HOW TO WRITE AN EVERGREEN ARTICLE GUIDE
WHAT IS EVERGREEN CONTENT?
Creating good evergreen content is one of the best ways to market a business online. Though creating evergreen content is quite an investment, it provides a better return on investment than the traditional direct pay advertising model. The cost of creating evergreen content must be absorbed only once while the content is initially created. Since evergreen articles constantly bring in traffic to a site without the need for ongoing investment, they provide a high return on investment. Conversely, the paid marketing strategies require ongoing investments in order to “buy” a constant inflow of traffic. This guide explains what evergreen content is and describes some of the benefits of creating evergreen content. This guide will provide descriptions, tips and explain how to write an article that is evergreen.
WHAT IS EVERGREEN CONTENT?
Comparison To The Evergreen Tree – In botany, an evergreen is a plant that has leaves throughout the year. The leaves are always green. This sustainable and lasting quality of the evergreen plant has been associated with online content that is also lasting and always relevant. This type of content is now referred to as “evergreen content”. Evergreen content is content that is always useful, valuable and relevant to the audience, as compared to content on subjects that can age and become out-dated.
Goal And Nature Of Evergreen Content – Evergreen content is timeless, relevant and very informational web content. The purpose of evergreen content is to create a legitimate, trustworthy and a go to resource for readers. The content should aim to answer important and key questions that users search for online. The content should stand out as above average, better and more definitive than the competition on the same topic. One of the main benefits of publishing such content has to do with the fact that this type of content attracts readers on an ongoing basis. This can lead to a steady and sustained growth for a website over time. It makes the publisher’s life easier because it means they don’t have to constantly attempt to grow traffic by publishing new “timely” articles. Timely articles are articles that are valid for a short period of time and discuss things relevant only to the time period when they are published. Though timely and trending content attracts traffic for a short period of time, the traffic dwindles away over time when the times change and the data is no longer applicable to the new situation or context. The fact that the evergreen content remains valid and does not become obsolete through the change in the times means that the content will continue to maintain the interest of new audiences as they discover it over time. Despite a change in audience and a change in the times, with evergreen content can offer continual value, so the traffic is maintained. As the traffic grows over time, eventually Google will notice that the post is getting a lot of engagement, and will rank it higher. Other website owners and social media users will link to this type of content. These behaviours will further increase the traffic to the post. The traffic that evergreen content can generate is significant and long lasting, and as such, it is perhaps the best overall return on investment out of the various marketing strategies.
CHARACTERISTICS OF EVERGREEN CONTENT
Length – Evergreen articles are longer than regular blog articles. The length of the articles is necessary as it allows for extra detail, keywords, resources and sources to be incorporated into the article. Whereas many blog posts are about 500 words, a common evergreen post length is about 1500 words. Some evergreen posts are 2000 words or longer, but these are usually “ultimate resources” on a topic. These comprehensive posts provide businesses with a competitive advantage over competing publishers, which may publish short articles only or may not publish articles at all.
Specific Topic – One of the reasons why an evergreen post should be specific is that a broad post cannot be fully explained within the length of a typical evergreen article. A specific topic can be covered in a thousand or a few thousand words, whereas a broad topic cannot. In addition, one of the main characteristics of a high quality well rounded article is that it be fully explained in a thorough manner. This is easily done if the topic is specific. However, it is very difficult to make an article feel complete if an open and broad topic is chosen. Lastly, both web readers and search engines look for specialised topics and answers to specialized questions. To provide what the readers want while also ranking well online, narrowly focused topics are best.
Factual And Supported – For content to be evergreen, it must be based on facts and backed by facts, rather than on opinions. Facts based on accurate data and real world statistics provide the content a scientific foundation. Additional resources such as images, graphs, charts, videos and external links also serve as supporting evidence. The reader is then left with the impression that the content is credible and reliable. The author is seen and accepted as an expert. Google then ranks the site accordingly.
