What if each of your blog posts and articles were conduits of cash that never, ever turn off? What if they kept on delivering traffic, conversions, and revenue?
I’m going to tell you how to do that.
To create content with long-term ROI, you have to write evergreen content. This type of content lasts for a long time. Evergreen content is like an article you read today, and think “Wow. That’s great!” And when you read it in a year, you still think “Hey, that’s a really good article!” Evergreen content lasts, and it gives you a long-term return on your investment.
Evergreen content is the best way to get the most bang from your buck for the longest amount of time. There are four reasons for this:
Want to start creating evergreen content? Here are the six qualities of content that will help to drive long-term ROI.
The first step in creating evergreen content is knowing your audience. You’ve got to understand what resonates with them. Here are some helpful questions to ask about your niche:
You’re looking for themes that aren’t going to go out of fashion.
For example, I wrote an article called “How to Predict Google’s Algorithm Changes.” The fact is, Google is always changing their algorithm, SEOs are always interested in these changes, algorithm changes always affect rankings, and so on. I know that this article will maintain its evergreen status, no matter what Google’s changes actually are.
The most important reason why you should update your content is because Google loves fresh content. If you update your content frequently, the algorithm will favor your content in the SERPs. This really works. It’s called the “freshness algorithm.”
There are the eight qualities of the freshness algorithm that Cyrus Shepard outlined in his article, “Freshness Factor.” Here’s how you address each of those qualities to make your old content rank higher:
If you have any content that you want to be reindexed and get back in the SERPs, here’s what to focus on:
You may not see the page rocket back in the SERPs, but you’ll probably see a slight increase in traffic.
In an effort to make their content evergreen, some people choose to hide the publish date. This is up to you, but it kind of annoys me when I don’t see a date. If the content is evergreen, I’ll be able to make that judgment myself, even if I see an old date.
If an article was published several years ago, but it’s still appearing in the SERPs, I know that it’s good content. The search engines are developed enough to discern between good content and crap. Plus, if the result is relevant to my query, then I can safely assume that the content within that SERP listing is also relevant to my query.
Keeping dates in your article is always a good move. Removing the date will not make your content evergreen, nor will it fool search engines or readers into thinking that your content is more relevant.
One evergreen technique that I’ve seen have great success is placing an updated note to an old article informing readers that it was recently updated.
This helps drive the evergreen quality of the article. A reader may find the article, recognize its relevance, but wonder if he can trust its timeliness. A brief note at the front end of the article can help to encourage trust.
It can be something as simple as this:
I recently updated this article to take into consideration Google’s Penguin Algorithm.
Here’s an example of this on Forbes.com.
The editors of ePHOTOzine also made notes for their updated content, to make sure that it kept up with the ever-changing technology of photography.
Clearly telling your readers that the content is updated is a great way to maintain the article’s evergreen qualities.
If I want to find out whether or not an article is relevant, I scroll down to the comments. Assuming that people have commented, I find out when the last comment was posted. If it’s a recent post, then I know that there’s some continued value from the article, even if the original article was posted a long time ago.
To sustain that kind of evergreen feel, you need to interact with people in the comments. You should have your comment system set up to email you or notify you when someone posts a comment on an old article. When they do, go ahead and respond to the comment, regardless of when you first published the article.
I like to take this a step further. If I published an article a long time ago that is relevant to a current event, then I might go back to that article and open up the comment thread again. It might be a comment like this:
I heard that a lot of sites experienced a drop in rankings when Panda was released a few years ago. With this recent algo update — Pigeon — have your rankings changed at all?
Many of the original commenters will be notified about my new comment, reopening the discussion. This will provide a current forum of interaction to maintain the page’s relevance for other people who visit it in the future.
The articles that last the longest are those that are lengthy detailed articles. There are some articles that I go back to multiple times, even if they were written several years ago. I know that the content is solid, enduring, and helpful. The authors delivered expert content that doesn’t get old.
Here’s an example of that kind of solid, detailed, and deep content that I love:
I actually used Shepard’s post as I researched this article. But it was published in 2011! I don’t care. This article explains features of the Google algorithm that are largely unchanged.
I trust the article, in part, because it’s a long article with lots of research, lots of citation, lots of careful explanation, and lots of really good stuff.
One of the best ways to write evergreen content is something that I didn’t even mention above. It has to do with plain ol’ great content. Google is constantly updating their algorithm to place quality content higher and higher in the SERPs. You simply can’t go wrong if you’re writing really good content.
How do you create content that drives long term ROI?