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Aug 7, 2013
Messages
751
Would love to hear some more thoughts on this. There is obviously a bucket load of reasons your ranking is falling. For example, We recently had a client that was sliding in organic for months. (yes, backlinks are playing a role) After hitting #23 we realized that the publish date on there WP home page was set to 2011, even though we had updated it. We changed the date and the very next day they shot up to #9 and have been holding for a month.


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Scott Rawlins

Moderator
Joined
Nov 14, 2012
Messages
1,087
Justin - There was no link in this, so I went ahead and added it. I think this was article you were referencing. If not, let me know and I'll change it to the correct one.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
13,313
Thanks for sharing Justin and for adding the link Scott.

J that's crazy about catching the date issue and it making an impact so quickly!
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2013
Messages
751
Thanks Scott!

Yes, we had a handful of sites we tested this on. Every site jumped in Rank within a couple days and has maintained. We are still monitoring. I don't think this is good for every situation, but in this case it worked. We were showing the Date in the SERP snippet.

Here is a discussion on it. I can't find the case study that was done.

Using article published dates effects SEO?

2015-03-24_11-39-22.png
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,904
People were messing with homepage dates awhile back and at that time, it was being discussed as a black hat'ish SEO tactic.

I certainly didn't and still don't see it that way but what was being discussed is the fact that the rich snippet dates are for time sensitive content, such as blog posts. Not for something like a homepage.

I disagreed, set a homepage date for a client anyway but I can't say we saw a positive or negative result either way.

Then, about a month ago, I made 2 changes to this client.

The first change was a test on sitemap page priority. I jumped the sitemap page priority for the homepage and a few important inner pages.

The second change was an update to the homepage's date to that current day from a date about 7 months back.

3 days later we lost about 10 spots in our organic ranking across the board for our homepage terms. Our innner page keywords, strangely, stayed the same.

I immediately went back and reversed the changes. I set the sitemap priority back and removed the homepage date.

Exactly a month later, to the day, our rankings came right back.

I say all this to say be careful with homepage dates. I think dustybones is doing a better job at it than I was obviously, because we got popped.

I don't think we got popped by the sitemap change because we changed the priority for a lot of inner pages as well that didn't lose rank. I always thought it was because of the homepage date. I thought this because, apart from logical deduction, there was a rumor going around of some black hat SEO's awhile back trying to exploit the homepage date as a major ranking factor. In fact, for awhile, people were talking about it so much as a powerful ranking signal I thought it would either get turned down or get popped.

Anyways, who knows.

Dusty, keep doing your thing, it's obviously working and you're doing a great job :)

Everyone who is not Dustybones, be cautious :)

And remember, we could have dropped for a completely unrelated reason as well.
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2013
Messages
751
Thanks for your insight Joshua. Yes, I did read in some situations sites had a drop in rank after changing the date. In those situations I think I remember that the date was not showing in SERPS and was within a year of first publish date. In our situations the sites had dates going back to 2013 for the home page and interior pages and the date snippet was showing in SERP. All the sites that had this older date and were changed jumped within a few days and have maintained. We did test a few sites with the date being closer and did not see any fluctuation because of the concern of a drop. Your correct in that there needs to be some caution. In the future I think I would only change the date under certain circumstances. Thanks for adding to this.....helpful.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,904
Thanks for your insight Joshua. Yes, I did read in some situations sites had a drop in rank after changing the date. In those situations I think I remember that the date was not showing in SERPS and was within a year of first publish date. In our situations the sites had dates going back to 2013 for the home page and interior pages and the date snippet was showing in SERP. All the sites that had this older date and were changed jumped within a few days and have maintained. We did test a few sites with the date being closer and did not see any fluctuation because of the concern of a drop. Your correct in that there needs to be some caution. In the future I think I would only change the date under certain circumstances. Thanks for adding to this.....helpful.
Good stuff. That fits with what happened with us because it was within a year. Our date was showing in the SERP's though.

What you said also makes complete sense. I could see Google hitting someone for changing within a year. It could be construed as manipulation.

No matter what, keep doing what you're doing. It's working!
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2013
Messages
751
So far its working, but its not something we are changing on a regular basis. What caught us was migrating to a new design a while back using the original template. The template had the old publish dates from the original site built in 2013. If anything, that is something to check.
 

mborgelt

Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2012
Messages
476
Great insights on the more granular things that I often overlook when diagnosing client issues. Thanks for the great info, everyone!
 

CodyBaird

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2013
Messages
341
Caffeine algo update at play here. Rewarding "fresher", or what it thinks is newer content with the traffic.

I am Surprised that it can be manipulated so easily.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

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