Neil Patel

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Most Successful Evergreen Content Types

Most Successful Evergreen Content Types

Have you ever looked back at your old blog posts and thought, “wow, that really needs an update”?

If you have, then chances are your post was not of the evergreen variety.

Evergreen content is an important part of any content marketing strategy. It’s not only a way to deliver helpful and relevant content to your audience, but it also significantly reduces the amount of time you spend on updating old content.

So, where should you begin?

Fortunately for you, we’ve analyzed all sorts of evergreen content and search engine queries to find the most successful types.

Before we get into all of that, though, let’s discuss more in-depth exactly what evergreen content is.

The Basics of Evergreen Content

Evergreen content is content that is relevant and fresh no matter when it’s being read. It doesn’t rely on trends or time-based events.

Evergreen content is the nonperishable food of the content marketing world. It’s fresh and ready to be consumed, whether that’s today or decades from now. It doesn’t even need to be updated, though refreshing your content every now and again is never a bad idea.

There are many types of evergreen content, but a few examples include:

  • How-to guides
  • Product or service reviews
  • Listicles
  • Buying guides
  • Tips and tricks
  • Questions and answers
  • Glossaries
  • Interviews

The key distinguishing factor between evergreen content and timely content is that search volume should stay relatively the same – or even grow – with evergreen content. With timely content, search volume is likely to spike and then crash once it’s no longer relevant.

For those looking for more in-depth information, we have the perfect guide on how to create evergreen content.

What We Found About Evergreen Content Success

To determine which types of evergreen content are the most successful, we performed 10 queries with varied verbiage, including how-to, best, what is, vs, switching from, common mistakes, etc.

We then analyzed the top three results for each query, which fell into one of five evergreen content types:

  1. How-tos: Basic guides that deliver “how-to” information in sections, steps, or other easy-to-digest ways.
  2. Listicles: Long-form content that serves to offer a lot of ideas (e.g. gift ideas, travel locales) in one article.
  3. Standard blog: A conversational, yet informative, blog post that offers high-level information to curious readers.
  4. Product comparisons: A page that directly compares the specifications and features of two or more products (physical and digital)
  5. Content guide pages: Content pages that are typically part of a larger “hub” of data. Think “Help” articles on a website.

Out of the 30 URLs analyzed, we considered the following metrics:

  • The number of organic keywords
  • The estimated monthly traffic (for the page as a whole, not just based on our specific query)
  • The number of backlinks acquired
  • The domain rating
  • The word count

Now that you understand our methodology, let’s dig into the details.

How-Tos: Demonstrating the Importance of Quality Content

Of the 30 URLs analyzed, six of them were how-to articles. Here are the two queries and the results associated with these six URLs.

Query: How to bleach your hair (informational search)

Google search of "how to bleach your hair."

The top three URLs for this query were how-to articles published in 2020 (1st and 2nd positions) and 2022 (3rd position).

The 1st position ranking URL was https://www.gq.com/story/how-to-bleach-your-own-hair.

It ranks for 2.6K organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 15.4K. The word count is 1,379, and the website has a domain rating of 88. This particular URL has 46 backlinks.

The 2nd position ranking URL was https://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/hair/a32110293/how-to-bleach-hair/.

It ranks for 3.8K organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 28.7K. The word count was the lowest of the three URLs with 1,242 words, and the website has a domain rating of 88. This particular URL has 146 backlinks.

The 3rd ranking URL, after videos, is https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/how-to-bleach-hair-detailed-step-by-step-instructions/.

It ranks for 2.7K organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 32.2K. The word count was the highest of the three URLs with 3,009 words, and the website has a domain rating of 80, which was the lowest of the three sites analyzed. This particular URL has 1.4K backlinks.

Interesting thing to note here is that the first result for the query had the same domain rating as the second result, but 100 less backlinks. It also had far fewer words than the third result (1,379 words versus 3,009 words). This seems to indicate that backlinks and word count aren’t as important for ranking as many websites believe, at least, not in a vacuum.

