No, I’m not talking dinner and a movie.
If you look at the title of this post, you will now see a date stamp following my name.
Personally, I like not having the date stamp, but let’s call this an experiment.
And if it’s an experiment, we need some background and rulez…
Why Date Your Blog?
Why not you may ask? That’s the way they come after all right?
But did you ever stop to question why? What purpose does that date really serve?
I don’t think very much.
In most cases the blog date is just holdover from the ‘my blog is my online journal’ days (sort of like your little toes or nipples on guys; sure they may look good, but you don’t really need them any more!)
In some cases there’s a perfectly valid reason to date every post. For instance, if you’re using your blog as an online journal, or to report on niche news that may be date relevent…
I don’t think they need to be banned from blogs, but I also don’t think dates should be turned on as a default; in most cases it’s pretty much just evolutionary holdover.
Why Not Date Your Blog?
- It makes your blog look like a journal (which is perfectly ok… if your blog is your online journal!)
Relevency you ask? Yes, relevency.
The internet has trained us to consume content fast and fresh. And dating your blog is pretty much the equivelent of slapping each post with a ‘Best Before’ date.
One of the first things most readers do on a blog post following a topic search is look to see when the post was made. If the post is older than a couple of months, there will automatically be questions as to how relevent your content is.
In some cases this is good, but most of the time it just doesn’t make any sense. Why bother put any effort into SEO for your blog when you’re content is questionable after a couple of months anyway?
And while we’re on the topic of SEO, while writing this I did some searching to see if there were any conversations going on around this topic… T
There arent! so you may very well be hearing it here first (and i really would LOVE to hear what YOU have to say on the topic, so leave a comment below or look me up on twitter or your prefered network).
BUT… I did find a recent related SearchEngineLand article by Aaron Wall; and I quote:
Everything you do has a chance to provide a clean or dirty signal of relevancy to search engines and searchers.
And I paraphrase:
- Dates convey irrelevant information
- Dates suggest old, stale news
So When Should You Use a Date on Your Blog?
I would say the only time you should use a date on your blog is if you know it serves a purpose. Of course, this should be the philosophy guiding pretty much everything you do online…
But unless you are running some type of news service, I would rather see the date worked into the content when necessary, not earmarked on every single post just for the sake of “Just ‘Cause”
So, you said something about an experiment?
Here’s the deal…
I removed the dates from my blog in November. And since then, my incoming search engine traffic has risen by about 100%, especially from Google.
Now, this site is still relatively new and I do put a little effort into SEO once in awhile, so I would naturally expect my search traffic to increase…
But there was a definite jump starting in December and I want to know how much of that may be due to dating my blog (or not dating it as the case may be).
So at least for awhile, you’re going to see some dating going on around here.