Comprehensive – Evergreen content must be comprehensive. Comprehensive content is required because a thin content will not “hold its ground” going forward. The online content publishing market is currently at a crossroads, where the majority of the content that is ranked well is comprehensive. Publishers are attempting to write comprehensive guides on all of the different topics in an attempt to dominate their individual piece of the web for particular keyword search terms. Different publishers dominate different search terms. Evergreen articles can be thought of as digital real estate. Publishers with “web properties” try to have their content rank as the number one result for their topics search phrase. As the majority of the traffic clicks on the top search results, it is profitable for a company to create a successful top ranking evergreen article.
Timeless – When it comes to evergreen content, one of the key words to remember is, timeless. Evergreen content is timeless or mostly timeless. Despite the passage of time, evergreen content continues to be relevant. If written with time relevancy in mind, it shouldn’t go out of date. The types of articles that go out of date ore usually centred around the news, current trends, or specific events. Anything with statistics also runs the risk of going out of date. Though it may be tempting to write articles that align with current trends for the purposes of gaining a bit of quick traffic, this traffic will eventually fall off. Evergreen articles are a better solution since they support longer-term objectives of website growth by acting as a consistent traffic generating and growth oriented foundation system. But evergreen content isn’t always a perfect, “hands-off” type of content. There are always industry changes and trends that can impact the supposedly timeless information in the evergreen content. Even evergreen content needs some maintenance and updates from time to time to ensure it keeps up with the times. However, if too many updates are needed, then it is likely the content is not evergreen content.
For Beginners – Many of the readers who search for evergreen type content are beginners. This is because content such as “guides”, “tutorials” and “how-to” articles are natural fit for beginners. It is beginners that are usually in need of help, not the experts. It is beginners that are more likely to be searching for information on industry techniques and processes, not experts. In addition, there are far more beginners than there are experts at any given time. As such, the audience size or “market of available readers” is larger if one writes articles that target beginners. Google recognizes this relationship. It is obvious from the top search results that the successful top ranking content usually ends up being beginner-oriented evergreens. Just because the main audience are beginners, it does not mean that one needs to avoid complex subjects. It just means that straightforward language must be used in the explanation of complex technical terminology. Simple and easy to understand language can be used to describe highly complex technical information in a high quality way.
Visuals – Content meant for online distribution should not consist only of written text. For many readers, articles that are limited to a text only presentation are tough to get through. Text only articles are less interesting, less entertaining and less engaging. At a minimum, there should be at least one image every five hundred words. The pictures should be aligned with the content, and if they are graphics, they should highlight important points while expanding upon the content.
Unique Content – The content must be unique. It must not be content that is copied from another place on the web. Google uses originality to determine which content makes it to the top of the ranking system.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Search engines have a ranking system for websites and posts which correlate to the amount of traffic, and therefore the amount of online presence and visibility which a website gets. In today’s Internet, attaining a good ranking has become more competitive process. There are many websites with similar products and services and they all cannot be ranked at a similar level. The level of competition for rankings has increased, so the bar for entry and relevance is higher. Evergreen content is the new entry-level standard that a publisher needs to attain in order to rank decently within Google search.
So what is the process of the search engine? First, Google “crawls” the website in a search for content. It then “indexes” the site to analyze keywords. Lastly, when a search request happens for a particular keyword, the search engine looks in its database of keywords and rankings for a similar match. Since Google’s algorithm understands evergreen content, (example: what is timeless and what is not), it is advantageous to have such content so as to beat out all of the other competing posts with similar keyword matches.
COMPETING WITH LARGER BUSINESSES
Evergreen content is especially useful for small business operations. Evergreen content allows small businesses (and other publishers) to amplify their marketing efforts to the point that it can match the effectiveness of much larger business operations. A small business with a library of evergreen content can leverage that content to attract traffic cost effectively. Once the evergreen content is created, there is no ongoing expense for the marketing.
This method is far more efficient than the amount of traffic that a paid marketing campaign would bring in. Often, the small businesses will not have the necessary capital to compete with the capital that large businesses can deploy in paid marketing bidding type systems. However, many small businesses do have a few workers, which have some time as one of their available resources. Businesses can leverage inexpensive labour costs towards creating evergreen content. Using the fact that search engines reward timeless materials by ranking them higher on search result pages, small businesses can then create such materials to compete against their larger company peers.