Table showing the types of evergreen content for the query "how to bleach your hair" and the data that was found.

Query: how to make lasagna (informational search)

Google search of "how to make lasagna."

The top three URLs for this query were how-to articles published in 2018 (2nd position), 2020 (1st position), and 2022 (3rd position).

The 1st position ranking URL was https://www.spendwithpennies.com/easy-homemade-lasagna/.

It ranks for 2.4K organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 111K. The word count is the highest of the top three results at 2,256, and the website has a domain rating of 76. This particular URL has 2.2K backlinks.

The 2nd ranking URL is https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/23600/worlds-best-lasagna/.

It ranks for 2.9K organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 478K. The word count is 1,615 and the website has a domain rating of 88 which is the highest of the top three results. This particular URL has 1.9K backlinks.

The 3rd ranking URL is https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a51337/classic-lasagna-recipe/.

It ranks for 1.5K organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 23.4K. The word count is the lowest of the top three results at 1,366 and the website has a domain rating of 85. This particular URL has only 495 backlinks.

In contrast to the above query, backlinks and word count may play a more significant role here. That’s because the first result has both the highest word count and the most backlinks of the top three results. It also has the lowest domain rating of the three. Perhaps this is more indicative of quality of content (how well it answers user questions). The first result offers beginner-friendly advice on how to make lasagna that seems to hit all the main points.

Table showing the types of evergreen content for the query "how to make lasagna" and the data that was found.

Listicles: Where Word Count Matters Most?

Of the 30 URLs analyzed, nine of them were listicles. Here are the three queries, and the results associated with these nine URLs.

Query: best birthday present for boyfriend (informational search)

Google search of "best birthday present for boyfriends."

The top three URLs for this query were listicles, all published in 2022.

The 1st position ranking URL was https://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/fashion/g10330785/unique-birthday-gift-ideas-for-him/.

It ranks for 3.9K organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 109K. The word count is 9,145 which is the highest of the top three results for this query and the highest for all URLs analyzed in this search. The website has a domain rating of 89 and this particular URL has 541 backlinks.

The 2nd position ranking URL is https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/gift-ideas/g4517/gifts-for-boyfriend/.

It ranks for 4.4K organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 136K. The word count is 4,344 and the website has a domain rating of 90 which is the highest of all top three results. This particular URL has 937 backlinks.

The 3rd position ranking URL is https://www.seventeen.com/love/dating-advice/advice/a2070/birthday-gift-ideas-boyfriend/.

It ranks for 5.5K organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 58.5K. The word count is 2,525 and the website has a domain rating of 79 which is the lowest of all top three results. This particular URL has 1.6K backlinks.

The top result here doesn’t have the highest domain rating, the most backlinks, the largest keyword universe, or even the highest estimated traffic. It does have the highest word count (of this query and of all results in this search). There’s a potential reason for this. In the case of listicles, word count is more likely to correlate with the list with the most entries. So while word count may not equal quality, a longer listicle, especially for shopping, generally gives more options to read about. This may explain the pieces that had success here.

Table showing the types of evergreen content for the query "best birthday present for boyfriend" and the data that was found.

Query: common SEO mistakes (informational search)

Google search of "common SEO mistakes."

The top three URLs for this query were listicles published in 2020 (3rd position) and 2021 (1st and 2nd positions).

The 1st position ranking URL is https://www.simplilearn.com/common-seo-problems-article.

It ranks for 26 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 197. The word count is the highest of all top three results at 4,024 and the website has a domain rating of 81. This particular URL has 32 backlinks.

The 2nd position ranking URL is https://yoast.com/avoid-common-seo-mistakes/.

It ranks for 11 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 66. The word count is 2,014 and the website has a domain rating of 90. This particular URL has 278 backlinks.

