American analytics service BuzzSumo and SEO blog Backlinko analyzed 3.6 billion “evergreen” pages. They did it using the algorithms of the service – its mechanism is similar to Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrica.
The goal of the study is to learn how to create content that will drive traffic from search and social media for years. The result was a set of guidelines: what formats to use, what words to include in headings, and what topics to write about.
We analyzed their findings together with Russian content and traffic experts.
- What is evergreen content
- Best formats, titles and themes
- Can podcasts and infographics be evergreen?
- How to update timeless content
- How evergreen social media content works
- Metrics for evaluating evergreen content
What is evergreen content? Are these articles for SEO?
In Russia, the term “evergreen content” is still gaining popularity, so it is not familiar to everyone. The concept comes from the English evergreen content – it is common on the English-speaking Internet.
Evergreen content is information that remains relevant for a long time and attracts traffic. This is any material that is interesting to return to after a while. Examples of such content are guides, instructions, recipes, updated tops and up-to-date analytical texts.
According to BuzzSumo’s definition, evergreen content is not just an SEO article. Such material works not only in search, but also in social networks. BuzzSumo distinguishes three criteria for evergreen pages:
- high positions in search results;
- a large number of backlinks (links to material from other web resources);
- active reposts in social networks.
Evergreen content is a shareware way of promoting, and its cost-effectiveness is high. It attracts long-term traffic, which then turns into registrations and sales. Working on timeless materials is part of content marketing.
TexTerra has used different methods to promote their blog, but concluded that “good content sells itself better than any of its ads.” According to Alexander Monakhov, TexTerra Content and Marketing Director, a successful blog helps sales well.
“Do we recommend content marketing as a way to promote? Of course. But you need to be able to produce quality content and be patient – sometimes it’s even more important, ”says Monakhov.
Research Findings: Best Formats, Titles, and Topics
BuzzSumo and Backlinko developed the evergreen score, which scored 3.6 billion pages. The score on the scale depended on positions in search engines, shares and backlinks. This is how analysts saw what unites leaders and outsiders. Here are their findings.
How to lists and articles are the most evergreen formats. The list of the best formats for long-term promotion is presented below. In the first place were the lists: “10 best ways …”, “15 economy class cars …”. In second place are “How to” articles. Also in the leaders got materials that answer the questions “what” and “why”.
Reviews have average results. In the bottom half of the list were podcasts, interviews, infographics, press releases and presentations.
Evergreen headlines contain the words “best”, “guide” and “data”. Analysts at BuzzSumo selected 18 keywords that appear in the titles of content with the highest positions on the evergreen content scale. They are presented in the graph below.
The title of the material will depend on the format. For example, the word “best” is likely to appear in the heading of a list. However, even materials of the same format may have different names. For example: “the best cars of the economy segment”, “statistics of the cross-country ability of cars up to 1 million rubles” or “facts about inexpensive cars.” Headings have different accents. Knowing the evergreen keywords will help you come up with a suitable title and format.
Evergreen content is about facts, research and reports. BuzzSumo points out that data-driven content has a good chance of becoming evergreen. These are materials that contain the words “data”, “reports”, “research” and “facts” in the title.
“Data, reports, research suggests that the text can be trusted. Although there is often no real evidence. But it is not always easy to verify this, so the audience can believe by default, ”says Alexander Monakhov from TexTerra.
According to him, the agency’s experience confirms the findings of the research on formats and keywords in headlines. For example, on the TexTerra blog, “How to” lists and articles work best.
The most evergreen topics are technology, marketing and health. The potential for long-term content depends on the topic. Here is a list of the most popular evergreen themes.
Marketing was at the top. Topics for the general reader are travel, health, fashion, beauty and entertainment.
The key indicator for evergreen content is the relevance of the topic, says Kirill Smolyakov, managing partner of Just Web Agency (North America). He gives an example: the article “Where to buy a simple dimple” will no longer be relevant in 3-4 months. Now it will help collect traffic, but when the HYIP is over, visitors will stop coming.
“If you want to make evergreen out of it, look from a different angle. Write why toys such as simple dimple, spinner and yo-yo periodically “shoot”? What is the secret, what is their promotion mechanics, who is behind it? In such an article, we are not tied to a specific event. We attach ourselves to a broad topic and do research. This is the foundation of evergreen, ”says Smolyakov.
Podcasts and infographics: can they be evergreen?
If we look at the charts above, we can see that podcasts and infographics are at the bottom of the list of evergreen formats. Research has shown that presentations, press releases, and infographics tend to get feedback in the first time after publication, and then quickly lose popularity.
Podcasts also rarely go evergreen. BuzzSumo categorizes them as ad-hoc content that doesn’t last long. Then the feed is updated, old issues give way to new ones.
However, the experts interviewed do not entirely agree with the findings of the study.
According to the creative director of the podcast publishing house Kultbaza and the author of the Interesting Podcast YouTube project Vlad Aganov, video podcasts can be evergreen. After all, they have visuals, which, for example, are absent in the texts, as well as interesting guests, whose appearance has a positive effect on traffic.
Podcasts provide citation, and the success of any media depends on it, adds Aganov. “For example, our podcasts are highly cited. This is the basis for a long-term stay in the information field. So, our podcast with stand-up comedian Sergei Orlov was twice mentioned in VDuda. It became the basis for the preparation of the interview. A good video podcast may well become evergreen and work for a long time, ”says Aganov.
Examples of evergreen podcasts are personal brand content. If you type in the name of the founder of the WayRay IT company into Google, podcasts with him will appear at the top of the search results, even though they were released more than a year ago.
