A typical article or blog post goes through various stages in its life – from the time it is born and gets direct traffic to the time it eventually recedes into the background, only to be found by search engines (organic traffic), until it finally is no longer relevant to the current age and must be replaced. They are now just litter on the internet. But they don’t necessarily have to be that way. The hard work you put into creating them can be saved by doing just some small extra effort.
Content that is typically written for users only tends to wear out quickly. The whole idea of making content last is to make it accessible to search engines, and bullet-proof it against future search engine updates like Panda or Penguin. Content here doesn’t just refer to articles. It can in the form of infographics or videos as well.
The most important ingredients of making evergreen content are relevance and quality. Here are some techniques you can use to make the most of your pages.
Some content is date-relevant, and some is not. It is generally advised to show the date of an article so as to avoid raising certain question in the users’ minds, such as whether or not the content is relevant to the user right now?
Take, for example, and example topic; ‘top 10 smartphones’. Topics like these get outdated real fast, so a user will probably look at the date first before reading on. Showing the date is a plus in such circumstances.
On the other hand, you might have a how-to tutorial that is a year old, but is still relevant. It is inadvisable to show the date in such conditions. Most bloggers use the date in the URL structure. In such cases, users are likely to navigate away when they see a very old date. So in my opinion, you shouldn’t incorporate the date into your URL structure. Instead, just show the date alongside the heading. If your content is not date-centric, then do not highlight it. But at the same time make sure your content (how-tos etc) are up to date.
Update content regularly
Having an evergreen piece of content doesn’t mean that you never touch it again. Even evergreen pieces need an occasional spritz to keep them fresh.
Google’s “freshness factor” prefers pages that are updated frequently. To keep your content active in the index and the SERPs, touch it up now and then. The more content you change or move, the greater the freshness of the article in the search engines.
Some content deals with subjects that are constantly changing. In this case, you can change your content, too. Simply adjust the content according to the changed subject, and place a note at the top of the article.
Here’s what you can write:
Note: This article has been changed to reflect the new publication that was released in March 2014.
Provide a link to a new article. If your content is truly outdated and can’t simply be spruced up, then you should add a section at the top that explains this.
At the top of the page, add a section stating that the information below has changed, then provide a link to a new page. Like this:
Note: The information below was relevant as of March, 2014. To find out about the latest changes, check out our infographic on this link
If Google is still favoring an old article in the SERPs, this is essential. When a user clicks on that result, an old piece of content, you don’t want him or her to bounce. Instead, you can drive engagement and further dwell time with an open admission of the dated content, with a link to updated information.
What techniques do you apply to your content? And what is your opinion on displaying the date in the URL of a page to highlight it? Leave your comments in the section below!