All too many publishers focus on producing new content on a daily basis without making sure they get the most value out of existing content. To ensure your articles stand the test of time, here are seven steps to help you identify and update your evergreen articles.
As we explained in our blog post How to find and unlock the power of evergreen content, publishers and news organisations spend a great deal of time creating new, timely content but often overlook the value held by content that already exists.
Updating and refreshing timeless articles is a powerful way for publishers to gain steady traffic without investing time and energy into producing new content. By resurfacing and repurposing high-quality content you can avoid its value sinking rapidly after its publish date, driving new readership to your site year on year.
With content freshness ranking as one of Google’s most important ranking factors for 2022, regularly updating timeless articles by adding new information, fresh links and images, should be front of mind for every publisher. It’s an effective way to signal to search engines that you’re a trustworthy source of information on a specific topic and rise up through search rankings.
Learn more about building authority around a specific topic as a publisher in our blog post What are topic clusters and how can they support your SEO strategy?
Building evergreen content into the topic clusters that make up your content hub can form a powerful part of this strategy. For instance, linking news articles to contextual guides that give readers a background understanding of a trending topic.
Publishers focusing on evergreen content
American multi-platform publisher, The Atlantic, is just one publishing organisation driving significant traffic from maintaining its evergreen articles. In fact, more than 50% of its traffic in a given month comes from content not produced in that month.
Likewise, WIRED has been making the most of its 26-year old archive with an extensive evergreen strategy that encourages readers to dive in and explore its library of quality content. It stated that 20% of its visits are to stories between 1 week and 6 months old and 20% are to stories older than 6 months – a significant proportion of its readers are landing on its site through older content.
According to Digiday, news and opinion site Vox has devised an interesting way to house and update its evergreen content. The publisher has created a library of regularly updated “cards”. These focus on key topics such as, same-sex marriage, climate change and the legalisation of marijuana. This allows these articles to be accessed and resurfaced regularly.
So, it’s clear that timeless content within a publishing organisation’s archive has a lot of potential. But how do you go about resurfacing it and giving it a new lease of life?
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the key steps you should take as a publisher to make sure your team is finding and updating articles correctly.
First and foremost, let’s make sure we’re clear on how to identify an evergreen article.
What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content is any type of content that remains fresh, useful and relevant over a substantial length of time. It often serves search queries comprehensively and, if a publisher has a strong linking strategy, these articles can often be linked to time-sensitive content to give readers further context.
Examples of evergreen content
Examples of evergreen content include:
- Tutorials and “How to” guides. For example, this seasonal evergreen guide from The Guardian: Beat the heat: how to stay cool in hot weather. It can be resurfaced every summer when search queries are high.
- Listicles. Like this piece from Condé Nast Traveller, The most romantic Airbnbs in Europe.
- Product reviews. For instance, this headphones review article by WIRED.
- Cooking recipes. The cooking section of the New York Times was able to launch their own subscription service with great success. It now has a database of 21,000 recipes which are regularly viewed and updated.
- Historical pieces. These articles give readers context and background on a subject. For example, this article from TopGear.com: Here’s a very brief history of watches in motorsport.
We’ve nailed down exactly what evergreen content is, so now let’s dive into how you can identify and update these articles on a regular basis.
How to update your evergreen article in 5 steps
Updating articles is a simple task that can deliver significant value to publishers and news organisations. Follow these steps to refresh your old content in the best way possible.
1. Identity key evergreen articles
This may seem like an obvious first step, but finding articles to refresh can pose a great challenge to the vast majority of publishing companies, especially those with large archives. When you have a site with millions of pages, it can seem daunting to comb through all of your content to find the evergreen gems in need of updating.
Fortunately, new tools exist that can do the majority of the leg-work and speed up the process of rewriting articles. For instance, you can use our LOYAL archive search tool to identify previously-written content in publishing archives that relates to a current piece as you are writing. If you know a certain topic is receiving a high level of traffic at the moment, you can quickly pinpoint past articles to refresh, republish and drive new readership.
View LOYAL’s archive search function in action here.
Also, when planning your editorial calendar, look back at last’s year’s content around specific events and see if it can be updated.
2. Improve page depth to boost visibility
The further an evergreen article is located from your homepage, the harder it can be to get that page indexed and ranking. Moving that page closer to your homepage can boost its visibility and improve its page depth.
You can move evergreen articles up in your site’s architecture in a few ways:
- Add a resources section to landing page templates with links to these articles.
- Create a “favourite” or “popular articles” category link in your navigation or website sidebar.
- Add related evergreen article links to the bottom of trending articles.
3. Pass on link equity from recent, trending articles
Make sure older articles are updated with links to related fresh content you’ve written and vice versa. This will help your content maintain its Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) by passing on link equity (this is value held by high-quality links that can be passed on through linking).
Find out more about why you need internal linking to boost SEO.
Don’t forget to mix up your anchor text and try to incorporate keywords relating to the page you’re linking to so Google can understand how the pages are related.
4. Refresh article content
When you’re refreshing an older article, be sure to update it with the latest statistics, case studies and information to back up previous arguments.
If possible, try to:
- Refresh the opening and closing paragraphs to add a new perspective.
- Update content with new and current data.
- Add additional references and check that your outgoing links are still working.
- Add additional details, theories, ideas, and comments to bring the piece up-to-date.
To help these articles reach their full potential you’ll want to repromote via social media, especially around holidays or special events relating to your evergreen content. You may also consider adding these articles to a newsletter. Perhaps think about creating a specific “archive” newsletter or dedicating one to two spots in a daily newsletter to evergreen content. It’s a powerful way to remind readers of the great stories you’ve published.
Read more about the value of creating an editorial newsletter in our blog post The rise of the editorial newsletter and the future of journalism.
By investing even a small amount of time into creating and refreshing evergreen content, you can leverage an incredibly valuable existing source of information to enhance your readers’ experience.