Evergreen Content Is Dead: Here's What To Do Instead
by Bridget Foley • 3 minute read • March 17, 2022
For many years, evergreen content was considered the holy grail of marketing content.
What is evergreen content? This term describes pieces that, because of their subject matter, remain relevant year after year—without any effort on the owner’s part. Evergreen posts are intended to continuously bring in organic traffic and rank high in Google search pages. Every site hopes to publish pieces that bring in a sizable amount of traffic month over month yet don’t require an inordinate amount of work.
Examples of evergreen content are:
- Numbered lists
- Industry-relevant “how-to’s”
- Answers to commonly asked questions
Unfortunately, creating a piece of content like the one described above no longer guarantees that your post will become evergreen. In fact, you may have noticed that some of your older blog posts have tended to decrease heavily in traffic (or experience what we call a ‘blog nose dive’) over time. Instead of being continuously high performers, these seemingly relevant blog posts appear to have lost their touch. Now, users are no longer seeing them ranked on Google, nor are they clicking on them.
In some cases, this is no fault of the blog. Each day, hundreds of new blogs are posted that all compete for the same keywords. To stay relevant in the eyes of Google, a site needs to be constantly refreshed and updated. By design, Google’s algorithms pay attention to the highest quality and the most current blogs. That’s why most blogs in positions 1-5 have been published within the last six months.
In an increasingly competitive content space, Google rewards the pieces that use up-to-date sources and are relevant to current questions and ideas.
Today, a better strategy for bringing in consistent views month over month is to routinely monitor your content pages to make sure they are not losing organic traffic and implement strategies to save them when they start losing steam.
New Strategies For Creating Content That Stays Relevant Over The Long Term
Creating evergreen content is no longer feasible, but the good news is, you can still produce content that stays relevant, even if it doesn’t follow the traditional concept. Today, once you notice that a content piece is losing organic traffic, you need to step in and implement some SEO strategies to regain any loss in users.
How to do that? We’ve put together a list of content types and tips that, with a bit more work, allow you to stay relevant consistently.
1 Get feedback before writing.
When writing a piece of content in the hopes that it will stay relevant, some marketers rely on keyword data to determine topics of interest to their clients/consumers.
While this is a useful strategy and something everyone should do before each blog post, asking your users themselves can also be a useful approach. They know their interests best.
Opening a conversation with your subscriber base allows you to receive necessary feedback to improve your site; it also helps cement a relationship that is important for any business.
One way to implement this idea is to create a form at the bottom of your blog that allows people to submit comments. There, they can mention topics of interest, ask questions, and suggest ways to improve your blog moving forward.
Not only does this strategy open up a meaningful dialogue, but it is also a good way to convert your audience. Each form should include a section where a user is required to enter a name and email before submitting their comment. This way you are not only receiving ideas but also receiving a possible quality lead.
2 Add a video to your post.
As you may know, one of Google’s important metrics is time on site—the length of time visitors stay on the page. With such a dense pool of content available, holding readers’ interest can be difficult. Luckily there are strategies to encourage people to stay, one of which is to add a video to your written content. Incorporating a video not only holds users’ attention but can also provide a fresh addition to an otherwise stale piece of content. According to one case study from Wisita, adding a video increased page views by 46.2% compared to content without video.
When adding a video to a post, remember that Google has more trouble reading video content than compared to written blogs. To help Google ‘crawl’ your video better, and ultimately rank higher, make use of metadata. By adding a description, title, tags, and/or video transcript to your source metadata, Google can receive better context for your video and index it appropriately. Make sure to use your targeted keywords for better results. When Google can read your site correctly, it is far more likely to rank you higher in SERPs.
3 Expand on your blog in a blog addition.
Sometimes Google considers a blog ‘not fresh’ only because it was published earlier than other competing posts. In these circumstances, it’s a good idea to review old content and identify ways to refresh it using SEO practices.
One approach is to update any facts and research used in the piece. Comb through your copy and double-check any sources or facts to make sure they align with the most recent findings.
In addition, double-check the blog’s internal and external links. Broken links (links that redirect to a deleted page) can be a sign to Google that your blog post is outdated, and your ranking may be affected. Updating your links to more recent posts shows Google that you are producing high-quality, current content.
This is also a good time to revisit your keyword strategy. Take a look at the intent behind the blog. What is working or not working when reading it? Find keywords within the content piece that could be expanded and fleshed out. If you’re close to page one on a number of keywords and need that extra push, updating your blog in this way can be helpful. Just add the new content to the blog post and republish to the same URL.
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4 Rewrite your blog.
There are various reasons why you might need to rewrite a blog completely.
One, you might realize a few months after publication that it is not performing well. Two, the material itself may have changed over time. Perhaps you—or the industry—has changed its perspective on a subject. A rewrite allows you to replace your old information with newer ideas and discoveries.
When rewriting, you are completely dismantling the previous post and restructuring it so it becomes something better. Essentially, you are turning one post into another, original post but under the same umbrella of keywords. To do this, first consider what worked in your old one, which keywords you’ve begun to rank for, and if there are any keywords that performed poorly. Keep the information that worked, add more relevant information, and expand on it in a way your user will appreciate.
5 Combine multiple similar posts.
Sometimes you unintentionally produce multiple pieces of content that compete for the same keyword. While having multiple pages appear under the same keyword can occasionally be beneficial, this is only the case when they cover two different topics. When the search intent and discussions are too similar, Google will notice and may penalize your posts.
In other cases you may have multiple posts that focus on different subtopics of a larger topic. If you notice that many of these sub-blogs are not bringing in the desired traffic, you can combine all these sub-topics into one larger blog.
To do this, make sure you’re properly addressing the URLs for each post. Finalize the URL you want for the main blog and then discard the rest of the now unused blog URLs, deleting the pages and doing a 301 redirect to the new combined—and larger—blog.
6 Constantly stay up to date with “living posts.”
Instead of having a blog post that is committed to staying the same (aka evergreen content), why not have a blog post you are committed to constantly changing?
Living posts are blog posts that update whenever the news changes. We expand on this idea more in our blog post-type article, but basically, you are making the effort to add new information each month or quarter to guarantee the piece stays relevant.
For example, if you post a blog titled ‘COVID Updates And Restrictions’ and then forget about it, odds are that readers will be upset when they see old information. However, if you provide new updates daily, then you’re creating a ‘living post’ that provides current news to visitors.
It may require more work to routinely monitor the blog, but in doing so you are attracting more links to your site, building trust within your website community, and increasing the visibility of your company.
Ready to experiment with your own content?? Go do it!
Take a look at your existing content and identify any blog topics that may need updating. Dig into the posts and their organic traffic—have any been consistently dipping in views month over month?
Focus as well on average time on page. Those with low time averages signal they aren’t holding the user's attention well.
Once you’ve pinpointed which old content can be updated for relevancy, come back and utilize our tips to determine which approach best fits the job.
Any questions about evergreen content—or need help creating high-quality posts? If so, please reach out to Nectafy. We’d love to continue the discussion!