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Page Dates - Created or Last Modified?

     
4:13 pm on Oct 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I saw this article about Google date bylines penalty.

[seroundtable.com ]

I get really annoyed as well about articles without dates but it has made me wondered about my own information pieces.

What do people do about dates and information pages about a widget that gets updated a number of times every year?

I have information pages on a site that are many years old that list either the created date or if they have been changed the modified date. It displays the "Last Updated" date (and the date is marked as such). These pages are also listed in my site index with the latest update date. These pages get updated at least a couple times a year. Some times the update is a spelling fix, adding/updating information, or a complete rewrite. The date is listed at the bottom of the page, where the hit count for the page is along with a link to a printer view of the page.

So far Google doesn't seem to have a problem with this, should I be worried. These pages always contain the most updated information I have on the topic.

I have another site that lists both the Published date and the last modified date. The problem is in the search results if the date is shown it is the Publish date and a page that is listed as 3 years old in the search results doesn't look attractive as a newer page (even though it is kept updated with the latest info). What are peoples thoughts on removing the Publish date and just keeping the last modified date?
6:33 pm on Oct 15, 2017 (gmt 0)

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If you legitimately update and refresh a page then there is no reason to worry.

Johnny Mu is trying to scare some smart webmasters that have been exploiting a long time loophole. This loophole lets you manipulate Google into giving your content a ranking boost for fresh content even though the content hasn't been updated for years not that I would know anything about exploiting weaknesses in Google's algorithm or being creative enough to stay two steps ahead of Google.
4:55 am on Oct 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Here's an excellent thread on this topic from two years ago, definitely worth reading....

Removing date from articles - Ranking impact?
Nov 2015
https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4779415.htm [webmasterworld.com]

I'd say "Last Updated" is good practice. Whether you also keep the original publication date could depend on the topic. On some pages, it makes sense to keep both.

Omitting dates can be extremely annoying.

10:59 am on Oct 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@goodroi Most of my updates are (say around 75%). Some that are spelling fixes or html changes I wouldn't consider a real up but then I can't control the modified date in the CMS to roll it back.

@Robert thanks for the link. I think I may switch the other site to just showing the last updated date since the pages since the information is kept current which isn't represented by the published date.

This would be for information pages only. The blog articles which are posted we always keep at the published date even when we may include an update at the bottom of the article.
5:17 pm on Oct 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I greatly urge against using last updated alone as your copyright date. Yes, it may be Google ranking beneficial but... it may loose a DCMA or copyright infringement case as it removes claim to prior date existence.

The proper usage is to note the initial publication date, i.e.
 
Copyright 2006

and then any subsequent dates of revision, i.e.

Copyright 2006, 2010-2013, 2015, 2017

in that it preserves, publicly, the rights chain.

Of course, the very best method is registering copyright with appropriate regulatory bodies AND following the above. I send zillions of DCMAs a week and take infringers to small claims court regularly. Dotting the i's and crossing the t's makes a great difference when going in front of third parties.

Think of the handicap if you wrote a great article in 2010 but revised it last year and simply altered the copyright to a singualr 2016 and then filed a DCMA against an infringer whose date claims 2015...
8:18 pm on Oct 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I greatly urge against using last updated alone as your copyright date. Yes, it may be Google ranking beneficial but... it may loose a DCMA or copyright infringement case as it removes claim to prior date existence.


What about using archive.org to prove the age of an article? All my older ones were dated June 2009 which is when the site was migrated to Joomla. However, some of the articles actually date back to when the site was created which was 2002.
9:59 pm on Oct 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Every little bit can help, but not following normal behaviour such as I outlined may make problems that much harder and take that much longer than would otherwise be necessary.

Given the scraping that is prevalent these days making a prima fascia case for some scraper filing a DMCA against your own content seems foolish to say the least.
7:23 pm on Oct 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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You have the creation date (when first copyrighted, registration is not generally required but is necessary if one seeks monetary damages against infringers, but from a user point of view a secondary "last updated" is useful for topics that have a churn of new data on a regular basis.

iamlost's recommendation works, the following also works:

Copyright © YYYY
Last update: YYYY-MM-DD

I keep both in close proximity (ie, the top of the article) but having the last update at the bottom of the article also works and is generally how MSM sites and Entertainment do it.

Including the copyright sigh © reinforces the intent to copyright, but is not, in an of itself, a requirement.

As far search engines are concerned they will find the "last modified date" by noting the page has changed in some fashion.
7:57 pm on Oct 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@iamlost

I send zillions of DCMAs a week and take infringers to small claims court regularly.


I use to send out a couple of DCMAs a month but found the process usually extremely slow (trying to find someone to email who owns the site, dealing with hosts) and dealing with Google to remove the pages from the search results is painful as usually they had copied many articles and Google requires you to enter 1 URL at a time along with the rest of the information. In the end I found that most copied material disappears on its own as the infringer moves onto other things. For sites I see sporting my content and ranking well I would still go after. I found I have to pick the best use of my time and going after scrapers usually is not it (I am a one man show). Your business sounds a lot bigger than mine if you can afford to go after infringers in the courts.

I have a copyright at the bottom of all pages listing the year the site launched to the current year.

I am thinking about adding back in the initial Published date under the content title and after the Updated date. Maybe Google will pick the Updated date up first and display that in the SERPS instead of the Published date.
10:05 pm on Oct 17, 2017 (gmt 0)

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When I was using Joomla and edited an article, after the content I would type in the date I had edited the page on and am almost certain Google included that in their results.
10:10 am on Oct 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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At least I haven't noticed sites showing today's date as if it was the creation date for a long time although I am sure that some still do it.

As a partial diversion I once made a point of posting that prices had been held since 20xx. The result was to get queries asking for the up to date prices.