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Should dates be disabled on Blog Posts, Comments & SERP?

We know a vital element in content marketing is time. Whether you are blogging, writing e-books, creating infographics, etc, one of the things you strive to do is produce the most up-to-date material.

Human readers as well as search engines are out for what’s new and consumable. Now, if you create a new blog content on “what’s new in WordPress 2.0“, chances are that no one will pay attention to your article because WordPress 2.0 is almost not found on any blog today (except maybe on your local offline server).

So when it comes to dates and content freshness, I’m thinking of two characteristics;

  1. Completely new content.
  2. Updated content.

When content is completely new, it means it’s touching on something that’s news. Something you’ll probably be reading for the first time and something that’s still applicable.

Now, old contents can be updated. A typical example is a blog post you wrote 3 years ago on how to use WordPress. That content should be quite old and outdated but you can give some freshness to it by removing screenshots of former WordPress versions and adding skins of the newest version.

But if you wrote on a specific version of WordPress, the truth is that piece of content will become completely of no use to those users who have grown pass the version in your content.

remove dates

So should dates be removed from contents?

[Tweet “Should dates be removed from contents? Join the argument!”]

From the SEO stand point, I don’t need Matt to tell me what they think about this. If Google has a way of finding blog posts that have kicked out dates, the monster will certainly find a way to strike.

If search engines care about content freshness, then it will be difficult for you to convince me that they won’t do anything about you taking down dates. Harsh Agrawal in this post on his blog shared his experience clearly proving that seach engine strive to answer queries with fresh materials.

From the readers’ stand point, it becomes deceitful to let me click a headline that leads to an outdated content.

Most often, when I get to a blog post and find out that dates have been removed from both content and comment, it feels like I’ll be wasting my time on some  obsolete material.  The author is like trying to trick me to reading his/her post.

If in 2013 you wrote about the latest stuffs in that year without dating your content, what do you think will become of that piece of work now in 2015? A reader who finds that material through search engine will become so disappointed and may not signup to your list or come back again.

The question is why should dates (such a crucial component of content) be removed ?

According to Harsh, removing dates from search results on SERP is to trick both search engines and human readers. Yes. I said trick them. Read his blog post again.

His experience clearly proves that dates is a ranking factor but I think Google has to relook its algorithm at this level. Why does it get confused and rank undated content?

If something is not done, you’ll soon start finding outdated undated content on position #1 for hot keyword (because the search giant is confused and ranking undated materials).

In Harsh’s words, dates give a good user-experience… A good idea is to show dates to your user, but don’t show it to search engines”

In other words, remove dates to fool or trick Search Engines and searchers.

But here is the point …

We need search engines to send us readers right?

So what happens if those readers come to find out that the content they found on Google page #1 is obsolete?

  1. First, they will click the back button and never return to your blog again (which is bad for your business)
  2. Clicking back will affect your bounce rate, an element is search ranking
  3. They may never trust Google again (which is bad news and why Google will soon strike)

Yes I know some undated materials are said to be evergreen. But does that justify why you should take down dates?

Will Google strike?

Yes I think the search monster is not stupid. The effect of removing dates is negative on user experience so I foresee Google coming out against this in the upcoming updates.

If your blog posts and comments are not dated, think about it.

In this post, Shamsudeen Adeshokan says removing dates from posts deserves a penalty from Google

I know this topic may be debatable so I’m using an argument tool in this post. While I highly appreciate your comments, please use this argument box and let’s know which side are you.

[Tweet “Should dates be removed from contents? Join the argument!”]

Enstine Muki
 

Blogging Coach, Certified Cryptocurrency Expert and Serial Entrepreneur

venkat566

Hi Enstine Muki,
Nice post.I never remove dates from my post.As a visitor I hate it when I can’t find the date of a post published.

viki debbarma

Actually sir, I am very new to this profession and facing very silly problems sometime, got very little idea about blogging. Your idea is really amazing and hopefully it works for me, i do love reading all of your article it is very useful…! Thanks for sharing..!

Piyush Golani

Hello,

Well if you ask me then I would say dates must be displayed.

It will be easy to see which articles are written on which date. So it must be displayed.

Thanks,
Piyush

appkodes

Dates must be displayed from the blogs,because it helps to find new and old content and avoid duplicate content.

Santanu

Thanks for bringing this topic here and create a good discussion. Personally I feel that a news website need to put the dates as contents are date dependent. But if you are writing something tutorial or ever green content, the date can be skipped. Although I am not sure about the effect, all I have said after reading many expert bloggers view on this topic.

Hai Tran

I think dates shouldn’t be removed because it helps people to find new content and avoid out-of-date content if needed. In my opinion. dates should stay

Karan Bhagat

Hey Enstine,
This is the second time I am reading this blog post of yours. I recently published the methods to remove dates from google search results and then suddenly I thought “Enstine once had written a post on this, I should check it out again”, this is the reason I searched for this article once more.

According to me Enstine, it depends on “CONTENT”, like if you are searching for something which we all know never changes then in that case date won’t a big factor for users. For example if you are searching for “Brewester Law” (which is a physics law) then users won’t consider dates because that law is not going to change.

On the other hand if you are searching something like “How to rank on google’s first page” then dates play a vital role, because all the webmasters are aware of the fact that the SEO has changed and keeps on changing with time, in this particular case a reader is more likely to click on the article which is published in 2015 in comparison to that which was published in 2012.

So according to me content decides this thing whether removing dates is justified or not.

    Enstine Muki

    Very correct 😉
    Evergreen topics don’t matter. Seasonal subjects should be dated so as not to mislead readers right?

