Jul 3, 2024

How to make content evergreen [with examples]

Evergreen content is the backbone of a content library. It captures facts about your brand and product that will be valuable to readers (and marketers) long after the piece is published. Some content is evergreen by design but other content can be rendered evergreen through revision. You’ve probably got a few pieces in the library which lend themselves to an evergreen revision.

In this post, we’ll look at how to identify pages that can be turned evergreen and how to start that evergreen-ing process.

What is evergreen content?

Evergreen content is any piece that remains relevant for your audience and brand over a long period of time. The enduring appeal comes from the subject matter.

Evergreen content focuses on topics that are central to your product, its value prop, and its philosophical underpinnings. As a result, the subject matter resonates with readers regardless of the latest industry trends.

Note: while the appeal is perennial, evergreen pages still require regular maintenance, like any piece of content in your library.

The opposite of evergreen content: timely content

Timely content focuses on topics that are extremely relevant for a moment in time. News and trend analysis, product reviews, event coverage, product release hype, year-in reports… The appeal for this content depends heavily on their currency.

Timely content plays an important role in content marketing strategy. Usually, it’s part of a short-term content play. (Timely content ages pretty quickly.) But, on occasion, a timely piece of content touches on evergreen issues. In that case, you can revise it to highlight the evergreen material and extend the content’s shelf-life.

The benefits of revising a page to be evergreen

Outdated content is never a good look. It can also affect your bottom line. If a visitor to your site lands on a post about How To Find The Best Products of 2019, for example – they’ve hit a dead-end and might be encouraged to exit entirely.

So, by rendering older content evergreen, you can improve the bottom line.

  • It’s an opportunity to increase traffic. If a page is generating decent traffic, a refresh could generate even more visitors and leads.
  • It’s a chance to tighten up the conversion funnel. By updating the content along the funnel, you can be confident there are no more gaps or dead-ends in the customer journey.
  • It’s good for brand management. Trends change. Nobody likes to look out of touch. Outdated content is a red flag for any visitor.

Finding the right content to turn evergreen

When considering pages to turn evergreen, look for core subjects like…

  • Jobs to be done
  • Use cases
  • Core product features
  • User success stories

They speak to the fundamental questions that people have about your product. That’s why they lend themselves to evergreen revision.

To find those pages in your library, you might search by strategic phrases. Alternately, you might start by reviewing all of your top performing pages and flagging those with evergreen potential.

You can pursue either route with a few clicks in Ottimo.

Type any word or phrase into the Ottimo search bar and filter your entire content library by title and URL.

Examples: evergreen vs timely updates

Timely content focuses on subjects that are specific to the present day: trends, competitors, news.

Some can be rendered evergreen through revision. But some content needs to remain timely in order to be valuable for readers.

Let’s look at two examples…

Example #1 – A page with timely appeal

Let’s say you’re marketing a Saas product that manages payroll. You’ve got a popular blog post: Top 10 Payroll Products for 2024.

This is going to age pretty quickly. It will need to be updated in a few months. There’s really no way around that. Buyers doing product research only want current information. In that sense, the timely title of this post is reassuring.

So the most effective way to update this page will be to refresh the timely content at the end of the year.

Example #2 – A page that can be evergreened

Sticking with the payroll Saas scenario, let’s say there’s another blog on your site: How To Find A Great Payroll Platform in 2024.

This is actually an evergreen post masquerading as a timely post. Why? Because it’s not a review of current products (like the post in Example #1). Instead, it’s advice for buyers on how to evaluate your product and its competitors.

In giving readers advice on how to select software, the post is articulating some basic elements of its brand perspective. It’s highlighting the use cases your brand finds most important and the product differentiators you believe to be most valuable. This information is not subject to industry trends or news. It’s evergreen.

Evergreening the page starts with simplifying the title: “How To Find A Great Payroll Platform.”

By cutting the timely material from this post, it will focus the material more on (Also, the simplified title might seem more reassuring because it seems less SEO-hacky.)

A timely page example from NerdWallet

If you Google the phrase “accounting software 2024,” the top results are consumer-driven product review sites like Capterra and G2. But among them is one branded blog post: “Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses of 2024” on the NerdWallet site.

NerdWallet shrewdly focuses on the timely material that readers are looking for.

NerdWallet wrote a timely blog post comparing accounting software products. It very shrewdly focuses on timely information, rather than trying to take a broad, evergreen approach.

It’s devoted entirely to product information. The broad, evergreen approach simply won’t succeed in organic search.

An evergreen page example from Quickbooks

Screenshot from the Quickbooks post, “Accounting software selection: 7 factors to consider.” The content here is evergreen. Its relevance will sustain for readers and the brand — and will likely require the most minimal of updates.

If you search “how to choose accounting software”, this Quickbooks post is at the top of the search results: Accounting software selection: 7 factors to consider.

The title and subject matter address a question that buyers will likely have forever. And the main points of exploration are similarly resistant to age. The 7 factors highlighted are: cost, usability, features, integrations, reporting capabilities, cash or accrual, and scalability.

Within those sections, there are some details that may need to be periodically refreshed — the list of integrations for example, will likely change over time. But those are easy updates.

The relevance will sustain for readers and the brand — and will likely require only minimal updates.

Let's look at the basic process for making evergreen updates...

How to make evergreen revisions

When you find the right page to turn evergreen, you’ll want to systematically update the page so that the subject-matter will age well and the page is optimized for performance.

Updating for search performance

  • Explore adjacent keywords for higher search volume. We recommend using a campaign brief for this end.
  • Optimize the metadata for your target keyword. You can easily assign this task to GPT.

Updating for user experience

  • External links. Is the data you cite up to date? The reference to a Gartner report from three years ago… Could you update the data or skip it altogether?
  • Inline references. No one says ‘bussin’ anymore. And that sitcom GIF in your blog post won’t make any sense in a few years from now.
  • Readability. Is all of the content within the post as easy as possible for readers (and search engines) to find?

Updating for conversion

  • Add internal links for the page on other relevant content throughout your site. Quick way: search your library for relevant terms.
  • Adapt the piece for different platforms to get the word out. This is especially true for “wallflower” pages.

Evergreen content requires less ongoing maintenance than a more timely post. But evergreen posts still require maintenance and upkeep!

Next steps

You’ve found a handful of pages that are ready for evergreen updates. The question now is: which pages do you update first?

Start with the pages that have the most potential for return on investment. Often, these are pages that have exceptionally high traffic or conversion volume. That high volume means that any improvements are likely to have a big impact on your bottom line.

We call those pages “Star” pages. Those pages are automatically grouped and highlighted in Ottimo. You can find them in the dashboard sidebar. Once you’ve updated the Star pages, you can update pages that need a little more work.

Another consideration: thematic relevance. If your team is focusing heavily on a particular topic or product feature for the coming quarter, you might prioritize updates to content that can fit your current campaigns.

And if you’re unsure about how to proceed, drop us a line. We love to talk shop.

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We don’t just show you the way—we’re in this with you too.

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