The 3rd position ranking URL is https://www.searchenginejournal.com/10-common-seo-mistakes/178734/.

It ranks for 12 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 93. The word count is 2,622 and the website has a domain rating of 91 which is the highest of all top three results. This particular URL has 337 backlinks.

Just like the above query, the first result for this query has the highest word count of the top three results. It does also lead in keyword universe and estimated traffic, though it lags in domain rating and backlinks when compared to the other top two results. Here again, we see the importance of word count for listicle results.

Table showing the types of evergreen content for the query "common SEO mistakes" and the data that was found.

Query: best content marketing certifications (informational search)

Google search of "best content marketing certifications."

The top three URLs for this query were listicles published in 2020 (3rd position), 2021 (2nd position), and 2022 (1st position).

The 1st position ranking URL is https://www.reliablesoft.net/best-content-marketing-courses/.

It ranks for 163 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 1.4K. The word count is the highest of the top three results at 3,824 and the website has a domain rating of 77. This particular URL has 239 backlinks.

The 2nd position ranking URL is https://planetcontent.com/content-marketing-certifications.

It ranks for 72 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 339. The word count is 3,527 and the website has an incredibly low domain rating of 19. This particular URL has 339 backlinks.

The 3rd position ranking URL is https://neilpatel.com/blog/marketing-certifications/ and from our very own site.

It ranks for 688 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 5.1K. The word count is 2,264 and the website has a domain rating of 91 which is the highest of the top three results for this query. This particular URL has 353 backlinks.

Once again, we see the top result for this query having the highest word count but a mediocre keyword universe and number of backlinks. The top result’s domain rating does beat out the domain rating for the second result, but it still falls behind the domain rating of the third result.

Table showing the types of evergreen content for the query "best content marketing certifications" and the data that was found.

Standard Blog: Where Many Factors Come Into Play

Of the 30 URLs analyzed, three of them were standard blogs. Here is the one query, and the results from the three URLs.

Query: what is digital marketing (informational search)

Google search of "what is digital marketing."

The top three URLs for this query were standard blog posts published in 2020 (1st position) and 2022 (2nd and 3rd positions). The article ranking in the 3rd position was also updated in August 2022, which is six months after it was published.

The 1st position ranking URL is https://mailchimp.com/marketing-glossary/digital-marketing/.

It ranks for 10.5K organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 236K. The word count is 4,344 and the website has a domain rating of 93. This particular URL has 2.2K backlinks.

The 2nd position ranking URL is https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/what-is-digital-marketing.

It ranks for 4.4K organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 77K. The word count is the highest of the top three results at 7,816 and the website has a domain rating of 93. This particular URL has 18.4K backlinks.

The 3rd position ranking URL is https://www.marketo.com/digital-marketing/.

It ranks for 4.6K organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 86.3K. The word count is 3,080 and the website has a domain rating of 87. This particular URL has 1.7K backlinks.

While we only have the one query here for analysis, the results do seem to mimic standard experience in the blogging universe. That is, a large keyword universe, domain rating, and word count contribute to search result ranking.

Table showing the types of evergreen content for the query "what is digital marketing" and the data that was found.

Product Comparison: Domain Reliability Reigns Supreme

Of the 30 URLs analyzed, six of them were product comparisons. Here are the two queries, and the results associated with these six URLs.

Query: ubersuggest vs ahrefs (informational search)

Google search of "ubersuggest vs ahrefs."

The top three URLs for this query were product comparisons all published in 2022.

The 1st position ranking URL is https://neilpatel.com/blog/ubersuggest-vs-ahrefs/.

It ranks for 85 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 77. The word count is 1,974 and the website has a domain rating of 91. This particular URL has 80 backlinks.

The 2nd position ranking URL is https://www.contentpowered.com/blog/ahrefs-ubersuggest-keyword-research/.

It ranks for 152 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 50. The word count is 2,851 and the website has a domain rating of 66. This particular URL has 33 backlinks.

