Evergreen content is the centerpiece of many business’s blogging efforts — and for good reason. By its very nature, evergreen content serves to provide brands with long-term value extending far beyond its publication date. By focusing on content that is always relevant — such as how-to guides, case studies, resource guides, and pillar pages — a business can future proof its content offerings and establish a strong SEO foundation.

With evergreen content, however, as with all content you’re creating to build brand awareness and strengthen your footing with the search engines, updates are occasionally required to keep the content highly ranked and relevant. Platforms like Google prioritize newer content, and may penalize content that’s outdated. Updates are a great strategy for getting more life out of the evergreen content that you create and making sure it stays at the top of the rankings.

If you’re wondering how to update evergreen content for more SEO success, you’ve come to the right place. Follow the best practice tips below to get more out of the valuable evergreen content you’ve already created.

Tip #1: Accurately identify your evergreen content

Not all content you create is going to be evergreen, even if it’s something that you think might maintain interest over time. Being able to identify what is (and isn’t) evergreen content on your site is important, since it will help you focus your efforts on the articles that have the most to gain from an update.

Evergreen content is:

  •       Enduring
  •       Sustainable
  •       Searchable
  •       Shareable
  •       Non-time sensitive

Evergreen content is not:

  •       Trend-focused
  •       Pop culture focused
  •       Current events focused
  •       Holiday or seasonal
  •       Lists of statistics (these get outdated fast)

You probably had an idea about what would constitute evergreen content as you were producing it, but just in case, go through your site and pull out the evergreen pieces that could use a refresh. As for anything that’s old and not evergreen, you may want to consider deleting it to keep your SEO future friendly.

Tip #2: Start with the most popular posts

Prioritize your updating efforts by starting with the posts that garner (or have garnered) the most engagement. Look at metrics like page views, session duration, and social media shares to determine what the most popular content on your site is, with an eye toward the articles that have already made a substantial impact. Keep in mind though that impact is relative — it’s not necessary that a post went viral. It just needs to be strong in comparison to the other content that you’ve shared.

Tip #3: Say it again — but in different words

Once you know what posts should be your first priority, you can get to work on the actual tasks needed to update evergreen content. And the best place to start is with the text itself. Remember: the value of evergreen content is in the topic it covers. But the wording itself, and the format it’s presented in, could almost always benefit from a refresh. Doing so will give you an opportunity to tighten up your message and create a stronger post. It will also create something “new” in the eyes of the search engines, and thus something more up to date and relevant. 

Tip #4: Bring your links up to date

Go through each link in the content — including backlinks and links that lead out to other sites — and evaluate whether there’s a more optimal replacement for it. A better link could be one that goes to a more relevant or recent page, or it could be a site with a higher page ranking. While you’re at it, see if there are any additional links you can add to the page. If you’ve been working hard on your content between when the post was first updated and now, perhaps there are additional pages that tie in and could warrant being added as links. Likewise, see if you have other pieces of content that could be bolstered with a link to the evergreen piece you’re working on once its complete.

Tip #5: Add new images

The graphics that you use are important to search engines, so prioritize them just as much as text when you’re updating. Whether the images on the page are original or from a stock photo site, go through and make sure that they have a modern look and are still an appropriate fit for the content. Consider whether the page could use more images, or even whether there is an opportunity to add in video. Check to make sure that all images have alternative text too, which is necessary to comply with today’s web accessibility guidelines.

With the right updates, evergreen content can pull its weight on your site for many years. Make it a habit to regularly check in on your evergreen content to make sure it’s still up to date, and do a more thorough overhaul of text and images every couple of years. It’s a great way to keep your content relevant without having to completely reinvent the wheel.