Want to know the secret to having a blog which grows month in month out? The secret to having a blog which doesn’t suffer from severe seasonal ups and downs? The secret to having a blog which allows you to earn regular money without having to constantly create more and more content? The secret is… evergreen blog content!
I remember ‘back in the day’ when I first started reading blogs, whenever I found one I liked, I would go back to the very first blog post and read them chronologically – following that person’s story from whenever they first started blogging until their very latest blog post.
But blogging has changed a lot since then! Successful blogs these days are very rarely someone’s life history. Bloggers have wised up to the power of SEO to drive incredible traffic to their blogs – not just at the moment when they publish, but for months and years afterwards.
In fact, the huge advantage blog posts have over social media, is their ability to stay relevant and be found long after publication.
One of the biggest keys to success when it comes to blogging is EVERGREEN CONTENT.
Having lots of high quality, well optimised evergreen content on your blog will help your blog grow month in month out – whether or not you create any new content that month.
Having plenty of evergreen content will also go a long way to preventing massive seasonal ups and downs.
And best of all, evergreen content will help you earn regular money without feeling like you are stuck on the hamster wheel of content creation all the time.
In this article I am going to share exactly what evergreen content is (and what it isn’t!), why evergreen blog content is so important to blogging success, and how to write high quality evergreen content that consistently drives traffic to your blog month in month out.
What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content is, quite simply, content which is timeless.
Evergreen content is always relevant and doesn’t go out of date: blog posts which are not tied to a particular season or event and which stay “fresh” for readers over a long period of time.
Because evergreen content is not time-sentitive and doesn’t expire, become outdated or irrelevant, it brings visitors to your blog over and over again.
Examples of evergreen content include:
- How to train for a marathon
- Easy Tomato Pasta Sauce Recipe
- How to set goals and stick to them
- 10 ways to get your baby to nap in the daytime
- 48 hours in Paris
This type of content will be relevant whether a reader reads it on the day you wrote it, a few months later, or even a few years later. In fact, I’m pretty confident that people will still be interested in these topics and actively searching for them on search engines in 10 years’ time!
Examples of non-evergreen content include:
- How to train for this year’s London marathon
- A recipe for Valentine’s day cupcakes
- How to set goals for 2020
- Our March family update!
- A review of my recent trip to Paris
By contrast, these blog posts will all date fairly quickly – once the marathon is over, no-one will be interested. The cupcakes will only be relevant for a few weeks each year. The goal setting article is only likely to be popular for a few weeks at the start of 2020, while the March family update and the recent Paris trip review will go out of date very quickly.
Why you need evergreen content
So why is writing evergreen content so important?
Well, first off, evergreen content has huge SEO benefits. Non-evergreen content might get a bit of a spike in traffic when it is first posted, but interest in it is likely to drop off as the content becomes less and less relevant.
By contrast, because evergreen content stays relevant, you will continue to get a steady flow of traffic to it month in month out.
In fact, if you have worked hard on your SEO, over time, your traffic to that evergreen content is likely to steadily increase as search engines realise your blog posts are providing good answers to their searchers queries, and so search engines bump you up the rankings.
The more evergreen content you write, the more search engines will learn to trust you and send more visitors to you and so this becomes a virtual circle.
But there is another reason why evergreen content is so important. Evergreen content saves you time and means you can actually work LESS, but get MORE pageviews (and consequently MORE income). In other words, evergreen content helps you blog smarter.
If you are creating time-sensitive, non-evergreen content, in order to keep people coming to your blog week in week out, you will need to be constantly creating new fresh content. If you stop, your traffic will drop.
Evergreen content, on the other hand, gets you off the hamster wheel of content creation. If you have plenty of evergreen blog content, you will be consistently getting traffic to your blog week in week out, whether or not you produce any new content that week.
This means you don’t have to spend all your time creating more and more new content and can instead turn your attention to other projects – other projects which will help you grow and improve your blog and increase and diversify your revenue.
In short, focusing on producing evergreen content will mean you get more traffic and more revenue while working less!
Is there ever a place for non-evergreen content?
