Staying relevant and engaging is a big part of ecommerce marketing. In order to do that, many merchants will jump on trends and recent events to engage their audience and appeal to what they’re most interested in at a given moment in time. However, what happens when that trend dies down? Or when a recent event becomes old news?
Remaining relevant isn’t all about what’s new, sometimes it’s about finding out what your audience will always be interested in. That’s where evergreen content becomes a merchant’s best SEO tool.
What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content refers to content which doesn’t rely on current trends or events to be useful to readers. It won’t outlast its relevance as time goes on, and will continue to be of interest to readers over time. It’s the difference between reading about an on-going election, versus reading a Wikipedia article about how elections work. The former relies on constantly evolving and real-time information, while the latter is based on existing knowledge. It may be updated as time goes on, but the information stays largely the same.
In ecommerce, we’re typically referring to blogs or other resources when we talk about evergreen content. The reason being that content such as your product pages may change as new styles are created and older ones retired. Not only that, but they’re seldom changed in a significant way over time so there aren’t many opportunities to create new content for these pages. With a blog, you can create new articles on an ongoing basis ensuring you have a consistent output of evergreen content for people to find and engage with.
Why is evergreen content important?
Search engines are a great place for discovery. As well as finding new brands, users can also discover new information, answers to their questions, and learn more about topics they’re interested in. This gives merchants ample opportunity to give users the answers they’re looking for, and showcase their brand in the process. Your product pages have a very clear purpose and will answer transactional and investigative search intent, however evergreen content gives you a chance for new visitors with other types of search intent to find your site. Essentially, it can serve as a sort of discovery gateway; you give users relevant, interesting content related to a topic they want to know about, and they now know your brand as a knowledgeable resource.
How to find evergreen topics for your blog
The first step in creating evergreen content is to consider what your target audiences will actually find valuable. It’d be a waste of your time to create content that your audience isn’t interested in reading. Therefore you need to write on topics that will be useful, valuable, and relevant to your target customers. To do this, we can look at keywords, competitor content, and the kind of content audiences consume on other high authority websites.
Research long-tail keywords
Next you need to consider how users will actually find your content, and that will come down to what combination of keywords they use. With evergreen content, it isn’t likely to be as straightforward as one or two keywords in the same way a search user may find your product pages. If you sell sneakers, for example, a user may find your products by searching “comfortable running shoes” but to find a blog article it may be “how to pick the most comfortable shoes for running”.
The easiest way to start researching long-tail keywords is to start inputting terms into Google. Use the keywords you’d normally target for your products and other pages. Let’s use the sneaker example again, and search for “comfortable running shoes”.
From this SERP, we want to pay attention to “People also ask” as this SERP feature can provide insight into what Google expects a search user will want to know next after their initial search. We can see suggestions for “what is the best running shoe for comfort?” and “Should running shoes be comfortable?”. The other results on the page are largely comparison articles for different types of shoes, so these won’t be useful when creating content.
Let’s now use the “Should running shoes be comfortable?” suggestion.
We’re starting to get more specific articles about this topic of comfortable running shoes, as well as further suggestions for “People also ask”.
This starting point will give you more insight into what users want when they search the long-tail keywords and where you can start writing articles that will interest them. When you’ve settled on some topic areas, start looking at the articles themselves that rank in the first page of results. Find common topic areas, headers, and information that they include, and start to consider what more you could do to improve upon that subject matter. For example, can you include more data or expert advice? Can you expand on topics that are only touched upon in other articles?
Look at your competitors
As with most other aspects of your ecommerce business, competitor research is extremely valuable when it comes to understanding what kind of evergreen content you should create. This will come in two ways - the content that’s commonly found across competitors, and the gaps in content they haven’t yet created. These both present an opportunity in different ways.
With common content, you can find topics your competitors have identified as being valuable and then improve upon them. This is sometimes referred to as 10x content, in other words content which is 10 times better than the next best piece of content available. You can find these common topics, see what your competitors have included and then enrich your take on that topic to become the best resource available. You can do this by:
- Going into further detail on the topics included
- Using data and research to back up your points
- Including expert opinions
- Making use of better quality visual content
- Use more of the same language as your audience
When it comes to gaps in content, these are opportunities to produce evergreen content that your competitors haven’t yet covered. You can generally uncover these opportunities by comparing your long-tail keyword research with the content present on your competitors’ blogs. Say for example you sell hand-poured candles, and you discover through your keyword research that users are searching for information about ways they can prolong the burning time of candles. You observe that the articles that come up in SERPs aren’t your competitors, and your competitors haven’t yet written an article about that subject. This shows an opportunity gap that you can make the most of.
The above example is from Casper for the search term “how to get dog pee out of a mattress”, and it appears as the second top result as well as being the only ecommerce brand on the SERP. This is a great example of how to take advantage of niche long-tail keywords that your customers want to know about which are related to your brand and product. It’s useful content, and it positions Casper as a knowledgeable resource.
Look at popular sites in your niche
Your audience won’t just be consuming content on brand websites, they’ll be looking at other sites related to your industry niche too. If you sell craft spirits, they’ll be reading articles with cocktail recipes. If you sell suitcases, they may be checking out travel blogs. Looking at the kind of articles and content these sites put out can be a valuable way of discovering topics that your audience will want to know more about.
Let’s use the example of craft spirits and search for “cocktail recipes”.
