Because of an upcoming project, I’ve been working with our team on cleaning up old and irrelevant content from our database. It’s a big task! But I soon noticed something that piqued my interest – many of our older alerts were drawing search traffic in large numbers.
Coincidentally, a case study on “evergreen” content was making the rounds on my social media channels, demonstrating the consistent search referral patterns of evergreen content. Could it be that our high search performers were evergreen too?
First, let’s define evergreen content. It’s not a brochure. It’s not a bio or service description. It’s informational or reference material that never goes out of date. Popular evergreen content types are “how tos” and definitions of key concepts.
Because our firm – like many others – uses reverse chronological order for our publications, much of our great evergreen stuff gets buried. And we are sitting on a goldmine!
For example, I found one alert over 5 years old that was still generating 4000 visits per year purely from search engine traffic. See it here:
Because it was getting so much traffic, the author reviewed and updated it and – perhaps not surprisingly – the subject matter had changed very little. Evergreen!
Let’s put those 4000 visits per year in context:
- This one alert gets more traffic than all but 3 of the lawyers on our site
- It also gets more traffic than all but 4 of the services on the site
And the traffic is all coming from search. In order to navigate to it, one would need to know where to look since it’s so buried (before the update, it was on page two of the author’s publication list).
That’s one page, 5 years old bringing 4000 visitors per year to our site – visitors who were looking for something specific and found our firm. That is fantastic for the alert’s author and for our brand.
I also found a more recent alert that has all the signs of becoming evergreen:
How do I know?
- Here is the traffic pattern of a typical alert: Large peak on launch, then a quick flattening (this is our Supreme Court ACA alert, by the way). Compare to the pattern in the LSOC alert: It had a much lower initial peak, but the peaks build over time as search kicks in.
- Search sends all the traffic. So all those people finding the alert since February are coming from keyword searches that retrieve this alert (see sample below):
I would encourage the authors to revisit this alert soon to make sure the regulatory landscape has not changed – and to give it a more “evergreen” spin, since it’s so tied to a specific event. But so far, so good! Nearly 2000 visits from search alone this year.
Our challenge – beyond identifying our evergreen content – is to create new ways of displaying it on our site, so the casual visitor can see it. In the meanwhile, my team and I are going back through all our old content to identify the evergreen superstars – and get them updated if necessary.
To find evergreen content in your own site database, follow these steps:
- In Google Analytics, browse to “Site Content”
- Click “All Content”
- Search on the the directory name that holds your publications (this will be “publications” if you’re a client of H1)
- Then start looking at the results that correspond to publication detail pages (many of the top results will be listing pages)
- Once you’ve found a page with consistently high peaks of traffic over time, you can search by secondary dimension “Keyword” – which can be found under “Traffic Sources.”
So what do you think? Is evergreen content something you will try? What kinds of evergreen content have you identified on your own site? Tell me about it in the comments!
written by Molly Porter