But all this begs the question, do you have to focus exclusively on evergreen content? Or is it sometimes OK to publish more time-sensitive and/or seasonal content?
And of course, the answer is – YES, it’s totally fine to produce some time-sensitive and/or seasonal content.
A great example of this would be Christmas content. Yes, it’s true that Christmas content is not truly ‘evergreen’. You won’t find many people wanting to bake Christmas cakes or cook brussels sprouts in the middle of June!
But in the months leading up to December 25th, Christmas content is HUGE and anyone who has a lot of Christmas content is likely to see an enormous spike in traffic towards the end of the year. In most niches, you’d be MAD not to create Christmas content!
But ironically, the blogs which are likely to do best at Christmas are the ones that mostly focus on evergreen content!
Because if all through the year search engines are sending you traffic to your evergreen blog posts and those readers are having a great user experience (UX) on your website, search engines are spending all year learning that your website delivers great answers to their searchers’ questions and consequently bumping you up in the search rankings… and so when Christmas rolls round, guess where search engines are going to send their Christmas searchers?!
So, while it is totally OK to include SOME time-sensitive and/or seasonal content on your blog, the majority of your posts should be evergreen.
There are broadly 3 types of non-evergreen content and they all require slightly different strategies…
1. Seasonal content
This is content which is relevant year in, year out but only at certain points of the year. So, for example, Christmas content, Easter content, BBQ recipes, winter holiday tips, spring cleaning posts, posts for pancake day, Valentine’s day, Mother’s Day etc. – and whatever is seasonal in your niche.
Seasonal content typically experiences very high traffic when it’s relevant, so it is definitely worth capitalising on that by writing some seasonal blog posts. However, when you do write seasonal content, still try to make it evergreen – make it so it will still appear fresh and relevant next year and the year after, and the year after that.
And definitely be discerning – how long is the season and how big is the spike?
For example, in most niches it is well worth writing Christmas and Easter content – those seasons typically last a couple of months or more and deliver lots of traffic (and high ad revenues too!).
But think long and hard about smaller, shorter seasons – for example, is it really worth writing lots of Valentines Day or Back to School content. In some niches, the answer will be a resounding ‘YES!’, but in many niches it’s really not worth it, as those seasons are very short.
2. News Content
This is one off, short lived content – perhaps reacting to a news story in the media or sharing personal news. Examples of this could be recipes on a food blog inspired by the latest season of the Great British Bake Off, a post about GDPR or a report on how you got on in the New York marathon.
Personally, I mostly avoid this kind of content, as it has such a short shelf life. However, sometimes it really is worth it.
For example, if you had been quick off the mark when GDPR first became known about and wrote a really good blog post about it, you may well have got a lot of really great traffic and backlinks, as well as established yourself as an authority in your niche and maybe picked up quite a few clients for your services, or students for your courses too!
However, I recommend you only write this kind of time sensitive, short shelf-life content occasionally and only when the opportunity seems just too good to miss!
3. Year in the title
This is when you actually include the year in the title – specifically because you are targeting people who are putting the year into their Google searches – for example: ‘How to set goals for 2020’.
Depending on your niche, this can be a good strategy – especially at the start of the year, before you have a lot of competition.
However, if you employ this strategy, you need to be prepared to update that content every year towards the end of the year and you should still write the content with the aim of it being 90% evergreen – just requiring a few tweaks each year to make it relevant for the new year.
How to write evergreen content?
The good news is that writing evergreen content is actually pretty easy – it really just requires you to choose your topics wisely and think ‘evergreen’ as you write. Here’s how…
Start by brainstorming evergreen topics
The first step in successfully creating evergreen content is to brainstorm ideas – just grab a large piece of paper and write down as many evergreen topics as you can think of that are relevant to your niche.
Use keyword research to prioritise topics which will do best
However, just because a topic is evergreen does not mean it will do well on Google. Since the idea of focusing on evergreen content is to get search engines to send you a steady and increasing stream of traffic, you do also need to make sure you do your keyword research!
