Although keeping a news site or blog up-to-date with fresh event-driven content every day is crucial for generating traffic, it is not the whole story. A great site will have a solid backbone of evergreen content – the kind of content that stays looking relevant and fresh over extended periods and builds traffic and authority over time.
Less topical than event-driven news or blog posts, evergreen articles have an enduring appeal. For example, a well-researched article covering something historical, eg, the Presidency of JFK, can be kept on a site year-in, year-out, with no need for updating. Other subjects may need updating every few years, such as “End-of-year tax advice for the self-employed,” which will change as the tax laws change. Critically though they will become traffic generators for your site over time as visitors find them, link to them and draw in new visitors.
To make evergreen content effective on the internet it’s important to do a little keyword research. The object being to ensure that post or page-URLs are rich in relevant keywords. Try to steer clear of witty or catchy titles – they usually generate less traffic, no matter how clever they might seem. It is better to stick with high-level research, reference or resource oriented content (the title should reflect this).
Especially effective are “How to” guides, like “How to design a bathroom” or “How to calm down a distressed person.” The content is likely to remain durable, as indeed is content for historically-related themes, such as “The origin of the Gold Standard,” “The crash of 2008,” or even “The Aston Martin DB5.” The car may be old, but it is historic and it isn’t going to change, even though new Aston Martin models will be produced.
Evergreen articles are often used for reference purposes and should contain material that is not readily available already – a little original research is required.
Findings from Purecontent’s research
At Purecontent, we supply numerous sites with editorial content created by our team of professional writers. Our research into the traffic generating effect of daily news or blogs showed that a spike in traffic occurs in the first few days after posting but this quickly reduces to a trickle after a week or so. However, with evergreen content, the effects are very different. Evergreen content also delivers an initial traffic surge upon publication, the size of which primarily depends on the site’s normal audience and page rank. However, as the graph shows, traffic then slowly builds back over time as people find the article and link to it. A virtuous cycle then builds: as more people find the article in response to search queries, its ranking increases and more people visit the page. The article becomes a long term traffic generator for the site.
The build in traffic can be accelerated through proactive link building to the article and repeated promotion using social networking sites like Twitter and Linkedin.