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Date in Google search results
What does it mean?
webgator




msg:52023
 6:13 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

In the Google search results, some of the results show a date next to them and some do not. What does that date mean and is it to your benefit to have one. I know this has probably been asked already a bunch of times...but I client keeps nagging me about this question and I wanted to know if there is an official answer to this question. I couldn't find anything about it in the Google guidelines.

Thanks,

 

your_store




msg:52024
 10:20 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

It is the date the page was refreshed in the index. You used to get a nice boost for being freshed, but I don't think it is as extreme now as in the past. The main benifit of course is having you content refreshed.

Search the forums for Freshbot.

ThomasB




msg:52025
 10:49 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

It shows the date when GB last visited that page or to be excat when GB spidered the site that is currently being displayed as result.

GoogleGuy




msg:52026
 11:04 pm on Apr 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yup, that's the date that we crawled that page.

RoySpencer




msg:52027
 1:56 am on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I though webgator's question had more to do with, "why do some search results have dates and some don't?"..which I have also been curious about, too.

Stefan




msg:52028
 2:01 am on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sorry to correct you GG, but often pages are crawled and show no corresponding fresh-tag afterwards, (disclosure etc, etc: not a problem for our site... we get many pages tagged regularly).

I have no real idea why G awards fresh-tags for certain pages, but it might be dependent on PR, or how often the page is updated, or how shiny your shoes are... it's not a given after a bot drops by, though.

RoySpencer




msg:52029
 2:11 am on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

well, to be fair to GG, he DID answer the direct question ("what does the date mean?")..but there was also the implied question of why some results have a date and others do not.

Stefan




msg:52030
 2:29 am on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

well, to be fair to GG, he DID answer the direct question

Yes.

GoogleGuy




msg:52031
 4:08 am on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

We have a minty-fresh crawl that picks up several million pages pretty much every day. I believe that the date is displayed if a) the page was seen in the minty fresh crawl, and b) the current date is within N days of the crawl date, where N is a small integer such as 2 or 3. :) So if we crawled your page on April 20th in the fresh crawl, then on April 20th, 21st, and maybe April 22nd you'd see the date alongside your search result snippet.

The difference between the "deep crawl" and the "fresh crawl" was much more apparent this time last year when we were only pushing a new deep index about once a month. As Google improved our infrastructure, the deep crawl became much fresher, and the fresh crawl could sometimes go pretty deep. So these days, there's not as much visible difference, but I think currently we only show dates if you were in the fresh crawl and within that window of recency.

There ya go, the mystery of the fresh dates laid bare. Probably no one except for SEOs have ever wondered about the criteria, so it's good that we have this informal way of communicating. :)

webgator




msg:52032
 1:29 pm on Apr 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ok.. so I will ask the implied question directly

Wy do some results have a date and others do not?

steveb




msg:52033
 12:31 am on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some pages are fresh crawled and some aren't.

GeorgeGG




msg:52034
 2:17 am on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

GG said
Yup, that's the date that we crawled that page.
I agree, I have the date/time in some of my Titles and the date
matchs the date in the search results for 'that' page.

If it is 'not' a date in the results, Google arrived at 'that' page by way of a
link on another site.

GGG

Stefan




msg:52035
 3:19 am on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some pages are fresh crawled and some aren't.

True. Why this is so remains somewhat of a mystery. I'm leaning towards personal grooming of the particular webmaster.

balam




msg:52036
 4:44 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sorry for the late post...

Presented as fact, after personally testing (independant confirmation appreciated):

No matter how often Gbot may visit, G will not "award" a page with a freshdate unless you allow G to cache the page. noarchive = nofreshdate

4crests




msg:52037
 5:13 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Balam, that's not always true. I can sticky you with a prime example of a site that is ranked #1 for a common term. The site has no cache in the Google serps. However, it does have a fresh date in the serps.

I have looked at this site for a long time trying to figure out why it gets the fresh date, and also trying to figure out how they are #1 with no Cache, and only a few incoming links. The fact is, there are still a lot of mysteries out there when it comes to Google.

GoogleGuy




msg:52038
 5:14 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Not sure about that balam, but I do know that the noarchive tag doesn't keep a site from being fresh-crawled.

mars9820




msg:52039
 8:08 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

OK. It is pretty clear what the date indicates by now and as well googleguy explained when it is being displayed however I find is there as well some random factor or something?

Fact is that I use a couple searhterms:

1. company name : show up the index page with freshdate.

2. product name : show up the index page (same page since I have this product outlined there as HOT)....however now there is no freshdate.

In both cases the URL in the SERP is something like www.domain.com/index.htm

If I go back and forth between these searches it is consistent with showing the freshdate for the first and not for the second (in case people think about different datacenter).

balam




msg:52040
 2:16 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Presented as fact, then shot down... I'm cool with that. :)

4crests

> Balam, that's not always true. I can sticky you with a prime example[...]

Plain curiousity asks that you sticky me, please. Does sound like a rather unusual situation...

GoogleGuy

> Not sure about that balam, but I do know that the noarchive tag doesn't keep a site from being fresh-crawled.

And I've got the logfiles to prove that. Thanks! :)

-----

Just some FYI for anyone who cares to read it, regarding how I came to my conclusion...

My main site, roughly 300 pages & fully indexed by Google, used to be fully cached by Google. At any given time, roughly 10-15% of my pages also had freshdates. I threw a "googlefit" one day and added the "noarchive" attribute to my site. Lost all signs of freshdates, but it had zero impact on Google's crawling patterns, my SERPs (beyond losing freshdates), number of pages indexed, or the indexing of new pages.

Cool - that's how it should be; but I miss the freshdates.

So, outta curiousity, I let Google cache the homepage again. Two days later, a freshdate. Let a little time go by (a week?), added noarchive, and a day later no cache, no freshdate.

Good experiments have reproducable results - so, rinse & repeat. With a half dozen sites. Same results...

But then again... YMMV

4crests




msg:52041
 2:41 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Balam, the site i'm talking about doesn't show a cache. I have no idea if it has the NOARCHIVE tag. Maybe we are talking about two different things.

When I click on the CACHE button under the site, nothing shows up.

I did sticky the site to you. Hope it helps.

balam




msg:52042
 8:34 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

Took a look at the site in question, and it's indeed a little unusual. But, at the same time, it doesn't really fit with what I've brought up.

It does have a freshdate and there is a "Cached" version link. I looked at the source, and there's no noarchive attribute. This page does fit my theory that only cached pages get freshdates.

So, what's unusual?

If you click on the "Cached" link, as 4crests noted, you get a blank page except for Google's standard cached page header.

All the page's HTML is still there, it just doesn't display. (Well, the <TITLE> does, but that's it.) I think it might have something to do with the fact that he built his site using frames; it's either too early or too late in the day - I'm not sure which - for me to figure out right now. :)

annej




msg:52043
 6:30 am on May 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

What I've noticed is that where it used to take just a day or two for Google to find new pages now they seem to be ignored unless the are linked from a PR6 page or higher.

Now maybe they would still make it into the results eventually but I like my new stuff to get out there fast.

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