Is It Dishonest To Remove The Publish Date From Blog Posts?

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I would lean toward saying that it’s not dishonest to remove dates from blog posts. The same for not including dates from the beginning when you first publish a post. I think about how Wikipedia is often structured. There is a lot of great information. It’s cited. But I don’t usually find myself looking at the citations for dates. And the nice thing about Wikipedia is that it’s kind of a living entity. If information changes, someone can edit and it can be approved and confirmed.

Let’s look at a few of the questions or points of discussion when it comes to including dates or not including dates on blog posts.

Was it for SEO purposes?

It must have started sometime between 2012 and 2015. Somewhere in there. I first remember getting the question about dates on posts around that time. And as I looked around I started seeing more blogs not including dates. I poked around a little bit and there were some smart SEO articles discussing the point.

I believe that some were testing the theory that Google preferred new content. So removing dates or updating posts and changing the date seemed to lead to better rankings in some cases.

And it does fit with Google’s intended purpose, which is to provide the best answers to searchers’ questions. In many instances, searchers want the latest information. If there is a question where time is important, searchers look at the date on a Google search and may consider it before clicking.

For example, if I search for Who is the punter for the Green Bay Packers?, I will likely want the most up-to-date information.

If, however, I search for something like What is the proper way to punt a football?, I may not focus as much on the publish date.

So from an SEO perspective, I always appreciate doing something as long as it’s better for the searcher.

And that’s where I think some of the blog post dating can get you in trouble. Since Google has been around there have been ways to figure out how to get better rankings. And every time it hasn’t aligned with what’s best for searchers Google has eventually resolved the issue. And if you were doing something without the best interest of the searcher in mind you were often affected. And often greatly.

Updating Content

A blog inherently is a log. That’s where the name comes from: Web Log. It’s like a journal where you write information and date it. However, blogs have evolved. Many often serve as online encyclopedias just like Wikipedia. More like knowledge centers or resource centers than true logs.

So I think you can treat a blog as something that can have dated content and that may also have undated content or content that you update. My biggest point to get across, though, would be to consider the reader. Not so much Google or anything like that.

Don’t try to trick the reader either. If you remove a date, but know that a date could be valuable to know, you’re eventually going to see some pushback. You don’t want someone to see your content without a date and click through only to realize after a little reading that the information was from several years ago.

So consider the reader and the content. If it makes sense to have a date, have one. If you think a date isn’t important, leave it off. And if you update content, it should be fine to change the date.

Final Thought

The easiest thing might be to leave dates on your blog posts. Then to have a separate section on the site for more timeless content where a date doesn’t make sense. But really I think it makes sense for a lot of content to have dates. Even if it feels like the information will never go out of relevance, most does eventually. So a date is important for the reader.

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