Evergreen content is important for SEO, but does it really engage your audience? There’s a simple solution for keeping evergreen content engaging while retaining your rank: make sure your content experience evolves, even if the content itself remains evergreen.

What Is Evergreen Content?

“Evergreen” is a word that gets thrown around a lot, so often, perhaps, that it has lost some of its meaning. Simply put, evergreen means that the content will always be relevant to readers of a particular blog or website. As Content Marketing Institute put it, “these posts are about ideas that hardly change with the passing of time and, thus, are always relevant, especially to beginners.” So, if you run a baking blog, a post on different types of pastry crust is probably going to get a lot of attention from new readers searching for the answer to that question whether the blog is brand new or was published several years ago.

Why Is It Important for SEO?

Unlike news items that go out of style (e.g. an article on cronuts for that baking blog), evergreen content will keep drawing in new readers over the life of your site. It’s rich in SEO keywords and links, and it should also be written with the reader in mind. According to Search Engine Watch, “If done properly, content that works for your audience can also be the content that works for the search engines.” A good piece of evergreen content should drive website traffic, leads, social shares, and increase your search rankings for months or even years after the publish date.

So we can all agree that a good piece of evergreen content is worth its weight in gold when it comes to earning new readers and keeping sites high in the rankings. However, “evergreen” doesn’t mean “set it and forget it.” Failing to keep evergreen content engaging could mean a decline in readership, not to mention a hit in search rankings.

Evergreen Content, Evolving Experience

Let’s go back to that pie crust. Say a baking blog’s most popular piece of content is a piece on different types of pastry. One day, the piece stops getting as much traffic and social media engagement. Pastry crusts haven’t changed, so what gives?

It could be that the user experience needs to be tweaked. Audience expectations are always changing, and readers don’t want to feel as if they’re reading yesterday’s newspaper, even when it comes to evergreen content. Interactive content looks new and innovative, so even if the content hasn’t changed, the experience of that piece of content feels fresh. 81% of marketers report that interactive content is more effective at grabbing attention than static content. And not only do audiences stop and take notice, but they trust also interactive content enough to stick around for multiple engagements, which is great news for evergreen content that’s lost some of its shine over the years.

Now imagine how many new readers that same content could get if it were updated from static long-form content to a more engaging, interactive experience. For example, including a quiz called “How Well Do You Know Pastry?” could mean that new and existing audiences return to the same piece of content multiple times. In fact, 79% of content marketers agree that adding interactive elements results in repeat visitors and multiple engagements.

Data and research provide another excellent source for repurposing timely content into evergreen experiences. One of the most famous examples of repurposing older data into successful evergreen content comes from The New York Times. One of their most successful articles of all time was a quiz called “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk” that guessed where in the U.S. users were from based on their speech patterns. Created from data collected by Harvard linguists from 2003-2013, the quiz became an internet phenomenon and remains popular to date.

dialect map quiz

We’ve seen success with interactive content firsthand as well. When ion interactive recently partnered with the Content Marketing Institute to conduct research around the current state of interactive marketing, one of the first things we did with our data was build an interactive infographic outlining our findings. Not only did the infographic get people interested in the study, but it became a successful piece of standalone content with a 10.2% conversion rate.

interactive infographic

Adding evergreen interactive experiences, like quizzes, interactive maps, and infographics, to existing content can also make a dated landing page or blog look brand new. No matter how good the content, if your website doesn’t look up-to-date, users won’t trust it. A recent study out of Stanford found that 46% of consumers said a website’s design was their number one indicator of credibility.

So if your evergreen content isn’t getting the same attention it used to, it could be that there’s nothing wrong with the content, but the experience could use some tweaking. Adding a quiz, video, or infographic could be the update your content needs to get back in the game.

What’s your favorite type of interactive content? Share in the comments below!