The 3rd position ranking URL is https://thedigitalmerchant.com/seo/ahrefs-vs-ubersuggest/.

It ranks for 32 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 12. The word count is the highest of all top three results at 3,504 and the website has a domain rating of 52. This particular URL has zero backlinks.

When you’re looking for reliable product information, what matters most to you? It’s likely not the word count or the number or organic keywords the article ranks for. Instead, it’s quality. That is possibly why domain rating and backlink profile seem to be the driver here in top results for the query.

Table showing the types of evergreen content for the query "ubersuggest vs ahrefs" and the data that was found.

Query: Samsung Galaxy S22 vs iPhone 14 (informational search)

Google search of "samsung galaxy s22 vs iphone 14."

The top three URLs for this query were product comparisons all published in 2022.

The 1st position ranking URL is https://www.tomsguide.com/face-off/iphone-14-vs-samsung-galaxy-22.

It ranks for 312 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 4.9K. The word count is 3,880 and the website has a domain rating of 86 which is the highest of the top three results. This particular URL has 47 backlinks.

The 2nd position ranking URL is https://www.phonearena.com/reviews/iPhone-14-vs-Galaxy-S22_id5436.

It ranks for 105 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 20. The word count is the highest of the top three results at 4,115 and the website has a domain rating of 80. This particular URL has 52 backlinks.

The 3rd position ranking URL, after video results, is https://www.phonearena.com/reviews/iPhone-14-pro-max-vs-samsung-galaxy-S22-ultra_id5404.

It ranks for 5,025 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 264. The word count is 2,922 and the website has a domain rating of 80. This particular URL has 75 backlinks.

Just like the previous product comparison query, the driving factor here seems to be domain reliability. We see that reflected largely in domain rating.

Table showing the types of evergreen content for the query "samsung galaxy s22 vs iphone 14" and the data that was found.

Content Guide Pages: Backlinks As a Driving Factor

Of the 30 URLs analyzed, six of them were content guide pages. Here are the two queries, and the results associated with these six URLs.

Query: switching from UA to GA4 (informational search)

Google search of "switching from ua to ga4."

The top three URLs for this query were content guide pages published in 2021 (1st position) and 2022 (2nd and 3rd positions).

The 1st position ranking URL is https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/10759417?hl=en.

It ranks for 198 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 193. The word count is 993 and the website has a domain rating of 96 which is the highest of the top three results. This particular URL has 1.2K backlinks.

The 2nd position ranking URL is https://www.searchenginejournal.com/switch-ga4-guide-callrail-spcs/459892/.

It ranks for 65 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 555. The word count is 1,701 and the website has a domain rating of 91. This particular URL has 110 backlinks.

The 3rd position ranking URL is https://www.invoca.com/blog/google-analytics-4-complete-guide-switching-to-ga4.

It ranks for 31 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 3. The word count is the highest of the top three results at 1,775 and the website has a domain rating of 77. This particular URL has 9 backlinks.

Similar to product comparisons, content guide pages are favored for their knowledge and reliability. That is likely why domain rating and backlink profile play a large part in the rankings for the top results here.

Table showing the types of evergreen content for the query "switching from ua to ga4" and the data that was found.

Query: travel hacking (informational search)

Google search of "travel hacking."

The top three URLs for this query were content guide pages published in 2013 and updated in 2019 (1st position), published in 2021 (2nd position), and published in 2022 (3rd position).

The 1st position ranking URL is https://zerototravel.com/beginners-guide-travel-hacking/.

It ranks for 408 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 3.4K. The word count is 3,690 and the website has a domain rating of 53. This particular URL has 130 backlinks.

The 2nd position ranking URL is https://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/travel-hacking-101/.

It ranks for 53 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 1.6K. The word count is 2,920 and the website has a domain rating of 78. This particular URL has 92 backlinks.

The 3rd position ranking URL is https://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/how-to-start-travel-hacking/.

