Evergreen Content: What It Is, Why You Need It, & How to Create It

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Marketing @ Ahrefs. Current learning project: Korean. I also summarise books on my personal blog.
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    Heard a lot about evergreen content and wondering what it is? You’re in the right place.

    In this article, I’ll explain what evergreen content is, why it’s important, and how you use it in your content marketing strategy.

    Before that, let’s get some basics down.

    Evergreen content is search-optimized content that revolves around topics that are always relevant to readers, regardless of the current news cycle or season. Its name comes from the evergreen—plants that retain their green leaves all year round.

    There are two important distinctions behind this definition:

    Evergreen topics

    Evergreen topics are topics with consistent interest and search demand over time.

    Here are some examples of evergreen topics:

    • How to lose weight” – It doesn’t matter if it’s today or 100 years from now. People will always want to lose weight.
    • How to tie a tie” – As long as formal wear is needed, knowing how to tie a tie will be a required skill. That’s why there’s consistent interest in learning how to tie one.
    • Football scores” – Football matches (sorry, U.S. folks) get played all the time, and football fans are always interested in the latest scores.

    Examples of non-evergreen topics may be:

    • Barack Obama won the U.S. elections” – This could have only happened twice, and both have come to pass.
    • Liverpool F.C. in Singapore” – This was a one-time event in 2022. The last time it happened was in 2009.
    • Mayweather vs. Logan Paul” – Another one-time event that happened in 2021. 

    Evergreen content

    Evergreen content is SEO content about an evergreen topic that continues to be relevant long past its publication date. 

    Even if the information within is “old,” a piece of evergreen content can still rank high on Google.

    Here are some examples of evergreen content:

    • 12 Tips to Help You Lose Weight – The fundamentals of weight loss—at least according to public health authorities—have remained unchanged for the past few years. So even though it was last “reviewed” in 2019, it still maintains its high rankings.
    • How to Tie a Tie – This video was published in 2012. But it’s still evergreen and ranks high on Google. Makes sense—the process doesn’t change much, and there’s no need to update it.
    • Football scores – You’re expecting me to show a piece of content for “football scores,” right? This is where the difference between evergreen topics and content starts to become clear because…

    There is no evergreen content about the evergreen topic of football scores.

    If you were to write about the latest football scores today, it would be irrelevant one week from now. 

    So if you’re interested in creating evergreen content, you shouldn’t be tackling this topic at all.

    When Boris Johnson was embroiled in “Partygate,” the BBC reported it and saw a massive spike in traffic: 

    The spike in traffic when BBC reported about Partygate

    But it only lasted a few days. As people moved on, interest disappeared and traffic plummeted. 

    Every time you publish this type of post, you’ll get an initial burst of traffic (“spike of hope”). Over time, as interest wanes, this quickly drops into a “flatline of nope”:

    Spike of hope vs. flatline of nope

    You’re caught in the hamster wheel of content creation. You have to keep publishing. Once you stop, your traffic will drop.

    But if you’re creating evergreen content around evergreen topics, you’ll be able to attract organic traffic to your post month after month—without seeing a drastic decline in traffic after a week or two. 

    This is what we do at Ahrefs.

    We never cover news, fads, or controversial issues that people won’t care about next week. We only target evergreen topics and do everything in our power to create content that is as evergreen as possible. 

    Step 1. Find evergreen topics

    Finding evergreen topics is all about staying away from time-sensitive topics and focusing on topics with consistent search traffic potential.

    To do that, you have to do keyword research.

    Here’s how.

    A. Find keywords with traffic potential

    Brainstorm a few topics you’ll like to target on your blog. Enter those topics into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

    The traffic potential for the keyword "pistol squat," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

    You can also look at the keyword ideas reports to see if there are other evergreen topics you can target:

    Keyword ideas from the Matching terms report, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

    Recommended reading: Keyword Research: The Beginner’s Guide by Ahrefs

    B. Check for a positive trend over time

    An evergreen topic means it shouldn’t be on a declining trend. Look at the trends graph in Keywords Explorer to see if a topic is gaining or losing popularity over time. For example, we can see that the topic “website templates” has a high traffic potential but is actually declining in popularity over time:

    The trends graph for the query "website templates," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

    You can cross-reference these trends with Google Trends too:

    The trends graph for the query "website templates," via Google Trends

    Step 2. Create evergreen SEO content

    Creating evergreen content means creating something that will be relevant no matter when it is. It should show Google that it deserves to be the best result today, tomorrow, and many months from now. 

    How do you do that? 

    A. Create 10X content

    Google’s goal is to deliver the best result for the search query. 

    So if you want to be deserving of a position on the first page, you’ll need to create high-quality content. And if you want your content to maintain rankings in the long term, you’ll need to create content that’s way better than everyone else’s. 

    In the marketing world, we call this “10X content.”

    Many people hear “10X content” and think it’s a “call to arms” to make their content 10X longer. But longer doesn’t mean better. In fact, we’ve found a moderate negative correlation between word count and organic traffic for posts longer than 2,000 words. In other words, the average 10,000-word post gets less search traffic than the average 2,000-word post.