    Thanks for coming back to this post and sharing your points. I’ll check your article now too

James Lenfers

The dates should stay in my opinion. I write very long pieces that take me many days to try not to turn it into a snooze festival. So this is a simple enough matter for me. It can take many days in-between before I even come up with a idea or want to write another piece.

Since writing skill, knowing more about the subject over time, making it easier to read and other factors like SEO should get better with practice. A old post can probably at the very least be massively improved and if the information is very outdated, updated to current along with it if need be. Do all of that and you almost have a brand new post you can legitimately re-date.

Personally, I just write a new one, then seriously improve a old one.

And yes, I think the machine is going to catch up with this because there are allot of very old post that are no longer relevant at all but enshrined from the ranking clout and Google will have to fix this one also because its clogging the top of their index. I doubt they are going to want undated posts along with it.

Nicole Pary

Hey Enstine,

Yes, Date are necessary to show for Blogs, comments because of Users can see that how old post and needed information are included or not.

Thanks for shared and once again a nice article.

Tunde Sanusi

I have been tempted many times to remove dates on my blog but i still think its not a good idea cos If the DATE IS REMOVED and a reader eventually finds out, its an outdated content, THE RESULT will be much worst that SHOWING DATE

Oluwatobi Allen

I removed date from one of my blogs, the result was good as I started getting more organic traffic but I still care about visitors so I do take time to update the old articles with latest useful infos.

sneha

Hey., Enstine. I think removing dates isn’t professional. Leaving dates on blogs shows accountability and your users can keep track of topics. Some fans enjoy up-to-date info and they cannot know if your info is current when they can’t compare with an earler post.

Sherman Smith

Hey Enstine,

Removing the date on your posts creates a lose-lose situation. Having dates creates long term success because

1. You create and maintain trust among your audience
2. If Google creates a penalty, then you’ll lose rank
3. It’s more of an ethical issue if anything

So I do agree with Shamsudeen that Google should create a penalty if you take off the date of your posts. As you mentioned you will lose business if your audience finds out your content is outdated and their audience will lose trust in them.

So definitely keeping your audience “posted” is keeping them updated with information they’ll need in the long run. If you’re consistently providing this, then your connection gets stronger and youll keep your return visitors.

Daayur

Dates on blogs will really affect entertainment or sport site but i really do not support a total removal of dates. i believe that why entertainment or sport blogs even work harder because they post minutes by minutes. For other niche, i really do not see the necessity but reading comment from other blogger here to learn more.

Sayantan Mahato

Hey there,

I think this would be bit unprofessional. It might help us to rank content, but if you really care for the audience , one shouldn’t go with it.

jatin singh

it’s all uncool, these type of tricks showes how professional those bloggers are in blogging. fooling people and serp is not a good thing and ll definetly increase their bounce rate and after sometime they ll go down and down in rankings because of “Pogo Sticking”.

Saifi Rizvi

Dates should not removed from the blog or post. I usually mention date to show how much post is old. This technique will help visitors to analyze the content easily

Lalit

hi,
As usual excellent post. I was not knowing this. I use to place dates so that users should come to know about the latest post.. Really an eye opening post

But i have request:
Pls place an option of subscribing to your post.

Sumit

Hi Enstine Muki, Ist of all thanks for sharing this useful article. When i started my ist blog i don’t know anything about permalink but now i got it, now the problem is that in starting i have selected some wrong permalink but now i want to change it and whenever i change the permalink and i searched any keyword on google and open my link, then there is 404 error not found. How to resolve it
Thanks in advance.
Have a good day

Prajwal

Hi enstine bro,
well this is my first visit to your blog,and you’ve really impressed me to get back to your blog back again,I never took these tiny things into consideration as I thought these factors never mattered for any stuff but after reading your post,I now got to know it’s importance worth reading this post,really helped me a lot.
Thanks for the share
Prajwal

    Enstine Muki

    Hey Praj,
    So good to have you here and thanks for the comment 😉
    I hope we stick together for better days ahead

Tarik

I just removed the dates from my permalink but I think Google should still show the date. Lots of content is simply too old and outdated. It can be frustrating if website owners don’t update good content. It’s something I need to be doing more of.

    Enstine Muki

    lol so you think you need to update right?
    Do you still have dates on comments?

Philip Verghese Ariel

Hi Enstine,
I just missed this, I am here today via your latest post on Speakol
Ok before commenting there I though I must give my opinion here.
Though i posted a comment at “what do you think” space I must
repeat and say something more:
The creating date is a vital part of a blogging, yes people always search for the updated or the latest thing. If its an outdated information who will opt for it, and if want to cheat the readers I think its better not to give the post creation date, and I read somewhere that Google is very particular on this issue. Google or for that matter people want the fresh one not the stale one! LOL
If you want to curate your contents in some famous social sharing platforms, they just ignore your outdated contents, I mean though it’s a viral one for them it is an outdated one! I personally experienced this in some famous platforms, in such cases finding out the date of the post if not mentioned is very difficult. I am sure as I mentioned who wants only stuffs! especially the new generation, the majority in the search world wants unique and up to date information.

Thanks Enstine for this wonderful and interactive post 🙂
Keep sharing
~ Phil
PS:

    Enstine Muki

    Hey Phil,
    Thanks for taking the pains to post this comment 😉
    For the most part, people remove dates to trick readers. This works for and against them really.

    I think Google should strike on this because from the readers’ stand point, I don’t see any positive point taking down dates.

    Thanks for sharing your point buddy and do have a wonderful week ahead

onyema

Removing Date on post will never do well for your visitors. I suggest that every blogger should live date in their blog post except in some circumstance where the theme of your blog does not show date.

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