The idea of evergreen content is that it is essentially unchanging, intended to last “a long time,”and have little or no maintenance. So isn’t updating evergreen content a bit of an oxymoron? In some cases yes, in some cases no.
This discussion is part of a larger discussion I’ve been having on Twitter about re-tweeting old posts that have no published dates on them. While I do have a solution for displaying custom date formats that doesn’t adversely affect my Google click through rate, the fact that I may be tweeting outdated information exists.
So what’s a workable solution to evergreen content?
Make it part of your annual content audit process. Every 6-18 months, review and prune your dead posts. Review your top content to see what needs to be updated or cleaned up. Treat posts that you update like seasonal content and keep the living URL the same. Clear the “already tweeted” or “already published” flags (so the post will retweet when you change the publish date) and hit the “publish” button. (side note – for those of you who are using a plugin to post your tweets and may not know, when they “publish,” it sets a field in the database so it doesn’t retweet when you make any edits. In this case you want to override that behavior and make it retweet again as if it were a new post).
If you review the content and it needs very minor changes or no changes at all, treat it as seasonal content: clear the tweeted flags and update the publish date. This will add a bit of maintenance but not much. If the information is still up to date, your followers won’t mind “a rerun or two from last season” as long as there are regular posts and you don’t tweet them in “batch mode.” (side note: as an SEO, we like to work in batch mode, so updating 20 posts in one day and having them retweet in “batch” probably won’t win you any friends). If your audience is made up of whiny SEO’s or short attention span social media gurus, expect some hating. Regular people who aren’t on Twitter all day don’t really mind; in fact, many studies have shown retweeting is an effective way to reach these people.
So what are the key takeaways from this post:
- When you do a content audit, also look for posts with outdated information.
- Decide if you need a full rewrite or just a cleanup.
- Treat the content like a living URL and don’t lose any existing link equity.
- Clear out any “already tweeted” and “already published” flags.
- Update the publish date, republish, and re-tweet.