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Does the age of a blog post have any effect on its ranking in Google? Or does changing the date of a blog post affect SEO? In that case, do I have to write content consistently for my blog? Writing quality content can always be a challenging task, especially for those who are not full-fledged writers.
So, what happens to old blog posts written three years ago? Will they fade away from the search engine result page (SERP)? These are common questions in search engine optimization, and I will elaborate on them as much as possible in this article.
Many experts say that Google is always looking for fresh content to rank, while others believe that old content is advantageous in ranking. Therefore, it’s a matter of debate. But let me point out some crucial factors regarding this topic.
Why can dates be a crucial factor for ranking in Google?
In many cases, a blog post’s date or age is vital for Google ranking. It is because Google is a search engine, and its task is to provide its users with the latest, authentic, and relevant information.
Imagine if you were in a hurry for a university assignment and did a quick search on Google to collect information for reference. However, in the search results, all you get are 10-12-year-old websites full of garbage. What would you think about Google?
Users are the top priority of Google. Therefore, Google always tries to provide its users with the latest and most authentic information. And because of this reason, the age or date published of a blog post should be a crucial factor for ranking in Google.
It is known as the “freshness factor” or “content recency,” which indicates how recent or time-sensitive the content is. Therefore, keeping your blog post-up-to-date is vital and ensuring that the content is still relevant and informative.
Recommended Reading: How to Increase Rank in Google for Targeted Keywords (Complete Guide)
However, not all types of blog posts fall into this category. For example, when it comes to news, the latest information about an incident, latest product reviews, in this category, Google will try to find the newest blog post, as logically, old blog posts shouldn’t have the latest news & information.
For example, if you search in Google for “latest SEO software for 2021,”. You mentioned two keywords that indicate that you are asking for the newest information. One is self-defined “latest,” and the other is “2021” both suggest that you want information about SEO software from 2021, which must be the latest.
In this case, the 2019 blog post will only get a chance if it has a high rank in Google, while new blog posts might get a chance in ranking if it provides the latest information. In this example, you may see that the top 1 result offers the latest news for 2021. Though its original blog post date is March 18, 2019, they updated it a few weeks ago. In case, it is the latest and updated blog post.
It’s worth noting that Google algorithms and search engine algorithm updates play a crucial role in determining the ranking of a website. These updates are designed to improve the user experience and deliver the most relevant and valuable results.
As a result, businesses and digital marketers must stay informed about the latest updates and adjust their strategies accordingly. It includes conducting keyword research to identify the phrases and terms relevant to their industry and creating high-quality, optimized content for those keywords.
Additionally, it’s also essential to keep your content updated and relevant, as this can help improve your website’s ranking and visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).
By staying informed about the latest updates to Google algorithms and implementing effective digital marketing strategies, you can help improve your website’s SEO and drive more traffic to your site.
Google freshness update & QDF.
Though it is only an example, let’s dig further to learn how dates can affect Google’s ranking. Google released an update in November 2011 about its algorithm regarding how fresh, recent content can appear more in search results even if users do not mention it in keywords.
Google has released another algorithm information among the public, called “Query Deserves Freshness” QDF. Here we learn that Google wants fresh and recent content to show its users. However, we understand that recent content is vital, but how about old blog posts that are also relevant and informative? What would happen to those blog posts?
Nothing to worry about. Because Google is only looking for the latest information when the newest data is needed, when you search for “what is SEO and how it works,” this type of query is for the evergreen post, which does not affect my blog postage. Even a 3-4 years old blog post may appear in the top 1 if it has excellent informative content from a high authority site.
I want to disclose another piece of information about the blog postage here. Whenever you search in Google, you may see that Google shows the date in some posts while it does not show it on other results. It happens from the Google end. According to Google guidelines, it says Google only shows dates when it is relevant to users.
Especially when users are searching for the latest news and events, the question is, how does Google find post publish date? In this guideline, they said, Google uses several ways to detect a publishing date; the system doesn’t depend on a single factor but rather several because these factors can be prone to issues.
Recommended Reading: What is E-A-T in SEO and How Does it Work? (Beginner’s Guide)
Quick Note: Google is always looking for fresh & relevant content. They call it QDF (Query Deserves Freshness). In Google, more than 70,000 searches are made every second & nearly 6 billion every day. So to rank up in SERP, you should learn the importance of fresh content.
How Google detects a blog post’s publishing date?
Not only blog posts but also every other post; how Google detects publishing dates? The first method is the obvious one, the visible date on a blog post that the users can see. There are two types of visible dates. 1st one is the original publishing date, and 2nd one is the date of update.
For example, whenever a blog post publishes, it is the original date; you cannot change it. However, the webmaster can update that blog post whenever he likes & that is the date of the update. According to Google guidelines, the date format should be clearly labeled and visible to users.
There is little problem concerning this issue, especially for those using WordPress for their blog or website. You may already notice that your WordPress does not usually show any date of update. It only shows the original publication date, which could be a problem.
There are some manual solutions out there you could use. However, I suggest not wasting your time on those; instead, use the WordPress plugin to solve it instantly. It could be a handy tool for a newbie who does not have any idea about HTML or CSS.
Resource box: Use “WP Last Modified Info” (free) to show the updated date in your blog post.
Google uses another method, which is “Structured Data.” Google generally uses it when you use a creative work schema in your article or blog post. Then there is XML Sitemap; if you have no idea about sitemap, read it here. But remember this, your XML sitemap should show the publication date and the date of update.
Manually doing all of these could be a challenging task for a newbie or even for an expert who does not have previous knowledge of HTML coding. Besides, a simple mistake in coding could lead your page to crash. So why take the hassle? Instead, I suggest using schema markup to implement structured data within a moment.
Recommended Reading: Take Advantage of 4 WordPress Schema Markups to Boost Your Site SEO
When should you update a blog post?
Well, this is subjective when you should update your blog post. In my opinion, honesty is the best policy. Refrain from tricking Google and updating your blog post date for simple or no changes. Google will find your little trick, and you may be ranked down instead of up.
What should you do? Then do it and wait for a significant change in your blog post.
Should you remove dates altogether?
This type of idea not only came across your mind alone. Is it the right thing to do? You may remove the date and make it look like an evergreen post. However, the user may not take it seriously, but what about Google?
We are not sure about that. What will Google think of it? It could be beneficial, as some experts believe. However, some say it could jeopardize your ranking. It is a matter of debate. You should read this article to learn further about it.
But, if you have a blog & and you can write content regularly, stay active. Instead, schedule your task and update old blog posts one by one with as much data as possible to make them new again.
Like I said before, honesty is the best policy, no matter what type of tricks you do; indeed, Google will find it as it did back in the Panda & Penguin update. So remember that.
At the end of this guide, do not try to trick anybody, not Google or users. If you want to update your blog post for the sake of your user & it will be beneficial for them, then do it.
Some essential factors you should remember:
- In general, fresh, updated content always answers the recent question of the search query.
- Even a low-authority website can outrank the high authority if it can present updated content
- though it doesn’t apply to evergreen content.
- Showing your blog post update date is a vital component.
- It’s better to keep updating the old blog post with recent information.
I have done my research, and it doesn’t matter what you do; Google will reward you with precisely what you deserve. They are becoming more intelligent day by day. No defeating them at all.
And in other cases, remember that your old content may get an advantage in ranking factors over your new one. As Google cares for age, the longer you stay around, the more trustworthy you will get to Google. Indeed, Google usually does not trust the new domain.
Anyway, these all are theory and individual findings; none of these are proven at all. Better if you test it out by yourself.