Putting the Green in Evergreen

If you have a post which ranks very highly for a particular query of high value to you, you can use it to springboard additional products in conceptually related spaces. 

Most blogs which add value are eventually going to have a few evergreen posts.  An “evergreen” puts the lie to blogs being a medium which only covers breaking news and the controversies of the day — they keep producing value forever, typically by ranking highly for search terms of consequence.  However, as evergreens age you can find that, while they still provide value to your business, they tend to gradually fall in the search engine rankings and become less and less useful at achieving your business objectives.

You can get a lot of value out of a nice, aged evergreen post.  My best example of this is Free Bingo Cards, which ranks extraordinarily highly for, uh, [free bingo cards].  It is #2 on Yahoo and in the top 10 on Google, and gets about 2.5k hits a month.  Not shabby.  That is about 1/4 of the hits my Bingo Card Creator site gets, and I promote that relentlessly whereas the hits just roll on in for that post.  (This is largely thanks to several of my blogging buddies who, without me asking for it, linked it when it came out.  It collects links on an ongoing basis too from my users — in the Internet and in most economic activity, winners win.)

Left alone, Free Bingo Cards would gradually slip from 2.5k hits a month to 1.5k hits a month or so, and while that would still be a hundred dollars or so in marginal revenue there are higher and better uses.  For example, I recently launched Daily Bingo Cards and have been desperately seeking a method to get it a core group of early users to spread the word for me.  Hard to get visitors without ranking, hard to get ranking without links, hard to get links without visitors — it’s a vicious cycle. 

I learned around Halloween that if I edited Free Bingo Cards to include both topical information in addition to the material that has been on it forever, it would both be refreshed in the SERPs (extending shelf-life — new info must mean relevance, right?) and give me a stream of traffic to strategically redirect to my new project, to get it off of the ground.  I did this for Halloween and got several hundred visitors, including about five folks who most be as hardcore about bingo as any raider is about WoW, to judge by their usage patterns.  (Now if only more of them blogged about it, too.)  I’m doing it for Thanksgiving as well, and it has been working out well so far.

Here is a hint which I’ve learned through CrazyEgg’ing every page I have access to: the first link in any long bit of content gets the lion’s share of the clicks.  The search engines are biased towards content earlier on the page, too, but not nearly as much as searchers.  Thus, if you want to deck out an evergreen without worrying about losing its wonderful aroma, I’d suggest adding a simple paragraph at the top with a link in it.  Presto-changeo, you now have a steady stream of traffic for any related project you currently have on your plate.

Obviously, you will not want to use this to send traffic to an unrelated page.  Non-motivated traffic is worthless to you, and you’re not developing the sort of repeat users that you want for your site(s).

No Responses to “Putting the Green in Evergreen”

  1. jivlain November 19, 2007 at 7:28 am #

    A thought: linking “Daily Bingo Cards” instead of “site” on the Free Bingo Cards page would possibly get better results. Not that I’d know, mind.

  2. Patrick November 19, 2007 at 9:53 am #

    There is such thing as overkill on anchor text, and 80% of the incoming links to that already use exactly that anchor text. I try to mix things up a little.

  3. jivlain November 19, 2007 at 10:57 am #

    Well, you learn something new every day :)

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