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Do dates in a page’s title tag affect search rankings?

March 1, 2022 0 comments

You know there are some posts that have dates in their title? Supposedly those posts perform better — at least in terms of click-through rates. This is especially true when it comes to YouTube videos. Video titles that have dates in them tend to receive slightly more clicks.

However, does having a date in the page’s title create any positive SEO effect? Does it improve search engine rankings?

This topic was recently discussed during a recent hangout session of the Google Search Central SEO office hours where John Mueller gave a response.

What’s the impact of putting dates in page titles?

Google’s John Mueller confirmed that putting dates in a page’s title tag does not change anything for SEO.

“I don’t think it changes everything,” clarified John Mueller.

It’s different for news articles

Having said that, John Mueller further expanded upon his answer and mentioned that it makes sense to include the data in the page title for news articles.

In fact, John mentioned that it is a good idea to include the date in various places on the page because that is how Google ascertains the primary date of a news article. Adding dates in various spots of your web page (including the main title tag) makes it easier for Google to find the primary date.

“For news articles, I do think it makes sense to include the date in various places on the page, and that can include the title.

Just because with news articles we try to understand what the primary date is of the page. And we do that by looking at all of the mentions and things that you have on the page.

And we can confirm that date with these mentions on the page, then it’s easier for us to pick that up.”

In addition, John Mueller also mentioned that for a web page that is constantly changing (pages about currency prices, in this example), it is not “critical to have the date in the title.”

Changing the publishing dates for updated content

This also leads to another question: what about changing publishing dates — especially if you are updating the content.

John Mueller had actually already given an answer to that question earlier this month, i.e., you can change the publishing date if the content has been rewritten or significantly updated. Otherwise, it is not a recommended practice.

You can watch the whole conversation about the earlier topic here in this video.