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Date included in our page description

     
2:10 pm on Apr 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hello everyone -
I spotted on one of the websites we are optimizing that a date is included in the description of the page displayed in Google search results.
The result is coming something like that:
<--Title of page-->
Date...Description of page

Anyone else experienced something similar? As I can see only our results have that date included.
Any advices are welcome.
Thanks in advance
6:53 pm on Apr 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've been seeing Google pay more attention to the freshness of web pages for a while. If you see Google adding the date of your page to the serps it is probably time to think about how you can profit from it.
7:15 pm on Apr 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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We had the following link in our sitewide footer:
privacy policy (update Jan 1, 2009)

Google decided that this date was the freshness date of every page on the site and started showing it in the SERPs next to each and every result. It hurt the click through rate because it didn't look so fresh. We removed the privacy policy update date from the sitewide footer and the date went away from the SERPs.
7:18 pm on Apr 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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privacy policy (update Jan 1, 2009)


Google does detect dates when written out in full form like that. I had the same problem on a site that I manage.

Re: freshness date, it seems that Google could detect the last modified date from the server. Not all pages display a date. One of my sites has a javascript date stamp on it, but Google ignores that.
7:29 pm on Apr 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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since google includes that in the description, don't you guys think that the date weakens the main terms for which I am trying to rank the page?
Thanks for the comments and your opinions, I highly appreciate them.
7:39 pm on Apr 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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since google includes that in the description, don't you guys think that the date weakens the main terms for which I am trying to rank the page?
Thanks for the comments and your opinions, I highly appreciate them.


If you're asking about rankings, I don't think it will affect the keyword density or dilute your rankings if Google picks up on a date. For my pages that display a date, I have never seen a negative impact in terms of ranking. That sounds like what you're asking, but maybe you're asking about performance/CTR.

With respect to click-through-rate, my gut feeling is that people like to see the most recent information on a topic (unless they are deliberately looking for an older piece). I know that when I am researching online, I tend to click on descriptions that have a recent date, or hit the back button if I land on a page that has a very old publish date (if I know there has been more recent information released -- certainly not always the case). In that case, I think you're better off by not even putting a date on the page. Just my gut feeling, but I don't have any CTR data to really compare it to. Maybe others do. I've just never seen any problem with actual rankings when a date is displayed in my description.

[edited by: crobb305 at 7:46 pm (utc) on Apr 28, 2011]

7:40 pm on Apr 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It depends what your vertical is. If you are in a vertical where people are looking for news, and your dates are recent, then you will probably benefit.

In our case, we have evergreen content and the date was old. It certainly didn't help.
2:19 am on Apr 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

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my research has shown that time sensitive content and evergreen benefit from manipulating the date on the page to be more fresh. when users see a recent date in the serp the ctr goes up, at least that is what i have found.
3:04 pm on Apr 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

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is there a simple way how to remove the date from SERPS? Since I have some blog posts on the website which have the date on them, and I don't want to remove the date.
But according to Matt Cutts video on youtube there is no way how to ignore the dates on the page [bit.ly...]
3:37 pm on Apr 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm sure its possible to write the dates into the page using javascript in such a way that Google can't parse them out of the page source.
 

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