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How Evergreen Articles Become Extinct & How to Make Them Relevant Again

Updated on April 27, 2013

A Deserted Evergreen


Extinct: A Pterodactyl Typewriter


Evergreen Articles: Do they expire?

Many writing gurus repeat over and over, 'Write Evergreen articles,' like a spiritual mantra to your writing success.

However, do they teach you what to do once an Evergreen article expires?

Do they even teach you that evergreen articles expire?

Probably not.

One might argue that Evergreen articles never expire.

Are you sure about that?

When a topic becomes no longer relevant to a culture, then people will naturally stop searching for it in a search engine. It happens all the time. It doesn't matter how timeless you write the article. When a topic is forgotten and no longer relevant, then it becomes virtually extinct.

I would like to point out that Hubpages, for example, does encourage its writers to update their articles from time to time, and even encourage Hubbers (Hub writers) to use the Title Tuner feature to have search engine friendly article titles.

In the next section, I will share a prime example of what happens when an article topic expires.

Fred & Dino


Dino Gets Hungry

Barney Feeding Dino
Barney Feeding Dino | Source

Fred Flintstone's New Pet: Dino

When Fred Flintstone first came across his first pet dinosaur, he had no clue what to feed it.

If they had the internet in the Stone Age, Fred Flintstone would have probably done a search for:

  • What do I feed purple dinosaurs?
  • What do purple dinosaurs eat?
  • Purple dinosaur food

Just imagine all of the results that the Stone Age Internet would have generated. If you were a writer back in those days, you would have written some Evergreen articles on your Pterodactyl typewriter, using the following keywords:

  • dinosaur food
  • purple dinosaurs
  • feed purple dinosaurs

Now all of those evergreen articles covering the feeding of purple dinosaurs would have suddenly became extinct when purple dinosaurs became extinct.

Hope is not lost. The next section will share how the Evergreen article writer can salvage their extinct articles.

Relevance Needed to Recapture Search Engine Traffic:

The first thing is that the writer identifies is: What features in the article are now relevant?

If one does a search today for purple dinosaurs, the very first image is the children's icon: Barney.

The Evergreen writer might try to change his or her meta tags to now include:

  • Barney
  • children's show
  • singing purple dinosaur

Then the writer might open up his or her article with a prologue, somehow making the lead in to feeding purple dinosaurs.

Then, of course, the writer would insert a picture of Barney into the article, and have captions and/or a image title to have purple dinosaur in the description.

But there is a slight problem with all of this. While it is not necessarily wrong to try and revive life back into that dead purple-dinosaur-feeding article of yours, the problem lies within how your reading audience will respond.

Children's Icon: Barney


Did You Offend Your Readers?

Keeping with the Barney example above, people doing a internet search for Barney, might become slightly purple-faced when they find out that they have been duped.

The technique employed above is called: Bait and Switch.

The reader searching for more information on the beloved Children's icon Barney might be angered that an intelligent writer of your acumen would dare try to use the bait and switch tactic on them.

Here are implications of what you have just done:

  1. You will have visitors landing on your article, read only the first paragraph and leave once they figured out your scheme.
  2. You will have visitors that might stay, if your article eloquently captures them with the introductory paragraph, and intrigues them enough to stay. You must have a good transition from Children's icon, to dinosaur feeding.
  3. You may offend readers from the start, and simply vote your article (or Hub) down, because it was a bait-and-switch, of course.

Impact on Advertising Revenue

If you make ad revenue that is somehow tied to your content, using the bait and switch could negatively impact your revenue earnings. People that want to find out more about the children's icon, would probably click on ads related to children's toys and media.

If your advertising banners are custom selected by you - the writer - then you would need to change the advertising campaign attached to the formerly extinct evergreen article.

Dog in a Dino Costume

Don't torture that poor dog!
Don't torture that poor dog! | Source

Article Title Critical to Your Article's Success

More Options for the Evergreen Writer

Wait! The Evergreen writer has has some more options to consider, before giving in to the bait and switch.

