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Share Evergreen Tips for Great Articles

Posts: 971
on 07/06/2012

Simon's last question and a recent conversation with Jo got me thinking about writing evergreen!  I feel it's a good time to have this conversation reminding ourselves of the power and necessity of writing evergreen and helping those not familiar with it understand its value.

Share your tips and methods as to how you write timely articles that stand the test of time looking good and reading fresh as the day they were written.  

My Tips

Think about how each article will sound to someone reading it 2, 3 or 5 years from now.  Is it a topic others will need and want years down the road?

Never include dates such as, The best fashions of 2012 etc.

Why? How will the same article be received next year when a reader see's it with the out dated mark aging it's relevance.  

Do you want to comb through all of your articles each year making them relevant?

Riddle me this?


Posts: 25
on 07/06/2012

Sorry to be boring, but Google's recent emphasis on 'freshness" may have made the evergreen an endangered species, except for very narrow niches and topics. I have been experimenting with adding highly related external RSS to pages as a means of always having something new and fresh on the page. Readers like to read the 'latest news'. The other threats to the evergreens are genuine competing pages and the blatant copies which can outrank the original on Google. This may mean that the evergreens have a more limited life expectancy than in the past.

Posts: 971
on 07/07/2012

janderson99,  It is for this very belief I bring this up!  What is the best course?  Hopefully we'll get more responses on this topic. 

Posts: 1816
on 07/07/2012

I'm very new to this whole game, but I do think I have something important to add to this topic.

I came to Wizzley from Suite101 (which isn't to say that I've abandoned everyone there. I posted an article there only yesterday. :p ).   One of the options when I joined that site (in July 2011) was Google news accredited articles.

I leapt on it!  The vast majority of my articles were topical and newsworthy.  When the Occupy Movement were meeting up on Sept 17th 2011, I already had my article written and ready to go. It beat them to the starting line by quarter of an hour. 

They got huge and I followed it all the way.  I was also reporting on Amnesty International and Anonymous operations.  It was great!

In between, I found time to add in some evergreen pieces.  All of the veterans were quietly warning me, but I was a noob. I looked at the difference in hits between the evergreen and the news, and laughed in their faces.

Then Suite101 was no longer news accredited.  Suddenly I was stuck with a majority of articles which were becoming more out-dated by the day, and no real motivation to replace them. 

We're now nearly a year from my first article there.   Looking at my stats, all of those news ones have died by the wayside.  The steady, constant and above all potentially lucrative evergreen ones are gaining pace. 

I learned my lessons there.  This is why the vast majority of Wizzley articles are evergreen.  The Suite101 veterans were right all along.

As for Google wanting freshness, they've stamped on my fingers so often that all Google can want from me is a smack up the corporate mouth.  I don't rely on Google at all.  I factor them OUT of my considerations and focus instead on social networking and more ethical search engines.

Happily, such focus often coincides with what Google wants anyway, but I'm long past dancing to their tune.   And I'm advocating evergreens all the way (which doesn't rule out the occasional topical, which does bring in a massive and temporary surge of hits).

Posts: 621
on 07/07/2012

Look at some of Google's actual results, rather than what they say they will produce with the new updates.

What you find at the top of many, if not most lists, are 'old' pages / sites, that could be classified as evergreen - although the information is oft 'out of date'. This is a relationship between content and age. Although age does not mean 'evergreen' it could be used to determine whether an evergreen subject could rise in the search results, and be profitable for some time.

The problem with developing 'evergreen' on sites like Wizzley etc is that 'age' is not on our side (yet). The art of producing evergreen is to be relevant now, be able to hit the front page of SERPs relatively quickly, and to stay there with static content that is always relevant.

What subjects do not need updating due to the passage of time:

dead languages
antiques - but write new article if more info becomes available
history - same comment as above
TV programs

Basically things that stay static over time.

In these cases the Google need for freshness cannot be necessary.

I also question whether there is real necessity in placing so much import in mollifying Google. Just like all internet properties they are not 'evergreen' - they come and go on the whim of the internet community. The more G pisses off its users the more likely they are to be 'deciduous' - with winter on the horizon.

I tend towards trying for 'evergreen' in information products.

For physical products (except for those for subjects mentioned above) 'evergreen' is unlikely to be a method that would produce long term advantage.

Posts: 971
on 07/07/2012

 Thanks both Jo and Chaz, great input, much appreciated!

Posts: 157
on 07/07/2012

I believe this depends on writer's personal interest too. If somebody writes a review of the movie premiere, this review will sooner or later become outdated if the movie is not (and we can't know in advance) real classic. This doesn't mean this review can't win in SERP (with enough backlinking anything can win), but in a year or two maybe nobody will search for info about this particular movie.

But the author can write a hundred of reviews in next years and establish his name as a brand, become popular reviewer, get some good money making opportunities and so on.

Similar, but technically not the same can be with on-line fashion articles. I noticed some writers grabbed URLs like 'man fashion', and than vary the title 2012, 2013 and so on and of course the content. They do that because they like to write about fashion and fashion is not evergreen (in most cases). This URL will become mature in eyes of search engines and it will always have fresh content what can be really good combination. They can surely write additional content on more lasting subjects and do some interlinking and so on, but this is kind of seasonal job they have and probably enjoy.

For last example I can tell about my passion for fairy tales. They are evergreen, but in serp my article about brothers Grimm have to compete with series with same name (and most of web users look for info about this series). It is easier to get some attention with articles on always evolving SEO, but this too can bring me easy traffic only from the platform and very hard battles with big shots with established SEO sites.

My conclusion: yes, look for lasting effect, but don't count only on this kind of articles, especially if you like more perishable themes...

Hope it helps:)

We love fairy tales!
Posts: 971
on 07/07/2012

Good points.  I obviously have both perennials and annuals myself.  I plan to maintain balance writing fresh and timely material I won't work myself to death revising. Nor do I want to leave a lot of rubbish on sites that are no longer relevant.  I like fashion and yet it is a task to review each season, so I consider an amount I can manage.

This is all good information, thanks for the food for thought.


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