The Case for Removing Dates from Evergreen Content

Written by Danielle Bachini

For SEO purposes, the best type of content to write and publish is evergreen content that will be just as valuable six months down the line as it is now. Of course, timely content that is newsworthy also has its place in the content marketing mix but we always recommend that the majority of SEO content be evergreen. We also typically recommend that evergreen content be published without a date. From an SEO perspective, this is best for a few reasons.

First, you don’t want your content to be passed over just because of the date at the top if it appears within organic search. It might be listed among content that was published more recently than yours, and the older date might be a “turn off” even though the reality of the situation is that the informational content is just as relevant as its “newer” counterpart. If the topic isn’t newsworthy and just outlines industry best practice that is timeless or changes infrequently a date on the post isn’t necessary. If your post was published in October and your competitor writes a similar post in December and someone is searching for the content in January of the following year, you don’t want to lose the click through just because the perception is that the newer post is in some way better. It’s probably not.

Removing dates from SEO content, specifically blog posts, also allows you to repurpose that content in the future. Think about the process you take (or should be taking!) when you publish a blog post. You share it on your social media pages, share to relevant LinkedIn groups, and link to it in an email newsletter. This results in a quick uptick in visitors over the short term, but it only lasts a few days at the most. Then there is a sharp decline in visitors to that post. If it’s optimized well it should generate organic visitors, but that’s in the long term. As long as the blog post content is still relevant, it can be shared again across social channels and in newsletters months later. People are so inundated with content in social media that they might have missed it the first time around.

One warning that we have for you if you decide to utilize this approach is that it isn’t an excuse to get lazy with your blog. Removing dates from the posts means that there is no way to know how “old” the most recent post on the blog is. If someone lands on a business blog and sees that the last post was from four months ago, it looks unprofessional. While it’s true that removing dates somewhat eliminates this problem, you still need to be publishing content on a regular basis! If your product or service has a long sales cycle, a prospect might come back to the blog every couple of weeks or so. They will notice that the most recent post hasn’t changed in that time period. Also, if you aren’t publishing content regularly, what are you going to be sharing in social media? How are you driving traffic to your site?

Ultimately, removing dates from content is a business decision. For some organizations in rapidly changing industries it might not make sense. However, if you decide to take this route, just be sure to include the date whenever you are posting anything timely.

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