Many people are wondering what does it take to create truly compelling, working piece of evergreen content.
What’s going to keep it thriving on top of Google for years?
Compelling narrative? Flawless SEO-content? Brilliant backlink profile?
We’ve compiled this in-depth guide on how to create evergreen content from scratch that answers all these questions. After reading it, you’ll have a clear picture of how to develop evergreen content that stands a chance to occupy the top of Google search results.
So, without further ado…
Creating evergreen content: where to begin
Evergreen content is a type of content that answers evergreen queries — topics that are always interesting to people. Despite news cycle or time of year.
- Examples of evergreen topics are “how to write a song,” “what is a content strategy,” or “how many planets are in our Solar System.”
See, in the foreseeable future, it’s very unlikely that one of the orbiting planets in the Solar System will “fall off” and get lost somewhere in the Universe. People always want to know how to write a song to become a singer or what’s a content strategy so they can start doing content marketing.
- Opposite of evergreen topics are “Oscar 2021”, “Donald Trump news,” and “When is Easter.”
Easter’s date is changing every year, Oscar rewards annual cinematic achievers, and news about Donald Trump is going to change according to what that man is up to every new day.
You create evergreen content to drive and maintain steady traffic to your site. The task is not just to “land” on Google top, but to stay there long-term despite what may be coming from other creators.
If you want to view bright examples of evergreen content and learn more about its benefits, read our previous article. We explained when a blog post can be considered evergreen and how even trend-dependent sites (like news) take advantage from developing evergreen articles.
Ok, is it that hard to occupy the first positions for years? It should be, right?
The first three things you need to know here are:
- For high-competitive keywords, the chance to hack your way through to first positions is indeed hard (not impossible).
- If you’re serious about content marketing, start learning SEO (Search Engine Optimization) from Google itself. Or consider hiring an SEO specialist.
- Since this year, Google is pivoting towards authority and enhanced user experience. You have to show clear expertise in your industry if you want to rank high. Your pages must provide a flawless user experience eliminating parts that may irritate users. It’s not about just good keyword optimization anymore.
How to create evergreen content: 5 essential steps
To make the whole process simpler for you, we’ve broken it down into a framework that consists of 5 major steps.
As you can see, these 5 steps are:
- Keyword research — you define which keywords to target
- Creating article structure — you develop a framework for your article
- Writing an article — you write, adhering to all best practices
- SEO-check — you SEO-proof your article
- Publishing & refreshing — you publish, monitor rankings, and update your content
Yes, in this guide, we’ll go through each of them (it’s quite large). Feel free to skip sections if you want, but we respectfully encourage you to read all the paragraphs because they contain all the vital basics you need to know before getting to work.
Evergreen content is valuable as long as it acquires and maintains steady traffic to a website. The first word is “acquire.”
To acquire traffic, your post needs to become an ideal match (in the eyes of Google) for the first positions.
What’s that magic wand that makes your page visible to search engines?
Keywords are phrases that people type into Google Search to find what they want.
You optimise content with keywords to help Google understand what it is about. If it does, your content will be indexed and will get chances to appear as the top respond to searchers’ queries. Keywords help your audience find you in the ocean of information.
So, how to search keywords for evergreen content?
The whole research process boils down to 4 main steps:
- Brainstorming seed keywords — you think up possible topic ideas
- Analysing keyword relevance — you make sure people are interested in those topics
- Gauging keyword potential — you find information about how much traffic you will get if succeeded
- Evaluating keyword difficulty — you consider how hard it would be to rank in the first positions for that topics
Brainstorming seed keywords
First, you have to come up with seed evergreen topics that might be interesting to your audience.
For example, if you’re a car magazine, it doesn’t mean that your reader’s interest is limited to updated car reviews and industry news. They might want to know how to buy a used car — to glean from your experience. They might want to clarify some car terms. Or read about how to choose engine oil for their vehicles.
Picking up seed keywords shouldn’t take much of your time — it’s a matter of minutes. Just take the row ideas and write them down.
For instance, a digital car magazine can go for:
- How to buy a used car
- Audi vs BMW (an evergreen question 😄)
- Race driving
- What’s a dashboard camera?
3-5 ideas are enough.
Where to find ideas for keywords
It can be quite hard to think up seed keywords by yourself. Sometimes you just cannot think of anything. Here are places where you can always look for ideas:
- Competitor sites
Exploring competitors’ blogs instantly gives you a lot of ideas on what to write about.
