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My site is the number 1 result in a search for "board game conventions" (see screenshot below). The only thing that concerns me is that the date shows as 2017, even though I update this article multiple times a month as I receive new information.

It's obviously not hurting my ranking as I've been in this position for several years now. But I wonder if people might avoid this page, even though it's the #1 result, because they see that old date.

Should I be worried? Is there a way I can tell crawlers that my page is newer than that date?

enter image description here

2 Answers 2

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The date of the last modification is declared through both the OpenGraph and Schema.org protocols, as well as through the XML sitemap and is even mentioned in the content. I can suggest two other ways to declare it in a semantic way. It should be kept in mind that the decision remains with Google in this case.

I'll recommend you add it to the content in a slightly more semantic way using HTML. What I recommend is to add, for example, after the publish date something like this:

enter image description here

Each of the dates should then be marked up with the time HTML tag. It is also necessary to use the datetime attribute, which provides the date in a machine-readable format. Add the date in ISO 8601 format. For example:

<time datetime="2023-03-22">March 22, 2023</time>

Search engines can use this information to better understand the content of your site and improve the accuracy of search results.

The other option is by implementing an HTTP header for the blog articles. This is HTTP header is Last-Modified, which purpose is to indicate the last time that a particular resource (web page in this case) was modified. Search engines can also use the Last-Modified header to determine whether a page has been updated since it was last crawled. This can help search engines ensure that their index is up-to-date, and can improve the accuracy of search results. An example of such an implementation can be done via a WordPress plugin. One such plugin is: WP Last Modified Info

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  • Most of the answer is fine. You could improve it by adding examples of each method. However, Google definitely does not use the Last-Modified date. I set it to inform the browsers for caching control. Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 23:04
  • Maniac, I just realized I'm outputting a JSON LD block at the bottom of the page. Looking at the block it clearly has the datePublished as 2017, but the dateModified shows as March 2023. Is this perhaps one of those things in which Google just picks the one it likes the best? Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 14:12
  • Yes, that could be problematic. Also, your XML sitemap declares as last modification date March 26th. Consistency is needed otherwise it looks like manipulation and it is not clear which date will be used.
    – Maniac
    Commented Mar 28, 2023 at 14:45
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You can use a function to show last updated date instead of published date. Once the post will start showing last updated date, Google will automatically update the index. The function is:

$u_time          = get_the_time( 'U' );
$u_modified_time = get_the_modified_time( 'U' );
// Only display modified date if 24hrs have passed since the post was published.
if ( $u_modified_time >= $u_time + 86400 ) {
 
    $updated_date = get_the_modified_time( 'F jS, Y' );
    $updated_time = get_the_modified_time( 'h:i a' );
 
    $updated = '<p class="last-updated">';
 
    $updated .= sprintf(
    // Translators: Placeholders get replaced with the date and time when the post was modified.
        esc_html__( 'Last updated on %1$s at %2$s' ),
        $updated_date,
        $updated_time
    );
    $updated .= '</p>';
 
    echo wp_kses_post( $updated );
}

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