The term “evergreen” is used for methods that will simply always work. This can be applied to many aspects of our SEO efforts, such as content, on-page SEO and user experience.
Google's Panda and Penguin algorithms continue to shape how we define quality SEO. This is really nothing new.
Every time there is a shift in the way Google approaches organic search, whether it's a fresh update to an existing algorithm or the introduction of a new manual penalty, our jaws clench just that little bit tighter. It's a reaction that is generally followed by a bit of unproductive grumbling, and then we get back to the business at hand.
So, with Panda 4.0 behind us, and the imminent arrival of Penguin 3.0, it's seems as good a time as any to take a moment and reflect on the ways in which SEO hasn't changed.
Yep. That's not a misprint. The ways that SEO hasn't changed will continue to work and help us rise above in the SERPs.
1. Look for Content Ideas that Will Always Stay Fresh
This one's easy, so we might as well get it out of the way. Quality content is still one of the major pillars of good optimization. We all know this.
There are certain types of content that will continue to stay “fresh” and apply to almost any industry. For example:
- Lists – Writing a “10 Ways to Successfully Start Your Morning” should hold true for almost anyone. Take a look at your industry and find some cornerstones to write on.
- How-to Tutorials – If you’re writing about dog grooming and you think about “How to Groom a Schnauzer," this will almost indefinitely stay the same. Your industry has topics as well.
- Definitions or Guides – You could create an entire series in almost any niche with this idea. Even with a boring industry such as retirement, you could discuss different IRA products — they’re not going to change much.
Well-written, informative, and unique content will continue to drive traffic for search. It always has, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The added bonus of thinking of content in terms of “evergreen,” you have the option to repurpose your content with relative links or in-line updates.
2. On-Page Optimization That’s Here to Stay
While quality content is still the key, how that content is marked up is equally important. There are important on-page optimization techniques that are here to stay. Meta-tags, alt tags and schema markup all help to make your content stronger by ensuring that it is structural sound.
The following on-page optimization tactics will always provide value, and continue to pay dividends in the long run.
- Title Tags – Properly optimized title tags are here to stay. Keep your titles less than 512 pixels, or around 60 characters.
- Meta Descriptions – There’s no evidence that these are going away either. Take the time to make sure you don’t have duplicate tags across your site.
- Alt Tags – Google and the search engines need to understand what your image is, in case it doesn’t render. Take the time to be succinctly descriptive.
- Header Tags – Telling the search engines which keywords are most important is a simple task with H1 tags, or next in line with H2 tags.
- Page Speed – Increasing your page speed, or decreasing your page load time will always be a long-term winner for on-page SEO.
I’ve put together another 50 Quick SEO Tips you can check out for many more evergreen practices using both on-page and off-page SEO techniques for years to come.
3. Website Crawlability and User Experience
Proven content marketing and SEO techniques will not help if the search engines can’t properly crawl your site, or if user experience is not at the forefront of your site’s goals.
All too often webmasters make the cardinal mistake of thinking that once their website is up and running, all that's left is to fill it with a steady stream of fresh content. But each addition to your site changes its structure, and eventually you can find yourself with a site that is as difficult for the search engine bots to crawl, as it is for you visitors to navigate.
Perform regular reviews of your websites, paying close attention to the internal linking structure and check your robots.txt file. Run a spider tool, like Screaming Frog, at least once a month, and check your website's crawl data using Google Webmaster Tools. Also, make sure you submit your XML sitemap to Google AND Bing.
It always has, and always will be, a good idea to know if your site has any technical errors. Using responsive web design is yet another great option for how we can expect all sites to operate for years to come. If you haven’t already, take the time to get this right.
The world of SEO has changed significantly over the last couple of years, and change will continue to come. But rest assured, not every SEO tool in your arsenal has been stripped of its value.
So, the next time Google announces an update or a change in policy, take a deep breath and remember, where search engine optimization is concerned, “the fundamental rules apply, as time goes by.”
Points to who can tell me where I pulled this timeless movie quote from? (Ah, just kidding…no points, just make sure you stay true to fundamental and evergreen SEO.)
Image credit: 123RF