One of the most powerful types of content you will find the most rewarding is evergreen content. By identifying usable, evergreen content in your niche and publishing your own version you can boost the traffic and branding of your website.
The best way to establish the types of content that are going evergreen in your niche is to see what the leading websites are doing. By analyzing the data from our target websites we can quickly ascertain which content is evergreen and still attracting eyeballs.
The cognitiveSEO tool has a nifty way of doing this, by using the Social Visibility tool you can accurately identify the hot evergreen topics in your niche, giving you a good idea of what works.
What is Evergreen Content?
Evergreen content is content that remains valid over time, it is timeless and always attracts new readers. Some evergreen content will never need updating, whilst other types may need a little tweaking over time but will still be of great use to the reader.
Certain things in life are constant, certain things will constantly change. It is the aim of evergreen content to always be useful and therefore always attract a level of interest that is reflected in it’s subject.
Examples of Evergreen Content are:
- How to get a job in marketing
- 10 Personality traits of an epic programmer
- History of digital marketing on the Internet
- 10 Biographies of giants in business
- A timeline of the Internet
A list of topics that are evergreen:
- Time Management
- Human communication
- Design laws
- Human emotion
You can see from this list that there are some topics that do not change, whilst others may come in and out of fashion. Human communication for example is a subject of continual interest and an article such as “How to Publish a Website”, would be considered evergreen with regular tweaks. Content can be created around different aspects of these topics
The key is to create a piece of content that is still of interest long after the publishing date. Social media is the main vehicle of interest in identifying what is evergreen content and what is not, as it presents us with a verifiable human signal that can be recorded and analysed in a pattern.
By using the Social Visibility tool on the cognitiveSEO dashboard we can quickly analyse a tracked website to identify the evergreen content.
What Evergreen Content is Not
It is not the latest fashionable tip that is all the rage at the recent SEO conference and is being pounced on by hordes of hungry SEO types. First of all, these tips tend to go public when they have been blitzed to death on the dark SEO forums. Second, usually they are taking advantage of a flaw in the Google system. It may work great for a while but soon stops working when Google figures out how to plug the gap, making that 2,000 word blog post you wrote on the subject completely out of date and dead in the water.
Whilst there is room for web content that is highly topical and for the moment, it is good to have a mix of content on your website.
A list of blog topics that are not Evergreen:
- This years Super Bowl commercials
- A Google algo change
- How to employ specific techniques in search engines
- How to take advantage of how specific social media platforms work
- How a new law has changed things
- Content referring to a cultural event such as a movie
A common topic on SEO and social media blogs are how to game social, or as some blogs call it, “optimising the social media system.”
Each social media platform has its little idiosycrasies and quirks that can be taken advantage of and experts in each social media platform regularly blog about how to do this on Twitter and how to do that on Facebook.
This content is useful in the short term or for as long as the social media platform does not change it’s system which eradicates the technique. Once the technique is negated by a change in the social media platform, the content that promoted becomes out of date and useless. Content such as this should always be updated to inform your reader that you no longer promote this technique.
Although the waters get muddied, especially in SEO as techniques come and go, sometimes very quickly, those who can utilise the new technique can get ahead of the game quickly and get rewarded.
Thus, content that is only valid for a specific time period is only as valuable as the technique will allow and unless you are a hard core blackhat SEO, simply following these techniques from a Google, organic search perspective is very short sighted.
Much better to have a mix of content, both topical and evergreen. This will mean that some of your content will always be valid.
Content that has proved it’s worth over time.
Evergreen content is:
- High Quality
Evergreen content is a way to scale the act of publishing content.
You may have to spend longer in creating evergreen content but the interest will be compounded over a longer period of time. A post that takes only a short time to create may an enable you to publish content more often but will be less likely to have that longevity of evergreen content
Evergreen content can be re-promoted and if it is useful to your readers why should you not repromote something you wrote a few months ago.
Some people will change the date on their WordPress system so it seems that the content is fresh. I have tested this and whilst it does get attention it did not feel right and I felt in someway the reader was being misled. This is easily solved by stating that the content is from the “archives”, or a blast from the past which is still valid.
Evergreen content can be internally linked to by fresh content. It means that you can get a further pay off from the time and effort you invested in the content originally.
Consider that a tweet has a useful lifespan of 18 minutes, unless you are a politician tweeting a photo of your bits and bobs and then it may have a longer span, whilst evergreen content will go on and on.
Evergreen content is deep and drills down into specific topics further than most posts tend to and is usually bigger than the average piece of content.
Using the cognitiveSEO tool allows us to quickly see which content on a competitors’ website is evergreen and still receiving social signals long after the publishing date.
