Evergreen content is a valuable resource for your website. The term "evergreen content" refers to content that won't quickly become out of date or totally incorrect within a short time period, such as a week or a month. You add updates as needed, linking back to it from new related content, and socialize with each change or whenever the topic again becomes timely.
For example, a piece of content on why we should boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics wouldn't be good socializable material in June 2014. But a post about the history of the Olympics could be great evergreen content.
How could such a page be socialized? Well, when the next Olympic location is announced, your new post could mention notable facts from your evergreen piece about the towns where previous games were held, or a celebrity interview with an Olympian discussing an aspect of Olympics history for his particular sport.
Let's look at 12 types of evergreen content and see an example of each.
1. Yearly Posts That Can be Updated
I always want to use this as an example because Rae Hoffman does it so perfectly. Her yearly series "Link Building With The Experts" started in 2007 and there have been five more installments. She's added new people and asks new questions that are relevant to the current climate of the industry, and the last one, not yet a year old, already has a PageRank of 4. Look at how it's all linked together:
Since there are so many of these, I won't go into the links they've generated as a whole, but the last one has 34 comments as of this writing. After the post published, it was being socialized all over the place.
I look forward to this series because it's an honor to participate in it but most importantly, it's a great glimpse into the minds of people who also do what I do. The questions are great, the panelists all have serious chops, and it's something I bookmark and return to multiple times. I can't immediately think of any other SEO piece where that's true for me.
To give you a non-SEO example, look at the Best Books by Goodreads. They link to previous years over on the right, and since I don't imagine anyone's going to stop publishing books any time soon, the potential for this list to be going on for decades is there. Who's going to link to this list? Authors whose books are on it, bloggers who are fanatical readers, anyone who covers literature. Nearly 2 million votes have been cast for this list, so what does that say about their reach? It's big.
2. Posts That Track Something
Macbook Pro noise complaints are tracked on Red Sweater, linking to only their posts.
This is a great example because, instead of having to search the site, you can see all the relevant issues listed and linked to here. They also provide updates of listed issues.
As much as I love a Mac, I can't imagine a day when they don't have problems, like anything else, so that's fodder for this site for as long as there are Macs out there.
You can interview anyone about anything, which is why interviews are something that I truly love. The key is to find something that hasn't been asked a billion times before, as you'll see in this interview between Madonna and Mike Myers from very, very long ago.
While this interview was published way before we were tweeting everything that mentioned us, it's obvious that the potential for social love is high with interviews. The person conducting the interview wants to get the word out, and the person being interviewed does, too.
4. How-to Posts
I love how-to posts. Recently I found a great tutorial about creating a necklace holder out of a towel bar and shower curtain rings. This is actually two guides (one on making a salad portable and one on the necklace holder).
People will always need jewelry storage so this post has the potential to be referenced for ages. Also, the Pinterest potential is crazy since you could just look at the photos and tell how to make this.
Now, you'll find how-to posts on just about everything so if you do write one on how to do something and that same something has been written about all over the place, figure out how to make yours stand out. Include a video or images, include links to other relevant articles, include variations on the steps, etc.
5. Posts About the History of Something
Historical articles are good because they're educational and have the potential to be updated if/when new information comes out. For example, here's a post about the history of the Christmas pickle.
While I'm not holding my breath for new information to be released about the Christmas pickle, there could easily be a new movie out in which someone gives one to another person and it's a pivotal scene, so there's the possibility of adding a video of that scene to the post. Far-fetched maybe, but hey, it's s Christmas pickle!
6. About Us Pages
You can find "about us" on most websites. I tend to visit them if I haven't seen a site before.
Many times they'll have good TBPR (Toolbar PageRank) as well, and good backlinks from bios on other sites. A page like this can also be updated as things change, so if your site doesn't have one, this is an easy way to get some evergreen content up on it.
Here's an example of a great about us page that I found when I was searching for (you guessed it) "great about us pages." I've seen a lot of good ones, some great ones, and some really bad ones so take a look at this one:
It's funny. It shows the skills of the person in question by its design. It's exactly the kind of page that, were I shopping for a web designer, would sell me immediately on the person.
7. User Tips
This post about 10 tips and tricks for new iPhone and iPad users is the kind of thing that I'd send my mother if she got an iPhone or iPad. It's easy to follow and has photos.
As there's more info about new tips that come into the author's mind, it can be updated in the form of a new article like "10 More Tips and Tricks..."
While a testimonial might change if you mess something up and the person who gave it suddenly despises you, let's proceed with the assumption that once you've been given a great one, it can stand for ages.
For example, this page is a TBPR 4, which is pretty high for a testimonials page. These are great because as you continue to gain satisfied customers, you can add to this content.
Reviews are similar to testimonials, except obviously you wouldn't want to post anything negative as a testimonial. While you shouldn't post a totally negative review on your own site, seeing something that isn't 100 percent glowing might look more natural to site visitors.
Reviews are also more detail-oriented and have more information about services and products. Here's one for Doc Martens.
Reviews are incredibly useful for something that you're buying online especially, but I will look up reviews of something that I find in a store, too. User-generated content is something that's appreciated because it's not you, the business owner, writing it.
10. Curation Posts
A lot of sites do a brilliant job of curating content, but I'll use the last one that I visited as an example: Ahref's weekly SEO roundup.
I like curated posts in general because I almost always find something interesting that I missed. I like this one in particular because it's not just full of links to articles about link building (my specific area of interest) as I tend to read more about that than anything, so I always like to read about other aspects of SEO.
A lot of sites do daily and weekly posts like this, but some only do monthly, and some just do them when they can. These posts can easily be crosslinked.
11. Personal Biographies
A great example is the writer Neil Gaiman's bio on his website. It's full of info, yet not ridiculously over the top.
I'm sure you've seen some personal bios that go on for pages and pages, and some that barely give you any info at all. I like this one because it's the perfect amount of info.
One example of a great resource page is this one for kids' gardening. I like it because there's a monthly featured resource, there are categories of resources that you can drill down into, and it's all searchable!
So when you're struggling to figure out what to write about, consider something evergreen. No one is going to churn out 100 evergreen posts a week, nor should they, but it's good to recognize the power of content that isn't outdated within a few days. People like it. They like sharing it, and that increases the odds that you'll attract links.