Why are they in the top? Users who want to know more about a person want to see and hear her live. It only allows video format.
According to Kirill Smolyakov from Just Web Agency, a lot depends on the topic – whether the podcast will become evergreen. For a personal brand, podcasts can be. However, for content podcasts, this is not so obvious. He gives an example: the podcast “What Databases Are and How They Work” is likely to be a compressed book of one or two hours. The text on the same topic will answer the user’s questions in a few minutes.
How to properly update timeless content?
Let’s say your blog has a Design Trends 2020 page. 2020 is over, 2021 has come. The audience’s need to find out the current trends remains, but the content on the site is outdated. How do I update it correctly? Write a new article or just change the title in the old one?
BuzzSumo and Backlinko found that evergreen articles with fresh information are more often shared on social media. Regular updating of such materials affects their performance.
BuzzSumo looked at how top-ranking sites for evergreen content update popular articles. There are two strategies:
- Rewrite popular content leaving it at the same URL. This is how Hubspot does it: It has been updating the results of its successful study of evergreen videos from 2018. Each year, the portal rewrites the content to keep it up-to-date. However, it remains at the same addresses.
- You can not erase the previous articles, but simply add new information on top of the old ones. This is what the popular design and infographic blog Venngage does. This is what it looks like . By the way, this is a working way to save backlinks. This is especially important if readers continue to share your past research.
Natalia Podshibaeva, head of the search promotion team at Ingate, believes that both options are working. If there are few changes, you can update the current article and change the date. If critical changes are needed, it is better to write new material.
Google responds well to content updates on the same URL, says Kirill Smolyakov of Just Web Agency. “In order not to dilute the request, just update the current article. For example, I often focus on updating and supplementing existing articles, rather than writing new ones, ”he notes.
How to make evergreen social media content
There are topics that will predictably become eternal on social networks, says Elena Trunova, content director of Nectarin. For example, these are materials – magic pills: “How to save a million while lying on the couch”, “How to lose weight by continuing to eat croissants”, “How to pump up a press in half a minute a day”.
However, there are themes that become evergreen spontaneously, she adds. For example, in 2018, a brand of cleaning products published a text about 10 ways to sanitize surfaces to prevent flu and colds. With the advent of the coronavirus, this topic has become relevant. Such examples can be found in many segments, Trunova concludes.
Despite the huge amount of new information, most of the evergreen content on social networks is remakes, remasters and copy-paste of old materials. This is the opinion of Maxim Kirichenko, Content Group Head of Possible Moscow agency. According to him, this is a proven way to get likes and traffic.
“This can be seen especially clearly in Odnoklassniki. The same memes, life hacks, recipes and anecdotes have been walking there for years. Users consume a huge amount of information and their memory is quickly reset to zero. Then they are again ready for the old content with the current mark “2021” “, – said Kirichenko.
One way to make your social media content last forever is to relaunch it. For example, the American marketer Noah Kegan found that re-promoting content a week after its release leads to a significant increase in reposts.
According to Kirichenko, the effectiveness of a restart depends on the initial reach and relevance of the content. If initially only part of the audience was covered, for the rest it will be interesting even after a week.
“If a post is not tied to a specific news feed or date, you can promote it as much as you like until the audience burns out. But if the audience is narrow, it is better to pause in the rotation so that its effectiveness does not decrease, ”the expert advises.
The “evergreen” content depends on the network where it is hosted. According to BuzzSumo, content posted on Reddit can go forever.
By contrast, Twitter posts have almost no chance of gaining retweets in the future, even if they were very popular at the start.
The interviewed experts agree: Odnoklassniki, VKontakte and Facebook are more suitable for the distribution of eternal content.
Content quality. What metrics to use?
BuzzSumo and Backlinko use three main metrics for evaluating evergreen content: search engine rankings, number of links to material from other sites, and social media shares.
In addition, they use three additional quality metrics:
- time spent on the site;
- bounce rate (visits when the visitor has been on the site for less than 15 seconds);
- conversion actions.
The experts interviewed add a few more possible criteria for evaluating evergreen content. According to Natalia Podshibaeva from Ingate, when evaluating content, the company is guided by direct indicators. This is the average time on page, bounces, readings, traffic and its dynamics.
Also, experts look at positions in search engines, the number of views, likes and comments. Speaking about conversions, Podshibaeva notes that information traffic is not tailored for them.
“I mean regular articles that don’t have the goal of directly promoting a product or service. If we are talking about informational articles, we are more likely focusing on the growth of direct visits to the site and the demand for the brand as a whole. Here we are working on deferred demand and increasing awareness of your company or brand, ”she says.
Kirill Smolyakov from Just Web Agency focuses on bounce rate and readability. If a person does not read at least until the third paragraph, then the article is not engaging enough, the expert notes.
When it comes to media, the main metric may be the number of times an ad is viewed. Smolyakov explains it this way: the higher the readability and the further the user scrolled through the material, the more ads he saw. And the more, respectively, the media earned.
Main ideas – in one list
- Evergreen content is highly ranked content and collects a lot of shares and backlinks.
- Eternal formats – lists, articles “how”, “what” and “why”.
- Include the phrases “best”, “guide”, “report” and “data” in the headings.
- Evergreen content often cites research, statistics, and scientific facts.
- Podcasts may be evergreen, but that’s debatable.
- Among social networks, Odnoklassniki, VKontakte and Facebook are suitable for eternal posts.
- Evaluate timeless content on traffic, bounces, readability, and conversions.