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I saw another question regarding this, but it is dated two years back, and so I am hoping an answer is available now.

I am a web developer at a website in which we are (and have been for years) the #1 search result. We have recently started using social meta tags for Twitter, Facebook, etc, causing Google to pick up and add an image to the snippet.

We are still #1, but unfortunately, Google has also added the date June 22, 2005. Our click through rate has plummeted from 40%, to less than 2%. Removing the image removes the date as well, but we want the image to stay without keeping the date.

We have no idea where Google is pulling the date from. The page in question was created well after 2005, and the video in the page was created in 2011. The page is also updated regularly to keep up with tax information.

The date June 22, 2005 does not appear on the page. I have created a script that ran through all the numbers on the page to see if Google was mashing numbers together to pull out a Unix timestamp, but this was not the case either. I have also looked into other sites linking to us, and have still not found this date.

Is there any way to keep the image in our Google snippet, while removing the date? Would it be better to just provide Google with a date, given that the information itself does not get updated often? Any help would be appreciated.

EDIT: here is a screenshot serp screenshot

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Can you put in a screenshot of a SERP with this incorrect date? –  Stephen Ostermiller Dec 2 '13 at 21:29
    
I worked with a site that the date of the last privacy policy update on all of its pages. Google was picking up that date as the date for all of our articles. We moved the date to only be on the privacy policy page and that fixed the problem. Clearly a different problem though, because we could see where Google was getting the date from. –  Stephen Ostermiller Dec 2 '13 at 21:30
    
Have you checked the HTTP headers that are returned by the server? I'm thinking that the date might be in a server generated header rather than in the page itself. –  Stephen Ostermiller Dec 2 '13 at 21:30
    
I had done more searching, and found that the date does appear in our site. It is the date in which a tax exemption bill was signed. We cannot remove this date, as it is content on a separate page. Is it possible that Google is pulling the date from here? –  user3058877 Dec 2 '13 at 21:41
1  
Are you sure you haven't got your dates muddled, because this page appears on 16 July, 2005 in Archive.org's Way Back Machine. –  Brendon Dec 2 '13 at 21:56

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

These pages don't have an "updated date" on them. But it does appear that they were first created right around the date that Google is putting into the SERPs next to the image.

As Brendon notes, the Archive.org wayback machine has its first copy of the page archived on July 16, 2005. As I put in the comments, there is a forum post in your forums that indicates that a new version of the site was launched on July 22, 2005.

My theory is that Google is not able to find an "update date" for these pages and falling back to the date that it first crawled the pages when it wants to put a date into the SERPs.

To get around this, you could publish a "last updated" date somewhere on each page. Then Google would have a fresher date to use and not have to fall back to "first crawl date".

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Accepting since this is the best theory I've come across, although it does not answer the original question as to whether the date itself can be removed, or if a date should be provided for content that remains relevant for extended periods of time. –  user3058877 Dec 3 '13 at 12:25
    
Also, thank you for taking the time to help out with my question. –  user3058877 Dec 3 '13 at 12:26
    
Regarding the Wayback Machine, the oldest entry I can find is from 2008 (note: this link might not work because of a bug). Am I missing something? –  unor Dec 7 '13 at 2:55
    
This one is from 2005 http://web.archive.org/web/20050801000000*/http://www.savingforcollege.com/intr‌​o_to_529s/ –  Stephen Ostermiller Dec 7 '13 at 10:17

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