Not only can we see what other questions people may ask, but we can also see the kind of sites that our audience might spend time on. Now let’s go on one of the sites and see what they’re writing about:
On Liquor.com’s homepage we can see they have articles with information about new bars, recipes for cocktails based on classics, and recipes that are specific to a season. If we dive deeper into this site, we see more recipes for different types of occasion, articles looking into the history of different types of spirits, and interviews. Merchants can then emulate this content to create the kind of articles their target audience consumes on non-ecommerce sites. Doing this allows merchants to become a resource of valuable content, rather than creating content solely around pushing their brand and products.
How to create evergreen content for ecommerce sites
Satisfy search intent
First and foremost, your content needs to have purpose and satisfy users’ search intent. Without that, it won’t rank and people won’t discover it in SERPs.
Intent can largely be sorted into four categories; navigational, informational, transactional, and commercial research/investigative. It helps search engines understand what kind of pages and features a user will want to see in SERPs, as providing results relevant to their intent provides a positive user experience. It can also help merchants to determine what their potential customers will find useful, and create content with purpose in mind.
Create content which satisfies different types of intent:
Informational - Articles which seek to answer specific questions about product features e.g. “What does sandalwood smell like?” or “how to prepare a moka pot”.
Transactional - Gift or product guides; these are largely seasonal but you can create guides which are less season specific and update them throughout the year as your range changes e.g. “Best gifts for new homeowners” or “10 essential tools every avid gardener needs”.
Commercial Research - This will have some overlap with transactional and informational intent, but the difference here is that you want to give them more detailed information on a specific product type they can use to compare. E.g. “how to pick the best foam mattress”.
By targeting intent, you’ll create content that’s focussed, purposeful, and valuable.
Use visual elements to enhance your content
Ecommerce stores by their nature are very visual sites. If your product page had no images and your store wasn’t branded it wouldn’t be very appealing to customers. The same goes for your blog content. Site visitors reading your blog articles will expect some kind of visual element, as it goes a long way in making your article more attractive and engaging, as well as helping the user to better understand your content.
Consider the kind of visual content that would best illustrate what you’re writing about, and what may be useful to the reader. For example if you’re creating a how-to guide then it’d be useful for the reader to be able to see some of the steps involved as a video or a series of images to accompany each step. If it’s a recipe guide then an image of the finished product will help the user to see what they’re aiming for. This also applies to if you mention a specific product, it can help to include images of that product along with a link so the reader can better understand what that product is.
Adding visual content achieves a few things. First of all, it makes your blogs much more engaging and therefore it’s more likely that a visitor will actually take the time to read it. This keeps them on your page for longer, which can be good for that page’s SEO. Second, Google and other search engines are concerned with showing their users content which will be useful. Having these added visual elements will make your content appeals to that, making it so your content isn’t just a wall of text but has extras designed to help the reader.
Promote on other channels
While social media and email can’t directly influence your search engine ranking, they can be useful channels for driving interested and engaged traffic to your content. It can also result in the content being shared wider, as your email and social media audience are already interested in your brand and therefore will be more likely to engage with your evergreen content. That engagement is in turn good for your content’s ranking. Beyond this, it’s also useful as unlike content bound to a specific trend or time it can be shared again and again as time goes on.
Share and promote your content to your email subscribers and social media followers. Promote it in an engaging way such as using eye-catching imagery, or creating complementary video content. Tailor the way you promote your content to the platform you’re using, for example if you write an article about how to temper chocolate then you may want to demonstrate the technique in a video for TikTok, create a series of Stories for Instagram, and create an email campaign that target customers who have previously shown interest in your products. You want to figure out what the most engaging promotional content will look like that will then encourage your audience to read further on your store’s blog.
Check up on older content and update as needed
While evergreen content is created with a view to it ranking over time, that doesn’t mean it’s a “one-and-done” activity. For it to remain relevant and engaging, you need to check in on it over time and make adjustments to ensure it still has the most up-to-date information. Some key checks to make include:
Links - Make sure that every link is still correct and look for any broken links. This includes both internal and external links.
Images - If you’re using images of your products in an article, ensure you update these if the product packaging changes in any way. Remove images of products that are no longer available, or branding which is outdated.
Information - There may be outdated information in your articles, for example if you discuss the process of making your products and that has since changed. Another example may be if you’re referencing external information which has since been updated.
- Dates - If you do mention any dates in your evergreen articles, look back over these to update to the current year if relevant or remove the year altogether.
Giving your evergreen content a refresh every once in a while will ensure that all the articles are correct and up-to-date for readers regardless of if they discovered it when it was published or several years later. This also demonstrates to Google it’s continued relevance, which will allow your content to continue ranking.
Bonus - Seasonal Content
We’ve already mentioned how evergreen content doesn’t rely on current trends to remain relevant, and while that is true there is an exception in seasonal content. For many ecommerce stores, there will always be topics that are seasonally relevant that won’t rely on that specific year to remain relevant the following year.
If for example you published a 2018 Black Friday gift guide then that can’t be considered evergreen content because it likely relies on products that you currently had in stock at that time for that year’s sale. However if you sell chocolate, a guide on “Best chocolate Winter dessert ideas” could be relevant every winter with some updates to ensure it only mentions available products.
Therefore when you’re considering what content to publish seasonally, write on a mix of topics which will be trending and immediately relevant, as well as some evergreen style pieces on topics which will have recurring relevance. When you start to reach that time of year again, go over these articles and tweak them to ensure all details are up-to-date, for example if you mention a product that’s no longer available. As time goes on, these pieces may gain more link authority so when a user searches for that topic the following year, your piece has a better chance of ranking.
Creating evergreen content is an invaluable activity for ecommerce merchants. You can create and build it over time, rather than relying exclusively on reactive marketing. Trends may come and go, but your evergreen blogs will always be there to help and engage your audience.