Should I remove them. I've got a blog with evergreen content.


Dates within the content are really not used. Exceptions in the past has been when a pages creation and modification dates cannot be determined through ordinary means. Google, for example, gets it's creation date from the date the page was discovered. If the page changes and the changes are not superficial, then Google will note that as a modification date.

From a user standpoint, it is best to have the date an article was written and another date for when the article was last updated. These are good things. I look for them especially for topics that are dated such as SEO. I cannot tell you how many SEO articles are out there that are just plain wrong because the world of search changes so rapidly. It helps the user to determine if the article still applies. Keep in mind that sometimes people want older articles. I know I do. It helps with research. As well, sometimes it is the earlier written articles that are the most accurate- especially for certain topics. Earlier articles often have better details. For example, in SEO, many article were written by "me too" bloggers that do not offer anything new while the older original articles tend to explain how search works in simpler terms that largely have not changed. The "me too" articles tend to be shallow and misleading without historical context. This is especially true for SEO.

The decision to have dates is purely up to you. If it is not too much of a pain, I would continue to use them to help your audience. You can also link to other newer article and vice versa.

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    Yeah i liked that point of two dates the date article was created and last updated. That's both helpful for users and search engine. But I've read that in Panda or penguin updates article with older content got ranked lower. Especially the evergreen blogs. – Abhishek Macwan Jun 12 '15 at 10:54
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    @Abhishek I am not sure who is saying that. It has been a long standing principle going back to when Google was a university research project, and even before that, that long standing content can have significant value. I suspect the confusion is where older pages do perform differently as do all pages with user search intent being a stronger factor. Pages that performed one way, may no longer because the intent is better understood. The converse is also true. People often confuse changes in performance with negativity instead of seeing the correction and increased accuracy. – closetnoc Jun 12 '15 at 15:12
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    I read it here. shoutmeloud.com/…. But even though I'll stick with keeping dates. Users are equally important with SEO. – Abhishek Macwan Jun 13 '15 at 7:05
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    @Abhishek If you look closely, these are rather old and shoutmeloud.com is parroting something someone else said. They say they use SEMRush, which I do like, but cannot at all accurately gauge anything but your keyword performance in the SERPs, however, they have a serious lag in how this is discovered. Google is the ONLY accurate barometer on search performance in Google. Remember that. Not site can gauge site performance external to the site itself. Again, I like SEMRush. Too many of the SEO sites do bad blackbox testing of Google often without knowing how the damned thing works at all. – closetnoc Jun 13 '15 at 14:26
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    @Abhishek Some CMS software run interference with the web server being able to serve a date. This is to be expected. However, it has been longstanding since the beginning of Google and well known that the creation date used by Google is the inception date (date the page is first discovered) and that Google will use the last modified date provided in the header. Before CMS, this was a reliable method, however, since then, and because spammers manipulated dates in a variety of ways, Google would simply look to see if there are enough semantic link changes to consider the content as being fresh. – closetnoc Jun 13 '15 at 14:32

Adding to what closetnoc already said, we can take 2 examples directly from Google: https://developers.google.com/structured-data/?rd=1

Look at the bottom. The structured data itemprop="datePublished" wraps the Last Updated Date, not the date of when it was first published (it's not even there).

Examples of when freshness matters and when not

If I search for [olympics], I probably want information about next summer’s upcoming Olympics, not the 1900 Summer Olympics (the only time my favorite sport, cricket, was played). Google Search uses a freshness algorithm, designed to give you the most up-to-date results, so even when I just type [olympics] without specifying 2012, I still find what I’m looking for.

There are plenty of cases where results that are a few years old might still be useful for you. [fast tomato sauce recipe] certainly saved me after a call from my wife reminded me I had volunteered to make dinner! On the other hand, when I search for the [49ers score], a result that is a week old might be too old.


In this blog post, you can see that instead the structured data wraps the original date, and last update is just written without special markup.

I won't go in depth there's people that can explain that to you better than me.

That said, I would not remove Blog Post Date. In case it's irrelevant for Google, maybe (probably) it could be for the user, and you should think about them.

Here's a similar topic on stackexchange How does Google recognize publish date of a post

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    You are absolutely right! Mark-up can be used as well as header dates from HTTP requests. Google is a bit wary of these sometimes since they can be gamed, but will use mark-up okay when the situation calls for it. It may be with so many CMS getting in the way of determining a pages true dates, mine being no exception, they will use alternate options. I have been exploring ways in which I can accurately reflect creation and modification dates in headers that can be trusted. This is rather trivial except my system did not keep track of this exactly. Ooppss! Still, I think I can crack this nut. – closetnoc Jun 11 '15 at 19:38

You should keep the dates in some way or another, even for "evergreen" content. I never figured out how (its not header, schema, nor meta), but certain SaaS are able to push a modified date to Google SERPS resulting in a way fresh date indicator. Maybe its RSS somehow, but I dont think...it must be similar structure to so many sites. Anyways, even if the content never changes, this SERP indicator hints to users that the content maintained recently.

At the least, even without date SERP widget, and not displaying a visual date to users, keeping the content groomed and fresh would most def trigger the same result. Care about your content like you would groom an orchard, prune out the dead stuff on those trees, see where the dead fruit is :)

From an opinionated angle, I prefer to always see dates on most content from which I learn anything. This is especially true in arenas where concepts, tools, recommendations, etc can become obsolete. Call it nerdy, but having the original post date + the modified on date tactfully put somewhere in the page is an asset not a downfall.

In the end, my answer is leave it in.

  • I have experimented with putting dates within the header prior to the content using code. What effect that will have on a search engine is not clear yet. I have to actually write the code for my system first to know. Since my pages are created partially in batch mode, I need to figure out what pages actually change even for the non-static part to effectively provide a date. When I do a request and look at the header, the creation and modify dates are the current date and time so I am sure placing new dates in the header will do something. How Google treats this, I will have to wait to see. – closetnoc Jun 11 '15 at 21:36

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