KEYWORD RESEARCH & OPTIMIZATION
After spending a lot of time to write evergreen content, it may be enticing to simply overlook the critical step of keyword research, and publish the content with any title that seems appropriate and related. The keyword research step requires that the title of the evergreen be based specially on chosen keywords that have a high search volume in the search engine. Keyword research can be performed with an AdWords account and Google’s Keyword Planner. Before deciding on a title, type a few different phrase combinations in the AdWords traffic estimation section or in the AdWords Keyword Planner tool. This will allow you to compare the different possible traffic scenarios for the different keywords. Under the Keyword Planner, the tool will tell you what keywords are high volumes, but also it will list the level of competition for the different keywords. Look for keywords with a low level of competition. Also, use long tail keywords. A long-tail keyword is one that is a few words long. Long tail keywords create a more descriptive phrase, so they are more narrow and focused. Two to four word, mid to long tail keywords on specialized topics are possible to rank for.
It is important to base article titles on the keywords that have high search volumes but also keywords that you’ve determined that you can rank well on. It is possible to rank well on keywords that have not been used in a large amount of competing evergreen articles. If the keyword research is not done, it is likely that a title will be chosen for the content, which has keywords that will not attract any search traffic. The title should be something that is likely to be typed as a search request. That title needs to be incorporated not only into the title of the page, but also in the URL, and the main heading of the page. Specifics on how to optimize these types of attributes for maximum search engine friendliness can be found within the website of a company such as Yoast. Yoast has an SEO plugin for WordPress (WordPress is a Content Management system we recommend for deploying SEO optimized evergreen articles). The Yoast SEO plugin can be used to tweak important SEO parameters for improving text readability and SEO scores.
INTER-LINKING AND OUTER-LINKING POSTS
Content posted online should connect with other content within the same domain, but the content should also connect to content from outside domains. By connecting the content on your site to supporting informational resources, and then also linking to content on other supporting websites, the links serve to improve the authority of your content. Inter-linking and outer-linking integrates the content into a larger story as told by the web, and the search engines reward these actions through higher rankings and trust.
If you happen to have a few articles on the same topic as your evergreen, it would be a lost opportunity to not interlink such material. The evergreen content should link to the supporting posts, and the supporting posts should link back to the evergreen content. Linking an evergreen to a specialized post can help provide more depth to the evergreen content as a comprehensive resource piece, and help satisfy the interest of the readers who have as a result of the evergreen become interested in the material. In addition, a reader who does not have more links to click on, may actually go back and leave the website. Providing links to the reader to click on within the same domain can help keep the visitor on the site longer.
After posting an evergreen article, over time and with the addition of new smaller articles, the evergreen article is likely to be buried deep within the site. Make sure to create other more direct ways of accessing the older evergreen articles within the site layout design. Two easy methods to deploy are 1) Create a special page on the site where all of the evergreen articles are linked and summarized. 2) Create a “Top Posts” section on the website, perhaps located on the side menu.
In short, providing links from an evergreen to related content on the same site, or providing outbound links to related content on other sites, provides value to the reader. Search engines are likely to reward this value.
EVERGREEN CONTENT TYPES
- “Beginner” Guides
- Best Practices
- Best Books
- Case Studies
- “Encyclopaedic” Articles
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- “Historical” Articles
- “Scientific” Articles
- “How-To” Articles
- “How-To” Videos
- Industry Definitions
- “Information” Articles
- “Instructional” Articles
- “Instructional” Videos
- “Mistakes” Articles
- “Ultimate Resource” Guides
- “Timeless” Statistics
NOT EVERGREEN CONTENT
- “Culture Fad” Articles
- “Event” Articles
- “Fashion” Articles
- “Holiday” Articles
- “News” Articles
- “Time Specific” Statistics
- “Trend” Articles
- Press Releases
- Product Announcements
- Product Reviews
- Recognition Announcements
- Sales Promos
Make Evergreens Obvious – Some webmasters create evergreen articles, and then proceed to create other smaller articles. The newer and smaller articles, take precedence in the news feed which acts to “bury” or place the position of the evergreen “deeper” into the website. The webmaster must make an effort to “bring out” these “older” evergreen posts, so that the reader is immediately aware of them upon visiting the website. There are different ways to accomplish this. Two popular ways are:
One, you can create a post, that lists and summarizes all evergreen posts on your website. Two, you can create a side-bar menu that contains links to all of the evergreen posts within your website. The menu would be permanently visible/accessible from all articles within your website.
