Choosing between topical and evergreen content is one of the hardest decisions marketers have to make. Both of them can serve as a focus of your content marketing strategy, providing excellent results over a longer span.
In many cases, SEO experts make their choice based on the type of site they’re running. For example, seasonal content is much more valuable for news sites. On the other hand, regular blogs can benefit more from evergreen posts.
Sometimes, marketers are too focused on executing a specific content strategy that they completely forget how it might affect their target audience. So, whatever you decide to go with, make sure these types of articles are good enough to attract potential customers.
In this article, we’ll take a look at these two major categories, and how to produce content for each one. Enjoy!
What is evergreen content?
Unlike topical posts, evergreen content remains relevant for much longer periods. It can give you a steady surge of organic traffic and is especially valuable for sites that can’t compete with large news platforms.
Creating evergreen content usually requires extensive research. For the best results, your blog post needs to rely on scientific data and provide tips you can’t find anywhere else on the web. Among others, you’ll need to invest money in images and other visual solutions to differentiate this article from numerous similar posts.
The best examples of evergreen content are How-To guides, statistic-based posts, and case studies. Each one of them serves users for prolonged periods without requiring any modifications. Nevertheless, you should still occasionally revise your articles so they’re always up to date.
Main characteristics, pros, and cons
- The focus is on long-tail keywords.
- Bigger financial investment.
- Usually requires extensive link building campaigns.
- Much longer compared to any other type of article.
- Experts with unique insights can do more with this form.
- Evergreen articles are often part of a cluster.
- Easier to rank for if you’re a small site.
- Allows you to grab steady traffic from search engines.
- Your content teams can focus on fewer, extensive topics during a week.
- Better for building authority and reputation within an industry.
- Creating content takes time and lots of editing.
- More emphasis on content optimization.
- Require occasional updates.
- Hard to find inspiring ideas.
What is topical content?
By comparison, topical content posts are much more time-sensitive. These are event-based articles (the best example is news stories) that are extremely popular in the days following this occasion. They can give you more traffic than just about anything else and often tend to go viral on social media sites.
Unfortunately, it’s really hard to reach the top of search engine rankings for these posts. As everyone is vying for a piece of the pie, the biggest websites with massive social media followings usually get the most out of it. As a result, smaller blogs usually focus their content creation efforts on evergreen articles.
Still, if you have an experienced search engine optimization team and can produce relevant content, you might consider trying this approach. The good thing about topical articles is that they require much less work, and you can experiment with them. Furthermore, as you have to invest fewer resources, they’re less dependent on their success.
Main characteristics, pros, and cons
- The focus is on short-tail keywords.
- Smaller financial investment.
- Usually requires a solid social media presence and a large fan basis.
- Much shorter compared to any other type of article.
- Often presumes clickbaity and controversial topics.
- Less emphasis on providing value to users.
- Enormous traffic in a short amount of time.
- Easy to create.
- Usually don’t require topical expertise.
- Awards proactive behavior.
- Hard to rank if you’re a small site.
- Don’t really help your online presence.
- Depending on how you approach content, it might have a negative impact on your reputation.
Best practices for evergreen posts
Evergreen and topical content both have their peculiarities. In fact, you might say they’re different sides of the same coin.
Unlike topical content, where you’re looking to make an immediate splash, evergreen articles often presume a long period until conversion. Furthermore, when you create evergreen content, you’re looking to maximize user engagement and provide real value to visitors. With that in mind, here are some of the best practices for making these posts:
1. Focus on clusters
The ability to rank evergreen content often depends on your SEO prowess. Not only should you create valuable content for your users, but you also need to do a lot of things on the backend.
Among others, your evergreen pieces should be a part of a larger cluster. The focus article should serve as the pillar page, with numerous satellite articles being linked to it. All these secondary pages would serve to prop up your evergreen posts and would further explain concepts that you couldn’t cover in the evergreen article.
Having such an intricate structure is vital for boosting user engagement stats. In other words, people could use internal links to jump from a related topic to a related topic, spending more time on your site. All of this would send a powerful signal to Google, showing it that the content is highly useful to readers.
2. Go with broad topics
Based on the previous point, it’s obvious that you need to go with broader topics. Given that the pillar page will serve as the foundation for all these smaller pieces, you need to go with the most encompassing concept possible. That way, it would make sense to create all these secondary articles.
Keep in mind that the evergreen content must align with your marketing goals. In other words, these in-depth guides should eventually lead to conversion and increase website sales. Furthermore, make sure to cover topics and provide expertise so to increase brand authority.
3. Get quality links
As painful as it might sound, evergreen posts can’t survive without powerful, external links. They are the icing on the cake, giving you just enough push to break into top-performing posts.
So, if you wish to pursue this method, make sure you can get enough links to actually rank your articles. Some SEO companies do a fantastic job with their organic outreach, but you might also try out strategies such as guest posting.
The good thing about evergreen pieces is that they remain relevant for quite a while. In other words, you have more than enough time to get the necessary exposure. Then again, you shouldn’t stall the link-building process, as it’s best to gain traction soon after posting the article.
Best practices for topical posts
Topical content focuses on specific events that happened in the last few days or weeks. In most cases, SEO experts use Google Trends to analyze what people are looking for and provide them with fresh content to answer their queries.
1. Focus on shorter keywords
Given the popularity of these topics, most readers don’t use long keywords when looking for news. For example, they’ll simply type in phrases like “Protests France” or “Ukraine war.” And while you can pursue longer keywords related to these topics, this will beat the purpose of this content creation strategy.
In other words, your main goal is to get massive traffic in a short time. As long phrases give you trickling exposure, there will be little value in pursuing them. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t rank for some longer keywords if you manage to rank for their short-tail counterparts.
2. Create intrigue
Unlike evergreen posts, SEO teams don’t have time to implement complex strategies, build links or clusters with topical posts. Instead, the success of the article relies on the initial optimization and all the traction you get from the readers in the hours following its creation.
Although Google hasn’t confirmed this, there’s a good chance that this type of article is heavily dependent on user metrics. That being said, you need to maximize click-through rates, time spent on a page, and bounce rates.
One of the best ways of doing that is by creating intrigue. This will prompt readers to click on your content, thus increasing its relevancy. Furthermore, if the post is well written and researched, with nice images, people are more likely to read it whole.
3. Optimize for featured snippets
You should also optimize your content for featured snippets. Top Stories, a section of Google where you can find news, showcases the website’s logo, title, hero image, and meta description. All of these elements should be well-optimized and intriguing so that you get more clicks.
Of course, to be eligible for a featured snippet, you have to add Schema Markup to your site. It would allow you to rank for news stories but also other related snippets.