How to Create Evergreen Content
There are certain things to be mindful of when creating evergreen content. The most important is that it’s not you who decides what is evergreen and what is not, it is the readers who will decide. This means we need to follow certain rules to allow for the maximum chance for your content to be considered evergreen.
1. Your content should be useful and remain useful.
It must serve a purpose that your reader finds interesting or solves a problem and it should continue to be interesting. If something changes in the world that causes your content to lose its appeal, then it is no longer evergreen.
2. It must attract those at the early stages of a subject. Yes, noobs = profit.
The reason for this is many more people start something than finish, not all who attempt a subject can achieve mastery, thus there are many more people at the beginner stage than there are at the expert stage. By your content focusing on the fresh to the subject crowd, you will be guaranteed a constant stream of people who are interested in information that will help them out.
3. The topic of the evergreen content should focus on a specific aspect and not be a rambling view of a subject.
It should offer a promise that after the reader has consumed your content they will have earned knowledge that can be applied in their own lives to be of benefit. For example, “How to Take the Perfect Landscape Photograph”, narrows down the exact subject matter and the benefit of reading the article.
4. It should be of high interest within the niche you are in.
There are some subjects that are hot in your niche and if you are experienced within your niche you will know them. These are the subjects that you can build your evergreen content on. Again, the Social Visibility tool on cognitiveSEO.com will help identify specific, hot subject areas.
How Your Competitors Can Show You Which Evergreen Content Works in Your Niche
Using the Social Visibility tool on cognitiveSEO reveals social signals over time, and is an ideal way to identify evergreen content on a competitors site. If we notice that a post which was created sometime ago and is still getting social signals even after the initial promotion, then there is reason to believe that people think this content is still valid after the date of publication and is therefore evergreen content. It will require further research to determine whether or not the content will be valid over many years, but as long as the content is still getting interest it can be considered evergreen.
Important questions to be asked when analysing for evergreen content
When was it published?
- Is it still creating social signals after the initial period of publication and promotion?
- What is the cause of continual interest. Isolate the key factors in the content?
- Can the content be updated further, making it more attractive?
Here is a step by step, visual guide to using the Social Visibility tool to find evergreen content
Go to Social Analysis by clicking on the Social Visibility tab on the cognitiveSEO tool.
Check the Anti-Noise Technology box. What this does is get rid of any duplicate pages, due to the way web pages can be submitted to social media it can mean the same web page is submitted with a different url address. By excluding possible duplicate pages we get rid of this problem.
Scroll down to, “Pages with Shares Increase for…..”
Here we see the account we are using is a recent account and only crawled on 30th of January, with the latest crawl being on the 6th of February, which means we will be working with one week of data between the first crawl and the latest.
You can select multiple data points for the period you want to analyse, but in this case we are going the last crawl.
We see a table with web pages, share increase and a breakdown of the social signals and referring domains
We can see straight away that listing 2 has had a share increase of +81. This is the largest increase of social signals in the top 10 and is worth investigating. Clicking through to the web page we find it was a piece of content published, October 13th 2014 and is titled, Unmasking The Hidden Digital Marketing Strategies of 9 Successful Startups
By hovering over the +81 we get the following pop-up which gives us further data about the social signals this page has generated since the last crawl.
We find out that the +81 is actually 4% of the signals previously, which totals a very large 1,648 Tweets, 520 Facebook likes, and 78 from Google+.
Scanning the content we see that it’s made up of stories of digital marketing strategies from multiple start ups.
The data in the form of recent social signals, making 4% of the total social signals that the page has received tell me that the content is still getting not only read but shared too.
This indicates to me that this topic has a strong Evergreen value.
But what is very tasty to me is that we can very quickly see the number of referring domains which is 13, which we can see when hovering over the green bar for referring domains.
We click on the green bar of the referring domains and get a popup of the referring domains and can click through to the web page linking to the evergreen content. When looking at what a competitor is using for evergreen content I can not only identify which content is working and which is not, but I can see who is interested enough in the content to link to it.
This technique is very powerful when researching a niche and discovering which type of content is evergreen and still getting social signals. If a web pages is consistently getting regular social signals, it is a strong indicator that the topic is the type which could produce consistent results if created on our own website.
What is Evergreen content?
It is content that is timeless and generates interest long after the initial publishing date.
Why is Evergreen content important?
It demonstrates a deep understanding of the subject and allows you to scale interest over time.
How do you create Evergreen content?
Identify the subjects that are evergreen and address the issues which readers find interesting and solve their problems. By using the Social Visibility tool on cognitiveSEO you can identify what is working in your niche.