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I have been writing a sort of diary for quite some time (5 years) that I store locally on my computer. Now I have decided to make some if this content publicly available in the shape of a WordPress blog since I believe it can be useful for a particular niche.

My dilemma is the following; should I publish this content with the date it was created (let’s say 2012) or with the date it’s going to be published (let’s say today)?

My main concern is how this decision might affect the SEO of my new site. I wonder how Google with interpret a post dated in 2012 sitting on a site which was just launched in 2015. On the other hand it makes sense to use the creation date since some of this content might be slightly outdated and it can be useful for the reader to have that date for context.

Any solid arguments for or against using old creation dates on a newly launched site?

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    I say do what you feel is right. You are building a site for humans and not machines- right?? – closetnoc Oct 10 '15 at 2:56
  • That's true, however for better or worse it’s largely up to a couple of machines from Google to decide whether my content is worth it for humans or not… I mean there are ways around this, like let’s say publish the content with today’s date and make a note it was written in 2012 at the beginning of the content. If I knew posting with old dates would hurt my ranking I would do that… But right now, unless somebody comes with some solid data to convince me otherwise I think I will post that content with its creation date as it will be nice to see it in a timeline perspective. Thanks @closetnoc ! – Guillermo Carone Oct 10 '15 at 9:38
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You could provide both dates.

To make the difference machine-readable, you could use these Schema.org properties (e.g., for a BlogPosting):

And, if you prefer, also:

  • dateModified

    The date on which the CreativeWork was most recently modified.

  • This is a great idea, just be transparent about it and show they two (or even the three) relevant dates. Thanks! :) – Guillermo Carone Oct 11 '15 at 11:55
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There is some chatter that Google picks up some post dates and may display that. I to do not know this for a fact. From what I know about Google, it does not fit the schema and methodology which does not mean it does not happen. Unless someone can show me a good case that cements the notion in my mind, I am not buying it- at least for now. So far, it has been totally anecdotal or a claim from an SEO and we know these guy are never wrong... (sarcasm).

This is what I do know.

When Google finds a page that date/time is the inception (in lieu of a creation date) date. Google stores the source code along with the last access date, a period of time when the page should be submitted to the fetch queue, and a checksum number which is an algorithm that represents the source code with a unique number. When the page is fetched again, a new checksum is generated against the content. If the checksum changes, the source code is saved, the last access date is updated, and the last modified date is saved. These are the dates that Google uses in the SERPs. The reason for the inception date and modification dates is because the response header only returns a modified date that can be taken from a file modification date or machine generated from an application. Since the modifications date cannot always be trusted, this date is not relied upon.

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Dates are important for Publishers( News and Media). For general blog , it is good to follow the correct date time if your content follow a timeline or time based events.

Optimize your content for users, search engine definitely include it in their index.

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