In our SEO audits, we see a lot of sites that emphasize blog content as a way to drive visibility. Except more often than not, that’s not the best approach to limited resources.
The Difference Between Evergreen and Blog Content
Too often, site owners, managers or writers generate blog content on a regular basis, while failing to understand that evergreen content (content that is timeless, and has lasting value) is most often best placed on a site as fixed‐position pages, not within a blog system.
Blog content is, by nature, date based. As newer blog posts are added, older posts end up further down in the multi‐page listing system, and thus more clicks are requires to access them. That devalues those blog posts for human access and SEO.
Blog content is also considered, by nature of its placement in a blog, “stale” over time in most cases. That too causes lost SEO value over time.
Evergreen content, on the other hand, is when placed in appropriate places on a site, is more likely to be seen more often, over longer periods of time by site visitors, and is consistently accessible without new layers of click activity getting in the way. So it’s more valuable long‐term for visitors and SEO.
So it’s important when first considering whether to write a piece of content — “Is this evergreen / timeless, or is it time sensitive or more trivial to our core offering?”.
And if you have a lot of blog content already, it can be helpful to revisit that, to determine whether at least some of it is better suited to being placed in an “evergreen” page path on the site.
Answer The Important Questions
There are many questions people have relevant to whatever products or services most sites offer.
Most sites don’t come anywhere close to answering all the important questions for any ONE offering, let alone consider the that people are at different points in their decision journey when they’re considering buying. And it’s almost always also true that sites fail to address full spectrum of questions related to customer service, return policies, or other types of business help as well, not specific to individual products or services.
Answer Questions Completely
Providing a short answer to an important question can often be enough to answer that very specific question.
Except too often, that “short answer” is not sufficient to address the nuanced concerns or research prospective customers might have, or where they use different words to ask the same question.
And, too, while a short answer may suffice for one single question, if you have five VERY highly related questions, most site owners end up splitting them out to five individual “thin” content pages, rather than grouping them together. That can end up causing you to miss out on establishing that one page as relevant enough to the topic common to each of those questions. And it can cause frustration for visitors who have to click to a bunch of pages when one will suffice.
Don’t Answer “All the Questions” on One Page
Directly opposite of “not enough” content in answering questions, is where many site owners attempt to stuff “all the answers to all the questions” into a single “FAQ” page.
Except that inevitably ends up with too many differences across many questions and answers regarding “topical common relevance”, and thus a single page ends up being about too many different topics and sub‐topics. So taking the time to understand nuanced grouping and splitting is another important step in the mapping out of your content.
Provide Intuitive Internal Linking
Another common weak point with “timeless” or “evergreen” content is a failure to provide proper, section specific navigational aids to visitors, to allow them to rapidly get to the page they came for, and from there, to then intuitively explore other, related content.
This causes people to spend less time on your site, and causes less emotional “appreciation” for a site to be considered trustworthy and “truly helpful”. So having section specific navigation that’s intuitive and clearly shows what other content that’s highly related to this section, exists.
Avoid “Linking to All the Pages”
One thing we see too often is sites that “link to all the pages” in their sidebar navigation. Pages that exist in sections not specific to the refined topical focus of the section those links are found on. This dilutes the intuitiveness, value, and topical strength of each page they’re found on.
Section Specific Depth
An important way to help “answer the important questions” begins with creating multiple “answer” pages within each main section of your site. Those pages provide a supporting role for the top level page in a given section. They “answer all the questions about this specific product or service”. When linked to ONLY within that section of the site, they help reinforce the topical refinement of that section. They provide intuitive access to critical questions people have at different stages in their research. They encourage visitors to explore more content and spend more time on the site.
Going The Distance — Creating A Knowledge Base
The ideal approach for most sites regarding evergreen content, is to create an entire section of the site where you provide a full range of knowledge related to your business. So while it can make sense to include answer pages within individual sections, it can also be more intuitive, and helpful, to have that entirely separate section of the site devoted to broader questions people have.
Some of those questions don’t even need to directly relate to your product or service offerings. They can be highly RELATED, yet somewhat off‐topic. The key here is that people get a sense that you are seeking to be truly helpful, without a specific need to force revenue. Knowledge base type content then becomes an opportunity to reach people who don’t even think they need your products or services. It’s a pure “brand visibility”, and “brand trust” thing.
Doing the Research
When planning out evergreen content, start with your own perspective and experience. Then expand on that.
From there, look at the steps in the decision journey.
What questions would I have if I wanted to buy this thing?
What questions would I have if I wanted to solve a problem but don’t yet know what the thing is I need to buy?
Understanding Buyer Personas
Have you taken the time to think through the different types of people who might benefit from your offerings, let alone the different points they are at in their decision journey?
- People who know they need a solution, yet don’t yet know the proper industry words to use to search for it.
- People who already know they want solutions like those you offer yet not familiar with your brand.
- People who already believe they want your offerings yet aren’t entirely sure.
- People who know your brand, and seek to compare different offerings in your own portfolio of offerings.
- People looking for alternative solutions.
From there, you’re going to end up with a much bigger list of potential questions. So it’s time to do research directly in Google. Take the top questions you have listed, and search for them.
The ones that bring back a “Featured Snippet”, or a direct competitor in the top of organic results, are likely suitable to be flagged as at least SOME of the most important questions you need to answer as a first effort in writing.
Don’t stop there though. Look to see where Google shows on that result page “People Also Asked”. That lists other, highly related questions. Click on the top few of those and see the results that show up. Again, if it’s a direct answer on the search result page for that question, Google considers it important. And if it also lists even MORE questions, those are worth considering as second or third phase writing opportunities.
Yet there’s even more – scroll to the bottom of that search results page. See what other queries people make directly related to the one you initially searched for.
If you want to go further, use a tool like Answer The Public where you can type in a phrase or question, and get a LOT of additional related phrases and questions. The potential is endless.
Once you’ve come up with many questions, it’s time to prioritize and organize them into sub‐groups. As a result, over time, you will find you’ve got content topics to drive new writing. Some of that will best be suited for use within individual product or service sections of the site, some of it will go in your “about” section, and some can be assigned to your “knowledge base”.
Primary Lesson — Evergreen Content Answers Important Questions Intuitively
When you take the time to think about whether content is better for evergreen placement instead of blog placement, think about “answering all the important questions”. Do the research to expand on that. Determine how to best organize it on the site. Implement section specific sub‐navigation to make access even easier.