A business website’s primary reason for existence is to receive as much targeted traffic as possible, increasing its revenue in the process. However, when website content is trend-related – for example, a time-sensitive blog post titled “How Can the 2020 Election Affect Us?” – it might have a few problems with traffic.
A piece of content focused on a specific year won’t be relevant even a year or two later. Perhaps right now this blog post will receive thousands of visitors from all over the internet, but a few months down the line, that number will whittle down to a few hundred. Unless users wanted that information for historical research, nobody needs to know what happened in the past year because it’s already happened.
When you have content that is not related to any specific year or trend, we call it evergreen content. Let’s say you have a blog post titled “How to Build a Professional Website.” This is an example of evergreen content because it has no specific time boundary – this content will always be helpful to someone.
Evergreen and trendy content have very different dynamics. Upon publication, trendy content receives a burst of traffic while evergreen content might get just a few views. However, as time passes, evergreen content usually continues to receive a steady flow of increasing traffic (as seen above) while trendy content slowly declines.
In this article, I am going to delve deeper into evergreen content and how it can help boost your website SEO.
I used to say evergreen content is an investment for a website. With any physical investment, you would expect to get a return in the long-term. The same goes for website content. Your main purpose of creating content is to attract visitors for the long-term – even after five or six years. This can only be done with evergreen content, which is not bound to any event, year or moment in time, unlike news-related articles that have a short lifespan.
When it comes to search engine organic traffic, evergreen content can play a vital role. If you write news or event-related content on your website, it may boost your SEO for a short time. But after that specific length of time passes, search engines like Google will rank you down for that content. Everything you have done to optimize that content won’t work anymore because that event has already passed and people are simply not interested anymore.
Think of a newspaper. Would you want to buy a newspaper that is two months old? Sure, it might have something valuable you could have missed, but the chances are very slim. In most cases, people just use old newspapers as garbage.
To maintain its value, a newspaper has to create fresh content covering news and events daily. Now think of a website that creates news and event content: All of its old content will be thrown away like garbage – even by search engines, which will archive old content. To maintain value and rankings, that website must create content regularly.
I am not saying that news and event-related websites are trash. If you own an organization with lots of employees who can write fresh content daily, you’ve got it made. However, if you are a blogger or have a personal website for a small business, creating unique, high-quality, fresh content daily can be an impossible task. On top of that, your old content holds little to no value even as you’re trying to produce a never-ending supply of fresh content.
You need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of evergreen content and trendy content. One offers you a big boost in SEO but has a short lifespan; the other gives you a small boost in SEO but can bring in traffic indefinitely.
If you have the resources and manpower to create fresh content regularly, you should focus on trendy content. A personal website or small business, on the other hand, would do better to focus on evergreen content. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with mixing up content and experimenting a little – but if it’s SEO you’re after, then evergreen content is your best bet!
With evergreen content, you can create a powerful backlink profile for your website. Of course, you may get thousands of backlinks from trendy content as well, but as trendy content gets old over time, the same can be said of backlinks created from them. That’s because the websites, articles or blog posts linking to your trendy content are trendy themselves, meaning your backlinks have a shorter lifespan. Before you know it, those precious links will have no value on search engines.
As for evergreen content, it’s true that you may not receive much traffic at the beginning and backlinks will be few to none. However, as your website ranks higher, you will start to get more traffic and your content may also earn more backlinks. The value of these backlinks won’t fade away, as they come from evergreen content like yours.
Besides this, it’s also good to keep in mind that, by nature, evergreen content attracts backlinks from other websites. As time passes, you will eventually see that your content is getting more organic traffic and generating more backlinks by itself.
Have you heard about E-A-T? E-A-T refers to expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. Google is no longer ranking website content based on domain authority. Your content must show expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness – and the good thing is, evergreen content usually does.
As time goes by, high-quality evergreen content grows in traffic and backlinks, building its authoritativeness and trustworthiness. And what about expertise? Well, if the content is not written by an expert, you might not make it three for three, but quality evergreen content can be a brilliant investment for your website for the long-term.
In simple terms, by creating high-quality evergreen content regularly, you are building a website that will continue to rise in the rankings. People will continue to share your website across the web, and you can sit back while your backlink profile grows.
It may happen that you have created high-quality, engaging evergreen content five years ago. But unfortunately, you haven’t updated it since. As time passed, the subject of your evergreen content went through changes, but your content didn’t keep up. What happens now? Even evergreen content can eventually be outdated and Google will rank that content down.
You may have heard about Google QDF (query deserves freshness). It is an algorithm Google uses to index updated and fresh content for the search engine results pages (SERPs). When you publish trendy content, Google will index it and show it on their SERPs. The same goes for evergreen content. However, if that content is 4-5 years old and hasn’t been updated since its publishing, Google will rank that content down.
So, what should you do? To stay on the safe side, keep regularly updating your content, no matter what type it is. Also, it’s vital to ensure your content reveals the date it was last updated.
The problem with updating trendy content is that news-related topics have very little scope to revive them – after all, the event has passed. However, you can keep updating your evergreen content almost forever. If you write a blog called “How to Set Up a Website,” you can keep updating it with new technology even after 20 years. On the other hand, if your content covers the 2020 U.S. election, it can’t exactly be updated 2-3 years down the line.
Evergreen content by nature has highly competitive keywords, which could be a problem for a new website or blog. In that case, my advice is to try and target less competitive keywords regardless of their search volumes. It may be a slow start, but you will gain a steady flow of traffic soon.
Evergreen content can bring you a robust and steady stream of visitors every month but figuring out where to begin is the hardest part. Trendy content has its perks, but as we’ve outlined, it can’t bring you the long-term growth you want.
If you are a small business or a blogger, my suggestion is to focus on evergreen content. Of course, you might create trendy content occasionally, but that shouldn’t be your primary focus. And if you have an organization with massive resources and manpower, target both trendy content and evergreen content to bring a steady flow of traffic in a short amount of time.