When we create a blog whether we are familiar with all the terms or a newbie we forget few basic techniques and configurations. Timestamp is one of them. There is a big debate among SEO’s for timestamp whether they are of something good or not? Whether we should show date time of a post or not? Well, I am going to discuss this topic with some real depth and after that it’s upto you what you choose.
I’ll give my advice in final words section but first we should drill down the concept.
What is Time Stamp for a Blog Post
When you publish a post then wordpress saves published date and time. You have all the authority to change it even after you publish the post.
As you can see in the image to the right that there is an edit link near to published date and time (highlighted in red background color). When you click this “edit” link you can change the date or time and post will make its place into the list (post sorting is done via date-time) for the date you select.
Who Uses Time Stamp and For What?
WordPress: WordPress uses this time stamp for various purposes and one of the main purpose is to sort posts to show them on a page (whether it’s homepage, category page, tags page or any other page where listing is required).
Search Engines (Specially Google): Search Engines too uses this time stamp for their indexes but they are not meant for sorting purposes. They are meant to show a date to the user on which this post was published.
Why Google Shows Date and what’s the Effect
Google is doing lot of changes into their search algorithm as well as into design. Time stamp is meant for design only. It’s is meant to give some extra information to the user to decide whether it’s good to open the link or leave.
Let me take an example: If you have made a search for “latest samsung mobiles” and you see a post in the search result which was written in 2011 then you probably leave that to open. Now you might ask why google is showing such an old result then.
#Remember: For search engines timestamps is not a ranking criteria and you might see old results for a search like latest mobiles, latest music videos etc. Timestamps are a part of giving extra information to the user so that they can take some decision and complete their search quickly. That way search engine are helping their users and not to webmasters.
Have a look at the above image which is self explanatory. How can someone write about “latest mobile phones 2013” on Nov 2012. This is where google is helping users to choose. Page is ranking because it’s well optimized to be ranked high (that’s a different issue).
What to Learn From These Results
No matter how well your post is ranking but if it’s revealing something bad then user will ignore your ranking and you will loose visitors. I am not talking about 1 or 2 visitors, if you have hundreds or thousands of pages and each is loosing 1 user daily because of timestamp issue then it turns out to be a big number.
Timestamps are not useless but they are not meant to show on search engines. Search Engines are showing them because they are helping their users.
If you have a website or wordpress or bloggers blog then its better you remove these timestamps from your post page. Google is showing timestamps because you are letting them to show.