It ranks for 109 organic keywords with an estimated traffic of 1.2K. The word count is the highest of the top three results at 4,764 and the website has a domain rating of 90. This particular URL has 56 backlinks.

This query seems to flip our previous analysis on its head, but if you look closer, there’s a common thread. In both cases, the article with the highest backlinks ends up getting rewarded with the top position. I can’t emphasize enough how important backlinks are to helping your content be seen as relevant and trustworthy, exactly what good evergreen content should be.

Table showing the types of evergreen content for the query "travel hacking" and the data that was found.

What We Learned From Our Data

That’s a lot of information to parse, so let’s break down the main takeaways.

Of the ten different searches conducted, the top three ranking positions were analyzed. Among those 30 URLs, we found that:

  • 9 out of the 30 URLs were listicles
  • 6 out of the 30 URLs were how-to articles
  • 6 out of the 30 URLs were guide/hub pages
  • 6 out of the 30 URLs were product comparison pages
  • 3 out of the 30 URLs were standard blogs

If we’re looking at a metric like estimated traffic values, then the most successful types of evergreen content were how-tos, standard blogs, and listicles.

It’s helpful to know the best evergreen content types if you’re looking to build a successful blog from scratch. The greatest takeaways from this data, though, are related to backlinks, word count, and keywords.

Backlinks are an important ranking factor, but they’re not the be-all, end-all that many marketers make them out to seem. How so? If they were one of the most important ranking factors, you would expect 100% of first-ranking results to have the highest backlink profile of the top three URLs analyzed. That’s not the case, though.

In fact, only five out of 10, or 50%, of first-ranking results had the highest backlink profile of the top three URLs.

Furthermore, there is this idea that the more content you can cram onto your page the better. Our data indicates that’s not the case.

We analyzed blogs with 3,000 words, or even more.

The average word count for the 30 URLs we analyzed was 3,183. Only four of the 10, or 40%, first-place ranking results had the highest word count of the top three URLs. This shows that having more words does not necessarily mean better content.

And how about keywords?

Our data suggests that ranking for more keywords on one page than your SERP competition can help, but it does not ensure you a 1st position ranking. In fact, only 40% of first-position ranking URLs had more keywords than their competitors.

All of this to say, Google takes many factors into account when ranking URLs. While certain things can give you a slight edge (e.g., more backlinks, a higher word count, more keywords), they’re not a guarantee. You should focus, first and foremost, on providing helpful and quality content that answers your reader’s queries.

FAQs

Do you have more questions about evergreen content? Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions on the topic.

What kind of evergreen content is the most successful?

This will depend on your topic and niche. If, after a bit of niche research, you’re not sure, then listicles and how-to articles are both easy to produce and helpful to a wider audience. This is backed by our own data above.

Can I have too many pieces of evergreen content?

There’s no such thing as too much quality content. You shouldn’t post content, even evergreen content, just for the sake of posting. Your content should be helpful and relevant, whether it’s evergreen or timely.

Should I only post evergreen content?

There are certainly successful websites that only post evergreen content, but timely content also has a time and a place (pun intended). The 80/20 rule seems to strike an ideal balance. That is, if you’re looking for a guideline to follow, 80 percent of your content should be evergreen and the remaining 20 percent should be timely.

What makes a piece of content evergreen?

Evergreen content is content that says relevant and “fresh.” It’s not tied to a specific time period or event. Instead, it’s something that people can find helpful whether they come across it now or 2 years from now.

Conclusion

Evergreen content isn’t objectively better than timely content. It really depends on your niche, your audience, and your content marketing goals.

The same can be said for evergreen content types. While listicles, how-tos, and standard blogs were shown to be most successful in our data, that doesn’t mean they will be most successful with your audience.

So, take our learnings, especially as they relate to backlinks and word count and keyword variety, but experiment with the different types of evergreen content. You never know what will jive with your audience until you give it a try.

What percentage of your current content is evergreen?

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