Use my Keyword Research Calculator to work out which of your ideas are likely to perform best in search results and drive the most traffic to your blog.
Add them to your content calendar
Once you’ve figured out which of your evergreen topics are most likely to fly, the next step is to add those ideas to your content calendar. At this stage, you may also want to add into your content calendar any seasonal posts you plan to write over the coming year too.
Write with an evergreen mindset
When you come to write each evergreen blog post, try to have an ‘evergreen mindset’. Avoid references to news or seasons as much as possible and try not to mention anything which will date your content / go out of date fast / be irrelevant soon etc.
As you write, constantly be asking yourself ‘will this still make sense / be relevant to my readers in 1 month, 1 year, 10 years from now?’ and avoid using language which ‘dates’ your post – for example ‘last week’, ‘last month’, ‘back in May’, ‘now it’s so dark and cold at night’, ‘because of all this rain we’ve been having’.
Write quality content
Evergreen blog content is going to be on your blog for a long time, so it’s worth taking your time and making it really good. Search engines these days are far more interested in the quality of your content than how many blog posts you write. So, it’s fat better to take your time and craft one piece of really good quality evergreen content, than dashing off five quick and scrappy blog posts.
How to promote YOUR evergreen content
Don’t forget to promote your evergreen blog content on social media and share it with your email list!
Promote evergreen content on social media
Because social media is pretty flash-in-the-pan itself, you can afford to use much more time-sensitive language.
For example, let’s say you want to create a pancake recipe for pancake day. Well, it makes sense to write the actual blog post as an evergreen post – maybe only casually mentioning pancake day or maybe not at all – and instead underlining how the pancakes are perfect for dessert or breakfast – events which happen every day, not just once a year!
However, you can then share this post on social media referencing pancake day and using lots of appropriate hashtags like #pancakeday and #shrovetuesday. This will allow you to capitalise on the spike in traffic from social media on Shrove Tuesday AND have a piece of content on your blog that is relevant all year round.
Of course, if you have a social media scheduler that enables you to re-share old social media content, you could go one step further and create a second ‘evergreen’ social media post for each channel that you would then add to your queue to be shared throughout the rest of the year. This second post would be stripped of all references to pancake day and instead highlight how great the pancake recipe is for breakfast / dessert etc.
Promote evergreen content to your email subscribers
Similarly, you can (and should) be much less evergreen in focus when you share your latest blog post with your email subscribers.
Email is the perfect place to share your latest news or the recent events that inspired your latest blog post. Good email newsletters are like an email to a friend and friends share their latest news with each other!
Don’t forget to update your evergreen blog content!
Wait what? Updating evergreen content? But I thought the whole point was that evergreen blog content is timeless???
Sadly, even well written evergreen blog content does eventually go out of date and needs to be updated.
It is inevitable that, over time, there will be new information that needs to be added, and new developments in your niche that render some of the information in your evergreen post obsolete.
It is also inevitable that, over time, you will get better at writing posts, taking photos, creating graphics etc. and there will also be new developments in SEO best practice too.
You should therefore aim to check over all your evergreen articles periodically and update and republish where necessary.
I recommend you review as many old posts as you write new posts. So, say for example you write 1 post per week, you should aim to check 1 old post per week to make sure it’s up to date. If you do this, you will never end up with a horrible backlog of hundreds of old posts that need to be updated!
Delete or update out of date content
So… all this begs the question… what should you do with all that old time-sensitive and now thoroughly out of date content you have on your blog?
Because here’s the cold hard truth. It’s not just the case that that content is not getting any pageviews any more – having old, out-of-date, irrelevant content on your website is actually really bad for your SEO and will mean your fabulous, well written, up-to-date evergreen content will actually get LESS TRAFFIC!
You have two choices with out of date content. You can either update it or delete it.
If at all possible, you should try and update the post and make it evergreen. There is a certain amount of SEO juice that a URL collects just by being around for a long time. So, if you can keep that URL and rewrite your post to make it up-to-date and evergreen, that is by far and away the best thing to do.
However, if there is really no way that that post can be salvaged, for the health of your blog, you need to delete it!
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