I've read that putting a dynamic clock or meteo widget on the page could boost SEO because each time Googlebot visits the page, it thinks the page has been updated with new content.

It seems to me that this advice is really really outdated but I wanted to check with experts first.

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    Just think about this, If that were true you would have already see all types of clock displays in almost every page.
    – marcanuy
    Dec 19, 2016 at 14:45
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    Can you link to references where you've "read" this? Are these articles dated? (Although, many blog articles don't date their articles - which is frustrating.)
    – MrWhite
    Dec 19, 2016 at 15:40
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    "I read about this" => nice term to "as a web agency, one of our "SEO" "expert" client advise us to do this to boost the SEO. I knew from the start that it's not a good idea, but i'm not a SEO expert. This question might help others though.
    – Tristan
    Dec 19, 2016 at 16:42
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    The answer can help you too! It is not uncommon to share an answer to a boss or influencer within a company or organization. We often get questions like yours where a so-called SEO expert says something weird and the OP wants to check it's validity. Often, it can be a boss asking for something to be implemented based upon what a so-called SEO expert says. Most SEO experts are not experts at all. Most have no technical knowledge and simple parrot whatever B.S. they have read. Sad really. Here you have a valid technical explanation from a valid source. I am glad you asked the question. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Dec 19, 2016 at 17:44
  • Hmm. A "dynamic clock" would not even be visible to many (all?) web crawlers, as they do not allow JavaScript programs to run. The dynamic part is a JavaScript program that runs in your browser. Without running that program, only the static source of the program would be visible to the crawler, let alone whether it bothers to look at JavaScript at all.
    – jpaugh
    Dec 20, 2016 at 14:50

3 Answers 3


Working from this: ...dynamic clock or meteo widget on the page could boost the SEO... ...has been updated with new content.

Short answer? No. Not even close.

Search engines, using more than one page, can determine patterns within the HTML DOM model that separates the header, footer, sidebar, and any other page element that is truly not content. The idea is to evaluate the content and not things that do not add value to the content directly.

Let's assume for a moment, that the "clock" is within the content itself.

Search engines do not look at content in a linear way. It can't. Computers do not read and cannot evaluate what they see in a way that humans can. For this reason, the evaluation of the content uses semantic analysis including semantic topic scores, semantic linguistics, and others to evaluate the content itself. What Google, in particular, sees would be small changes in content scoring if at all. These methods adequately handle restructuring and reordering of content, spinning content, keyword stuffing, content gibberish, and any other trick that was designed to deceive search engines.

Content has to have meaning. Adding erroneous elements that do not add meaning do not add value. It is that simple.

For content to be fresh, there are several factors that are in play. One is whether or not new content is update routinely. Another is whether older content is updated periodically as appropriate. Another still is how factual a page is as compared to other content on the web. There are quite a few metrics that determine freshness. Not every page has to be updated to be considered fresh. Relevance and search engine result page (SERP) performance is a factor too. Freshness is not simply updating a page. It is a series of metrics site wide that determines if content is fresh.

As a warning, please do not follow the advice of junk SEO sites. There are too many of them. There are no tricks that work. Any SEO advice that is even hinting at an advantage outside of creating compelling, well written, sought after, and well structured content is very likely leading you down a very foolish path.

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    The problem with marketing agency is, they simply think it is two line of code to check freshness value (Like article date or adding dynamic content), but in reality to determine freshness value Google use many of signals.
    – Goyllo
    Dec 20, 2016 at 12:47
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    I have been busy this year and so I have not gone through too many patents and other writings. I am glad you provided the link. It should at least be a refresher if not more! You will find that it realtively easy to understand SEO when you dig through these documents. You are right about marketing folks. When you are a carpenter with a hammer, then everything is a board with a nail! SEO is technical for sure, however, it is also simple with a lot of moving parts. It is managing the moving parts that is tricky! Cheers!! Good catch!
    – closetnoc
    Dec 20, 2016 at 16:37
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    @Goyllo Great link to the patent shared! Has a wealth of info. Mar 21, 2017 at 0:40
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    @closetnoc Good summary with important points on content freshness. +1 for that. Mar 21, 2017 at 0:40
  • @closetnoc Just like longer server registration period gives a hint to google on the credibility of the site, is there any such rules regarding HTTPS certificates? Reason for this query is that many certificate issues today, including LetsEncrypt issue certificates for 3-month duration. Mar 24, 2017 at 5:04

I really doubt this is the case, you should try engaging the Googlebot by constantly adding relevant and consistent data. If what you say is true a simple code like this could boost SEO:

<?php echo rand();  ?>

Fresh content doesn't even always help SEO. For many (probably most) topics Google likes content that is tried and true. Content to which it knows users react favorably.

Some areas, like news, require fresh content. Google has the concept of query deserves freshness or QDF. If timely information is important to the visitors in your niche, then you should put the actual date and time for the article prominently on the page so that users can know whether it is fresh or not.

Putting a clock on the page is no way to fool Google into thinking you have timely, relevant news articles.

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