Find exact formulations of queries how readers put them. Forums are goldmines in finding keywords.
Analysing keyword relevance
Before jumping into assessing a keyword’s potential, it’s worth looking at whether the keyword is relevant at all.
You don’t want to write about things that are going out of interest.
The best way to do it is through Google Trends. Let’s put one of our keywords in there.
Google Trends shows you the interest in a keyword in scores per a selected time frame. We’ve chosen the US and the period from 2004 to today. As you can see, the trend was a bit volatile initially, but now it’s quite stable and has neither negative nor positive tendency.
To compare, that’s how a volatile (unstable) trend looks like:
“How to plant hydrangea” — we just typed in some random seasonal topic. It is seasonal because people search how to grow plants closer to summer. They’re not interested in this during fall or winter. You can see how volatile the search trend is.
Another example of volatile trend is “Eurovision.”
It comes on the radar every May. Everyone forget about this contest for the rest of the year.
For evergreen content, you should always take keywords with stable search volume trends. This way, you guarantee that the topic you target won’t grow stale.
Gauging keyword potential
Now it’s time to understand whether the juice worth the squeeze.
What is your keyword’s potential in terms of traffic? Will it be enough for you to spend time on evergreen content?
An excellent way to answer all these questions is to run a keyword audit in one of the SEO tools. We prefer Ahrefs because it’s more feature-rich than its alternatives.
All right, let’s see what it can say about our keyword.
We pasted our keyword into a “Keywords Explorer” and chose “United States.”
This dashboard displays various metrics: right now, we’ll focus on the main two — those that will help us gauge our keyword’s potential:
Did you know that last year people searched for “Youtube” 1,361 billion times per month?
It’s very doubtful that your keyword can generate that amount of traffic: but knowing how much it can bring is a must.
That’s where search volume enters the game.
Keyword volume indicates how many times people are searching for your keyword in a chosen country. Per month.
In our case, people type “how to buy a car” in Google Search 9k times a month.
It is considered a high-volume keyword (a low-volume keyword generates less than 1k searches a month). You may also check your other keywords to define their traffic potential.
Keep in mind that your task here is not to find the keyword with the highest traffic volume. The volume itself doesn’t guarantee that the keyword is worth targeting.
At this point, just fix and note what you’ve learned.
“Clicks” is an overall number of clicks performed by users while searching for your keyword. Per month.
Search volume itself doesn’t provide a complete picture of a keyword’s traffic potential. Look closely at the numbers below.
The number of clicks exceeds the number of searchings. It means that people clicked on top results more than once.
That’s understandable. If you are looking for advice before buying a used car, you’ll be searching through more than just one article, right?
So, why do you need to pay attention to clicks? In some cases, searchings can result in very few clicks. For example:
Because people get the answer right away, they don’t bother clicking on the page results. Google provided the answer with its SERP-feature. For this query, the search volume is 14k, while clicks amount to just 4,7 k (3 times less).
Therefore, pay attention to clicks, not just search volume, when seeking keywords for your evergreen content.
Use keyword suggestions
One evergreen page can rank for more than one keyword. Sometimes you need to look at the collection of suggested keywords to understand the search volume of all keywords your page can rank for.
Keyword ideas also give you suggestions of other keywords if yours does not have enough traffic potential.
Go to “Phrase match” and look up ideas that contain your keyword. For example, in the image above, you can see that the keyword “how to buy a used car from a dealer” has a search volume of 800 times a month. It also has 968 clicks per month. All the suggested options on this list are good. You can actually target all of them within one evergreen page.
To find more keyword suggestions for your evergreen content, visit the “Also rank for” section too. It shows what the top 10 pages for your keyword also rank for.
For example, here, you can see many other phrases that those top pages rank for. Like, “best used cars” — 29k monthly search volume and 39k clicks. It could be nice to target this keyword in your blog post too.
Ubersuggest is a more simplified tool, but it can also come in handy when generating keyword ideas.
If you decide to target more than one keyword with your piece of content, calculate the total amount of search volume and clicks for the set of chosen keywords.
If you’ve never done keyword research before, you can always find the definition of metrics and how guys from Ahrefs calculate each value. Just click on the question mark next to the metrics. If you want to explore more about its meaning, hit “learn more.”
SERP position history
You may also want to check how often Google reconsiders first positions for your keyword (just scroll a bit down in your dashboard).
