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How to Update Evergreen Content

digital evergreen trees

Evergreen content may last longer than trend-centered content, but unlike its namesake, it doesn’t just care for itself over the years.

No matter how timeless your content is, it will still need to be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure that it’s still following SEO best practices and optimization techniques. Unfortunately, there’s no true “one and done” way to write digital content, so here’s how to update yours.

Jump to:

  1. Review links
  2. Factcheck
  3. Redo keyword research
  4. Edit your content
  5. Bulk it up or cut it down
  6. Swap your images
  7. Update your publishing date

1. Review links

Links are a great way to add depth and legitimacy to your content, especially when they reference studies, articles, or other supplemental learning content from a trusted source. But, often, links come with published date, and an old link can make readers question the relevancy of your content.

When updating evergreen content, check all of your internal and external links to ensure that:

  • They aren’t broken
  • The page or source they link to still exists
  • The information they link to is still correct
  • You’re following best practices for anchor text
  • You’re linking to high-quality sources

If you do come across any links that no longer function or that take readers to a dated landing page, either remove them or update them with a more recent link.

2. Factcheck

You probably did some fact-checking when you initially wrote your content, but if it’s been a while, it doesn’t hurt to do it again. Trends, best practices, laws, pricing, opinions, gender pronouns, and just about every other kind of information naturally change and evolves over time, so expect to make tweaks to your work, especially if it hasn’t been reviewed in a long time.

This is especially important if you’re reviewing content that you wrote for another country. Take the opportunity to review your piece for any changes in terminology or language to make sure it’s optimized for international readers.

3. Redo keyword research

As with facts, keywords can also change over time. The proper name for a product or service may be different than what it once was, or a new, digital-era term may be gaining in popularity. Double-check that the keywords you used within your content are still popular and relevant to your topic by redoing your keyword research.

Pay specific attention to any keyword stuffing or keyword cannibalization you may have done in the past and rewrite as necessary.

This is also an ideal time to ensure that you aren’t accidentally engaging in any other black hat SEO practices. And, if you are, to address them before your page gets flagged and your traffic takes a nosedive.

4. Edit your content

As you read over your evergreen content, edit it by looking for typos, spelling errors, and outdated language. Double-check your reading level, break up large paragraphs, and optimize your content for online readers.

If you have an SEO style guide, use it as you go over your content to help bring it up to snuff.

5. Bulk it up or cut it down

Thin content doesn’t perform well, but neither does overwritten or keyword stuffed content. If your article or blog post is too sparse, take this opportunity to fill it out and give it some weight.

If it’s too long or too dense, consider breaking it into multiple pieces, like microblogs. Especially if the piece focuses on too many keywords at once.

6. Swap your images

Although the images you use within your content don’t necessarily affect your SEO efforts, they can affect how modern or dated your content looks. This is particularly important if you used screenshots or even videos. An updated image can go a long way in helping your evergreen content to stand the test of time.

Review and swap your images to follow new design trends and best practices, add alt text, and ensure that screenshots and videos are relevant and up-to-date.

7. Update your publishing date

There’s debate over how to address publishing dates within updated content, or whether you should even use them at all. Some say that Google prefers when your posts have dates, while others say it doesn’t matter at all.

When updating content, you can handle dates in a few different ways:

  • Update the publishing date to the new publishing date
  • Keep the old date but add an “updated on” line
  • Remove publishing dates altogether
  • Leave the date as-is

Personally, when I look at a post that says it was published in 2008, I immediately wonder whether the content is correct, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

That being said, I would strongly recommend that you update them depending on how you display them in the first place. Any of the first three options listed above are common and acceptable ways to handle updates to older articles and posts, so choose the one that works best for you.

READ MORE: How often should I update SEO content?