Evergreen Content Vs. Viral Content — Which Is Better for SEO?

Evergreen content is content that withstands the test of time, while viral content is content that capitalizes on a specific timely trend. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between evergreen content vs. viral content!
  • Breanna Hoffner
    Breanna Hoffner SEO Specialist
    Author block right corner shape
  • February 6, 2024
  • 7 min. read

If you’ve ever looked into adding content to your website, you may have heard the terms evergreen content and viral content. These two varieties cover the basic content types you’ll need for your website. 

So, what is the difference between these two? And why does it matter which one you use?

We’ll explore the similarities and differences between these two content types in this blog post. Here’s what we’ll cover: 

Read on to learn more about evergreen and viral content! 

What is evergreen content?

Evergreen content is a piece of content that can withstand the test of time with some refreshes here and there. 

This content type covers a topic that receives a steady volume of searches. Evergreen content stays relevant for longer, and you can easily rework it to match current search results. Evergreen content provides a great long-term content strategy for SEO.

An example of an evergreen topic would be “Why You Should Incorporate Chicken Into Your Diet.” People are always looking for ways to incorporate chicken into their diet. Also, readers will be interested in their food’s health benefits for many years to come. 

Another example would be detailed write ups about equipment and machinery that can help improve the SEO for heavy equipment businesses.

What is viral content?

Unlike evergreen content, viral content capitalizes on a trend in the news, specific industries, social media, or even pop culture. 

A news story that propelled a topic into the limelight may have recently erupted. Or, perhaps a movie just dropped on a streaming service, and everyone is talking about it. All of these instances give you the opportunity to write viral content.

Viral content provides a short-term content strategy that needs to be repeated for continued success. Continuing with the chicken example from above, here are two examples of viral content. 

  1. Salmonella Outbreak in [city]
  2. Trending chicken recipe

In the first example, a salmonella outbreak would be a very time-sensitive topic. News of the salmonella outbreak will trend for a while but then fade as the impacted chicken is no longer on the market. 

For the second example, a specific chicken recipe might have taken hold on TikTok, and now everyone is talking about it. Other influencers may be posting their own take on the recipe to their website or social media. Searches around this recipe will spike with the trend but will fall as other recipes take the spotlight. 

Going viral isn’t always easy, and sometimes it just happens. When attempting to go viral, you really are playing a difficult game. A game that can be hard to predict.

Pros and cons of evergreen and viral content

When it comes to evergreen content and viral content, you can think of them as opposites with some shared benefits that we’ll highlight below. However, each type of content has some unique perks and drawbacks you can use to your advantage.

Benefits of evergreen content

Here are the primary benefits of evergreen content:

  • Consistent search volume for the topic and keyword
  • Content will likely have a steady stream of traffic
  • Content needs minimal refreshes over the years
  • Results compile as time passes
  • No need to rush the content creation process
  • Can easily be refreshed to remain relevant
  • Typically yields a better return on investment (ROI)

Drawbacks of evergreen content

On the other hand, here are the issues with only writing evergreen content: 

  • Can take some time to pick up traction
  • May not provide as much traffic as a viral post

Benefits of viral content

Here are some reasons to write viral content for your company:

  • Can pick traffic up faster
  • Rankings can come quickly if early to publish
  • Increased engagement

Drawbacks of viral content

Now, here are some issues you may encounter with viral topics: 

  • Results can drop when the trend fades
  • You must post content quickly
  • Pages may become obsolete 
  • You can’t rework pages as easily
  • It can be hard to go viral

Evergreen or viral content: Which is better for SEO?

Leveraging both evergreen and viral content strategies in your SEO campaign is essential. 

Both viral and evergreen content can do wonders for your business. Here are some of the wins that both evergreen and viral content can provide: 

  • Increasing traffic to your website
  • Earning backlinks on other sites
  • Establishing your brand as a thought leader
  • Improving rankings on Google’s search results
  • Improving brand awareness
  • Driving leads and conversions

A healthy ratio would include more evergreen content than viral content. For example, for every ten pieces of evergreen content, you can try to incorporate a piece of viral content. After using this ratio for a bit, you can adjust it as you see fit for your company. 

It is important to keep in mind that some industries may have an easier time discovering relevant viral content topics than others. There are some sectors that have more happening in terms of news and pop culture. If this is the case for your business, you may publish viral content more often. 

Some other factors to consider include: 

  • The platform you are posting on 
  • The type of content you are publishing

Understanding your company’s audience will also help you decide whether you should publish more viral or evergreen content.

How to publish evergreen and viral content together

So, how can you publish both content types? Let’s look at a few factors for publishing evergreen and viral content together. 

Consider the ratios for each platform

There are several platforms you can publish content on. On most platforms, you can use viral and evergreen content. However, the ratios may vary depending on the platform on which you are publishing your content. 

Website blog

If you post on a blog, evergreen content should make up most of your posts, with some viral content sprinkled in. Our 10:1 ratio above is a good one to start with, depending on your industry

YouTube

With YouTube videos, evergreen content can help set a solid base. Feel free to incorporate more viral content once your channel has some evergreen videos that are gaining traction. 

You can also try a strategy where your longer-length videos are evergreen content, and your YouTube Shorts are viral content. Since shorter videos lend better to virality, this is a good method to give a shot. 

Social media

Social media is a great place to build your brand, and viral content can help to grow your brand awareness. Viral content tends to lend best to social media channels.

Depending on what social media site you post, you may need to switch up your content types. For instance, short videos work best on Instagram Reels and TikTok. On the other hand, infographics and informational guides may perform better on LinkedIn.

Choose your content type 

Different types of content may perform better as evergreen or viral content. While some types of content can easily be created with either type in mind. 

The best viral content types are: 

  • Memes
  • Short Videos (Reels, TikToks, Shorts)

The best evergreen content types are: 

  • How-To Guides
  • Long Explainer Videos
  • Glossaries
  • Checklists

Content types that work for both include:

  • Infographics
  • Blog posts
  • Medium-length Videos (1–5 minutes)

Monitor your approach 

Whether you use viral or evergreen content more, the best way to help your SEO is to track your campaign. By incorporating key content metrics and evaluating your campaign, you can see what content performs best and adjust as necessary! 

Try evergreen and viral content for your SEO strategy

As you can see, there’s a place for both evergreen and viral content in your SEO strategy. Both can drive results in their own way and should be leveraged in your digital marketing campaign moving forward. 

If you’d like to learn more about how viral and evergreen content can help your SEO performance, contact our team of SEO experts today!

Add WebFX to your content marketing toolbox today

Get SEO Proposal

What to read next

Dominate SEO with Your CRM: Here are 6 Top CRM Examples
  • Jun 21, 2024
  • 7 min. read
Keep Reading
International SEO Strategies: Expanding Your Reach Across Borders
  • Jun 18, 2024
  • 5 min. read
Keep Reading
What Should an XML Sitemap Look Like?
  • Jun 18, 2024
  • 6 min. read
Keep Reading