You want to know this to understand how clear is the search intent for your keyword. If it’s not clear, then the rankings in this graph will be volatile. It means that even if you create a very comprehensive piece of evergreen content that solves readers’ problems, Google may not consider it the best result of what people want to see, because search intent is not clear: it’s changing all the time.
For example, this is the SERPs ranking history for the keyword “used cars.” This query is not clear, so the volatility in rankings is high.
Ok, now we know the traffic volume and we’ve picked up the keywords. Now what?
The next step is to evaluate these findings against keywords difficulty. How hard would it be to rank for your keywords?
Evaluating keyword difficulty
Maintaining evergreen status means your evergreen article is the best result for its keyword even after years.
But knowing how to create evergreen content that people like is just a part of the equation. It must receive recognition from other websites to gain credibility in the eyes of search engines.
Imagine that you need to find information on the best schools in your district so that you can make an informed long-term decision about your child’s education.
So, you go to Google and type in your request. Will you doubt the credibility of information that Google suggests to you? Probably not.
It’s also very unlikely that you’ll go surfing the web farther than the first result page, isn’t it?
That’s because you believe that those first pages are occupying their place for a reason. You trust Google’s judgment.
Now, imagine that Google lets false or totally irrelevant information appear in the top results. What a scandal that would be?
That’s why Google works hard to prevent unreliable sources from appearing in first positions. Backlinks from other sites to your page are one of the ways to ensure your information is credible.
To evaluate keyword difficulty, you should pay attention to how many websites link back to the top pages.
Let’s go back to our example.
When you paste your keyword, the tool automatically estimates how many links you need to rank in the top 10 for that keyword.
In our case, the value is 61, which is considered hard: below, you can read, “you’ll need backlinks from 134 websites to rank in the top 10.”
134 sites? Your content should be of exceptional quality so this many sites wish to cite it.
To compare, here is how a low-competition keyword looks like:
If you scroll down a bit, you get a chance to see how the evergreen content for your keyword looks like on the top pages. You can also scrutinize each of the top web pages and see what domains link back to them.
If you go to “backlinks”, you’ll enter the list of referral sites for each result from the top 10. By checking each of the referral site, you’ll get a picture of what are the quality of their referring domains.
Inspect each post from the top results to see what kind of content Google prefers to see for your keyword.
Pay attention to the structure, narrative, number of words, and page performance of those pages. Your findings will come in handy while compiling a structure for your evergreen article.
Keep other ranking factors in mind
Although backlinks can propel your evergreen content, they are far not the only ranking factor Google cares about.
- Domain authority
Does your website have a large number of high-quality external links (such as Wikipedia, Forbes, or The Independent)? Your overall domain rating affects how well each of your pages perform in the search results.
- Page performance
Will your reader be able to get an awesome user experience? Won’t there be any distracting factors like ads or pop-ups? Will pages load fast, or you’d rather test readers’ patience?
Because all these and other factors contribute greatly to your chances of appearing in top, you should evaluate your website to know will you be able to beat competitive pages. Otherwise, you’ll be investing in the content that can barely attract a few readers.
2. Creating a framework for your evergreen post
Now, after you’ve picked up keywords that will be easy to target, with an ability to bring you tons of traffic, it’s time to create a framework for your evergreen content.
Choose the structure that matches search intent
The first task here is to choose the type of content that matches search intent. In this article, we’ve outlined the main types of evergreen content.
For example, when you’re searching for the best hybrid vehicles of 2021, you expect to find a listicle.
So, Google gives you a listicle.
However, when you’re typing in “how to buy a used car,” you expect to see a guide that will teach you all the ropes while outlining possible pitfalls.
It’s important that your article’s structure matches the search intent.
Focus on your audience
An audience determines the breadth of information you should cover in your evergreen content. If you don’t keep a specific audience in mind while writing, you have a chance to dig into details that your audience don’t want to know.
Research your topic
Your personal experience may be great, but it never hurts to extend your knowledge and include others’ expertise. You can make your own overview of others’ approaches and suggest alternatives. This way, you cover the topic in-depth. Don’t forget to include referring links to the websites where you take information.
Collect materials needed for your post
Before writing, think about materials that you’ll include in your evergreen article. It may be images that help you describe the process, graphs, or charts. Articles without visuals don’t look compelling and will get lost in search very soon.
Create a thought-through headline and title tag
Take time with your H1 and title tags. Remember that 80% will read your headline, and only 20% will read the rest of your content.
