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Discussion forum dates are wrong in google results

4:06 pm on Apr 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have noticed most, if not all, forum websites are being displayed in the results with wrong last post dates. Google shows additional information under forum results including the number of posts, number of authors, and the last post date.

For the past few weeks, maybe longer, Google has been showing the date the thread was started, but still referring to it as the last post date.

This is not an issue for short threads, but on some sites where a thread can last months or years, it does make a big difference.

I have seen this for phpbb and vbulletin sites, and probably others.

I would have expected Google to detect this error and correct it by now, but it makes me wonder if they made changes to their date processing algorithm as part of preparing for Penguin.

I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed this and maybe knows if it is an issue with the forum software or with Google?
2:20 am on May 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Hee, hee. 8,000 guesses where I first noticed this phenomenon ;) And it's got to be more than a few weeks ago-- if only because most things I remember as "a couple of weeks back" turn out to have happened in 1994.

The worst part is that it breaks extra settings like "within the last month", because the thread as a whole may have started a year ago and that's what they go by.
2:54 am on May 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member

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I have a unique comment template attached to some of my posts (not a wordpress site) and Google keeps thinking they are forum posts. They've removed the forum tags and added them and removed them several times now. I made the mistake of writing an article with a 'showposts' url and that seemed to have been enough, combined with the template, to confuse Google.

Changing the template fixed this, there was no ranking benefit either way.