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The URL of my posts has the publication date and slugged title, but how can I best show google search users that an article has been updated since its original publication?

I was considering devoting a few characters of the meta description (e.g. "updated 2013-Aug-1), or doing so under the first h1 tag. I don't want to hurt the seo value of my site, but I also want to let users know that articles have been substantially updated since their publication.

Is there a better way to do this?

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In your XML sitemap you can set the lastmod value to be the date you updated it

<url>
  <loc>http://www.example.com/blog/article-is-updated</loc>
  <lastmod>2013-10-18</lastmod>
  <changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
  <priority>0.8</priority>

If your goal is to also notify users you can do what you suggested yourself and put the last updated date on the page. If you added/removed/or changed critical content you could do what news sites do and add a section at the top or bottom of the article with the update date and what changed.

Regardless of whether or not you do these things those updated pages will eventually be crawled again and the new content will be found. This is typically done at a preset schedule Google has and doing the above probably will not affect when those pages are crawled again.

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  • Thanks! And do you know if google displays the lastmod time from the sitemap in the search results? If I can tell users the content is updated from there, that would be ideal.
    – Scott
    Oct 18, 2013 at 21:25
  • Isn't that an automated thing in search engine? Or it is accessory to tell Google Manually?
    – user2434
    Oct 19, 2013 at 6:36
  • @Scott There's no way to know for sure if Google will show the last modified date in the search results. They seem to do it often but not always.
    – John Conde
    Oct 20, 2013 at 16:38

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