Why Blog Posts Should Have Dates
This post was updated by Sam Von Tobel on 2/3/2020.
While researching next year’s food trends for one of our clients, I looked for articles and blogs ranging from which ingredients will be popular next year, what the next ‘kale’ will be and what foods are expected to decline in popularity. Since I was collecting information on trends I wanted to be sure the reference articles and blogs are relevant. Sure, I am attracted by the title and image, but the next crucial piece of information is the date the blog was published.
There is nothing more frustrating than finding a great, interesting, organized blog post that doesn’t have a ‘date published’ or a ‘date-posted’. Without a date, I second-guess the content. And will often return to the Internet to sift through more information to either confirm what I read or simply to find a more reliable source.
Date Stamp Blog Post- Yes or No?
I have read a number of articles and discussions in which bloggers argue that removing the date on a blog post will extend the shelf-life of the content. Here at Roundpeg, we date-stamp our blog posts, meaning we display the date posted. We believe that transparency builds credibility with site visitors. Here’s why:
Digital marketing techniques and tools are constantly being updated. It’s just part of our industry. While the change makes things interesting it also means our blogs posts are rarely evergreen. We constantly publish blogs about updates to social media platforms, current web design trends and the best food sharing websites. Because our industry is updating and changing, we date-stamp our blogs so our new content will not be confused with previous posts. It’s a way to organize and archive information while also giving readers context to the time they were written.
Not all readers will come to your website the same way. If you have been blogging for awhile, some will discover your site through an old blog post. We see search engines directing people to blog posts which are several years old because the content scores well on relevant keywords. Without the date, the reader might assume that is the newest information. With the date posted they are more likely to take a moment and search to see if there is more information on the topic.
If we have a particularly popular post we may link to an updated version, but with 4,000+ blog posts, we don’t have time to cross-link every post so the post dates help. Now some industries do not change as fast as the digital marketing industry, but most do change over time. Even in slow moving industries, there may be new technologies, trends or regulations so content which is relevant now might not be so a year from now. The “date-published” information is important to your readers.
Outdated v. Relevant
Argument – Removing the date-stamp from blogs helps relevant content from being considered outdated.
Think of a date-stamp on a blog like a time-stamp on food – they give your reader the information to decide if they want to consume your content or not. For example, web design trends change more frequently than mission statement guidelines. Personally, I don’t mind reading blogs about mission statements from three years ago, but I want to know whether I am reading today’s trends on web design. So the content in relation to the date the blog was published matters.
Now, an older blog post can still have relevant content. Instead of removing the date-stamp, there are more sustainable ways to repurpose old blog content. Read my last post about better ways to Get More Mileage from Old Blog Posts.
Argument – Removing the date-stamp from blogs will increase web traffic.
Removing the date-stamp on a blog will temporarily increase web traffic to all your blog posts. No longer will visitors pass your blog post just because it was posted on May 4, 2008. Without a reference to the date the blog was published, people will assume that your content is current. However, this is just a short-term solution. If people are directed to out of date information, with or without a date stamp, they will stop trusting links to your site and select one of your competitors instead.
Also, you aren’t fooling Google. While the blog post’s date-published might not be visible to the public, search engines can tell whether your content is recent by indexing the page. Constantly updating your post, or posting new content is the only way to help SEO on old posts. One great technique to use instead of showing the ‘published date’ would be to show the ‘last updated date’. This will not only help you keep track of your updated content, but also tell your visitors there is new information on the page.
Not only is it important to maintain those post dates, we are now seeing trends indicate that including dates can be a major factor in increasing the SEO value of blog posts! Including the year in the page title and meta description, even if it isn’t included in the title of your blog, helps further indicate to search engines that the content is timely and relevant. For example, a blog post called “How to Increase Sales” can be labeled as “How to Increase Sales in 2020” in the page title.
To stay up to date on the latest best SEO practices and resources on web metrics, be sure to join Roundpeg’s Digital Toolbox. You can sign up to be a free member here!
Keep the date published on each blog post. In the long-run, date-stamping increases the validity and value of your content.
- Blog Workbook
- Sample content calendar
- Blank content calendar
- Webinar recording: Blogging Basics.
Roundpeg is an Indianapolis content marketing firm.[/su_column] [/su_row]
Roundpeg is an Indianapolis content marketing firm.