SEO Has Been The Single Largest Driver of Business Since Our Inception – Let Us Show You How We Do It
Through our evergreen content strategy we’ve grown our traffic over 1,800% in 14 months. The first half of this article will show you how we did it. The second half will teach you how to do it for your company.
When we formed our company in 2012, we wanted a name that was unique, fun, and brand-able. We also wanted it to have a word in it that got a lot of monthly searches that we felt we could rank for fairly quickly. So we chose Wallaroo. Soon enough, we got to #1 for the word “Wallaroo” and letting us tell all our prospective clients that we knew how to do SEO.
This keyword targeting strategy also reflected the types of clients we were going after. With a resume like this, and with no case studies and little experience, we could really only get local clients like restaurants, dentists, auto repair shops, etc. And when we did get those types of companies as clients, we hustled hard to do everything we could to help them succeed.
That was back in the early days. We don’t care about ranking for “Wallaroo” anymore (although we’re still on page one); we moved on to bigger and better things.
Like most SEO companies, we started by targeting localized keyword phrases related to “SEO”, or “Utah SEO company“, or “Provo Utah SEO”. This keyword strategy also reflected the types of clients we were able to get. If someone Googled “Utah SEO Company” and found us, they were likely interested in SEO, maybe some content marketing, and not much else. We got a lot of great clients this way–and still do–but we wanted to level up as a company. Once we achieved amazing rankings for those keywords, we continued to set our sights on higher revenue-generating keywords and bigger clients…
Enter: The “Evergreen Content” Strategy
With a firm hold on SEO-related keywords in our market, we wanted to expand our services and offerings at our company. We wanted to diversify. We wanted to get more into social media advertising management and PR. So we created a content marketing plan.
There were three key steps in our approach to our Evergreen Content Strategy:
Step 1: Evergreen Content
We wanted evergreen content to be the backbone of our strategy. What is evergreen content you ask? We define it as timeless content that continually stays fresh for readers. We felt that this was an under-utilized tactic with the keywords we wanted to rank for. We wanted to get more clients who wanted to hire us to manage Facebook Ads. So we took a page out of Moz’s book (with their Google Algorithm Change History piece) and decided to create the Facebook Algorithm Change History with the purpose of using it as a Trojan horse to get social ads clients.
We created the Facebook Algorithm piece over 2 years ago, and have been updating it nearly every month since. That content ranks 1st for “Facebook algorithm change”, 3rd for “Facebook algorithm”, 4th for “Facebook changes”, and 5th for “New Facebook update”. It also ranks on page one of Google for another ~100 keyword phrases! The content piece has had almost 60,000 visits since its launch with an average time on page of about 4 minutes.
Step 2: Consistent Updates
As I briefly mentioned in Step 1, we have been updating that Facebook Algorithm piece every month or so for over two years now. Every time we update it, we do three things: Change the publish date in WordPress, change the “Last updated” phrase at the beginning of the piece, and share it on Google Plus (and other social networks as well). It is also good to use the “Fetch as Google” tool. Correlation does not equal causation, but we have found this sequence to be crucial in our rankings.
A little more on “evergreen content”: I would highly recommend that unless you are writing on a topic that is time-sensitive or newsworthy in nature, that all your content is evergreen. We update our Facebook piece all the time (because it needs to be updated constantly). But if you publish a piece titled, “How to do SEO for B2B Companies,” update it all the time! Seek out ways to do so. Update the case studies you cite. If you figure out new, applicable strategies, add those. Did Google or Facebook or something else change since you first wrote the piece that now changes things? Add that and update it! Be creative, it shouldn’t be difficult to add to a piece every couple months and thus make it evergreen.
Step 3: Being The First-Mover Helps
Being the first-mover to go after a keyword helps with future ranking ability. It is by no means a requirement, though. But in our experience, being the first to publish an in-depth, well-optimized piece on the subject can do wonders. And if you are consistently updating it, you can stay ahead of the competition. There isn’t any more secret sauce here.
Note: Some here may bring up the “Skypscraper Technique” from Brian Dean (who is awesome and whom I greatly respect). Yes, that strategy works very well, and yes, the Skyscraper Technique is designed to overtake first-movers. But if you follow steps 1 and 2 well enough, then being the first-mover will help you anyway. And if you’re always working to build links to your content, then you should be immune to competitors. Theoretically, they wouldn’t want to compete. Who would want to compete with amazing content that’s always being added to and has a consistent flow of quality backlinks pouring in?
Case Study: “Snapchat Advertising”
We shared a mini-case study in Step 1 with our Facebook piece. Now we’ll spill the beans on what we’ve been up to lately: targeting all keyword phrases related to Snapchat Advertising, and using the Evergreen SEO strategy to do so.
We were early adopters internally of all things Snapchat. We have a team that skews toward the younger side, and many of us have thoroughly enjoyed the popular social network since its inception.
When Snapchat started rolling out ads last year, we began thinking about offering ads management for the social app as a service. One problem though: Snapchat wasn’t letting anyone in. No agencies, no public access, nothing. They were working directly with brands to create and run the ad campaigns. So we dragged our feet.
But in November of 2016, we published version 1.0 of “Snapchat Advertising Costs” on our website. From there, we continued to update that piece according to steps 1-3 outlined above. We also wrote a lot about Snapchat marketing strategies in general. These were the results:
“Snapchat advertising” – #2 (after Snapchat.com)
“Snapchat ads” – #2 (after Snapchat.com)
“Snapchat cost” – #1
“Advertise on Snapchat” – #2 (after Snapchat.com)
“Ads on Snapchat” – #3 (after Snapchat.com and Snap.com)
“Advertising on Snapchat” – #2 (after Snapchat.com)
And over 200 other keyword phrases
If you pull up the search volume for those phrases, you will see that none are huge (each phrase ranges from a few hundred to the low thousands in monthly searches). But, as you can imagine, they convert very well to actual business for us. And with SEO, the true measure of success is, at least in our minds, conversion.
