Annuals and Evergreens: Creating a Lush Content Garden

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Fresh, timely content signals authority and relevance to search engines, and it’s absolutely essential to your SEO. On the other hand, articles that aren’t time-sensitive slowly accrue greater authority and value. Somewhere between up-to-the-minute news and timeless articles are seasonal pieces that bring in new traffic cyclically. Where should your content strategy focus to get the most SEO value and garner the greatest interest from readers? The best plans incorporate a little of everything. One of the best models for growing your best blog could be right outside your front door: your garden.

The Evergreens: Content That’s Meant to Last

Content creators refer to articles and blog posts that aren’t time-sensitive as evergreen pieces because the content’s utility never fades. These articles support long-term growth, and over time, you can use them to build up a significant content library that can then become an e-book, a research library and a signal of authority to search engines. Evergreen pieces need no further pruning once you’ve published them, and they can enhance your site for years.

While evergreen content is valuable, it also generates traffic slowly. It isn’t trendy or eye-catching enough to leap to the top of search engine results pages as news, and it isn’t subject to seasonal searches. Most blogs benefit from a certain amount of evergreen content, but the specific ratio of evergreen to time-sensitive content you publish depends on your business and clientele. Fashion blogs, for example, tend to follow trends as they happen while law, healthcare and B2B industry blogs lean more heavily on evergreen copy.

The Annuals: Seasonal Content

Adding focused content that’s relevant to cyclical events is an excellent way for your content creation team to take advantage of spikes in searches. Your prospects and customers might look for gift-buying guides near the holidays, inexpensive air fare for summer vacations and tax preparation advice in April. If you have monthly, quarterly or annual special events, blog posts and articles that promote them still have relevance in subsequent years and enjoy an additional traffic boost each year. For example, if an e-commerce site has an annual Christmas in July sale, the company might publish blog posts about stocking up for the holidays or taking advantage of mid-summer deals along with their news updates about the event itself. Each season, those past articles then become relevant again.

Think about ways to relate your blog content to holidays and other recurring events. By tying your content to the events people already have on their minds when they search, you benefit from the rising tide of search queries.

Short-Lived and Showy

When planning a garden, landscapers add drama with short-lived but colorful blooms. They may only last a few weeks, but while they’re there, these additions to the garden attract plenty of attention. Your news-related blog posts serve a similar purpose. Are you launching a revolutionary new product line? Did your area’s NFL team just win the Super Bowl? Has something big happened in your industry? How do these events affect your visitors? Publishing news – or at least articles that link some aspect of your blog’s purpose to events in the news – can send a huge wave of traffic your way. In this blog, you’ll see articles about Google algorithm changes. Another blog might feature a post about what advertisers can learn from the finale of “Mad Men,” linking it with what will undoubtedly be a massively searched topic.

Time-sensitive subjects inevitably have an expiration date. After a hit movie is no longer in theaters or a major news story moves off the front page, searches related to it wane. For announcements of your company’s special events or launches, interest drops off precipitously once the big day is done. That’s why you need evergreen and seasonal content to keep your traffic analytics healthy even between news-related spikes.

Testing and a good understanding of your audience will tell you and your content marketing team how much of each type of content to publish, but a good baseline strategy typically starts with about 60 percent evergreen, 20 percent seasonal and 20 percent time-sensitive pieces. B2B blogs generally lean more toward slow-growing content while B2C moves more rapidly, so work with your marketing team to develop the mix that’s perfect for your content garden.

© Business Content, Inc. 2014 All Rights Reserved.

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