We have a News portal site. After News post, we try to search at Google that is this index or not. But suddenly we have seen that some of the news post indexes with different time. Like News Top Stories showing one index time & Google SERPs showing another index time.

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It also doesn't match with Google Cached Time.

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And some of the News posts publish time from our News site time don't match with Google Index time.

At this time, I don't know why showing difference time for Google Indexing.

This is my suspicion to know about it in details. If any expert please tell me about this matter.

  • I'm going to take a guess that Google uses a different time offset than you are. For example, you may be in the east and its midnight there while in google's location is 9pm, so if you posted something at 8pm then it may read "1 hour ago" instead of "4 hours ago". Oct 29, 2017 at 5:51
  • Dear Mike, It also doesn't match with Google Cached history. Oct 29, 2017 at 6:06
  • 1
    Google has different systems that get notified about updates differently. Does this matter in any way? Oct 29, 2017 at 13:07
  • In this case, it looks like the inception date, the date and time Google fetched the page.
    – closetnoc
    Oct 30, 2017 at 1:35
  • I don't know about Google updates differently. Please can explain about it Stephen Ostermiller Oct 30, 2017 at 3:27

2 Answers 2


(DISCLAIMER: Answer based on observation, rather than hard fact...)

FWIW, I've noticed similar discrepancies with other reported "news" articles as well in the SERPs (you are not alone). The same URL is linked to in both the "Top stories" section and the regular search result, but there is a small discrepancy in the timing. If there is a difference, the "Top stories" section shows the lesser time. Sometimes this difference might only be 1 minute (if less than the hour).

This isn't actually too difficult to replicate. If you search for the title of a news story (without quotes in my example) and after a few searches you often find one that shows this discrepancy.

For example, if I currently search for UN commits to stop ocean plastic waste (no quotes), then the top result returns a BBC News article. The "Top stories" section reports "20 hours ago", yet the search result below (for the very same URL) shows "21 hours ago".

News articles showing difference in timing

I think @StephenOstermiller's comment is relevant:

Google has different systems that get notified about updates differently.

It may also just be down to how the different systems round the time for display. For example, take the news article above... examining the actual time in the article (data-seconds property of the HTML element) shows that the article was in fact updated 21.86 hours ago. From that, you could assume that the "Top stories" section always "rounds down" and the search results are "rounded the nearest whole number" (just an observation)?

UPDATE: In fact, performing the same search a few minutes later (in the next "hour") shows how the time is updated. Now the two bbc.co.uk URLs (previously showing "20" and "21 hours ago" respectively) both show the same "22 hours ago". And the ladbible.com URLs (2nd result) that previously showed the same "15 hours ago", now show two different times (1 hour difference): "16" and "17 hours ago" respectively. This would seem to be consistent with simply a difference in how the time is displayed (ie. rounded), as mentioned above. (?)

News articles showing difference in timing (some minutes later)


UPDATE: After reviewing the image of Google's search results (showing the 2hr discrepancy) and then the full URL that shows the cached time, are you sure that Google is not showing 2 separate pages of your site? One is the home page and the other an interior page?

If we are dealing with the exact same page, then is it not also possible that the article could have been updated after your initial post, perhaps either by the author or an individual who just simply left a comment? The additional comment, for example, does change the information on the page - and given that your page is being indexed and considered newsworthy, it's plausible that 2hrs ago represents the initial index time, and the "Top Stories" section represents the most recent update?

One thing I recommend doing is checking Google Analytics for your selected time zone to ensure that there is not a discrepancy with expectations are far as the time that Google uses as it relates to attaching a time to the indexation or document inception of your site.

First and foremost, be sure set-up your Google Analytics Account and choose the appropriate time zone. This can be changed if need be.

Upon syncing Analytics with Search Console,

  1. Apply for inclusion within the Google News Publisher Center.
  2. Verify ownership (if you have not already) with Search Console.
  3. Click Request Inclusion in Google News
  4. Enter your site's details (i.e. the News section URLs and labels, and click submit.
  5. Check back in 1-3 weeks to see if your request for inclusion has been accepted.
  • 1
    He does this explain the date time difference the OP is asking about?
    – closetnoc
    Oct 30, 2017 at 1:32
  • 1
    One is the home page and the other an interior page? ==> This issue can be but I am not sure about the issue. This news URL was same & without edit. Dec 3, 2017 at 10:15
  • Is it possible that the time difference could have anything to do with the syndication of the article across different news sources/publications?
    – Taylor
    Dec 4, 2017 at 23:21
  • Pretty sure this is about the same website, specifically as it's indexed with in Google. Dec 4, 2017 at 23:53

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