Relevancy – Google likes content that is both accurate and relevant. Since evergreen content is both accurate and relevant, then evergreen content performs well in search.
Table Of Contents (TOC) – A Table Of Contents is a helpful resource that can be added at the top of lengthier articles. The TOC is a preview of the information the will receive in the content, and allows the viewer to judge whether or not they wish to dive into an in depth reading of a lengthy and comprehensive piece. It also helps the viewers, which are simply scanning for information, to find just the section they are searching for. The TOC assists the reader in forming a “mental picture” of the various subjects within lengthier articles. The TOC helps the readers to see a clearer “mental map” of all the information within the content, and also gives them an organized view of the flow of information within the content.
Update Content – Content that is written for online posting onto websites may be designed to be timeless, but over time, the content will age. Older content risks losing its relevancy, and therefore, risks being replaced by newer content in the search rankings. Older content may need to be enhanced and updated with new sections, new resources, and new links. Google will detect these kinds of small changes, and will give the post a small boost in the rankings. Remember to avoid making major changes, as major changes can significantly reduce and make a post lose the ranking it has gained.
BENEFITS OF EVERGREEN CONTENT
There are many benefits a website attains by the application of evergreen content.
Authority – Evergreen content is respected by website readers and professionals. It takes skill, effort, time and professional insight in order to put together a comprehensive guide on a specialized topic. A top ranking and well put together guide shows dedication, expertise and web publishing success. Successful evergreen articles serve as a form of proof that the publisher can be regarded with authority and credibility. And in business, authority and credibility are the keys that drive customers to buy from a business.
Part of the authority within evergreen content comes from the fact that these types of articles are “well researched” and they are “cited”. Research containing data and statistics ads a scientific like rigour to the content, which makes the content seem more accurate and reliable. In addition, citing sources further enhances the overall impression of reliability, and therefore establishes credibility for the author. Going to extra effort to write an evergreen article, makes the content stand out from the rest of the “blog posts”, which are often written with a mediocre amount of effort, quality and detail.
Backlinks – Every day, more article content is uploaded to the web. Seeing as though a large database of high quality articles is what empowers a website to maintain its ranking, webmasters then need to grow their article database. This need to constantly develop content means that webmasters are on a constant search for new article ideas and digital resources which they can add or embed to their websites. Evergreen articles are a popular solution. These types of articles provide excellent information to readers. The webmasters link to evergreens so as to boost the quantity of content available to their readers while improving their experience. In the end, the evergreen content ends up with many backlinks. Google acknowledges the backlinks, and is then left with the impression that the evergreen content written was relevant to the web users. The evergreen articles, by the virtue of having been evergreen, end up with a strong ranking.
Bounce Rate – When a web user activates a search request and then visits a website, the amount of time that the user spends on a website is analyzed by the search engine analytics. If the user happens to run into a lengthy evergreen article, they are likely to stay much longer on the page than if they were to run into a short, low quality article. Having a reduced bounce rate and a lengthier on page browsing time, the search engine will reason that the page was a good response to the searchers request and that it fulfilled their needs.
Long-Term Traffic Generation – Evergreen content attracts traffic on a consistent and long-term basis. On the other hand, non-evergreen content either does not attract traffic or attracts a brief spike of traffic, which then diminishes over time. In most cases, the total traffic which evergreen articles attract is more than the traffic which non-evergreen attract. This is due to both the usefulness of the evergreen format and also to the fact that a higher number of visitors are exposed to evergreen rather than non-evergreen content. The evergreen content ends up gaining and maintaining higher search engine ranking than the non-evergreen content. The high levels of traffic evergreens get provide the website with brand visibility, sales conversions, and increased authority.
Evergreen content helps a website owner to raise the level of authority of their website in the eyes of the public and the eyes of the search engines. By creating evergreen content, trust is gained and the website rankings are improved. Evergreen content may take extra time to create, but the results of having increased and ongoing organic traffic are worth it.
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