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How to Create Articles That Will Stand the Test of Time
Beyond creating the best article on the web for your topic, there's more you can do to make sure that your article is successful over time. One of the great things about HubPages is that, if you've created an excellent piece of content, you have the opportunity to earn from that article as long as you keep seeing traffic.
To increase your chances of seeing traffic over time, we have a few recommendations:
- Write about topics that are evergreen.
- Create a specific, niche, long-tail title.
- Be on the cutting edge and be the first to write on a new concept
Let's take a deeper look at these three principles.
What Is Evergreen Content?
You might have read about evergreen content several times while reading about online publishing, and maybe you're confused about the term. It's an important distinction in the world of online content, so it's worth going over if you're a writer.
There are basically three types of high-quality writing you can read on the web:
Evergreen content will not become dated or lose utility. It will be useful for days, months, and years to come. This is valuable on HubPages because evergreen content has the potential to make money for a longer period of time. Our community's most successful articles present original, useful, evergreen content.
Characteristics of Evergreen Writing
- It does not assume the reader necessarily understands, cares about, or knows anything about what was previously published by the writer.
- It might not necessarily be "hot" (i.e., it's not breaking news), but people will be curious about it weeks, months, or even years later.
- It sees gradual traffic growth over time as search engines begin to trust the quality of the content.
- It attracts readers with an intense interest in the specific article, because they went to Google, Bing, or another search engine looking for that specific piece of information.
- It may be opinionated, but it contains arguments grounded in fact.
Sometimes it can be hard to come up with, and write on, compelling evergreen topics. People won't necessarily want to read about them in droves the minute you publish them on HubPages.
However, the gratifying part comes when people are STILL landing on your articles months and even years later. Slow and steady wins the race, especially when you're trying to make money on the web. The long, steady stream of search traffic is where you will earn your long-term, residual money.
Examples of Evergreen and Non-Evergreen Articles
Here's an example of three articles about the same topic: apple pie. Take a look at the following 3 article titles, and consider the conditions under which you would want to read it:
- Salem, MA Makes Bewitching Apple Pies for 2016 Autumn Festival
- Why Grandma's Apple Pie Is THE BEST!!!!
- A Simple, Healthy Apple Pie Recipe (From Scratch)
The first title would be a great read in the fall of 2016 (if you're in Salem) or very, very shortly thereafter. A few weeks later? It's old news. No reads. No traffic.
The second title would be interesting only if you knew (and agreed with) the author's sentimental opinion. Otherwise, it's just another opinion piece about yet another food someone really likes.
The third title will be relevant for many years as it promises a useful, timeless resource. You can easily imagine how people searching for things like "simple apple pie recipe," "healthy apple pie recipe," and "apple pie recipe from scratch" would be interested in reading this article. People will be searching for these things in 2020, 2030, and 2100 . . . as long as the Alien Overlords do not abolish delicious food.
Is Your Article Evergreen? Answer These Questions to Find Out.
- Will this article (and its title) make sense and be readable to someone who has never heard of me or HubPages?
- Will this article (and its title) be readable and valuable a year from now?
- Have I offered in-depth, specific, useful information on this topic?
What Are "Long-Tail" Searches?
Long-tail search terms are simply highly specific terms or keywords with fewer searches for the individual keyword, usually made up of three words or more. Research shows that web users are becoming more specific in their search queries. Using long-tail keywords in your title, headers, and throughout your text can be beneficial to readers and help drive more traffic to your article.
In most cases, you will initially see traffic from keywords in your text; eventually, you should see traffic from search queries around your title and headers.
What Are Keywords?
Keywords are what people are searching for online. Your article should have specific keywords in your title and headers. But be careful: Do not add keywords that aren't relevant or repeat your keywords over and over. Your readers will not trust your work, and neither will search engines.
Tips for Keywords
- Only include keywords that are an exact match with your content.
- Use headers that include other search terms related to your topic.
- Find a balance between a readable, natural title and one that incorporates a long-tail search term.
- Build trust with your readers and search engines by using good keyword practices: Don't stuff keywords in your text/title only for search engines; don't bold keywords in your text; don't write about a topic just because it's a hot keyword—write about a topic because you are passionate about it!
The Key Takeaway
Write for your readers, not search engines, but increase your chances of being found via search by creating a specific title that could be a search query for your topic.
Three Tips for Long-Tail Topics
Here are some suggestions to get the most of those long-tail searches, which can really add up.
- Go in-depth on a specific subject. Instead of rehashing the same general information presented by millions of other webpages, pick a specific area and share information that is unique and interesting.
- Create additional articles on your topic and become an expert in the field. Break your topic down into multiple in-depth niche articles and own the entire overall subject.
- Write about content that doesn't exist yet. Research a topic online, and if it isn't covered or isn't covered well, this is a great chance for you to own that niche and topic. Before you write your article, type your title into Google and see what shows up. If your search yields results featuring large sites that have completely exhausted the topic, either choose another topic or make your article more niche.
Be the First to Write on the Topic
Google generally respects the "first-mover advantage." In fact, in its patent application for its search engine algorithm, Google states that the age of a webpage can be used as a factor in determining ranking. In other words, all else being equal, an older webpage is likely to get better ranking than a newer one.
This is why it's often futile to try to create a webpage on a certain topic that addresses the exact same points in the same way as a webpage that was published earlier. (Of course, if the newer one has details that the older one lacks, then there is an opportunity for traffic).
How do you capture the first-mover advantage for your articles? Simple! Write high-quality articles on topics that have little real estate on the web—in other words, topics that aren't covered well or at all.
How Do You Become a First Mover?
- Do you know a specific topic that has only just begun to be discussed or explored on currently available webpages?
- Do you know a specific topic that has an "impatience gap"—a specific topic that people are searching for more information about, but that has not yet been addressed by many content creators?
- Do you know a specific topic about which people want more information (possibly visiting dozens of webpages), but for which there are only a handful of webpages available?
Any of these scenarios would suggest topics that are ripe for an informative, engaging article on them now. These proactive article topics, in addition to timeless, evergreen topics, are great opportunities for lasting, high traffic from the search engines.
Write About What You Know!
The very best articles are on topics about which authors are passionate. Write about your area of expertise (hopefully it's evergreen), create a specific, long-tail title, and share any new insights and research that you have discovered. And don't forget to update your article with new and exciting findings. Your readers will thank you for your fresh, useful, and engaging content for years and years!
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