of voice search results will rank in the top three positions in search engine results pages. To answer this emerging trend make sure you’re including conversational search options in your articles, try to relate to how people will talk in their own home and predict questions people would ask, not type. Keep this information at the top of mind when writing for SEO throughout this year and seize voice search as an opportunity for your brand.
Concluding writing SEO-friendly evergreen content
Hopefully, these actionable items have informed your SEO publishing strategy. SEO is an ever-changing game so it’s always good to stay on top of trends in the field and keep your own knowledge up-to-date.
Here’s a check-list of what we covered. Copy and paste it somewhere that you can come back to whenever you’re writing:
- Use catchy headlines and titles
- Link internally and externally
- Hit a certain article length
- Use keywords
- Optimize for speed
- Write high-quality content
- Answer common questions
- Use Meta-descriptions
- Remove stop words from the URL
- Try out listicles
- Involve other content types
- Stay away from time-sensitive content
- Consider guides and how to’s
- Eradicate seasonality
- Go into detail on a particular topic
- Get backlinks from other evergreen pieces of content
- Feature your content in blog roundup posts
- Use facts and stats rather than opinion
- Update your content every so often
- Thread your content into your social media plan
- Use Google trends and search volume
- Solve problems your customers need solving
- Dive into history
- Evolve your content to fit other platforms
- Find your niche
- Write for voice search
Jake Stainer is currently Head of Digital Growth at TravelPerk and Co-Founder at Spaceboat. Before he spent 4 years growing Typeform from $1m -> $25m ARR.