Over the course of the last several months many business owners have asked me why the date shows up for some of their website search results, but not others. Here is an example of what I am talking about:
The above screenshot was taken on December 20th, 2014 and the date under the search result states November 19th, 2010. The date under the search result is likely the date that Google first crawled the website or the date on that particular blog post, article or resource. From personal experience, I can state that the date for a WordPress published blog post or page can be a prior date than the current date.
If you write an article on December 20th, 2014 and you change the published date in WordPress to November 29th, 2014 the November date will show up in Google search. Most people would not be overly concerned with the date that shows up but it could definitely sway the click through rate for Google searchers. If you are looking for up to date information on a particular law or medical related question you are likely not going to click an article that has a published date of 2004. So, what can you do about this?
You can go into the “Pages” section of WordPress and change the date to a recent date but remember that it will have to be adjusted continuously. Here is the screenshot to show you how to do that:
Before making the decision to adjust the date I would strongly suggest determining if it matters to your client base. Check Google Webmaster Tools to see what the current CTR (Click Through Rate) is. Look at your Google Analytics to see if you have had a drop in homepage clicks over time. Has the date mattered as the website has aged?
Some Google searchers may feel a sense of trust and security in an older website. Part of the Google algorithm is age of a domain. For this reason, some website owners may want to leave the older date. Please understand that the date that is displayed does not affect the Google algorithm when it comes to the age of the website. Google is fully aware that website owners should not be able to change a date to 1999 just to get 15 years of age on a website; the engineers of the Google algorithm are much smarter than that. Google knows the date in which your website was registered and the date in which you started publishing content.