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Page Dates and Google SERP Dates

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Google made it their business to provide relevant, recent pages on the first page of search results. They will usually display the date a webpage was created or updated if they can figure the date out.

Bing and Blekko (the only other search engines we look at) do not display a date next to their results, which means people looking for the most relevant, and clearly marked recent information probably will not use either of them. In case you are wondering, we are ignoring the fact that Twitter is really where you will find the most recent information.

Let's take a closer look at what we've learned about Google's date discovery process and how you can use it to your advantage.

They use a combination of time stamps, URL structures, and content clues to determine the dates.

One of the clues we believe Google sees is the URL of your page. WordPress and Blogger will, by default, create a URL based on the date of your post. Actually our blog system on jWAG uses a similar structure. Since this Nugget is dated February 6, 2012 our URL will have /2012/02/06/ in it.

If you want to hide the true date of your blog post, there are settings within your blog software to hide those URL dates. Those settings are usually part of your SEO features.

Google also reads the actual time stamp of the .html file of you page when it was create. They have a fast way of asking your web server if the time stamp has been updated to determine if they need to reread your page. This might cause problems for you; even though you update your home page every day, sometimes those updates through a CMS do not change the original time stamp on your pages.

Since Google claims they can re-index the entire web every 3 days, they also save the date they first find your page. This would be the date of first index, not the true date your page went live. Your page might have been live for many months, or for 3 days.

Because the first two methods above can yield inaccurate results, it seems the most important time stamp comes from what you write on your page. You can include a date in the first line of your body copy, like a press release would, or you can include the date at the top of the page near the title. Google seems to display these dates more often in the SERP than the other dates it finds.

If you ever go back and edit one of these pages you should always leave the original date then add new comments next to a more recent date. Google seems to love these updates too.

So how can you use this Google time stamping to your advantage?

Simple... Put a blog on your website and update it often. Make sure you include the original date of the blog at the top of the page. Then each time you add a new blog entry you also need to update your home page. Include the blog date, title, and a link on your home page as a way to show Google you've made an update.

These simple dates will help rank your jewelry website above your competitors.
AT: 02/06/2012 05:38:04 PM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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