A page title tag should contain your focus keyword close to the beginning.
LSI (Latent Semantic Index(ing))
Another important thing to include in your framework is LSI — latent semantic index.
In terms of SEO, LSI means words that are semantically related to your focus keyword. Thanks to the LSI keywords in your text, Google’s crawler can better understand what your content is about. If they relate to your main keyword, the article gets better chances to rank high.
There are many tools, both free and paid, that generate LSI words. Surfer SEO is one of such tools. It basically gives you a breakdown of the SERPs for a given keyword.
What does Surfer SEO do? It analyzes the first page SERPs for your target keyword and performs a semantic audit. It then gives you questions that you should answer within your content, how many words to hit, and what LSI keywords to weave in your content.
With this tool at hand, you can measure up against your main competitors.
Create a structure
Before writing your evergreen article, compile a structure. Google Sheets is an optimal tool for this. Paste all your target keywords and the H1 there, define the number of words for your article based on your keyword research and what you managed to learn from competitive pages.
Craft subheadings for your article, including your keywords. Input all the LSI words that you’ve generated in your document. Mention how many times you should repeat them in your text. At finish, it should look like this:
Include frequently asked questions if you found such on forums or in any keyword research tool.
3. Writing a post
Now things will be chilled while you’re writing since you’ve created a structure.
The next step is actually…writing.
We won’t delve much into what makes good writing, since it has been said many times. Just some tips.
Assume the reader knows nothing. But don’t assume the reader is stupid (source).
Good writing deconstructs complex things and makes them easy to understand. It takes scientific terms and turns them into a human language. No one will ever complain about making things too easy to comprehend.
Nothing kills interest more than a dry, emotionless text that reads like instructional manual. Good stories can convey several complex ideas in a graspable way. Here you can find why storytelling is so compelling and why do we learn better from stories.
We think that balance is the key here. If you’re writing a guide on a business topic, focusing too much on storytelling would not be wise. However, wrapping some concepts into a real-life story to demonstrate how it is applicable in real life would become a nice pathway to your further thoughts.
Also, this article combines all good practices and tips for transforming a lifeless piece of content into a “page-turner.”
Data-grounded writing gives you credibility. Before declaring something, make sure it’s based on research. Your opinion is good as the part of the story, but fact-checking is vital if you want readers to trust you.
How your blog post or other evergreen content help your audience with their problems? Will they find definitive answers to their questions? Won’t they become confused by your information? How can you improve your content to make it more helpful?
5. Write “drunk,” edit “sober”
If you’re up to the task of creating a long-lasting article, stopping here and there to edit it is not a good idea. Actually, it will result in you getting tired very soon.
Let your thoughts come out onto the paper, and don’t stop. Once finished, you can go back and correct spelling, add or remove paragraphs — it all comes next. First, let your thoughts fly freely.
6. Avoid “short-term angles”
Your evergreen piece of content should steer clear of newsjacking and referencing trending content. Also, cut on language with a short lifespan like “this year.”
7. Keyword optimization
Spread your keywords throughout your text naturally. Avoid stuffing. If you feel that a keyword doesn’t fit in the context, don’t put it in your text. We will recommend some tools for checking keyword density further.
4. Checking a post
Once finished, it’s time to put your masterpiece through the SEO audit. SurferSEO can help you save time by checking all SEO parameters at one place.
Go to “Content Editor,” type in your keyword, and hit “Create content editor.”
The tool will analyze your content and generate a workspace where you can spot the gaps and optimize content right there. If you want. No need to interrupt your work by getting back to the documents.
The highlighted section allows you to get a good feel of what should be fine-tuned.
There are also some free SEO-checker where you can look up keyword density. Like Readable.
Readable gets you in on how many times a keyword appears on a given page.
5. Publishing & refreshing
Wow, guys… If you’ve managed to read down to this point, you’re heroes ✨👍
Well, the finish line is to publish your content. Once it’s approved by the SEO tool of your choice, you can hit that “publish ” button and cross your fingers.
The rest is to monitor your rankings and make corrections/updates if needed. You know that Google crawls web pages regularly — therefore, if somehow some other article comes to light and “falls to the soul,” Google will toss it higher and chances are, that piece of content will replace yours. To stay constantly on the first page, you should monitor rankings periodically and refresh information so search engines can reindex your page and save its positions. Read here more about how to keep your article on top of rankings.
We hope that this guide will bring you closer to success in your content marketing efforts.