OK, let’s get this out of the way right up front: that’s either best headline I’ve ever written, or the worst. Because what I’m talking about has absolutely nothing to do with eHarmony, the local bar scene, or the person your mother is trying to set you up with.
It has everything to do with whether or not to publish dates with your blog / website content. CMI posted an article (on February 5, 2014 …) titled, Should You Date-Stamp Your Blog Content? Not surprisingly, there’s a disconnect between what the consumers of content want and what content marketing publishers think they want – and what best serves the publishers’ needs.
Not surprisingly, many content marketers think that not date-stamping their content is way to keep it fresh, making it more evergreen, according to the article. Readers on the other hand, prefer content that is date-stamped, since that gives them a better sense of its relevance.
There would seem to be limits to this. Searches for topics with an element of timeliness, whether about best SEO practices or the number independents in Congress, are certainly more useful to end users if they’re date-stamped. But finding the 24th President of the US (Grover Cleveland) or the best way to grow bonsai trees isn’t likely to change that quickly, if at all.
Still, there is a better way. Dating may “date” your content, but not dating it can make it less attractive to searchers. Instead, include both a published date and an “updated on” date, as suggested by Ian Lyons, who had been responsible for content at BeReady. Importantly, you may want to follow the BeReady team’s lead and implement the schema.org dating markup to ensure that the date info appears on search results pages. You may also want to build a notification system into your CMS or content creation process: at some predetermined point after publication, you revisit the post and update as appropriate.