Easy SEO Tip – Remove Dates From Posts And Comments

I recently learned of a great SEO tip from Mike Piper, who is a bit of an SEO guru.

The tip is:

Remove all dates from your posts and comments.

Why does this help?

The problem with dates on posts is that if a search engine visitor sees an old date associated with an information post, they might leave thinking the post is out of date.  This can be a problem, especially if the information is timeless or if you keep the post up-to-date.

Most blog posts show the date at the top of the post under the title as well as in the comments.

The other place that a search engine visitor will see the date is in the SERP (search engine results page).  I’ve included an example just below.

Search engine page with dates (Oct 26 - 2007)

You can’t tell Google to ignore dates on your post, but you can remove the dates from your post and comments.  Once the post gets re-indexed, the search engine results page will not show the dates anymore.

Search engine results with no dates. This post was created in 2007.

Remember that search engine visitors provide the majority of your income.

How to remove dates if you are using the Thesis theme

In Thesis there are two or three steps necessary to remove dates from your posts and comments.

1)  Upgrade to the latest version of Thesis.

I was using 1.6 when I tried this, and none of the easy date removal options were available.  You can use css, but it’s better to have the most recent version of Thesis which is 1.8 at the time of writing.

2) Remove dates from posts

  1. Go to your WordPress admin panel.
  2. Thesis
  3. Design Options
  4. Display Options
  5. Bylines
  6. Unselect “Show published-on date in post byline”

3) Remove dates from comments

  1. Go to your WordPress admin panel.
  2. Thesis
  3. Design Options
  4. Comment Options
  6. Comment Meta
  7. Unselect “comment date”

20 Responses to “Easy SEO Tip – Remove Dates From Posts And Comments”

  1. Mike Piper says:

    Woohoo! I’m an SEO guru. Movin’ up in the world. 🙂

  2. Dang – I set up our (new) blog to show the date stamp in the URL and have used a number of our links in posts. Looks like I have some work to remedy our date display.
    Thanks for the heads up.

  3. Mike Holman says:

    @Mike – Actually I thought “SEO guru” was a downgrade. 🙂

    @Sustainable PF – Yes, a lot of bloggers regret putting the dates into their urls. Change it now while you are still young! 🙂

  4. Evan says:

    I don’t have dates in my permalink but never thought about taking it out of the comments and post information! I’ll have to see if I can do it on headway

  5. Mike Holman says:

    @Evan – I’m sure you can remove them. If it’s not an option, then some sort of css should do the trick. I think Headway has support forums similar to Thesis – the answer should be in there.

  6. Sorry, but I would recommend against this. If the information is totally evergreen and you want it to remain “timeless”, create a stand-alone page for it. If it is a blog post (“web log” post), it should have a date. Visitors have the right to see how old the post is and judge for themselves if it is current enough for their deeds. If you have updates, usually those are best posted as a new log. That’s the whole idea of blogging, as opposed to to a regular website. From an SEO perspective, part of the appeal of a blog is the freshness of content. Making your page less user-friendly will not make it more search-engine friendly.

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by RevancheGS. RevancheGS said: But it's annoying, esp if topic refers to time RT @MoneySmartsBlog: Easy SEO tip – remove dates from posts @Blogthority http://bit.ly/hd3lcF […]

  8. schultzter says:

    Yeah, I’ve got to agree with David. Nothing is more frustrating than finding the information you’re looking for and then realising it’s five years out-of-date. Sometimes in the computer/technology world if a one month out of date makes something useless. And if a web site or blog consistently misleads me by pushing out-of-date info to the top of their search results you can be sure I’m going to skip right over all their results in Google!

    If the information is time sensitive then the date is a crucial part of the information.

  9. I recommend converting the dates into images instead. That way people can see the date, but google does not index it. This is what I’ve done on my blog.

  10. Mike says:

    @David @Schultzer  I agree that removing dates can potentially cause problems for readers, but it can work both ways.  If a post is up to date, but a reader avoids it because of an older posting date – then the reader is missing out.

  11. schultzter says:

    I think the basic idea is that a lot of people – me included – have a lot of faith in Google’s algorithm. If they put a result at the top it’s because it’s the most relevant result for my query. If a site frequently shows up at the top but is less relevant than lower results my opinion of the site will drop dramatically because I believe (rightly or wrongly) that they’re gaming the system (Google being the defacto system, but I guess if you prefer another search engine the same thing applies).

    This works because a subject that changes often will receive a lot of posts about it and so older posts should be pushed down. Subjects that do not change very often will receive less posts.

    On our own blog (2fatdads.com) we have a few articles that have stayed high in Google rankings for quite some time simply because they are very high quality posts and recognized as such on the web. They’ve received a lot links and continue to be commented on long after the original post. Our fattest dad knows all about SEO but doesn’t abuse it to push us to top for a false, ephemeral victory.

    Here’s a good SEO tip: write relevant, up-to-date, quality posts and people will link to you, thus giving you more Google juice and keeping you near the top. Game the system and people will quickly learn to ignore you (like the way we tune out ads and only have to go to the washroom during commercials).

  12. schultzter says:

    Also, when you remove the dates on the comments there appears to be no more permalink to the comment. Since you don’t use Disqus or IntenseDebate I can’t automatically share my comments on Twitter (this giving you link juice and boosting your ranking) and now I can’t do it manually either!!!

  13. Mike Piper says:

    Schulzter: I suspect there may have been some misunderstanding here. Including dates or not including them doesn’t have a thing to do with where a page ranks in the search results. It’s not about ranking higher. It’s about getting more people to stick around once they land on your site (which can only be shown to work or not work with data from one’s own analytics).

  14. Mike says:

    @Schultzer – That sounds great, but I can tell you that Google’s algorithm is not as good as you describe.  I’ve found that older posts tend to do better than newer posts in the rankings.

    I agree that newer posts should push down the older posts, but in my experience, they don’t.

    Good point about the comment links – I doubt too many people link to comments, but it would be nice if the comment links were there.  Thanks for pointing that out.

    There might/should be a way to hide the dates without hiding the comment link as well. 

  15. Mike Holman says:

    I added the comment link permalink back in. It was actually connected to the comment number, which I had accidentally removed.

  16. Good idea, but kind of silly to include the way to remove it for just one of the thousands and thousands of WordPress themes out there. A better idea is to teach people how to edit their single.php and comments.php files directly.

  17. Mike Piper says:

    If you use thesis, and you edit those files directly, the change will get overwritten when you update thesis I believe. (At least, I think so. I could be wrong.)

  18. Mike says:

    @Lazy – I only included the Thesis method, because that’s what I use. It only took me a few seconds.

    There are plenty of other resources on the net for people using different themes.

    @Mike – You are correct.

  19. schultzter says:

    @Mike Piper – Oh, you mean the other SEO! In that case you’re right.

    @Mike – With the rise of Disqus, Intense Debate and other commenting systems I think it’s becoming much more common to tweet or Facebook your comments. And a lot of URL shorteners have bookmarklets that will shorten your current page’s URL and give you the option to tweet, etc. the short URL. So I wouldn’t dismiss the need for URL’s of individual comments – they may not referenced directly but they are very useful.

  20. […] one of our favourite sites to learn about our new interest in blogging.  This week we read about The Danger of Having Date Time Stamps in our posts and URLS (looks like we have some work to […]