    Chart showing the correlation between word count and organic traffic

    Use “10X content” as a mental model to inspire yourself to create better content. By better, I mean:

    • Design – Is the design of the content great? Is it easy to read?
    • Usefulness – Does the content actually solve the problem?
    • Entertainment – Is the content well written and interesting to read? Or is it boring, and readers are struggling to read the next line?
    • Uniqueness – Why should someone choose your content over others? Are you presenting a unique viewpoint, giving unique solutions, or sharing something from personal experience?
    • Authority – Are you an expert in this niche/topic? Why should someone trust or believe you?
    • Data-backed – Are your opinions backed by data or science? It isn’t always necessary, but your content will be more unique and believable if you do so.

    Keep these in mind when you’re creating your own 10X content. 

    If you want to learn more about creating awesome articles, check out these posts:

    B. Avoid angles with a short lifespan

    Some content marketers love referencing pop culture (e.g., Marvel Cinematic Universe) in their articles. For example, here’s an article on what Jon Snow can teach us about content marketing.

    In this case, the topic of “content marketing” is evergreen. But the content isn’t. The article is forgettable once the GoT hype dies down—and it has:

    The spike and subsequent decline in traffic for an article, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

    Of course, this doesn’t apply to every type of content. If your goal is to achieve virality, newsjack, or cover important news, then you don’t have to avoid such references. 

    But if your goal is to create evergreen content, then try to avoid trendy content angles or references. 

    C. Avoid using language with a short lifespan

    IF possible, it may also make sense to avoid words and phrases like:

    • Earlier this year”
    • Last month”
    • Yesterday”
    • 202X”

    These will date your content. 

    Again, this isn’t a cut-and-dry “rule.” If freshness is important, then you can safely skip this. In fact, we do this for our posts too:

    The current year in the title for one of the blog posts on the Ahrefs blog

    For most evergreen topics, following the steps above should keep your content evergreen for some time. 

    But your content’s evergreen status won’t last forever. Things do change. And many times, you’ll find that your content needs a refresh. For example, the field of SEO is relatively fast-moving, and many of our own articles stay relevant for a year or two before they need a refresh. 

    So how do you keep an eye on and maintain your content’s evergreen status?

    A. Track your rankings

    If Google drops your rankings over time, then it can be a sign that while your topic may be evergreen, your content isn’t. 

    To keep an eye on this, use our Rank Tracker. At Ahrefs, we usually track the main keyword we’re targeting for that page:

    Keywords the Ahrefs team is tracking, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker
    Sidenote.
    It may not always be the case that your content is outdated when your rankings decline. For example, there may be more competition. But competitors outranking you does mean that they’re doing something better than you, so it’s still worth taking a look and figuring out why. 

    B. Refresh your content

    When your content’s evergreen status runs out, you’ll have to look at your content and figure out why it’s no longer relevant in the eyes of Google. 

    Usually, it’s because some part of it has become outdated, like:

    • Stats
    • Process
    • Screenshots
    • Links
    • Year in the title
    Sidenote.
    Many SEOs use the quick fix of changing the year in the title once the clock rolls over at midnight on New Year’s Eve. We prefer to remove years in titles once the new year hits. It seems more honest. 

    You should also look at the pages that have leapfrogged you on the SERPs. Since Google’s goal is to serve the best, most relevant result for the query, the pages that now outrank you may contain clues on what’s missing from your post. 

    Ask yourself: What do they have that you don’t? Consider including those topics or points in your post.

    PRO TIP

    Looking for a way to quickly identify subtopics that you may have missed?

    Use Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool to find the keywords for which other top-ranking pages rank, but yours don’t.

    Just paste in some of the top-ranking URLs, set the mode to “Prefix,” add your URL in the bottom box (labeled “But the following target doesn’t rank for”), and hit “Show keywords.”

    Example of how to use the Content gap tool

    Then all that’s left is to refresh, republish, and repromote it.

    At Ahrefs, this is something we do all the time. The field of SEO moves rather quickly, and we’ve found that many of our articles need refreshing after a while to remain relevant.

    In fact, we’ve updated this post on evergreen content several times! 

    Here’s another example. We’ve also recently updated our post on free SEO tools. Look at the jump in rankings after we updated it:

    The spike in rankings after an update, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

    Here’s the corresponding spike in traffic:

    The spike in traffic after an update, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

    This is what it looks like if you continue to keep your articles evergreen.

    Recommended reading: Republishing Content: How to Update Old Blog Posts for SEO 

    C. Build links

    Links are essential for evergreen rankings because pages with fewer links are easier to outrank.

    How do we know? Because Google said backlinks are an important ranking factor. Our studies have also found a clear correlation between rankings and backlinks:

    Chart showing the correlation between referring domains and keyword rankings

    If your page has only five backlinks, then it’s not going to be difficult for someone to outrank you—no matter how often you refresh your page. 

    To get a rough sense of how many links you may need to crack the first page, enter your target keyword into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Look at what it says under the Keyword Difficulty (KD) score.

    The estimated number of links required to rank in the top 10 for the keyword "evergreen content," via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

    IMPORTANT: This is only an estimate. Please treat it as such.

    Here are some resources to help you build more links to your site:

    Final thoughts

    Jeff Bezos once said, “Focus on things that don’t change.”

    These are your evergreen topics.

    If you want consistent traffic coming to your blog over time, you should target evergreen topics. Then work to maintain their evergreen status by republishing and repromoting them.

    Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter

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    • Monthly traffic 249
    • Linking websites 684
    • Tweets 236
    Data from Content Explorer