Does your SEO strategy get your website the right traffic and interested users/customers/clients in the target demographic? This is a key component of any effective SEO campaign. For most of our website visitors that come to our site through these keywords, we’re the first agency they come in contact with that does Snapchat advertising. Our content, combined with some retargeting ads every now and then (we spend less than $100/month in paid advertising for ourselves), helps convert these visitors into paying clients.
Take a look at our website traffic in the screenshot below. In a 14-month period, we’ve increased our traffic from under 400 visitors per week to over 8,000 visitors per week. That’s an increase of over 1,800%! Evergreen content works very well :).
Here’s an update on our website traffic as of February 1st, 2018:
Each time we wanted to “level up” as an agency, we leveled up the keywords we targeted. Consequently, our client roster has evolved from local clients to larger nationwide clients, publicly-traded companies, and household brands.
We love SEO at Wallaroo. It was the first service we ever offered, and it will always be part of our core. It has helped grow our business immensely. If you do it right, SEO can do the same for your brand. Want to grow your business through SEO? Contact us today!
Case Study: Old Town Road by Lil Nas X
“Old Town Road”, the debut single by Lil Nas X that was released via TikTok in late 2018 and has since gone incredibly viral, is an excellent study in evergreen content. The song has topped the Hot 100 for nineteen consecutive weeks as of August 2019. Its overall run at number one is the longest in chart history! So how is “Old Town Road” an example of evergreen content? Let’s breakdown its evolution…
The song first debuted in December, 2018. As its popularity picked up in spring 2019, Lil Nas X decided to do a remix with one of country music’s legends, Billy Ray Cyrus. This sparked new interest (and downloads/streams/purchases) in the single, and its popularity (and peak) was extended. Three weeks after that, Lil Nas X remixed the song again, this time with Diplo (one of the most famous DJs/EDM artists in the world). Two months later, a new remix featuring Young Thug (a popular American rapper) and Mason Ramsey (the viral Walmart yodeling boy) was released. Most recently, a remix featuring RM (a South Korean rapper/boy band member who has a massive social media following there) was released in late July.
“Old Town Road” has over a billion streams and hundreds of millions of views. Lil Nas X has changed what it means to be an artist in the digital age. He had nothing in November and is now a multi-millionaire. And all this is because he had some talent and new how to market it through an evergreen content strategy.
Want to watch the video? Check it out below:
Step by Step Process for Creating Evergreen Content
Now that you see how we used the evergreen content strategy to grow our business, let us show you how to do the same for yours.
First, you need to decide which type of evergreen content you want to create. Here’s a quick list of some examples:
Create annually updatable survey-based or data-based content
Create a training course
Create a buying guide for specific products or services
Annual events database listing of your industry
Offer a $500-$1000 scholarship every year
Keep in mind for whichever type you choose – it either needs to be written in such a way that it will never go out of date, or you need to be consistently updating the piece over time.
Another key component of successful evergreen content is constant promotion. Many forget to do this. Once your content is live, you need to be promoting it on a consistent basis. Not every day, but at least a couple times a month, and for sure every time you update it. Promote it on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Depending on the purpose of the content, paid advertising can be a good solution as well.
Five Thirty Eight
FiveThirtyEight is a website ran by Nate Silver, a prominent political statistician. In late 2013, ESPN purchased his website and provided him the funding to build a team. In March 2014, he launched what could be considered a site-wide evergreen content strategy. Take a look at what’s happened since:
They rank for over 700,000 keyword phrases, and the vast majority of their traffic drivers are evergreen content terms. That is how it’s done!
Compounding Returns of Evergreen Content
When you effectively utilize the evergreen content marketing strategy consistently, it generates compounding returns.
Tomaasz Tunguz wrote about this a couple years ago. He stated: “Like a bank account that starts out small and earns incremental gains, but over time becomes quite large, content marketing efforts require consistent investment but ultimately can yield enormous results.” Tunguz then contrasted two hypothetical blogs. One that employs evergreen content, and one that focuses on temporal content. Here’s the visualization for the evergreen content blog:
As Tunguz explains, in this evergreen content example each post generates about 150 views on day one, and about 20 each subsequent day. And due to the evergreen nature of the content, it decays very slowly. You can clearly see the compounding effect in the graph above. In a year, the blog is generating more than 250k visitors per month. Remember, this is a hypothetical example, with perfect execution. But the idea still holds. Content marketing value compounds.
Now, here is the visualization for the temporal content blog:
In this example, each (temporal) blog post generates about 150 posts on the first day, 20 on the second day, but the decay function is much more aggressive. By the end of the year, each post generates 1 view per day. This blog’s traffic caps out at about 70k visitors, less than a third of the previous one. (Again, thanks to Tunguz for these examples and data).
So, as we have established, evergreen content is the way to go. The long-term ROI is tremendous, and the required output is not significantly larger to produce said content.
Examples of Evergreen Content in Various Industries
Evergreen content can take a variety of forms. Check out the examples below to give you some ideas on how to create effective content for your company.
Great Jones’ Blog – Consider standing out from your competition by delighting your customers with an innovative design that will keep them coming back.
Holloway – From their site: “We publish comprehensive, practical Guides researched, written, and refined by experts.” Very high quality content that can be consistently updated and refreshed.
Pricing Page Teardown – This is an evergreen content campaign housed on a separate domain. It’s by ProfitWell, and on this site they do teardowns of pricing pages across the web. Very on brand and effective for them.