After all, smart readers will know right away what you are doing. A dog dressed in a dinosaur outfit, is still a dog (see picture on the right). Readers know this, too.

Here are some more options:

  1. Update the title and content of the article. Point out that purple dinosaurs are extinct, but if scientists are able to successfully clone them, this is the food that they would eat.
  2. Abandon the extinct evergreen article, and focus on new topics that are relevant to the culture. Sometimes you just gotta know when to let go and re-focus your attention elsewhere.
  3. Try and create buzz on the internet with an advertising campaign on social media. This isn't guaranteed to work, and you may waste valuable time on this. If you buzz it, they might come.

More Examples of When Extinct Evergreen Articles

Examples of Evergreen Article Fail:

  • Dodo Bird Mating Rituals (Dodo Bird is extinct)
  • The Diet of the Golden Toad in Costa Rica (It hasn't been seen since 1989)
  • Feeding Locations of the Baiji Dolphin (Hasn't been seen since 2002)
  • How to Catch The Hawaiian Crow (Hasn't been seen since 2002)
  • How to Photograph the Alaotra Grebe Bird (It hasn't been seen since 1982)

All of the examples given are of animals that have become extinct. If an author wrote about them before they became extinct, then it could have qualified as an Evergreen article, with the assumption that these animals would be around for a long time. Once an animal is extinct, very few people care about their dietary habits or how to photograph them.

If a resource becomes scarce, therefore changing a trend in the culture (and this could not have been predicted), then it could quickly make Evergreen content extinct.

Timeless articles (a.k.a. Evergreen articles) are written under the assumption that the topic selected will stay relevant for a long time, and it is not tied to current events. However, the extinction of animals, and an immediate scarcity of resources are not predictable and can render Evergreen articles extinct overnight.

Sure, there may be a temporary surge in reading about it at the point of extinction (like when the world feared that there would be no more Twinkies), but the topic fades, and is not expected to recover in terms of reader popularity.

Evergreen writing is only a style which can be applied to any topic. The topic that the writer selects can become extinct.

Last piece of advice: If you make a topic selection based on Google trends, yet apply the Evergreen writing style, your article is using a "Timely" strategy, but incorporating a "Timeless" technique. Just make sure that you don't write your article on the current event, because that would not be Evergreen.


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    • profile image

      Lesleysherwood 4 years ago

      This is brilliant advice. I find 'evergreen' articles really hard to write. I don't enjoy SEO unfortunately and researching topics. I am a bit of a perfectionist, so it takes too long making sure that I put the correct information on my hubs. I'm a bit of a creative junkie and fiction writer along with real life experiences. Unfortunately this doesn't create as much traffic being as though I'm not Charles Dickens or Shakespeare. Your hub has relieved me though to not feel that the evergreens, are evergreen. We always need to keep referring, updating and creating new hubs.

    • Ceres Schwarz profile image

      Ceres Schwarz 4 years ago

      Thanks for your added examples and the clarification. It made things even clearer. Now I see what you mean. And you're right. If something becomes extinct, there would be no more reasons for anyone to be reading about them.

    • zeke2100 profile image

      zeke2100 4 years ago

      Ceres, I provided more examples of Evergreen content that is no longer relevant. Evergreen is only the style of writing that sites encourage, but it can still become no longer relevant.

    • Ceres Schwarz profile image

      Ceres Schwarz 4 years ago

      Interesting and informative. It's good how you gave an example to make things easier to understand. But can you give other examples of supposedly evergreen content that are no longer relevant? I didn't realize that evergreen content could become extinct since they are called evergreen.

    • zeke2100 profile image

      zeke2100 4 years ago

      Thank you for reading

    • Chris Achilleos profile image

      Chris Achilleos 4 years ago

      Some very good points here, thanks for the advice.

      Voted up!


    • samazi profile image

      Masimba Mukichi 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Informative article, thanks keep writing.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great food for thought. Remaining relevant is every old persons desire.